Giants past

Less than three weeks to my race day now.

I thought I would look at past races. Maggie suggested that I might win it, which seemed unlikely to me (but kind of her). I went and looked at the old results. As I suspected, no real chance of winning: the slowest race was won with a time of 2:50:00 — too fast for me.

Looking at the results is rather depressing. Winning times have been getting slower over the years. In 1973 the winner finished in 2:17:43, and all through the ’70s the winners were comfortably under 2:25:00. In the 80s all the winners were under 2:36:00. In the 90s again under 2:35:00. But in the last decade, the fastest time was 2:35:30, and most winners were in the 2:40s, except for the one at 2:50:00.

How on earth did we get 30 minutes slower over the last 40 years?

I suppose the there are two likely explanations: 1) US runners have declined a bit and 2) there are now a lot more races, some of which have more prestige (money) attached, and the good runners go elsewhere.

(And checking from Maggie’s perspective — in 2007 the womens’ winner finished in 3:17:08 — Maggie might have won that year, she would have more of a chance than I).

If all goes well, I hope to finish between 2:55 and 3:00. Looking at the winners isn’t really significant. What is the competition like between those times? So I built myself a little table of the last decade

If I finish at these times,
what place will I be?
2:55:00 2:57:30 3:00:00
2009: 4 4 5
2008: 6 6 6
2007: 3 4 4
2006: 3 3 7
2005: 2 2 3
2004: 5 5 7
2003: 6 6 7
2002: 8 12 13
2001: 9 12 13

So — I guess I can hope for second place, but will probably be around 5th or 6th. Again it looks as though there is a decided decline in good (Mmmm. perhaps that’s extreme, in mediocre) runners over the last decade.

Is this good for me? Or not? On the plus side — well, it would be kind of neat to finish in the top three… but on the minus side — I’ll be out there mostly alone, there is unlikely to be anyone running at my pace, so I’ll probably go more slowly than I would if there were competition…

Still, I might be able to see someone ahead on a long straight stretch. That might help…

Waiting is hard. Three weeks to go.


One Response to “Giants past”

  1. Maggie Says:

    You won’t be alone the first leg…the half marathoners will carry you. Because there’s a turnaround on the second leg, you can count people and gauge how far ahead or back they are, so that’s motivating, too. And the trees! Magnificent. Join up with them, and you won’t feel alone.

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