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5458 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Oct 21, 2008 9:23 AM by zoom1
Irish Runner77 Legend 780 posts since
Nov 1, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 21, 2008 6:51 AM

So what if you're the fastest...


you still didn't win!


Anyone else see this story about the Nike Womens Marathon in San Fran?


A 24 year old school teacher finished with a time 11 minutes faster than the 1st place elite, but has been told to basically go pound sand because she register with the elites, who got a 20 minute head start. She ran a 2:55, 1st place was 3:06. It was her first time breaking the 3 hour mark and a 12 minute PR.



Kind of a poor example the way the race directers seem to have handled it...



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  • thefirecat Community Moderator 2,779 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 21, 2008 6:55 AM (in response to Irish Runner77)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...

    They "weren't running the same race"? Excuse you?


    1. NO ONE runs the same race as anyone else.


    2. You're implying that this unseeded runner wouldn't have been able to beat an elite runner if the elite runner knew this unseeded runner was out there. And yet you can't presume that it would have changed the unseeded runner's strategy too?


    3. Horse hockey, as Col. Potter would say.


    4. Unrelated to anything else in this article, Chris, what kind of gum do you need midrace?

    God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
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    2. Oct 21, 2008 7:01 AM (in response to thefirecat)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...

    Incedible.  What a bunch of self-serving idiots.  And since when is 3:06 an "elite" time?


  • x_39_and_holding_x We're Not Worthy 2,974 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008
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    3. Oct 21, 2008 7:01 AM (in response to Irish Runner77)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...

    The RD might want to go back to math class but if I was the 24 year old who hit that 2:55, I think I'd be just fine knowing I beat the elites.  And the elites will know it too.  You can't change time.

    Obsessed with running and racing. It's all about the bling, baby! Suck it up and RUN!
  • zoom1 Legend 288 posts since
    Jan 22, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Oct 21, 2008 7:08 AM (in response to Irish Runner77)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...

    I don't neccessarily disagree with the race directors on this one.  This manifest itself to the pedestrian world also during any marathons.  Take the MCM for example.  If you have two runners finishing at the exact time but one started in front of a corral while the other started at the end of the corral.


    If the both finish at the exact time, the one in the front of the corral would have crossed the finish line first.  This runner would be shown in the results as the faster of the two runners.  This happens all the time at every sanctioned race.  This is afterall a race.  The one that cross the finish line first, no matter where he/she starts, is declared the winner.


    For of a race among the elites are about strategy and competition.  If you run next to someone who has a chance to win, you might want to do some gamesmanship like speeding up or slowing down to test out your competitor.  If you are way in front of the competitor at the end then you are more likely to slow down and enjoy the victory. 


    The runner who won the race that you cited has an advantage over the elite in that she didn't have to worry about the competition.  Who's to say that had the elite been next to the woman that had the faster time that she wouldn't have uppped her game ?  If you look at the elites at any marathons you see that strategy and the performance of the people around you has a lot to do with who comes in first or crashes at the end.  Otherwise, they would just let the elites run 60 seconds apart like the time trials at the Tour De France.


    The rules for this is quite clear at sanctioned events.  I think that it would be a bad example had the race director done anything to the contrary.  I think that people who complain about this (i.e., the writer of the article) clearly does not understand the sport or the rules that governs it.

  • cplmtz0121 We're Not Worthy 2,455 posts since
    Nov 1, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Oct 21, 2008 7:29 AM (in response to zoom1)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...


    If I was one of those "elite" runners, I'd be so embarrassed that a non elite runner beat my time by that much...



    Hard-charging motivating Devil Dog

  • FormerBAM We're Not Worthy 4,378 posts since
    Aug 21, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Oct 21, 2008 8:47 AM (in response to zoom1)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...


    I guess I see your point, Tuan, but something needs to change.  I mean, that's just insane to declare someone a winner who wasn't the fastest.  How do you know when you're supposed to declare yourself an elite??  They either need to change the rules, everyone start at the same time, have a separate "winners group" for the regular runners (well, he said they're not running the same race, right?) or SOMETHING. 






    But I agree, those "elites" who "won" know they didn't.  And the writer may not know "the rules," but he knows the fastest runner wins. 






    Or should.



  • Courir26 We're Not Worthy 1,968 posts since
    Feb 4, 2008
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    7. Oct 21, 2008 8:56 AM (in response to zoom1)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...

    I understand when they don't want the elite women to get caught in a crowd of men or gain advantage from pacers, but why give the elites a 20 minute head start in a women's marathon? If their top elites finished over 3 hours, they weren't so elite. I understand why they had to stick with the rules after, but it sounds like they set themselves up for this.

  • wonwood Expert 41 posts since
    Aug 26, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Oct 21, 2008 9:10 AM (in response to Irish Runner77)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...


    I understand the concept of the rule but 12 minutes give me a break.  I think if the elite's don't run an elite time then the rule should be waived.  I am sure that SF is hilly but how bad is it?  How in the world can a race with 20k+ entries have a winner at 3:06?  The Breakers marathon in Rhode Island this weekend only had 240 women in the entire thing and at least 5 of them were faster than 3:06.  SF must be a very slow course or had some terrible weather.









  • zoom1 Legend 288 posts since
    Jan 22, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Oct 21, 2008 9:23 AM (in response to Courir26)
    Re: So what if you're the fastest...


    There are marathons out there such as the Los Angeles Marathon were they give bonus money ($50K) to the first runner that crosses the finish line ... man or woman.  This makes it more compeling to watch.



    To even the playing field they get the average finish time of the men's and women's winners over the past 3-5 years and whatever the time difference is, that's the lead that they give the women to start.  The year that I ran it I think the time was somewhere near the 20 minutes range.  I think that year the men beat the women by a few minutes but the women have won it in past years.    Perhaps this race had the same type of race bonus gimic.  It would be a travesty had the 20 minutes been picked as a convience thing for the elites.  I agree with you that, absence of any gimmics, the elites should start at the same time as the rest of the field.  The only thing that they should get is the rights to start in front of everyone else. 



    Every sanctioned marathon has a blurb on the web page the critieria for being considered as an elite athlete.  The MCM is no different.  Basicially, you just need to provide proof of your finishing time at a half or full marathon that falls under the criteria specified by the marathon.  Something like the MCM would have a slower time than say Boston.



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