At Women's Marathon, fastest time didn't win

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Beric, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. Beric macrumors 68020

    Beric

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    #1
    At Women's Marathon, fastest time didn't win.

    link

    Saw this on Yahoo. Apparently the "elite runners" got a 20-minute head-start in front of the "commoners", and therefore the woman with the fastest time did not receive any award, because she was not one of the "elite runners".
     
  2. roisin and mac macrumors 6502

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    #2
    That is just...weird. I thought in a race, everyone stands behind a line at the beginning, they start together, they run, run, run, then there's a line and maybe a thread over it, first one to go over that line or touch the thread wins. Stopwatch and photofinish and related solutions are basically there as an aid for races that are close, but those where it's needed are mainly sprints, this is a marathon. what the heck?
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    Elite runners don't run with regular folks because regular folks will just slow down the people who really are competing for time, unlike those who are happy to just finish the race. That's why the elite runners run are put at the front of the pack. They also get some form of head-start, although a 5 minute head-start is usually considered good enough (since they're running faster than most other runners anyway. I've never heard of a 20 minute headstart.

    Imagine the beginning of the race. If you're competing for one of the best times, and you start in the middle of the pack, forget about it. You're going to be walking the first 1-2 miles, because everyone is so bunched up together.

    That part of the story makes sense to me.



    Not declaring this girl the winner doesn't make sense. This would have made for some incredible PR.....and they failed miserably.


    Stupid Nike. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Beric thread starter macrumors 68020

    Beric

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    #4
    Heh, yeah. Some of the stupidest rules I've ever seen. :rolleyes:
     
  5. Evangelion macrumors 68040

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    #5
    I hope that next time, all the non-elites decide not to participate. Why should they, if they aren't really in the competition?
     
  6. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #6
    It's actually not as ridiculous as it seems. The winning time was just unbelievably slow because the elites chose to run a tactical race and sprint for the finish. It's not that they couldn't run a 2:55, it's that they didn't see anyone pass them, so they ran a slow race. I guarantee you that if this woman was running that pace with the elites, someone would have run faster.

    Really what they should do is give the elites less of a head start -- say, 5 minutes. If someone from the pack can catch up to the elites and pass them, then give them the win. But you should have to cross the finish line first to get the win. It's a race, not a time trial.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Yeah, that time is good, but not so good that one of the more elite runners wouldn't have done better.

    Meh, at least she's around the same as Lance Armstrong. ;)
     
  8. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    I understand your point, but it would then fall into the same trap as I-A college football - if you aren't ranked to start the season, good luck moving up (ignore Alabama 2008). Demanding a runner win the race after being given a 5 minute or more handicap doesn't fly with the notion of how one would expect races to be won. Within both the masses or the elites, you will have those stuck in the back of the group - why should they be penalized?

    The first to cross would work if everybody started at the same time or just had to travel the same distance. When that doesn't happen, the race needs to be a time trial.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Come on, it's a public run! Forget time trials. Even in the larger runs, there may be 50 or so "invited runners" that performed so well in previous years that they simply get placed at the very front the next year they apply for the race. That's it. There's no need for them to get a time trial.


    With regards to starting 20 minutes behind, or even 5 minutes for that matter, they simply work off the same clock as the elite group, except they get 20 minutes chopped off their time. If the "normal runner" group is too large, they'll split that into 2 groups, resulting in an elite group of between 20-50 runners, and 2 other "normal groups", where the 1st group may start 20 minutes after the elite group, while the 2nd group starts 20 minutes after that.

    It depends on the run, but it's not meant to be 100% fair for everyone. That's impossible for any race with greater than 20 people.
     
  10. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #10
    Nobody's being penalized. If you run a good time, the next time you race, you'll be in with the elites anyway. Elite runners aren't going to participate in these mass events if they have to weave their way through a bunch of wannabes -- too much chance of injury. All I'm suggesting is their ought to be some chance -- however remote -- of the "cinderella story" winning the big race. In reality, it would probably never would happen, just as this woman wouldn't have won this race if she had started at the same time as the elites.
     
  11. iSee macrumors 68040

    iSee

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    You can make that argument for the elite runner that placed first, but not the others. You think the second elite runner *could* have run in 2:55 but made the tactical decision not to and instead finish second? Maybe. But what you're saying is that not one of the elite runners decided to push the pace a little. That every single one decided to take it easy for most of the race and push only at the end. If true, I really don't think any of the elites really deserved to win anyway.
     
  12. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816

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  13. sangosimo Guest

    sangosimo

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    #14
    if she ran with elite runner I wonder how much faster the pace would be.
     
  14. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #15
    And in the spirit of reactionism, Nike goes too far again. Awarding her as a winner (did the winner's title get changed to "a winner" as well?) is good, but the rest is too much.

    I doubt that every elite took this race that slowly. If they did, then that's on them. It would have been more sensible to continue in the current fashion - the benefit to claiming elite status is a smaller body of people to deal with. Future elites here and elsewhere should understand that they are expected to complete in the best time overall to be granted the title of winner. If they want to dawdle, that's their problem. Remember, the advantage of having your pace hidden among the masses is wiped out by the clumsiness of the masses.

    Alternatively, just make it clear that a person must enter as an elite if they wish to be considered for the winner prizes - that way the masses know that they can't win unless the register up.

    The current decision is just going ot slow things down for everybody and will lead to injury.
     
  15. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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  16. bobr1952 macrumors 68020

    bobr1952

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    #17
    Well that is an interesting story. I've been a runner for over 25 years--although I can't claim fame to much except for keeping my feet moving. But I have run several marathons so I can see the point here but I don't particularly care for that kind of a head start for the elite runners. It has been quite a few years since I've run a marathon but I don't recall the elite runners getting a head start in any of the races I was in, just positioning ahead of the "common" runners so they could get a good start. I guess the "commoners" started to get in the way so they now get a head start. I can see how their strategy would be different but a 20 minute head start is really a totally different race for them--seems kind of counterproductive to me.
     
  17. Beric thread starter macrumors 68020

    Beric

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    #18
    Well, now she's "a" winner. But not "the" winner.

    Nike is so messed up here. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #19
    What is the point of even running in the marathon, if the sponsor feels you are 2nd class citizens unworthy of their notice.

    Basically, saying -- run for yourself, since we think you are unworthy of recognition by us.

    ---

    But get the people behind you and give us bad press, and we will mail you a trophy and check.
     
  19. Gray-Wolf macrumors 68030

    Gray-Wolf

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    #20
    At least it caused such a stink, that they are doing away with the "Elite" group now.
     
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #21
    ^^^But that's not the answer though, and if I was a decent runner and couldn't get into that group anymore because it no longer existed, AND I was trying for a competitive time, I probably wouldn't even run it.


    Unless you've run before, you have no idea what it's like running in these "fun run" conditions through cities and such. When I would run these public runs, the first 0.5 km consisted of waddling around like a penguin, because the streets were packed like at a concert. You couldn't go forward. The next 3-4 km required me to zig-zag between slower runners in order to get ahead. This required me to run slowly, speed up, slow down, etc. By the 4th or 5th km, I was already tired. Seriously. It's mentally draining as well, because you need to be careful, and calculative. I would have to jump onto the median in the middle of the street in order to get around people, and all of this zigzagging (which adds extra distance) and the risk of suffering an ankle injury doesn't make any of this worth it for those who aren't just trying to finish. I have tripped without hurting my ankle, but it's not a risk I enjoy taking.


    Keep the elite runners at the front of the pack so that they don't trip over all the slower runners, and have them all start at the same time. Sorted.
     
  21. Evangelion macrumors 68040

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    #22
    Maybe all competitions like these should be settled not by looking how fast the contestants actually run, but how fast they COULD run :rolleyes:
     
  22. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    #23
    yeah, it really has to be done that way. Major marathons have thousands or 10s of thousands of runners and starting the elites with the regular runners makes no sense for anyone.

    This is actually a really hard situation. You can't really call the elite "winner" the winner since she didn't have the fastest time. But you can't really call the other woman the winner because the elites were only running to beat each other, and might well have been able to beat this other woman if she were with them.

    There's no perfect answer here. I don't think the "a winner" distinction is actually that crazy, even though it's somewhat unsatisfying.
     
  23. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #24
    Yep, sort of sad that Marathons are no longer about going from a personal best all the time -- to running just fast enough to beat the person behind you.

    Of course this does fit in with the new attitude in the US where "good enough for govt. work" seems to be all anyone needs to do.
     

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