Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Race Distances

So I got an email from the organizers of the Run for the Dream Half Marathon in Williamsburg stating that the course may have been longer than intended. I knew my time was longer than expected but I figured it was the hills that did me in. Turns out the distance also helped slow me down.

According to them, the distance was "13.46876 miles as opposed to 13.10938, for an “overage” of 0.35938 miles." Not too terrible. My "official" time dropped from 2:33:52 to 2:29:45. Still not my best time but better than before.

I'm glad the organizers listened to the runners with GPS watches and checked the distance. I usually don't put much weight into the GPS distance since it's proven to not be 100% accurate. After you read what goes into making a course USATF certified, you'd understand how a watch can't match the level of detail. Anyway, I'm glad they listened. It tells me they care enough to read all the comments and to freely admit they made a mistake. Honesty goes a long way in my book.

And while I'm glad they admitted they were at fault, I do have an issue with their time adjustment. I don't like their math. I'm not saying the math isn't valid, but it doesn't factor in the unknown variables. For me, that would be a negative split. Do I negative split every race or every run? Absolutely not. But I do have that tendency, especially in races. And if you look at my report, you'll see that from Mile 11 to the finish, I'm running faster. Mile 11 was 12:30, Mile 12 was 11:22, and Mile 13 was 10:45. A drop in time of 1:45 over the last couple of miles, which doesn't get factored into their equation.

Does this mean they're right and I'm wrong? No. It just means that nobody is perfect. I clearly ran this race much slower than my PR of 2:19:03 (it's even slower than my trail PR of 2:23:24).

So what's the bottom line here? I'm just as much at fault as the race organizers. And if they can admit their mistake, so can I. I had a bad race and they had a bad measurement. Let's call it square and move on to the next event.

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