Just seven days before the last marathon I ran, in 2006, I set out my targets in this blog. They were:
- Finish inside 4 hours
- Be in the top 10,000 finishers
Looking back at that post, I was amazed to see that I'd even suggested that I might finish in 3h 52m (I actually ran it in 3h 51m 8s).
This year, I thought I'd set myself roughly the same goal, although plainly I want to better my time, even if only be seconds. But what of the position? Should I be thinking about improving that?
I checked back over the previous few years and someone with a time of 3h 51m 8s would have placed as follows:
That's a spread of 3,083 between the lowest place number and the highest place number. That's a much bigger spread than I'd imagined would be the case. Part of it might be weather related (2007 - where I would have placed highest had I run my time - was a very hot day and overall performance was down) but 2006 and 2008 saw much the same weather (damp and rainy throughout the race). So what's going on?
One option I wondered about is whether the organisers have changed the way that they allocate places. For instance, I found in 2003 that having the same finish time gave you incremental placing (decided I'm not sure how - maybe the chip timers record, but don't publish, can go sub-second):
In other years, people with the same finish time are given the same place number - but then the next place awarded reflects however many people had the same time. So that can't be it.
Any other ideas?