Monday, August 10, 2015

Where Goes the Competition?

Checking some of the Alaska results in recent weeks and it makes you wonder where the competition is for running going. Maybe to ultras, specialty trail races (like Mt Marathon), or to other sports like cycling, triathlons, or adventure running. Or maybe the athletes just aren't there anymore.

But case in point. This past weekend in Fairbanks they had the Santa Claus Half Marathon in North Pole. This used to be one of my favorite races out there and I ran it eight or nine times. The 2015 winning time was 1:22:30, in which he "blew away the competition." Not to knock the efforts of those who ran on Saturday, but that was the by far (4 minutes or so) the slowest winning time ever for the race and the depth of competition was pretty thin.

I went back to the archives and for the previous decade (in reverse), a 1:22:30 would place 3rd, 3rd, 6th, 10th, 7th, 6th, 3rd, 7th, and 7th. Likewise, the women's times were off, witha winning time of 1:33 (and 6th overall)!  What's also interesting at the Anchorage 10K classic on Saturday the winning time was 33:50, and that race is usually won in the 30-32 minute range. So it's not just in Fairbanks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right to wonder if people are drawn to ultras or the like. The race schedule has become rather crowded, so the field size has dropped significantly. It might not have helped that last year we waited for hours for the awards. There were several triathlons this year as well as the Angel Creek 50 added to the calendar. I think SC used to draw 250-300, and this year it was down to 171. If you look at it on a percentile basis (i.e. a given time placing in X percentile of the field) I doubt it has really changed all that much on the whole, but many of the fastest runners show up only for the biggest races.

9:14 PM  

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