Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Monday, February 14, 2005

Did You Improve Your Marathon Time?

The hot and humid weather yesterday made it tough on all the runners. The low was 58 degrees and high was 79 degrees which was way above averages of 44/65. But that wasn't the worst of it. The morning rain followed by the sunny and hot temperatures resulted in brutal humidity. This took its toll on the race times.

To see how it affected the race times, I took the results from doitsports and ran them through my custom program. I also took the results from the 2004 Austin marathon. Then for each runner that ran both, I compared their 2005 time with their 2004 time. As would be expected, most runners had slower times yesterday than they did in 2004 (63%).

Then I wanted to know how did this compare to previous years. So I repeated this analysis for the previous two marathons. In 2004, only 46% ran slower than they did in 2003. In 2003, only 37% ran slower than they did in 2002. So for the last 2 years, most repeat runners improved their time. But not this year.

Austin Marathon Temperature History

For the previous 3 years, the Austin marathon days had much more conducive temperatures for running. Here are the numbers:

High / Low Temperatures at Austin Bergstrom on Marathon days:

2/13/05 - 79 / 58
2/15/04 - 57 / 26
2/16/03 - 53 / 30
2/17/02 - 68 / 27

Austin Marathon Race Stats

And here are details about how repeat runners have faired for the last 3 marathons:

2005 Results As Compared To 2004

Of 3688 runners from yesterday's marathon, I found 1021 who also ran last year.

Of these 1021 runners:
641 (63%) ran slower in 2005
379 (37%) ran faster in 2005

Of those who ran faster:
100 (10%) ran up to 5min faster
64 (6%) ran between 5 and 10min faster
100 (10%) ran between 10 and 20min faster
73 (7%) ran between 20 and 40min faster
42 (4%) ran over 40min faster

2004 Results As Compared To 2003

Of 3962 runners who ran in 2004, I found 693 who also ran in the 2003 marathon.

Of these 693 runners:
319 (46%) ran slower in 2004
372 (54%) ran faster in 2004

Of those who ran faster:
135 (20%) ran up to 5min faster
90 (13%) ran between 5 and 10min faster
85 (12%) ran between 10 and 20min faster
57 (8%) ran between 20 and 40min faster
5 (1%) ran over 40min faster

2003 Results As Compared To 2002

Of 2049 runners who ran in 2003, I found 682 who also ran in the 2002 marathon.

Of these 682 runners:
250 (37%) ran slower in 2003
431 (63%) ran faster in 2003

Of those who ran faster:
92 (14%) ran up to 5min faster
94 (14%) ran between 5 and 10min faster
129 (19%) ran between 10 and 20min faster
80 (12%) ran between 20 and 40min faster
36 (5%) ran over 40min faster


  • I guess I'm one of the 42. That's some small consolation for missing my goal by almost 30 minutes! Thanks - this was an interesting read.

    By Anonymous Richard, at 3:43 PM  

  • Thanks Richard for your feedback. Sorry you didn't reach your goal, but at least you improved a lot from last year. We just had bad luck with the weather.

    By Blogger Ken, at 5:37 AM  

  • hey ken,

    a friend of mine told me about your website. i too am a runner and a stats hound--it sounds like what you're doing is a lot of fun, and i've enjoyed browsing your data spreads.

    i had an awesome run sunday (PR by 0:02:30)--i countered conditions by going out conservative, and wound up dropping a negative split for the race. it made me wonder: how many folks in freescale 2005 ran a negative split (i.e. the second 13.1 was faster than the first 13.1), and how does that compare with previous years? an easy speculation is that there are more neg-splitters in 04 than 05, but there might be other interesting trends as well: do masters runners neg-split more than younger runners (a sign of wisdom and maturity in elder runners) or is it the other way around (a sign of strength and power in young runners)? food for thought if you're looking for numbers to crunch.

    swing by my blog if you've the chance.

    happy trails,
    rich yavorsky
    austin, tx

    By Blogger Rich Y., at 7:58 PM  

  • Rich, Thanks for the comments, and congrats on your PR! About the splits, I was thinking the same thing. I'll try to get these stats in the next few days.

    By Blogger Ken, at 5:41 AM  

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