Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Friday, March 04, 2005

Dedicated Los Angeles Marathon Runners

Revised on 3:50pmCST 3/5/05 - The downloads of 2004 and 2003 data had been stopped before all of the runners' data had been retrieved. So my initial stats were incomplete. I've redownloaded the full data and have revised this post with the corrected numbers. Sorry for the confusion.

In preparation for Sunday's 20th Los Angeles Marathon, I've been looking at the stats from the past 5 LA marathons. I've put the last 5 years of race results from the LA marathon website through my program to see how many runners have run all 5. Also, I looked at how their times have changed.

My program counted 1471 runners who have run in the last 5 LA Marathons (2000 to 2004). Comparing chip finish times in 2000 to 2004, 1126 (77%) finished 2004 with a slower time and 345 (23%) finished 2004 with a faster time. Note, for simplicity, my program only looked at the times in 2000 and 20004.

The weather made it tough in 2004 with above average temperatures. One report I found from 2004 said that the starting temperature was 66 degrees. Others have claimed that it was in the mid 70's at the start.

I've broken out these 1471 5-timers into slowdown/speedup categories. These compare the change between the 2000 and 2004 marathons. Over 61% of these 5-timers ran 20 or more minutes slower in 2004.

In the ideal case, one would hope that he or she could improve each year. There were 28 who ran 2004 over 80 minutes faster than 2000. I then looked at these in detail. The majority of these 28 improved most in 2001 and then stayed about the same for the next 3 years. For example, a woman (age 43 in 2000) from Thousand Oaks, CA finished 2000 with a chip time of 5:49:49. In 2001, her time was 04:17:49. The next 3 years were close to this. In 2004, her time was 04:29:05.

However, I did find one out of these 28 5-timers who did consistently improve each year. A woman (age 44 in 2000) from Glendale, CA finished the marathon in 2000 with a chip time of 6:48:51. In 2001 her time was 06:23:56, 4:56:11 in 2002, 4:24:23 in 2003, and finally 04:06:38 in 2004. She even improved in the heat of 2004. That's consistency and dedication.

Below are all the details of the runners who have run the LA Marathon for the last 5 years. Faster means the runner finished 2004 faster than in 2000.

2004 vs 2000 ChangeNumberPercent
over 80 min faster281.9
40 to 80 min faster765.2
20 to 40 min faster875.9
10 to 20 min faster714.8
5 to 10 min faster453.1
2 to 5 min faster211.4
1 to 2 min faster70.5
under 1 min faster100.7
under 1 min slower80.5
1 to 2 min slower110.7
2 to 5 min slower271.8
5 to 10 min slower714.8
10 to 20 min slower1178
20 to 40 min slower28019
40 to 80 min slower37825.7
over 80 min slower23415.9

Note, during the compilation of this data, I noticed a number of runners who had the same first and last name to other runners. So to avoid mixing runners between years, I also used their ages to ensure that I wasn't looking at different runners. Note, I did identify a very few runners with both the same names and ages.

I've just begun with the LA Marathon stats! I'll be posting much more in the coming days including the stats from this Sunday's marathon.


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