Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Friday, April 22, 2005

Boston 2005: Repeat Runners

I've started looking at the repeat runners in the Boston Marathon and how they did compared to previous years. I'm starting with repeat runners from 2004 to 2005. I'll go back to previous years in future posts. Also for simplicity, I'll stick with the top 1000 male and female runners.

My program found the repeat runners for 2004 and 2005 and compared their times. It then grouped the runners into eight slower and faster categories.

From the top 1000 men, I found 199 runners who ran in both 2004 and 2005. Out of these 199 runners, 83% ran faster this year. Based on the hot temperatures last year, this would be expected. There was one runner who ran over 30 minutes faster. He was a 28 year-old from Birmingham Alabama. He improved from 3:16:31 to 2:39:21.

The highest percentage of repeat runners were between 5 to 15 minutes faster this year. There were 90 of them. One example is a 40 year-old from Overland Park Kansas. In 2004 he finished 2:58:24. This year he finished 2:50:53.

About 37% of the repeat runners were extremely consistent, running within 5 minutes of their 2004 times. There were a few who were actually less than a minute between their 2004 and 2005 times. One such runner is a 52 year-old from Omro Wisconsin who finished 3:05:15 in 2004 and 3:05:40 in 2005.

For the top 1000 women the results were very similar. I found 143 who ran in 2004 and 2005. And just like the men, 83% of these women ran faster in 2005. Four women ran over 30 minutes faster this year. The fastest of them was a 37 year-old women from Basking Ridge New Jersey who improved from 3:23:46 to 2:49:45.

There weren't as many extremely consistent women as men. Only 32% of these repeat women finished within 5 minutes of their 2004 times (5% less than the men).

Below are the details based on results from Note that some repeat runners may have been missed if they didn't finish in the top 1000 in one of the years or if their names weren't exactly the same in both years.

Male Repeat Boston Marathon Runners

2005 vs 2004 ChangeNumberPercent
over 30 min faster10.5
15 to 30 min faster3015.1
5 to 15 min faster9045.2
0 to 5 min faster4522.6
0 to 5 min slower2814.1
5 to 15 min slower52.5
15 to 30 min slower0
over 30 min slower0

Female Repeat Boston Marathon Runners

2005 vs 2004 ChangeNumberPercent
over 30 min faster42.8
15 to 30 min faster2517.5
5 to 15 min faster6142.7
0 to 5 min faster2920.3
0 to 5 min slower1711.9
5 to 15 min slower64.2
15 to 30 min slower10.7
over 30 min slower0

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  • Although 2004-2005 looks like it is statistically significant. This would be a great time to use a paired ttest or better yet, when you get more years compiled, an ANOVA and a tukey's test would give you which years were significantly different from each other and how.

    For that AL runner, did you see what other marathons he ran in 2004? It's a shame we don't know more about him to see why the biggest drop in time.

    By Anonymous Terry from Knoxville, at 7:01 AM  

  • I would like to get some years with comparable temperatures first. I'll look at 2003 next.

    I have not looked for runners across different marathons. But that would be interesting especially for those who have made big improvements in time. Probably have to compare at least 3 races so that a bad day can be thrown out.

    By Blogger Ken, at 9:36 AM  

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