Road Race Stats - Marathons & Other Running Races

Friday, February 22, 2008

Lance Armstrong's NYC Marathon Performances and Expectations for Boston - Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, Lance Armstrong is planning to run the Boston Marathon in April to raise money for his foundation. In that post I looked at Lance's performances in the 2006 and 2007 New York City Marathons. Lance made a very substantial improvement to his marathon time in 2007. He took almost 13 minutes off his time to finish with a time of 2:46:43.

How Many Sub-3 Runners Can Take 13 Minutes Off Their Times?

I thought it would be interesting to see how other runners who finished in under 3 hours in the 2006 New York City Marathon did in 2007. Do most improve their times? And by how much do they improve? As I mentioned in my previous post, the temperatures at both marathons were close. So this should be a good comparison. The main factor influencing times should be the runners themselves.

I gathered the finish times of the sub-3 runners from both years using the data at at I then developed a program to look for repeat runners. The program recorded the repeat runners, computed the differences in times, and categorized the times into groups. The results are shown in the following table.

Repeat Sub-3 Runners in the 2006 and 2007 New York City Marathons

Minutes Slower# of Runners% of RunnersLance's Improvement
20 to 1521%.
15 to 10128%.
10 to 52416%.
5 to 05033%.
Minutes Faster# of Runners% of RunnersLance's Improvement
0 to 54429%.
5 to 10138%.
10 to 1564%12:53 improvement
15 to 2011%.
20 to 2511%.

As you can see from the table, my program identified 153 sub-3 repeat runners in the 2007 and 2006 NYC marathons. Out of these 153 runners, about 58% finished with slower times in 2007. Only about 6% of the runners finished in 2007 with times that were faster by 10 minutes or more. As you can see, Lance's time reduction of almost 13 minutes is part of this 6%. Below is the list of runners in this group:

Minutes Faster : Name : 2006 Time 2007 Time
in 07 vs 06

10:30 : PIOTR KARASIEWICZ : 2:48:53, 2:38:23
12:28 : OSCAR HERNANDEZ : 2:56:56, 2:44:28
12:48 : ALFONSO POLANIA : 2:59:28, 2:46:40
12:53 : LANCE ARMSTRONG : 2:59:36, 2:46:43
14:21 : SAM HILL : 2:43:49, 2:29:28
14:28 : MARCELLO CRETTI : 2:55:37, 2:41:09
15:16 : ERIC BOUCHER : 2:57:02, 2:41:46
20:33 : STUART BURTON : 2:52:08, 2:31:35

Lance had the fifth best time improvement for runners who ran under 3 hours in 2006. As mentioned in this Marathon You Can Do It blog post, it took Lance 4 or 5 months to recover from shin problems after the 2006 marathon. Lance said he was better prepared in 2007 so that must have been a major factor.

With Lance's physical capabilities I would expect him to continue to improve as long as he is able to train and stay healthy. As this Running Advice and News blog post describes, a prediction for his Boston race isn't easy. But I'll guess he'll finish in under 2:40.

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  • Lace also claims to be running 5:20 8-10 mile tempos in the months Runners World. I have to call shenanigans on this since he just ran a 10k in just under 35 min. that works out to a 5:38 for 6.2 miles. Whats up with this lance do you run you long tempos faster than you race????????

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:27 AM  

  • Do you know which 10K race he ran? I saw in the Runner's World interview that he had been planning to run the Austin Half-Marathon, but I couldn't find any info or results on this. So I guess he passed.

    By Blogger Ken, at 7:46 PM  


    Scotland Run 10K
    March 30, 2008

    His coach probably leaked out those training times. I am guessing he found some chart and matched the marathon goal to the time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:46 PM  

  • Thanks for the info!

    Looks like he's on track for a low 2:40's time at Boston according to Runner's World Calculator.

    By Blogger Ken, at 4:39 PM  

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