fast and slow lanes

1 to 20 of 22 messages
09/09/2002 at 12:59

Thinking back on my 2002 experiences, at times I
was unable to run as fast as I wanted to due to the
crush and the crowds. (Just b4 the 20 mile marker I
was totally stopped from running by a line of walkers
that spread across the entire road. Each had stopped
running and started walking independently but to me
it was a barrier.

My point is - why is there no published etiquette asking
those who have slowed or who are walking to move to
the sides. Leaving the middle clear for those who are wanting
to run faster?


p.s. been away for a while and I note
that the font size is *STILL* miniscule!
09/09/2002 at 13:29
Definitely agree with that. I can understand that many will need to walk at some point, and there's no shame in that, but if you are in a condition to run near the end having to constantly adjust your pace and direction to avoid walkers is not only irritating, it is also incredibly wearing on already tired limbs.
If I need to walk I make my way to the side of the road (without making any sudden changes of direction and checking first to make sure I'm not cutting across the path of someone moving faster than me) and then walk at the side of the road. That seems to work quite well and would be a good principle for everyone to adopt. People should be advised to do this in the race information for while it makes sense for a seasoned runner, a large proportion of the London Marathon field are not regular or "serious" runners. If they haven't had much experience of running races they probably have no idea that they are causing a problem.
Perhaps the problem could be eased by the start area being more vigourously marshalled to ensure that runners start in their correct time areas. I have seen many runners with a number 8 on their number lining up in the front half of the start which is bound to cause problems if there are runners behind capable of running a significantly faster pace (especially at natural bottle-necks such as the Cutty Sark). At least if the faster people start ahead of the slower there won't be a problem with the faster runners having to filter through the crowd.
09/09/2002 at 14:03

Here!, here! I couldn't agree more. I was in block 1 two years ago (only managed block 2 last year for some reason!!) and a chap with a No 6 jumped in grinning like a cheshire cat. I turned to him and advised him that if he really wanted to last the course then you shouldn't be in block 1 and would more than likely get trampled underfoot or carried away so fast he'd be walking after 4 miles. I then suggested that it may be in his best interests to move further back and believe it or not he promptly jumped out again and was on his way further back.

My points are two-fold; I totally agree with the need for stricter marshalling to ensure that everyone gets into the correct block but if you see someone with a grossly incorrect number then tell him to shift. If that doesn't do the trick then ask a marshal to pull him out. It does make this quite clear in the 'Final Instructions' and after 8 FLMs it still HACKS ME OFF!!

All the best for your next one!
cougie    pirate
09/09/2002 at 16:59
How come I found the spot-on marshals then ?
When I entered for London, I had no idea what time I would do as I was new to running so I put down something like 5.30.

By the time London came round I was on for 3.30 to 4.00, but my pen was at the back, with fancy dress people etc. Even the Wombles were ahead of me.

I did try to sneak into a pen ahead, but got found out and unceremoniously flung out back to my fate.

Do you know how long it takes to run round a womble ? I know I ran 26 miles forward but I'm sure I ran an extra few miles sideways weaving through the field.

Actually - that was quite good fun - everyone put down for a slow time, and then you have the challenge of squeezing past 20,000 people. You see so many sights. Aaaaaah.
10/09/2002 at 07:56

I remember getting beaten by Rupert the Bear and Elvis in my first FLM so been there as well mate!!
Iron SwissBobby    pirate
10/09/2002 at 08:16

I had the same problem I put a conservative 4:30 on my entry and was put in pen 8. I lost so much time in the first 10 miles, can they not ask for some justification for the times people put down, when they are accepted, eg a half marathon result etc.

Just a thought

10/09/2002 at 13:36
Can't help agreeing with you all there. There were some real idiots in front of me this year. Despite starting out in Pen 2 for the 3:15 lot, I still probably ran a 27 mile thanks to all the weaving walkers.

This was compounded by people haring off at ridiculous speeds from the start. As I was going for an even-to-negative splits strategy, I then of course spent the last 6 overtaking them all again & that was despite starting in Pen 2 for the 3:15ers. Final time was 3:14:51 so I think i got it right.

The slightest change of direction is really tiring when you've reached that wall. I can understand that extreme fatigue does make you lose the plot a bit so perhaps we need big signs and trained marshalls encouraging walkers to stick to the edges?
10/09/2002 at 14:01
As a solution to the problem experienced by Cougie with the expected having improved by race day.
How about having some spare start zone number stickers available at the registration so if anyone has significantly improved since entering they could produce evidence (i.e. copy of results) and receive a new sticker reflecting the new expected time. As there isn't going to be a huge number of people upgrading their expected time, the delay to registration would be minimal, and the front zones should not get overcrowded.
(Would still require a tightening up of start zone marshalling though)
10/09/2002 at 14:07
Brunswick/Cougie - I was allowed to upgrade my start zone from 4 to 2 at the registration desk in Docklands. No evidence required, just a verbal reminder what the No.2 Pen was for and a beady raised eye to see if I was being honest about my predicted time.

Next time I'll go for Pen no.1 on the basis of going for a sub-3:00, but I know I'll still be overtaken by all the eejits going off too fast.
20/09/2002 at 15:11
I've seen and experienced this so many times, and it still winds me up. The Victory 5 and Great South run are 2 regular examples of this.
I spoke to one woman a couple of years ago, who said she was aiming for a time a lot slower than the area of the start she was in. When I pointed out that she should move further back to avoid bulking other runners and getting pushed from behind, she said I should mind my own business and that she was running with friends and would not be able to catch up if she went further back. Nice to know that she thought more of talking about the last episode of Corrie or Eastenders, than of her fellow runners.
If you do this, don't be suprised if you then get pushed and shoved at the start of the race.Other people have trained hard to get in that area of the start so why should you ruin it for them.
21/09/2002 at 14:33
I fully agree with all said on the matter of runners' starting in pens intended for faster runners'.

If this is evident from the small number displayed on there race number, then I feel those who are meant to be in that pen have every right to ask them to go to their correct start pen.

On the other hand if we come across someone blocking our path in the race then we cannot assume that they started in the wrong pen, it could be that they are having a particulary bad run! But agree most experienced runners would go to the side of the road so as not to block the path of others.

I too get cross with having to weave in and out of runners', one of reasons I've started to dislike the big events. At the GSR this year I started where I was supposed to and should have been able to reach the first mile in about 7.15 instead it took me 81/2mins and it was hard work as I was stumbling over people so much slower. I tried to make up the time, but couldn't so ended with a much slower time. The GSR was the first time I had done that particular race and people have since said to me "oh you should have gone into such and such start" 10mins faster than I can run! But it's what MOST runners' do in the end to try and get a clear run.
22/09/2002 at 12:12
could not agree more with these comments i have stopped entering large half marathon events as i feel that organisers are only trying to out do each other as their organisation is a joke
i find with the London that the marshalls at the start do a terrific job and for me any one caught changing pens should be sent to the back
22/09/2002 at 13:08
I think it's pretty straight forward, if everyone starts in roughly the right order, and if slowing down, keep over to the side, and everyone is a little considerate, there should be no probs.
I started in pen 9 at FLM because i forecast 5 hrs 30. There were people in front of me who had obviously started in pen 8, 7 or even 6 and who were unable to run after mile 6. This shouldn't happen unless they are injured, and these weren't, just hadn't trained.
Why go into pen 7 if you haven't trained? I felt a fraud for going into pen 9 - if there had been a pen 10, believe me I would have been there.
I know people will make excuses, but there really aren't any. Why forcast 4 hrs odd if you haven't run further than 6 miles in training?
I enjoyed running at the back - great craic.
Rant over.
cougie    pirate
23/09/2002 at 11:29
Valid point Barkles. It was fun running from the back, as you did get to see a lot more sights. Sure your FLM time doesn't reflect what you are capable of, but maybe we should treat that as an event, and then run a less busy marathon to get a fast time ?
23/09/2002 at 14:19
Yup cougie.
I was there to enjoy myself, when I'm ready to run for a time, I'll do Dublin.
25/09/2002 at 11:57
The only problem with most of the above is that there are 1st time marathon runners who have done some reasonable training and predicted themselves a faster finishing time that they are capable of. Like me ! I put down 3hrs 25 as a 'predicted' finish time based on a 1/2M time of 1hr 37mins. However a hamstring injury shortly b4 race day and a lack of experience combined to leave me slamming the wall at 18 miles and finishing in 3 hrs 53, despite getting to the 1/2 way point in 1 hr 45, i.e. target pace. Sorry if I got in the way at 18 miles onwards, but I was a genuine case who just underestimated the size of the challenge, and lost some valuable training time due to injury.
cougie    pirate
25/09/2002 at 12:16
Hey DT - I don't think there is much that they can do to avoid that situation - that can happen to anyone. I slowed pretty dramatically over the second half, but was still passing lots of people. This year I'll have the benefit of knowledge, and will have more long runs in my legs. (Hope this thread doesn't come back at me in March !)

What I didn't like was starting behind people who were walking after the first mile ! Exactly how much training had they done ?
25/09/2002 at 16:44
By 18 miles Dirt Tracker there normally isn't a problem as the field is more spaced by then. I too didn't have a particularly fast last 8 miles and was passed by many. However, I kept moving at a very slow run and if I had walked I would have moved to the side.
26/09/2002 at 16:44

I'm with Cougie on this one. Ran FLM 2001, was at the back, and started passing walkers after one mile. All my training runs were suggesting a sub 4:30 time, but I smacked into the wall rather painfully at 18 miles, my right leg was in agony, and the last 5 miles took me 80 minutes - I can walk that quickly! But at least I started at the back and finished at the back. Being overtaken by a Viking longship wasn't a particularly happy thing at the time, but, looking back, it was rather funny! So, like Cougie, next year I'll have been training for longer and have been getting longer runs in. But I would never claim to be faster than I actually am - it's just not worth it.

Isn't hindsight wonderful?
10/04/2008 at 14:19

My experience is similar to Cougie, on my 1st FLM in 2005, I was expecting 4:30 and was in pen 9. Unfortunately, queing for the bogs I got caught and left at the very end of the pack around 20 minutes after the gun. It was great passing so many people and kept me in great spirits but when I got to 17 miles there were so many people walking across the field that I had to weave to pass and my aching limbs didn't find it funny. My philiosophy through training [several 22 mile runs] and marathons is never to stop, it is my mantra so it is very annoying when the slower runners do not offer due consideration and move to the side. All said, I still finished in 4:25.

My real question is the same as the others....if you have to walk then move to the side [if you haven't run further than 16 miles you should have this in the front of your mind]

 Finally, we are all chipped so starting further down the line doesn't really make a big difference if it is your 1st FLM and you are unsure of your finishing time.

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