I'm a pacer at this event and down for 1.30 group. My friend is pacing the 2 hr group. Sounds like SW trains are a nightmare with bus replacements from South coast, woking, clapham etc. so planning on driving to Wimbledon and getting train from there. Don't get caught out if going by train.
JH 1 - How many pace makers are there? Are they every half hour? Also for the 2 hr group any idea how long it takes to get over the start line?
My wife was in the 2-2.30hr group last year and said it took 45 mins to cross the start line! I get the impression that they bottleneck the start quite tightly to avoid congestion once runners cross the start line.
Last year wasn't a problem as the did the race in September and the weather was nice and warm. This year I think a few people are in for a shock as he forecast on Sunday is saying it may be rather cold.
My hint: Take an old sweater you don't want and chuck it once you get running.
What's frustrating is that under the previous sponsors of the London Marathon if you failed in the ballot 4 or 5 times you were guaranteed a place next time around. At least that gave you a bit of heart because you knew that eventually after a certain number of years you would get a place!
Richard, you said you used the official map, was that the changed map after the bit around the Arsenal was removed ?. The map in the leaflet and one the site was the old map that was changed and only notified to people on Friday.
I was baseing my findings on the previous runs of the course i had done with Runkeeper, in 2009/2010 I made it a bit long at 13.2 both times but the guy who measured the course on a bike apparently that is specially calibrated came on and confirmed the length was certified at 13.1.
If you look at my trace for this year, its identical except for the start where we came off the road form the O2 a bit quicker but still did the same distance just on a different road as we came to the same place with the same number of turns. The bit around the arsenal they cut off is where it seems to go wrong, I have just come back from running it and although i could not remember exactly if we stayed on the road or cut across at the end of the bit they removed, I got a distance of approx .67 of a mile, by the time you take off the double back they put in this year then add this to the 12.8 i got it comes back to about 13.2 again so i still think they got it short.
If they took off approx .4-.5 net then they must have over done it as the trace of the rest virtually goes inch for inch on the previous maps.
I used the updated map i.e. the one which was issued on the Friday before the race. To be honest I'm not suggesting my method is going to be absolutely correct, as I mentioned I did have to make a couple of semi-educated guesses when plotting it.
I think maybe the conclusions we can draw from this are:
There can be quite a lot of variance in distances given by GPS devices etc. (I used to use one myself (Garmin) but found it went a bit mad every time I went under a bridge/building/tree). Therefore it is handy to have a pool of data rather than just one - which in this case there seems to be, so far suggesting the race was a bit short.
The organisers of this race haven't been too clever in removing a section of it that they themselves had measured accurately at 13.1miles and not replacing it with another bit!
On another note - I feel sorry for the photo people. Slightly bigger numbers on the t-shirts next year perhaps.....
The issue re race distance is quite interesting. Looking at comments from previous years races there seemed to be a general view that the course was actually a bit long with GPS distances ranging from 13.1 miles (correct) upto a somewhat worrying 13.5 miles??
This review done after the 2008 race is quite interesting and supports the findings:
It seems possible that this year they were aware of the problem and perhaps overcompensated a bit.
I plotted the route on the Nike+ website based on the official map and it came to 13.25miles. I made a few adjustments based on potential variables i.e places where you couldn't be absolutely sure where they were located (Start/Finish line and 3 points where route doubled back on itself). The shortest distance I came up with was 13.0miles. Obviously this directly followed roads and so could possibly be further reduced by a bit by "taking the racing line". Can't imagine it would make it much less than 12.9 miles however.
As for the rest of the race considering some of the horror stories from last year I thought it was reasonably well organised. Yes it was pricey, but not ridiculous considering it is in London and involved having to close loads of main roads etc. Will definitely do it next year (although I do live in Greenwich which is very handy!)
They haven't yet put the 2011 results in but in previous years they have provided a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that allows you to filter to your hearts content. That should give you the info you need.