Did anyone actually see anyone making a note of finishing times? I didn't. But then I was knackered. I think I missed my target of 1.40 by a few seconds, but I'd like to know for sure. I hope they get this problem with the posting of results sorted out by next year, because other than that it was a great event.
Thanks for the various opinions. They sound plausible. I'd like to read some proper research on the subject. Re. the cold bath issue, the original article cited a piece of research showing cold baths improve recovery after sprint cycling. Changing the temperature of your skin and subcutaneous fat would (as I understand it) divert blood away from these surface areas and therefore increase blood pressure (which is why immersion in cool water increases the rate of urine production). Therefore it could be argued that immersing the whole body in a cold bath would increase the flow of blood through the leg muscles and other tissues, because of the raised blood pressure, therefore removing lactic acid etc. Perhaps this is the reason for the beneficial effect, rather than reduction of leakage of tissue fluid by cold-induced narrowing of the blood vessels in the leg muscles.
As Velociraptor implied, I doubt core body temperature would be affected very much by a short time in a cold bath (also a drop in core temerature could be quite dangerous). A second explanation for possible beneficial effects of cold baths is perhaps that the leg muscles are sufficiently far from the main part of the body (ie vital internal organs) to experience a reduction in blood supply by narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction) as the body attempts to maintain the core temperature during cold immersion (think of numb feet during cold weather hikes). Perhaps Paula Radcliffe just immerses her legs in the cold water?
I've just read the interesting article Best of the Restby Melanie McManus, which says that a cold bath improves circulation to damaged muscles after training, which is good because it acts as an aid to recovery by flushing away waste products, supplying nutrients etc. Within that article is a recommendation by the physiotherapist Janet Hamilton to take Contrast baths (alternating hot/cold) to aid recovery. That sounds to me like it would lead to an increase in circulation to the muscles, as presumably do sports massages. However the linked article by Janet Hamilton says that hot baths improve circulation, and that this is a bad thing, causing swelling and inflammation. I'm slightly confused. Is improved circulation after a hard race good or bad? And if it's good, what's the best way of achieving it? Anyone know what the scientific evidence is for these various options?