Getting caught in the crowd..

I did Brighton half last weekend. I got a PB, but still i could have done better. I got caught in a pack of runners (and i am talking a few hundred here) who were too close to the front and should have been further back. So mile 1-3, i had trouble breaking free, and ended up doing sprints when i could. By mile 4 going uphill, i was doing a pace faster than i intended just to try and get the time i was aiming for that point in the race. By mile 6-7 i was getting tired having used reserves up too quickly, and having to run the first half in a pretty uneven pace. As a result i didnt have much to give at the end, and yes, like i say i got a PB, but i feel, had i not got caught in the crowd, and my pace had been even, i would have done better.

So has anyone else experienced anything similar is my question?

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Comments

  • It's just what happens in a crowded race, don't blame anyone else.  One alternative point of view is that you were too far back and leapfrogged and impeded other runners as you burned your energy too early and paid for it later.

     

  • It happens, as  you say, because people start too far forwards for their ability (or because you started too far back!)

    It's less likely to happen in races with smaller number of entrants, so maybe pick a race that has fewer runners next time.

    Or make sure you start further forwards image

     

     

  • Live and learn. Its the first time it has happened to me, but every race you do, you take something from it, so its a learning curve.

  • It's called racing. You got caught with a battle with other runners. Sometimes it can help you and sometimes it makes you make the wrong decision. Rule of thumb is that in the early stages you need to run your own race. Getting involved in a pissing competition can help in the latter stages when you need some mental help.
  • That i still got a PB. I should be thankful for that. Several people ahead of me had to pull out. I nearly joined them. But has it happened to others out there is my question to you all?

  • Of course it has. You learn to race by racing and making mistakes is the best way to learn. Even when you do PB's you can make mistakes. Positive way to look is that it means that you have an even better PB inside you. Learn to use other people to your advantage and don't let them dictate your race to you.
  • Happened to me at the Wokingham half 2 weeks ago but only for the first mile or so.

    I lined up at the front of the sub 1.25 pen, finished in 1.24.48 so was obviously in the right ballpark. Spent the first mile going past people who were slower than 8 min miling. Don't think I was overtaken once.

    I think that you have to expect that a lot of people will be over optimistic or maybe just a bit ignorant at the start.
  • ...or they're probably just compensating for the fact that all the people in THEIR pen will be going even slower. Start pen inflation?

  • A variation on this is the people who start with you, set off at the right pace, and then sound like they're going to die at about mile 5.

  • What's the general rule then? Go as far forward as you dare?
  • Big corporate races = lots of people who have no idea what they are doing. Just a fact of life that you need to detach yourself from, especially at the start of races.
  • I'm with Sussex runner here. It's a race. It's probably the biggest reason not to run the London Marathon as a race, just as an event. You'll never get anywhere near a target time.

    PBs are nice, but like it or not it's the other runners you are racing. If you get a PB at the end then that's a bonus. Look at the results and see how far up the field you came. Run again next year, see if you're higher.

  • Ghostrider wrote (see)

    That i still got a PB. I should be thankful for that. Several people ahead of me had to pull out. I nearly joined them. But has it happened to others out there is my question to you all?

    Several people pulled out? That's bad!

  • Yeah for whatever reason. Injury. Who knows.
  • Ghostrider wrote (see)
    Yeah for whatever reason. Injury. Who knows.

    Catholics probably.

  • Ploddersoftheworldunite wrote (see)
    Ghostrider wrote (see)
    Yeah for whatever reason. Injury. Who knows.

    Catholics probably.

    SING WITH ME!!!! image

    "I got rhythm, I got music, I got my gal
    Who could ask for anything more?"

    My 8 kids love that song

  • Wilkie wrote (see)

    It's less likely to happen in races with smaller number of entrants, so maybe pick a race that has fewer runners next time. 

    Ghostrider wrote (see)

    But has it happened to others out there is my question to you all?

    As others have said, it just comes with the territory with the mass participation events. At the other end of the scale with smaller local league/club races people get to know/recognise others around them and I find even when there are no predicted finish time markers, 99% of people manage to line up in a reasonable order.

    I had a similar experience to you but with the Great South Run - although I knew better and had planned to start further up in my wave - but leaving home 15mins later than planned meant arriving 30mins later than planned and then spending more time in toilet queues and bag drop queues than planned. I was therefore still clambering through my wave frantically when the gun went off rather than being in position with plenty of time calmly soaking up the surroundings. I spent the first 1-2 miles weaving in and out overtaking Batman, Robin, Snow White, Roman Centurion and co, and made it to my target time by half way, but had overspent in doing so, and faded in the last couple of miles.

    Like you I got a PB at the time - due to being my first 10 miler for six months - but it was an underachievement for my ability at the time. A week later - in a smaller local race on a more challenging 10mi course - I beat my GSR time by well over a minute.

    In my GSR case I have myself (or my wife for not being ready on time!) to blame for starting too far back, rather than other people starting too far in front. However I have seen that happen too - last year in a charity 10K race with a rather narrow start, there were a couple of joggers in jackets and headphones etc right up the front of the sub 40 band, seemingly oblivious of everything around them, who got stampeded within about 10 seconds of the start. image

  • Millsy1977 wrote (see)
    Happened to me at the Wokingham half 2 weeks ago but only for the first mile or so.
    I lined up at the front of the sub 1.25 pen, finished in 1.24.48 so was obviously in the right ballpark. Spent the first mile going past people who were slower than 8 min miling. Don't think I was overtaken once.
    I think that you have to expect that a lot of people will be over optimistic or maybe just a bit ignorant at the start.

    I don't think it helped you that at Wokingham the pen markers were set a long way back - the sub 1:10 marker was so far back they could have fitted in 150 sub 1:10 runners in that space.  Given that everyone had supplied an estimated finish time with their entry I had expected something a bit more organised.

    At the end of the day though, races the size of Wokingham aren't too bad, but bigger ones really suffer with it.  If you want to run at a constant pace then the best bet is to enter smaller races and avoid ones like GSR etc.  Even if they don't have full chip timing you're more likely to get a better time.

  • To be honest Wokingham wasn't that bad. I just thought that the fact they had asked for predicted times on entry and had set up starting areas I couldn't believe how many people lined up in the wrong place.

    It wasn't like a 1.35 runner nipping up to the sub 1.30 to get a decent start which is ok. there seemed a lot of people who would be lucky to break 2 hrs that lined up in the sub 1.15 pen.
  • David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    What you need to do is bump the shoulders of people as you go past them then, they'll soon learn to enter themselves in the correct pen.

     

    Bump ?  Nah I trample people, So much more satisfying...

  • I got caught up in the crowds at the Great South Run. I put my estimated time down as 90 minutes, as I'd planned to run it with my brother. In the end he didn't do it, so I ran it on my own.

    First 3 or 4 miles were awful, just wall-to-wall people and that slowed me down quite a lot. Ended up finishing in 73 minutes. Doubt I would have finished under 70 anyway, but slightly frustrating. Only 10 mile race I've done, so a PB anyway.

    I tend to go for smaller events these days. Although that's mostly because it took forever to get out of the car park at the end.

  • I'm not too bothered with pb's now but i do like to be near the front so that i can get

    my  face in all the local papers .  Some of the best photos are taken at the start so

    it really annoys me when fast runners barge past me just as i am getting into pose.

     

  • Ballesteros wrote (see)
    Wilkie wrote (see)
    It's less likely to happen in races with smaller number of entrants, so maybe pick a race that has fewer runners next time. 
    Ghostrider wrote (see)

    But has it happened to others out there is my question to you all?

    As others have said, it just comes with the territory with the mass participation events. At the other end of the scale with smaller local league/club races people get to know/recognise others around them and I find even when there are no predicted finish time markers, 99% of people manage to line up in a reasonable order.

    I had a similar experience to you but with the Great South Run - although I knew better and had planned to start further up in my wave - but leaving home 15mins later than planned meant arriving 30mins later than planned and then spending more time in toilet queues and bag drop queues than planned. I was therefore still clambering through my wave frantically when the gun went off rather than being in position with plenty of time calmly soaking up the surroundings. I spent the first 1-2 miles weaving in and out overtaking Batman, Robin, Snow White, Roman Centurion and co, and made it to my target time by half way, but had overspent in doing so, and faded in the last couple of miles.

    Like you I got a PB at the time - due to being my first 10 miler for six months - but it was an underachievement for my ability at the time. A week later - in a smaller local race on a more challenging 10mi course - I beat my GSR time by well over a minute.

    In my GSR case I have myself (or my wife for not being ready on time!) to blame for starting too far back, rather than other people starting too far in front. However I have seen that happen too - last year in a charity 10K race with a rather narrow start, there were a couple of joggers in jackets and headphones etc right up the front of the sub 40 band, seemingly oblivious of everything around them, who got stampeded within about 10 seconds of the start. image


    Ironic note to my orginal story is that i ran today. Did 9 miles my own pace. No particular rush, and i ended up being quicker in my pace time. Just goes to show, you have to run your own race.  My next one is the Sussex Marathon, 7th April. A nice small race. My first marathon actually.

  • With a couple of hundred runners at most that shouldn't be a problem. Off road it's all about running your own race. Doing the stinger a week on Sunday.
  • Wokingham has a very narrow start line, and with the fastest pen, the sub 1hr 10 being too far back, it's inevitable that the start is a cavalry charge.

    I did clock a guy right on the front line wearing some hi vis jacket and clearly ridiculously out of his league (ran 1hr 51). Probably simply got there late, and just joined at the front. Other races are set up so you can't do this easily.

    At the Great South run last year, I was quite surprised to see a V40 female club mate pop up and say hello. She wasn't quite in the sub 58 category, being about 20+ mins slower than that, but wanted a freer run! Lucky not everyone does that isn't it!

     

    David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

    Benefits to being a pen above your ability.

    - Lack of people in your way, thus helping your PB effort.
    - You are closer to the 'start' time ...... helpful at the end when all the crowd see is you and the clock, they have no idea if you started at the same time as the clock or 10 minutes after.
    - The REALLY annoying habit of races to list by default peoples times according to the official race clock rather than by chip time. Yes I know we all go in and sort by chip time etc, but why shouldnt that be the default when they list the race results? What relevance at all does finishing at 2:10 have when you actually raced a 1:58 and it just so happened you started the race 12 minutes later than some of the slowpokes in front who then end up higher than you on the official results list.

    Chips have no relevance to the actual race though. The chip is simply for your own personal benefit and to ease congestion at big races. The actual race is first to the line.

    Any results that are listed in chip order are farcical.

  • go for it. But being overtaken by hundreds of runners within metres would probably mentally destroy you image

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