7.5 hour pacer gets called "fat and slow" at VLM (but why was she on the road?)



  • StevieWhStevieWh ✭✭✭
    It wouldn't be to difficult just checkpoints you have to hit at certain times otherwise you are withdrawn. Quite a few races have them. 

    E.g if last pen goes at 11am then you have to be at the halfway mat for 2.30
  • JoelDJoelD ✭✭✭
    Or do what Tokyo does and have a bunch of runners/walkers setting off at a certain time at a certain pace and clear up anyone they pass. 
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    I just don't understand how the roads can re-open (with all of the attendant responsibilities of removing litter, cleaning the road, etc.) but anyone can regard the marathon as not having finished. This "grey area" needs to be addressed, and the race should finish before the roads re-open. Whether that means they try to extend the road closures for another hour or not I don't know, but the current situation means that some participants are always going to be on roads that are either being cleaned or open to the public to vehicles, not ideal for anyone really. I don't know the full circumstances of this pacer, and I wasn't there, but she knew before she started (based on her time), as did the people around her, that this would be the case. Some of her complaints don't make much sense.

    Having said that, she was asked to pace at 7.5 hours, and that shouldn't have happened.

  • WardiWardi ✭✭✭
    When the London marathon was getting around 35,000 runners it seemed to me that the course and the start could cope reasonably well with these numbers.  Over the last few years this has crept up - VLM are 'boasting' of over 42,000 finishers this year.  I believe this may in part be what has led to the staggered start.  When it is taking runners around an hour to clear the start and bearing in mind the increased congestion on the course (it has become more noticeable in recent years) my personal view is that 40000+ is simply too many runners for this event.
    Last year the 4hr plus runners weren't getting away until 10:30-10:50 which meant they were still running in the hottest part of the afternoon. IMHO the VLM start is too late at 10:10am, particularly if they are staggering the start times.  Most of the overseas marathons I've done start 08:30-9.00am.
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Stevie, if a person goes over a timing mat on the course and their chip time shows they're over the cut off for that point, I'm not sure how they could be withdrawn - logistically - as they may have 1000s of runners around them if they started in a quicker pen.  My club organise the Dartmoor Discovery Ultra and we have strict cut offs, including 5:15 at the marathon point.  It's easy for us to enforce that as there are only 250 runners and the competitors spread out fairly quickly.

    Joel, I think you'd still get people finishing over the cut off in that scenario, if they start in a quicker pen.
  • StevieWhStevieWh ✭✭✭
    It wouldn't be based on their chip time though would be done on time of day. So 14.30 would be (in theory) 3 and a half hours after the last runners have crossed the line. 
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    edited May 2019
    Stevie, that's what I said previously but again people would still be finishing over the cut offs, which could be deemed unfair to those who started in the back (and correct for their pace) pens.  Unless those who finish over the cut offs at the end are DNFd based on chip time.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    Part of the London marathon experience is undoubtedly the amazing crowd support. I notice from the TV highlights that the crowds for the elite runners are much thinner than when I come through. Towards the end, though, it must be obvious that it's only the stragglers that are still to come, and people aren't going to stand there all day, unless they know they have friends or family still to come through. So the stragglers are never going to experience the full atmosphere. There's no excuses for marshalls allegedly being rude to the stragglers, but it must be a frustrating day all round.

    However, if you want to make the marathon inclusive and reduce the need for athletic ability to the point where your cut-off is 8 hours, then this is inevitable.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Rodeoflip, I have a friend who has a flat just around the corner from Tower Bridge at approximately 14-miles.  In 2017, I got a ballot place but did it for a charity I'm involved with, and stayed at hers for the race...it's a very swanky flat!  Anyway, she hosted a lot of people who supported me/the charity, but basically they saw the elites go past, went back inside and tracked me on the app, and then came back out to see me at the required time.  They then went back in again after I'd gone though, to come back outside again when they knew I'd be running back the other way.  They made sure they had a couple of people guarding "their spot" all the time, but really they were only generally interested in the elites and myself.  When I first did it in 2010 as basically an overweight non-runner I did it in 5:15 and it was a terrible experience (my own fault, and no fault of the organisers in any way).  I can't imagine being out there for 7+hrs, with the crowds and numbers of runners being drastically reduced.  My 2010 and 2017 experiences are vastly different - I loved it in 2017.
  • Snail2Snail2 ✭✭✭
    Wardi, London has childrens' races, the wheelchair and other IPC races, and the elite women's race all before the main race, which all add to the day, in different ways. It probably isn't practical for the first children's race to start 90 minutes earlier, at 7:10, with the course infrastructure, course marshals from mile 23, finish marshals etc all in place by then. So if the main race was to start 90 minutes earlier, which of the others should be dropped?
  • skottyskotty ✭✭✭
    children's, wheelchair and elite women's.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    London marathon's problem is that it can't keep everyone happy. Not everyone who wants to run it can do so, so they have to find a way to allocate places. Whatever they do, the people who don't get places complain every year about the fairness of this. They want to be "inclusive" so they have kids races, wheelchairs, etc. They want fast runners and slow runners and everything in between. But they only have a finite amount of time for which they can close the roads. They should simply have said no, there's a cut-off and beyond that the marathon is finished. You have to leave the course and you don't get a medal. But then they get accused of being elitist. Maybe some of the slower runners should recognise that they don't have literally all day to complete it, and everyone isn't going to wait for them. If they don't like that, then maybe they shouldn't be there.
  • NellsNells ✭✭✭
    This is from NY marathon:
    Sweep buses will follow the marathon route at a 6 1/2-hour marathon pace, roughly 15 minutes per mile, after the final wave start. These buses will transport any entrant who wishes to drop out to the post-finish area. After the sweep buses pass, the city streets will reopen to traffic. Cross-street protection, medical assistance, aid stations, and other services will no longer be available. Runners on the course should move onto the sidewalks. The official end time of the race is 7:25 p.m.

    They also have quite a late start at around 10am for the elite men followed by mass start, last pen going at 11am, so similar times. Having said that, they keep the finish line open until 10:30pm still giving out medals and treating the final finishers like royalty, so not sure what happens to those runners still going between 7:25pm and 10:30pm out on the course but it's clear in the instructions they can choose to continue but without official support. I suppose having the finish line and last few miles in Central Park makes it easier to keep the finish line open late into the night and do the clearup overnight than in London where they need to get the roads cleared and opened sooner.
  • StephAStephA ✭✭✭
    It seems like London is trying to be all things to all people and that model surely can't work for everyone.
    I believe the way the cut off works in Paris is that as soon as the last runners have started, there are 6 hours before the race is deemed to be finished and the finish line closes - no medal, no official finish time.
    Yes, some people put themselves in a faster pen to give themselves longer, but I'd have to guess that these are most likely people who will come in around or not much over 6 hours - I can't imagine anyone who was likely to take 7 hours would even entertain trying.
    Maybe a firm, very clear cut off would cause a couple of years of controversy but ultimately, people are better off knowing exactly where they stand and what they're signing up for.

  • andyc209andyc209 ✭✭✭
    edited May 2019
    i do symathise with the runners getting abuse but have to have sympathy with VLM

    VLM has tried to become too PC and inclusive for every man/women can and dog! The new GFA times and now the use of walking pacers - they simply cannot keep the roads free and open without extra cost - we all sometimes forget how cheap it is to run compared to other majors - done them all and still amazed how little London costs for the organisation. IF they continue on this path of trying to please everyone they have to increase the prices and that then will affect the masses who in the middle of the race - cost becomes an issue. 

    The 10am start time is also causing issues - the roads are shut from 4am I think so why not start earlier - surely moving road closures to 3am is cheaper than keeping them closed at 5pm. Anyone who has done NYC, Chicago etc know what an early early start is like :)

    i have done 10 now and this year was the first year i started thinking enough is enough - its gotten too busy, the mens GFA are now silly, seaweed eco mental drinks to appeal to the eco religion - time to move onto other races. 

    we all get the magazine - we all get told that there will be a pace where we need to move to pavements - don't be surprised when the support is not there when 'running' a 8+ hour marathon. 
  • skottyskotty ✭✭✭
    Presumably the 8 hours is from the gun, not when the last people cross the start line, hence the '7 hour pace' comment.  Having a 7.5 hour pacer doesn't seem very well thought out at all - the vast majority of those right at the back aren't there by choice, they're variously people who vastly underprepared for it, people who got injured during the event, even some who stopped for a two hour break halfway round.  And those who do plan to take that long are doing it by a variety of means - some will just walk the whole way, some will be on some sort of run-walk and some will just be taking regular breaks.  'Pacing' them isn't really going to work.
    I completely agree. 7.5 or 8 hour runners are unlikely to be going at an even pace so it seems strange to provide a pacemaker that probably only compounded the problem of them being swept up in the first few miles. 

    It might have even added to the number of tailenders in the early stages as people then see 7.5 hour pacemaker and then think "oh, that'll do me" and simply start off walking from the start. 

  • I feel sorry for the volunteers on the race - how long are they expected to be there for ? I read an account from a nine hour finisher today - she pretty much said it was rubbish being back there and she had to ask for directions.

    LM needs a clear cut off and block off the route after that. Thats what happens in Ironman  - if you miss the cut off - you're out.

    Maybe a cut off at Tower Bridge at 4 hours.  If you're not there you have to walk back to the finish. 
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Just been reading the bbc fb post on the lady who came last. The theme of the comments is ridiculous. Generally how she is an inspiration, the real hero, vlm disgrace ( by that i assume they mean the crowds and volunteers who had all packed up), its not the elites or the middle packers you see on tv (the 5 hour zone) but peopke like this that it's  all about. She still got a medal mind. 

    If i put my thoughts in there i would get hammered. Why arent people inspired by people who work hard despite having young children and professional jobs who actually run it at a decent clip?!
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    DT, I think a lot of non-runners just don't understand it.  A friend of mine got her GFA at just under 4hrs at London.  A mutual non-running friend honestly thought she should be able to do it in 3hrs, based on what he saw the elites doing.  He wasn't being sarcastic or trying to be amusing - he literally had no idea about what was a good time for her.  As runners, we obviously know there's a huge difference between 2, 3 and 4 hours!  I honestly think a non-runner sees a sub-3 runner (or any GFA runner) and has no clue what it takes to get to that level as an amateur.  I think they see the world record as about 2hrs and then think 3hrs is slow.

    I'm a member of a running Facebook group and gently suggested a 7hr cut off - many agreed, but a few called me elitist!  Daren't even whisper something like that on the BBC page!
  • BirchBirch ✭✭✭
    DT - there's such a load of self-serving, "I'm a victim" crap on there 


     "making people lose out on the full experience of the marathon" - as if the crowds & volunteers were paid extras who should have stayed there all day to cheer -
    "My little group that had spread out between miles 18 and 20 had come back together just in time to have a boogie"      ffs !!  
    and yes - a comment on my own club's FB page sums up your view - it claims that those who are out there for hours and hours are somehow "better" than those at the other end, as these runners are "naturally quick", hence they find it "easier"  . . . .    
  • YnnecYnnec ✭✭✭
    edited May 2019
    I just waded through that Facebook thread (reckon I deserve a medal for doing so) and CHRIST IN A WHEELIE BIN!
  • Ynnec said:
    I just waded through that Facebook thread (reckon I deserve a medal for doing so)
    They'd have given you one, but they ran out before you finished.
  • StevieWhStevieWh ✭✭✭
    Someone on Facebook group suggested that the slower runners should start first so they get more chance to experience the crowds and longer to finish!

    I couldn't bring myself to reply with my thoughts on that idea. London is busy enough as it is!
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Birch, perhsps the person who says that would like to follow my schedule for 4 months training 10 hours per week, with 2 children under 10 working as a solicitor, sacrificing socially, watching what i eat etc. Sub 3 doesn't happen by magic. 
  • BirchBirch ✭✭✭
    agreed, DT - was thinking the same re the training my son did to get his time last week
     - made me see red that someone can say he (and everyone on the threads we hang around in) finds it "easier" 'cos they're "naturally "  fast  ;   like you, I refrained from commenting . . . . 
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    It's easy for people to think we have some gene based advantage and stuff just happens. You, your son and i know that hard work wins  
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Just read the FB post. States that the average person has 16-20 weeks to go from couch to running the marathon because of when they find out about the places. I have never run a marathon so this is an innocent question, but surely if you apply to 'run' London you start running before you find out you have a place????
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    I would say not. The vast majority only want to run London so wont plan to run another as a contingency.

    You find out first week in October. I calculate that as 30 weeks, so if they are trying to suggest vlm are blameworthy for not giving enough time thats nonsense. 

    The concept of 'couch to marathon' doesnt sit well with me. 
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Thanks DT19, I assumed, based on my running friends that you apply for London, find another one 'just in case', and then 99% of the time run the other one. 
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