FLM entry weighted against club runners??

This year we had 11 runners miss out on the ballot, most of them reasonable 3-4hr standard but a couple in the 5hr category. Only one person i know of got straight in. Last year was a similar ratio with 9 rejections.

If the 'normal' chances are one in four then we are doing particularly badly. Is it because Club runners are biased against, maybe becasue they get a second chance with their club? Or maybe the odds of getting in at 3-4hrs is twice as bad as at 5hrs?

I don't expect we'll ever know how they choose the ballot places since it may lead to a lot of 3:30 runners putting down 7 hours. However, it would be nice to get a little reassurance that their methods are fair


  • I can't reassure you that it's done fairly, but I can reassure you that 1 in 12 is not statistically significant, or in other words you can expect to come up with that result by chance pretty frequently.

    Also, at my club, the rate is a good bit higher than that, for what it's worth. And the probability is nearer 1 in 5 too, I think.

    Quite a few people come up with theories (like the one about not putting down 4 hours expected time because too many people do that) but the FLM people say it's random and there's really nothing that could be considered evidence to the contrary, so you may as well believe it.
  • (not that I'm an anorak, but I've done a monte-carlo simulation and it's about 16% chance of one or fewer sucesses out of 12 at a 1 in 4 probability, and 27% or so at 1 in 5)

    Must do work now.
  • I organised 12 entries - all bar one were non-club runners.

    12 rejects.

    I'm with Swerve - I really don't think its worth their time trying to analyse the entry be it by sex, time, age, club membership or postcode.

    First 'X thousand' they pick are randomly spread enough.
  • 9 clubmates tried the ballot - 3 successful, 6 not.
  • we had 6 club members apply and 6 rejections
  • we had 3 club members apply and 3 rejections
  • Lots of people in from our club
    - about 6 or 7 in via the ballot
    - and only 5 people after the 3 club places, where it's a requirement to be considered that you have to have been rejected in the ballot
    (- and another 6 or so GFA)

    So can't see any bias against club runners.

    This one is done to death, every year.
    Lots accusations of unfairness, conspiracy theories, etc.
    People don't like not getting in.
    Just got to face that if it's about 1:5 against getting in, simply based on numbers of places available vs. number or people applying for them, then there's a fair chance of not getting in.

    Why not do another marathon instead ?
  • We had 0 members apply and 0 rejections. They must clearly be biased towards our club with a 100% non-rejection rate like that!

    Seriously, the only rumour which I believe is that the ballot takes place after entries have been split according to predicted finish time (as marked on the outside of the envelope) so that the organisers have some control of the distribution of finish times. Draw your own conclusions.
  • Er...isn't that why they ask you to put the predicted time on the outside of the envelope? I don't think it's a rumour or conspiracy.
  • If that were true though - people would use that to get in through the ballot surely ? They don't ask for proof of your estimated time.

    I still reckon random is as good as any.
  • I'm sure it's random, despite all the theories. Someone who had helped with the draw in the past posted on here some years ago (sorry, can't remember who you were!) and they said it was totally random with no attention being given to the boxes on the outside of the envelope.

    What would be the point of discriminating against club runners? The chances of getting in through a club place are also pretty slim.
  • Don't know if there is bias against clubs or not but I do suspect people think that the estimated time will help them get in. Every year I get stuck behind people who obviously don't have a hope of a 3.15 marathon time even though they are in that start pen
  • Oh listened to that Talking Shop prog on running on Radio 4 last night (you can too if you go to the R4 website).

    Dave Bedford was on there saying that they'd had 98,000 UK entries for 20,000 places. So less than a 1 in 5 chance of getting in.

    I guess my 12 people were all just really unlucky then.
  • (6.46% chance of that happening, cougie)

    ((and it's a better than 1 in 5 chance, just))

    Mmmm... statistics..... :-)
  • I used to love stats at school. Never needed to use them since though.

    Ta for working it out - I knew some bright spark would !
  • I got 5% in my statistics exam at uni. The chances of me doing any better than that were 0%.
  • Tee hee hee !
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