half marathon cut off times

This is something I have been thinking about since Sunday, and I thought I would see what you guys thought, and then this morning I read SS's thread about the cut off time at Wilmslow and the wonderful encouraging words on the race pack, and it made me mad!

My half mar PB is 2;47. Yes, very slow I know. But I love running, and I'm working on it. Of course there are all the usual constraints, job, kids, dark nights, colds etc.etc, but I'm gradually getting stronger, and faster. What I am saying is that I put in as much effort as I can, and I am seeing improvement, but it takes time.

But the problem is that most local half marathons are just too small and fast for me. I would be last by about twenty minutes. This isn't necessarily a problem (been there and done that), but it does get a bit lonely and boring when you are totally alone at the back. I know there are other runners out there that run as fast (ha ha) as me, but I don't think that they enter races. I think that generally they are put off by the thought of being last, and the discouraging comments in the literature eg. the no walking in the first 5 miles. Whatever happened to the concept of run/walk? I beleive that the 2:30 pacer at Silverstone was doing 5run/1 walk on Sunday.

As a nation, we are obese slobs. I would like to see those of us that are trying very hard to reverse that trend offered a bit more encouragement to enter local races. I only really feel comfortable entering races with several thousand runners, then I know that I will have a bit of company on the way around.

I can appreciate the organisational problems associated with a road race, but surely a three hour cut off would allow tome for the slow runners to get around too, and is only an extra 1/2 hour after all.

Great Yarmouth 1/2 had a 2 1/2 hour cut off last year, although I'm mot sure they enforced it.

Anyway, sorry for the rant, I'll summarise in two points.
1) Organisers please allow for slow runners. Sport for all.
2) Slow runners, please enter more races, don't let the whippets have all the fun. Other runners are generally very encouraging, and I could do with the company!


  • FGS raises important views especially considering one of the latest Government statements:-

    Bid to improve children's health

    Concern is growing over children's health

    School nurses are to be given an enhanced role in improving children's health.

    The Scottish Executive plans will see them taking on additional duties to try and tackle public health issues, as well as looking for signs of child abuse.

    The move comes amid concerns that many children do not get enough exercise, with 8% of school pupils classified as overweight and more than 13% of teenage girls smoking.

    Nurses will be given a wider role as the community school programme is introduced over the next four years.

    They will move from treating cuts and bruises to dealing with deep-seated problems like healthy eating, smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, dental health and helping pupils suffering from chronic conditions such as asthma.

    This framework is the tool we will use to deliver a revolution in school nursing, putting behind us forever the old image of the nit nurse

    Malcolm Chisholm
    Health Minister

    No we can't all be fast, but that is not important. Getting out and doing exercise IS important, and race organisers need to help promote such health issues. Now I do accept that there also has to be a place for the more "Elite ' runner and maybe two tiered starts on races maybe the answer, however that probably wont stop some people overestimating what they are capable of and going into the wrong group.
  • To FGS It can be discouraging entering races when you are followed by the support van most of the way. I find that I have a much better race when I can see others runners ahead or have someone to race against. The last race I ran was a womens only race found a few runners at my pace and found them to be supportive and encouraging.
    I agree more slower runners in races please.
  • Just wanted to recommend the Long Distance Walking Association events which are off road for runners and walkers, and ideal for low-key, non competitive atmosphere and as many cakes as you can eat on the way around. There is a cut-off time but this has been designed for fit walkers rather than runners, so is easily within reach of anyone running slow or jog/walking. I've done 3 now and have several more planned for this year (the hillier ones are not for the fainthearted...)

    As you might expect they tend to be long (often 20 miles +) but many have shorter loops within them, making it possible to set off and finish at various points en route depending on how you feel. Many welcome families too, so it's feasible to have the kids do some of the event as a walk.

    Don't be be put off being overtaken by 60-somethings in their walking boots though!
  • SticklessStickless ✭✭✭

    I've not given up. I'll keep entering halfs and shorter races.

    There is one bit about cutoff times I can understand. The organizers have got to pay for police presence on roads, at so much (and it is not at all small) per hour. Unless the running is all on country lanes after a bit, they have to state a time, and what club is going to be likely to hire police for longer than a minimum. Even if they can avoid police, they have to tell their volunteer marshalls what time they can expect to go home.

    I asked, some time ago (on the old forums, actually) and will ask again, that there is a new category of races: Penguin Friendly.

    These races would make a definite effort to recruit first timers, slow runners, fun runners, run walkers. Maybe there could even be a bursary for clubs willing to advertise their race as Penguin Friendly.

    Race for Life is so wondeful because we know we are not going to be humiliated for our best efforts. Well, the same guarantee might encourage lots more, and not only women, to try races, at other distances too.

    FLM and other big marathons also attract first timers, and those who have never run, also because through sheer numbers humiliation is not an issue.

    I'm sure with ingenuity and good publicity, the same inviting qualities could draw beginning and slow runners into other races.

    How about it, RW?

    BTW, Waterbeach Half Lizzie for CLIC reunion and photo call, this Saturday morning, 10am. I'll e-mail you details.

    Total raised :3,376 pounds!!

  • oh hear hear!!!
    There was a cut off at brass monkeys, but its just meant thatyou wouldnt have closed roads and marshals, not that you werent allowed to finish(and they waited for me anyway)

    FGS, please e mail your post to the organisers of wilmslow!
  • Totally agree with everything in this thread. My knee is almost 'mended' now so I'll be another penguin at races soon.
  • Stickless,

    That is an excellent idea about the penguin friendly races. Keep bringing it up.

  • Interesting. I've been racing for 5 years in the South East, about 8 - 10 events p.a. and I've never once seen a race with a cut-off time.
  • fgs, don't know much about this, apart from i do remember seeing quite a lot of people finish towards the 2.30 mark at silverstone, and i think they had a start for people aiming from 2-3 hrs. i totally agree...and in a way is so much harder for slower runners...i have so much respect for the 5-6hr marathon guys and girls....all that time running sounds like horrendously hard work, everyone's race pace is just as hard for them no matter what the speed...it's all very well if you can have the whole thing over and done with in a few hours...
    i have just started recently to enter races as i am petrified of the things, but know it's something i should be doing...getting better! now there's only london to dread...
    i know it's easy for me to say, but there must be so many people put off by cut off times, and it's just not fair ....we all should be collecting medals!
  • Joined forum today. I am not a runner but am training for the Moonwalk (full marathon) in May. In order to gauge training progress my friends and I have entered, and been accepted, for the Fleet half marathon. We all noted on our entry forms times of 3.5hrs but stated we would be walking. I must admit that I did not think we would be accepted due to the slow times (although we should complete in about 3 hours). If I were running, I would be much quicker but would hope this would not lead to exclusion from events.

    I have taken to powerwalking and would like to enter future events post-Moonwalk to give myself the incentive to keep going. I hope event organisers will for us slower ones.
  • Fat Girl Slim,
    I would love to join you at the back of a half marathon, but as I'm not ready to do that distance yet I'll just have to clap from the sidelines!
    I also prefer bigger races, and e-mail the organisers first to check slowest finishers from year before following my first demoralising 10k.
    Maybe Plodders from beginners should arrange mass entry for races to ensure we have company at the tail end of things?

    I also tend to start right at the back of the pack so I don't impede the whippets, but that means I'm already a couple of mins extra on clock time and just get left further and further behind. I'd like to see more handicap races where I could be set off about a fortnight before all the skinny whippets and still cross the line in company!
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