Hi folks. Just ran my first VLM. Leaving aside the heat, etc., there's something I just need to get off my chest.
It is this: given that the organisers are quite strict about letting people in (say) pen 5 move forward to pen 4, how about some diligence in allocating those pens in the first place? As I ran round the first few miles, I was shocked by how many runners were already walking or going surprisingly slow. Now, starting in pen 5 as I did (3:45-4:00, where I should have been) I would expect the majority of runners ahead of me to be going at a similar pace. But there were, how shall we say, larger middle-aged people walking not long after the first mile.
In this day and age, would it not be possible and a sensible idea to require some kind of qualification result for entry/allocation to the faster pens? So, let's take pen 5 (3:45-4:00) as an example. You can only start from there if you can demonstrate a previous time at a certain distance - being generous, let's say a marathon time of 4:30 or better or a half of 2:10 or better. If it's your first big race, you start further back. If you're likely to be genuinely capable of a sub 3 marathon, but it's your first, maybe it's then in your interests to do a test race to confirm this. Most plans have a 1/2 marathon in them anyway. Even being able to demonstrate a series of Parkrun times - e.g. sub 25 minutes for this example - would weed out those that have clearly knowingly over-estimated their race time.
It really annoys me because, instead of being swept along in a sea of like-minded and like-ability runners, it was a bit like playing dodgems, and oftentimes you'd end up boxed in behind people who clearly should have been starting at the back.
Now, I applaud the spirit of inclusiveness, but for many of us (myself included) the time *does* matter, and we want to do our very best to meet whatever time goals we have. So, to find them thwarted by people who've clearly taken the piss with their applications, that sucks. After all, it's no big deal to drop back to a slower pen.
OK, sorry about the rant, but this is one problem that could be easily fixed. If the RunBritain rankings can verify times, it shows it's not a big deal to implement, and if you can't post a qualifying time, you can still run. Just not in front of the rest of us
What do you think?