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



  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Oh, and while I'm ranting, we don't need a 7.5 hour pacer. Anyone can walk at that pace, they just need to keep walking when the route takes them past a Greggs or McDonalds and not go in.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Rodeo, you have just said what many think but are maybe too scared to write!

    There were 53 runners that finished between 8hrs and 9.11. It seems a bit disproportionate to keep central London closed down for about 0.1% of the field who seem to make the mist noise. They can keep the course open etc but it still won't be the same magical experience they see on TV as the crowds won't all be there at 8pm.

  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    That's true. Every year I watch on TV and am amazed at the difference between the crowd support for the elite runners and that for the ordinary runners like myself. Maybe it's just perspective, but it always looks to me like there are so many more people lining the route when we're on it (from first-hand experience) than it appears on tv for the elites. It is a special experience, which lots of people enthuse about, so I can see why people want to take part. Unfortunately for these guys right at the back it's not going to be like that. You can't force crowds and volunteers to stay there indefinitely nor can you make them only say nice things to you. You have a to draw a line somewhere.

  • GladragsGladrags ✭✭✭

    I am gobsmacked that the response to this is to grant all the backmarkers a free spot next year. How is this fair to the faster runners? Where was the line drawn for the free spaces? 8 hours? 7h30? 7 hours?

    Assume that the marathon organisers have had to agree to additional costs to keep the roads open longer - seems disproportionate response to something that affected 50 people? And those 50 people still won't get the full marathon experience even if the roads are left open as the crowds will all have gone by then?

    Gladrags - I think you need to read in full the 3 page letter that VLM sent to the participants.  I can't paste it on here as it wasn't sent to me, but easy to find on FB.

    Those that complained did not ask for free entry for 2020 that offer has come from VLM and I think having read the letter in full it was the least they could do.   They have admitted that due to a catalogue of errors they didn't keep the course open as long as they had promised to, they are going to make sure that doesn't happen in 2020.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    so how long are they saying it'll be kept open then i wonder? 
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    The important thing they need to do now is to be very clear on what the cut-off time is (and there needs to be one). The roads should be kept closed until then and the infrastructure in place, although obviously the crowd support is likely to be less. If anyone fails to meet the cut-off time, sweeper bus and DNF. It's not complicated, just needs clear communication and then enforced.
  • AliT100AliT100 ✭✭✭
    I don’t know about 50 people being given places next year, the pacer and “runner “ they interviewed on tv news last night said 600 had been garauteed entry!
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    Great that they can guarantee places for 600 people who haven't been able to get under 7 hours. This is at the same time as capping the number of GFA places, restricting the numbers who can get in via this route, especially men. In other words, if you're say, a male in his 40s, running sub-3:15 doesn't get you in any more. Running sub-3:10 only gives you a chance, depending how other people get on. But walk your way round in 8 hours and moan about the experience and you're in. I know these issues aren't linked but it's frustrating when you consider the effort some people put in to take part in this country's premier running race, and perhaps fall just short, to see "team Greggs" get guaranteed entry.

    I know these guys didn't have the experience they were looking for last year, and that's a shame. But VLM is becoming less and less about running every year and more and more about a 26.2 mile stroll for charity. 

  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Sorry, on reflection - my previous post was a bit harsh.
    rodeoflip - yes, a bit harsh perhaps. ;)

    The issue re 2019 was that they started the clear up sooner than they should have, which they've admitted to and promised to get right next time.   They still have the same rules as before, that anyone slower than the time limit must continue on the pavement and that's been mentioned in the letter.  They would avoid forcing anyone onto a sweeper bus, VLM is a charity race after all, and they wouldn't stop anyone from continuing as a pedestrian, that rule is in many marathons.

    They've given free places to those over 7 hours, as it's impossible for them to know how many suffered because of the debacle on the day.   I assumed that the places would come out of the ballot allocation but someone else pointed out that it might not as after all they could take a couple of thousand more at the back of the race without it affecting any of the faster runners or the ballot runners.

    Other marathons in the majors have also tightened up their GFA times, others are much harder to get into now purely because of the number of applicants.  Next year I expect the ballot applications will exceed half a million so year on year it will become harder to obtain a ballot place.

    VLM is a charity fun run with an elite race at the front.   
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭

    Shades - I know and I agree. The only bit I don't agree with is the idea that people can continue on the road after it's opened and be regarded as having finished. From a health & safety / risk assessment point of view, this seems difficult to justify. They are obliged to return the roads back to the city in a suitable condition,. hence the chemical clean-up, etc. There are places where they can't continue on the pavement, it's either too crowded or sometimes there isn't one (e.g.- the underpass at 24 miles). So VLM are then condoning these guys either being exposed to the chemicals which were complained about this year or having to run on open roads with traffic in the middle of a major city.

    This isn't really the fault of the people concerned, it's a situation caused by the roads re-opening before the cut-off time communicated. It could / should be easily fixed - if they've offered these guys guaranteed places next year and they're going to go at the same pace, then the same issues will arise, no matter how how "aware" the marshalls are made.

    Hate to say it, but what if there was serious injury or worse in the Blackfriars underpass on open roads but while the marathon was still "on"?

    rodeoflip - I've just gone back to read the letter and there is an alternative pedestrian route for the tunnel at 24 miles, they quote the street names so it's quite clear, so they have that sorted out too.  
    It's worth hunting out a copy of the letter, it's very comprehensive.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    I have googled and fb searched it but can't find it. Any particular group we might look on??

    You'd be gutted if you 'ran' 6.59!!!

    DT19 -a FB friend had put a photo up on her page as I think she's a friend/contact of one of the pacers. I wasn't following any group.

    I did see a comment from someone that was very disappointed with her 6:57.  ;)
  • Seems you’d be like a pig in doo dah if you finished it in 0702, get to run next year again free of charge get in there tuss
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Free as well as guaranteed??!!!
    DT19 said:
    Free as well as guaranteed??!!!
    Yes, they will get sent entry details and have to submit the entry at a specific time later this year.  No deferments or transfers allowed obviously.
    I expect there'll be a few that won't take up the offer.
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    I saw the letter on a couple of groups and there is a #everyrunnercounts thing going around.

    Try this Facebook post, which is an open post
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Hi big g, no link seems to have attached?

    The irony of the slogan. At 7.5 hr pace and below im not sure they can genuinely fall within the running definition. Not being harsh, just a basic fact. Surely you just accept it is what it us and not label it what you want to be. 
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Well if everyone who feels that they're running counts so much, maybe the marathon route needs to be closed off properly for a few days. Great news though - if every runner counts then I look forward to my free place, along with the 500,000 other applicants. Or does very runner only count if they're fat and slow?
  • Matthew HeadMatthew Head ✭✭✭
    edited July 2019
    DT19, the link is embedded in the second line - just click on that one.

    What grinds my gears most about this is how it has been played out as a massive battle against VLM for intentionally wrongdoing slower runners. VLM had procedures in place, and they were carried out as instructed - however, there was an oversight regarding the 7.5hr pacer. Obviously, the behaviour of the clean up crews is inexcusable.

    But, at the end of the day, it's a race. Yes, they raise a lot of money for charity, but it's a race. By now pushing the clean up operations back, are they just delaying the same problem? Will the public see it as a victory for couch-to-marathon runners, creating a larger contingent of participants at the back?

    Cut-offs are cut-offs, and I think VLM would go a long way by having an entry criterion - a HM finish under 3hrs.
  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    DT, I purposefully didn’t post the link directly as the URL had a name in it. It’s a public post though, so if you click on the ‘Try this Facebook post....’ text it’ll take you to it. 
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Sorry, got it. I think it's great vmlm have investigated so throughly and they have made a number of relevant findings, the common theme being communication. i think the position will be made a lot clearer next year to slower runners and pacers and after that it's up to them to listen. There was no mention in letter of an actual race cut off where you can no longer expect a time etc. 

    I still question the need to give a free entry. 
    DT19 - I think the free entry is a good and generous offer to make amends.   Apparently when the complaints were made there was no mention of requesting an entry to 2020, free or otherwise, so the offer has come from VLM.

    I expect if there is to be a cut off time that will be in the 2020 race details
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭

    Yes, I am sure it was the last thing people wanted at the particular time.

    Hopefully that brings an end to it and they all have a great experience next year. It still won't be quite like what the 5 hour runners get but there is nothing vmlm can do about that.

    DT19 - yes, a satisfactory conclusion.

    Not everyone likes the screaming crowds, it's one of my major dislikes about London marathon.   The last couple of times I wore earplugs, but still too noisy for me.
  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    Matthew Head said "But, at the end of the day, it's a race", but is it? Not if you're starting to run with a 7.5hr pacer it isn't!

    I'm with Shades on this one, over-hyped, noisy, crowded and generally a no-fun run, but it is what it is and a lot of people (not necessarily all runners) want to do it, and Good Luck to them.
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    Personally, if you're having a good day there's no better place to be in my opinion. I love the occasion and the weekend.  If it isn't quite going well then there's no where to hide and the crowds can become just a wall of unwanted noise. 
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I wonder how many of the 600 will use the next 9 months to train really hard and get, say,sub-5 or quicker?
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