Cut Off Time?

Would it be a good idea to have a cut off time of, say, 6 hours to finish the London Marathon? I think alot of other marathons do this type of thing. It seems to me that slower than 6 hours is really walking pace. It is meant to be a run isn't it?

Just a thought...



  • PodroPodro ✭✭✭
    Quite agree, in fact I think that anything slower than 8 minute miling is little more than a plod or a waddleimage. How about a cut off of 3:20 and then the FLM coverage won't interfere with the  afternoon football matches either.
  • PodroPodro ✭✭✭
    If you don't think you will make the cut-off time you can always put on a clown suit, carry a bucket and take a few 'short cuts'.image
  • Wish I had known about those short cuts Podro.  I would have got round before the cut off then!!!
  • you have to walk pretty fast to do a marathon in 6 hours. It's certyainly possible but it's a lot faster than a waddle
  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    Joe, most marathons aren't massive charity fund-raising events where the taking part is considered far more important than getting a good time.

    It's a fund-raising event in which people may run as fast as they can if they really feel they must! image

  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭
    Maybe after 5 hours they cut off an arm, after 6 another arm after7 a leg after 8 ...and so on.Pretty good way of making everyone get a move on but maybe street cleaning would be  a bit unpleasant.   Just a  thought.
  • I think that "technically" a marathon is a running event yes, and if they want it to be a running event, then a cut off time might be acceptable.

    However, as Wilkie says, its the taking part that counts at London, especially to those who you refer to.

    Don't fall into the assumption that to walk a marathon is an easy task either!  To actually cover 26.2 miles, no matter what pace, requires dedicated training, and to walk consistantly at 15minute miles is quite a task.

    Regarding those at the back when the roads re-open - I dont know what the solution is, but when they push you onto the pavement and you have to fight through the pedestrians, thats not easy!  I know they can't keep the roads open for ever, so a form of "cut-off" allready applies, but it seems harsh that the runners/walkers who are probably the most tired are then made to work harder in the final stages!

    Train harder and dont be so slow?  Not really a solution, as everyone is doing what they are capable of.

  • A combine harvester at the back of the field should sort them out. The idea of a cut off a 6 hours seems very elitist for what shouldn't be an elitist event. Plenty of other marathons out there for the more accomplished.
  • I would just like to agree with XFR first marathon took me 5hrs 45 and I ran all the way. However I do also think there should be some sort of cut off time, to prevent people taking a week or whatever. I know it raises so much for charity, but anyone could do a marathon in a week! (a little controversial? maybe...)
  • It's funny, but lots of people use '15 minute miles' as walking pace... well, in my opinion you'd have to be pretty fit to walk a mile in 15 minutes, and I doubt that anyone who hadn't trained hard would complete that 26 times over.

     I think leave it as it is.. although a lot of runners take longer than 6, 7 or even 8 hours, it's up to them really isn't it? The FLM has it's Elite, 'Serious' and 'Fun' categories, the organisers have their own wind-down schedule, if people want to plod along on the pavements in order to complete the course then good luck to them - it takes a lot of mental stamina to continue when all around you are heading for home wearing their medals.

  • cjbessex - sounds like you took my post the wrong way...I was saying the same as you, except that I think its bad that at the back people have to walk on the pavement - I think they should stay on the road at all times, but obviously thats not safe.

    Last year I walked most of it and took 7hr pushed onto the pavement at about 22 miles, then went back on the road and kept ahead of the cleaners.

    I am 100% in support of people walking London in whatever time it takes them, as I appreciate that for some people, an 8 hr+ walked marathon is a huge personal acheivement.

  • Cut off would be sensible - it is just getting stupid with people running in slow motion or dragging boulders behind them. Call it eight hours or something.
  • Hi Kevster - nope, wasn't referring to your post - just agreeing with you too really!!!

  • Why have a cut-off time? If people want to take longer than 6 hours, then let them. Chances are they're raising money for charity. If you want to do a faster marathon, don't do London.
  • X-KKDX-KKD ✭✭✭
    Hello Kevster!!!  Is that your 2008 medal in your piccie???  ;--)
  • Sure is KKD - 5.39 this year (just shows what training can do...or is it that I ditched the Buzz Lightyear outfit?).  I was also able to walk afterwards this year, unlike last time!  How is your running going?  Hope you're ok.  I've entered the ballot for next year!

    cjbessex - cool! 

    London is what it is, and I think a lot of its publicity is due to the charity side, which has a knock on effect in that more people want to do it.  How many Rhino's run other marathons?  The elite race is long finished before people like me even reach the start line (slight exageration maybe), so it doesn't affect them.  The club runners also are much further ahead, so it doesn't affect them.   A cut off time would put many people off entering, therefore reducing the charity effect, therefore reducing the public interest!  So what does it actually matter to the elite/club runners if someone else is on course for 8 hours?  Nobody would deny that to run sub 3 is a huge effort and acheivement, but to stay on course for 6+ hours is just as much an effort, just in a different way.  Also, what does it matter if someone wants to take a week in a diver suit?  Has no affect on the results of other people.

    However, as Podro mentions, dress as a clown and think you can use an Oyster card whilst everyone else is using Lucozade Sport, is not on.  But thats another thread!

  • I'm against a cut off.  I do train but in spite of that my marathon record is 7.21 (FLM) and 7 (Neolithic).  I'm hoping to go under 6.30 at Neolithic this year... I'm improving but still can't do many marathons because of the cut offs.

    I do walk a lot of the way, but couldn't do the times I do without some running. 15 miles an hour was the pace of the Roman legions: trained, fit soldiers doing a fast march.  And they only did 20 miles at a time!  When I'm out on the street I constantly overtake people, but I only do 17-16 minute miles walking.

    At FLM I overtook a guy on Embankement who'd run all the way.  (Yes he was still running, just very slowly!)

    As has been pointed out there are 'penalties' for being a backmarker.  Like being hassled by the sweeps vehicles and having to dodge tourists on the pavement along Embankment.  I also asked a few questions before starting out.  I was told that anyone taking over 10 hours should discuss it with FLM.

    Slow folks don't get in the way of fast folks past a few miles.  If there's someone walking in front of you at mile twenty then chances are they were going faster than you up till that point!  If there's congestion for faster folks then it's because there's a lot of faster folks.  If they set a cut off then this would not mean more places for fast folks: they'd have to cut numbers overall or congestion would be worse.

    I really can't see what's wrong with taking a week to do something!  I admire anyone who sets out on a challenge that's going to take that much effort.  The year I did it one of the folks taking days to do it was someone I talked to online who was doing it on oxygen because of a lung condition.  I also think the guy with the dragon etc is great!  There are different kinds of challenges, and I don't see why the challenge of running a marathon in a fast time should be the only one to be considered.  There's an elite race for that, the main event should have space for lots of different challenges going on.

  • I did Moonwalk a few years back (a walking marathon) off marathon training and in many ways it was probably more tiring.

    I'd assumed I could 15 minute mile just at my ordinary walking pace - but I quickly discovered the miles and hour walking pace is surprisingly quick.  Not impossible by any means - just not the casual lumbering along I'd assumed beforehand 

  • I managed to average just over 15min miles wearing Little Miss Naughty and walked all but about the first 3 miles.    Finished in 6:46  (Garmin said I had walked 26.9 miles)
    It also said that I had done miles 19 and 20 at 8mm pace!!  lol
  • From a selfish view point I don't want a cut off time - I ran in 2005 and came approx 20,000th out of 35,000. If there was a cut off I would have been more like 20,000th out of 25,000. Doesn't make any odds really, but my goal for my next London is to be faster and be in the top 50% of finishers.

    Also I agree with the point that the 'mad but slow' runners dressed in diving suits or pulling boulders get the publicity which is really what the event is all about. It would be a lot less gratifying to say 'I ran the London Marathon' if people (by which I mean non runners) hadn't heard of it!

  • I'm nowhere close to running a marathon, but I'd agree with no cut-off point.  From a beginner's point of view six hours doesn't seem anywhere near long enough - it seems much friendlier to allow more.
  • Contoversial statement coming up, but its one that I am sure applies to some people:

    Is the desire for a cut-off time coming from quicker runners who can't get in through the ballot and don't want to raise money for a GB place?

    The theory being, if there are less "walkers", then more places would be freed up for the runners, and then those that dont want to raise money for charity might get in?

    I've definately "felt" this attitude elsewhere on the forum.  Let me also say, I dont agree with it!

    If you want to run FLM, you will find a way - if that way involves a GB place, then so be it - if you want it enough, you'll do it.  However, I agree that you shouldn't "have to" raise money to get in, but sadly thats the way it is.

    Also, be carefull with cut-off times - if you just qualify, it means you'll be at the back, and then if they tighten up in the future, you're out!

  • i agree that there should be a cut off time and thats coming from someone who completed it in (just over) 6 hours. 

    My first marathon (running with the mrs who couldn't run the last 3 and wasnt feeling well from mile 4 so the whole run was stop-start) and it didn't feel right walking the last miles with a large number of people doing the same. 

    I had always pictured myself giving every ounce of energy to complete the FLM and being near ecstatic and emotional while running up the Mall so the feeling left me disappointed.  Though the crowds were great I felt myself thinking "why are you clapping I'm only walking?" at the end but again I think that down with being disappointed at how our run turned out.

  • X-KKDX-KKD ✭✭✭
    The crowds were claping jel because its still an achievement to cover 26.2 miles even if thats walking.
  • I don't think that really applies though Kevster - as long as people are reasonably close with their estimates of time, then the 3 and a half hour runners aren't competing for the same places as the five hours plus people.
  • Jel

    how would you feel if you were near the end and then were forced to stop and were counted as a DNF..... Thats what would happen with a cut off point of 6 hours.......

    If people were capable of 5 1/2 hours then and then had a bad day   and finished over 6 hours then no medal no finish and in theory all money raised by them to go back to the sponsers as they didn't finish....

    This is London let it remain as it is...... A fun event that lifts you up or drags you down.

  • This comes up every year about FLM.  Basically if you want a cut off time don't do FLM.  There are so many lovely marathons that you can do other than this one.

    I think it's fab so many types of people do this (dont get me wrong, it winds me up when celebs who train for 2 days get in just cos they are celebs)

     FLM is fantastic, but not the only marathon. It should be left as it is as it raises so much money for Charity.

    Just my thoughts anyway image

  • I would train my a$$ off and make sure that wouldnt happen "seren nos" as everyone should for such a special occasion.  At over 15 stone in weight I am not built for running and after following a 16 week marathon plan still felt I would have comfortably been inside 6 hours (In fact me and Mrs "Jel" were aiming for 5 hrs 15 together and that was after a bout of tonsilitis)

    By making a 6 hour limit ppl (like me) would train properly for fear of missing the cut off time and glory and push themselves all the way rather than (like me and mrs jel) take the "easy" option by walking the last few miles.

    Just an opinion - its not as if its ever going to happen anyway so chill out bro image

  • only let those who can beat a cut off time of 5 hours apply through the ballot, the rest can run for charity through the Golden Bond process.......sorted
  • dave wood 4dave wood 4 ✭✭✭
    Lets get something right, at the first "London Marathon" a certain Mr. Brasher told us it was his dream, after watching New York, to bring a marathon to the masses of London. He never said you had to run it in under 6 hours, he  just wanted people to get off their ar##s and do something worthwhile. So lets go with the flow, if you want to run sub 3 hour, get to the front or find another marathon, there are plenty, if you want to DO London ( fancy dress, walk jog etc) then do it and you have my best wishes however long it takes, after all it "probably is the best marathon in the world"...................................................
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