/ knowledgable runners '84 and '18 London Marathon
Bear with me.
Anyone happen to know whether conditions in the 1984 and 2018 London marathons were particularly fast or slow?
A triathlon coach I respect greatly has pulled these two years out as comparators to each other in a blog and I'm wondering what conditions were like?
n.b. I'm after the actual conditions rather than just looking at the results, as he is comparing the results to show mass performance drop off (hence the 'bear with me' - I could look the numbers up myself.)
Appreciate this is a bit obscure. Thanks.
Can't comment on 1984 didn't run it but 2018 was horrendous. Hottest London Marathon on records, I blew up at just over 30 km and walked to the finish, we were warned at the start that it was going to be very hot and adjust our pace accordingly. The conditions affected the good runners much more than the fun runners.
I ran 2018 and it was very hot on the day (mid to high 20's) and lots of people appeared to be struggling. The spring leading up to it was also pretty cold and/or wet, so no chance to acclimatise to running in the heat.
I was half an hour slower than the time I'd trained for (Longest training run was 22 miles at my expected marathon pace, so was fairly confident I could do it as planned), and it was definitely as a result of the heat and dehydration. I felt awful from the half way point onward and cramped 3 or 4 times in last 10k.
It was my first marathon so I've nothing to compare it too, but other London vets I spoke to after also said it was hard compared to previous years.
There seemed to be alot of people being treated in the last 5 miles or so, and very busy medical tent at the finish line. Again, I don't have anything to compare it to, but it struck me that the heat was responsible.
Thanks both, what you have said is ringing a few bells now, I thought 2018 was standout slow.
Tsk tsk to the blog
Shows 1984 as being very cool: 8.6 degrees at 0900 rising to 13 by midday
2018 was showing 24 degrees at midday. so over 10 degrees warmer.
You would also have to get the numbers of runners in each race, cut-off times etc- and expect that any additional runners may well be in the slower end.
Charlie Spedding won the London Marathon in 1984 and went on to win a Bronze at the LA Olympics, we recorded his second best time at London in 84 and his best time in London in 85, when he was second behind Steve Jones. Looks like conditions in London in 84 were pretty good if not perfect.
However, Mo Farah beat Steve Jones British Record in London in 2018, in conditions that were very hot. I can’t find the temperature for 1984, but before 2018 the hottest years where 1996 and 2007.
Interested to see a link to the blog.
“Mass performance drop off”.
What does that mean? It’s pretty clear that marathon running is now no longer for the elite. Without looking at the results I suspect that the majority of marathon runners in 1984 would be finishing around the 3 hour mark with very few slower than 4hours.
The London Marathon is now 40k runners most of whom are finishing slower than 4 hours.
That doesn’t mean runners are getting slower, it means there are more slow runners running.
I think if you look at the results you will find far fewer runners completing in less than 3 hours and definately fewer British runners completing in less than 2:15.
I put this largely down to a greater diversity of offer in terms sport, many of which are much more financially rewarding than athletics, unless you are the very, very elite.
> The conditions affected the good runners much more than the fun runners.
But they still felt bad even to you?
Here's the link.
It's not about running per se, but he uses it as an example.
He's actually a superb triathlon coach (currently coaching Daniela Ryf who's in the running for GOAT) but likes to use his blog to prod the bear.
I think Brent Sutton makes some good points, but based on bad data
Pretty terrible comparison. Of course another way to look at it is that Charlie Spedding's time in 1984 would have placed him 8th in 2018, with the winning time being 5 minutes faster despite the more difficult conditions. Likewise Ingrid Kristianson's time from 1984 was 6 minutes slower than the 2018 winner despite effectively having male pace makers for the last third of the race (the elite women set off ten minutes before the elite men and where caught on the course).
The irony of a triathlon coach comparing drop off in strength in depth in elite marathon running doesn't escape me. Lots of that strength in depth are doing sports that hardly existed in 1984, not least triathlon, I wonder how good Nicola Spirig or Gwen Jorgensen could be at the marathon, if they hadn't spent all those years messing around with bikes and swim caps. I have no doubt that both Brownlees could run a sub 2:20 marathon if they trained for it, maybe sub 2:15, but that isn't going to make them much money.
> I think Brent Sutton makes some good points, but based on bad data
I broadly agree with his points (and training ideas in general, I follow them to great success (well, for me and my genetics) for triathlon) but was just curious about this example which seemed pretty random.
I wonder how good Nicola Spirig or Gwen Jorgensen could be at the marathon, if they hadn't spent all those years messing around with bikes and swim caps. I have no doubt that both Brownlees could run a sub 2:20 marathon if they trained for it, maybe sub 2:15, but that isn't going to make them much money.
You might find out, Gwen Jorgensen has quit triathlon for running and is currently playing around at which distance she prefers.
> I wonder how good Nicola Spirig or Gwen Jorgensen could be at the marathon, if they hadn't spent all those years messing around with bikes and swim caps. I have no doubt that both Brownlees could run a sub 2:20 marathon if they trained for it, maybe sub 2:15, but that isn't going to make them much money.
> You might find out, Gwen Jorgensen has quit triathlon for running and is currently playing around at which distance she prefers.
Spirig (she has run championship marathons for Switzerland) and Jorgensen were mentioned deliberately.
Ok. That’s a different question entirely.
He’s talking about age-graders and whether we are getting slower, and blaming this slow down on technology obsession.
That’s a very good question. Are age-graders getting slower? Nope, the 70s men’s marathon is about to go sub 3:00.
I still think it’s the depth of field increasing and technology is something a lot of age-graders can hide behind to try and obfuscate the fact they’re not putting in the miles and that losing a stone would be more beneficial than spending £7k on a new carbon fibre frame.
don't forget he's talking about triathletes when he mentions age-groupers
Yes. Hence my carbon frame comment.
Were there many age groupers in Triathlon in the 80s. Seems to me Triathlon, in particular Iron Man is aimed squarely at the 40/50 men’s age group.
If you want that discussion you are going down a huge, deep rabbit hole, and tritalk or slowtwitch will happily meet your needs.
IM is torn between wanting to expand its reach (geographically, demographically) and maintain its revenue base (the cost of putting on a good race can only be reduced so much.) In the 80s the sport was in its early infancy so too early for any real observations.
Yes. But as it attracts people with money, they’ll typically be marketed at by the emperor's new tailor.
This week's Friday Night Video is from UKC regular David Linnett. The short clip features Johnny Dawes climbing the Roaches classic Chalkstorm, although in Johnny's modern style: hands-free.