I found this on Runner's World website. I think the whole situation is jacked.
On one hand, I do see how knowing who your competition is could determine your pace. If I know someone is coming up behind me and I can see them, I'm going to pick up the pace. If I don't see them, how do I know and why should I bust ass to get to the finish when I know I'm the leader.
On the other hand, how do I know I'm elite when I'm setting a PR for myself?
Why do the elites start 20 minutes ahead of the 'regular' pack? It's obvious if they are elites no one is going to pass them-right? WRONG! Why don't they start with the rest of the pack? That I do not get. That way IF someone does come out and kick ass, they know what they are up against.
S.F., Fastest Time Doesn't Win
Well, this is kind of messed up.
As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle,
There were over 20,000 competitors in Sunday's Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. And 24-year-old Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher from New York City, ran the fastest time of any of the women.
But she didn't win.
Huh? How is that possible?
Because, as columnist C.W. Nevius explains, "she didn't run with the 'elite' group who were given a 20-minute head start."
O'Connell had the race of her life Sunday, running a 2:55:11—a PR by 12 minutes. But because she wasn't registered as an "elite," she started with the regular schlubs, 20 minutes behind the elites, who were unaware that one of the schlubs was about to spank them all.
The moment of truth came at the awards ceremony, says O'Connell:
"They called out the third-place time and I thought, 'I was faster than that,'" she said. "Then they called out the second-place time and I was faster than that. And then they called out the first-place time (3:06), and I said, 'Heck, I'm faster than her first-place time, too.'"
Race officials weren't sympathetic, Nevius reports: "If you're feeling like you're going to be a leader," race producer Dan Hirsch said, "you should be in the elite pack."
And if you're not in the elite pack, would it kill you to not run quite so fast? Please?
Anyway, just something to keep in mind, sub-3-hour marathoners, next time you sign up for a race.