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Paula's Record Restored

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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:19 pm

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Post  Julie on Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:21 pm

Good!
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Post  mountandog on Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:36 pm

you run as fast as you run. good decision.
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Post  Mark B on Wed Nov 09, 2011 10:09 pm

Glad they came to their senses.
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Post  T Miller on Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:05 am

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Post  ssilvert on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:24 pm

Sounds to me like they are just changing the semantics. That is, the record will stand, but with an asterisk. They are still going ahead with the rule change which leaves a cloud over Paula's performance.

Just admit you were wrong. Why is that so hard?

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Post  Admin on Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:44 pm

I actually agree with the rule change. I don't believe that a record should be broken with pace assistance all the way across the finish line. An elite woman with male pacers from start to finish has an undeniable advantage over other elite women who are competing in all female races, or races where the elite women start before the male runners. It creates too much disparity from race to race. That makes sense to me.

As for keeping Paula's WR intact, how can they do that and still apply the new rule? It is doubtful that another elite female will break Paula's record WITHOUT pace assistance from start to finish. Should be interesting to see how they word things...

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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:54 pm

I don't disagree with the new rule, but it is a "new" rule; therefore, I don't think it should be retroactive and that I beleive it what they upheld. Obviously, most of the big marathons like Boston and NY has separate starts and the elite women do not run with the elite men - so no pacers. In NY, Mary Keitany was on record pace before she blew up.

As for the pacer issue for the men, they have them and it is a well known fact - so how is that legit?
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Post  Sara Jane on Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:55 pm

I don't at all agree with the rule change. Unless they are going to eliminate pacers for male runners, for example, on the track, when the pacer runs just the first lap of an 800...or the first three of a 1500...gender schmender. If you run the time, you run the time. IMHO.
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Post  Admin on Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:27 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
As for the pacer issue for the men, they have them and it is a well known fact - so how is that legit?

The issue isn't pacers. The issue is disparity in using pacers, and in that regard men's and women's races aren't comparable.

There are very few elite men that can challenge the WR. There is a small field of pacers who can pace a men's WR runner, but they (the pacers) cannot hold WR pace for the distance. The pacers are good for some of the distance but the runner has to finish alone and cross the line first.

In women's racing, there are a lot of male pacers (relative to the men's WR) who could pace a women to a new WR from start to finish. In other words, the female runner could tuck in behind male runners all they to the finish line. Now, the woman still has to run the time, but now you've got some women with male pacers from start to finish in some races, and other women who cannot because 1) the race has a separate start for women (becoming more common), or 2) the woman has the talent to contend but doesn't have enough clout to get the men necessary to compete for the WR, or 3) it's an all women's race with no male pacers at all. Those scenarios are all pretty much non-WR races.

In women's racing, the pacers aren't women... they're men. And the men are FASTER than the women going for the WR. That's the primary difference.

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Post  charles.moman on Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:21 pm

I really don't get the rule change.
Either men and women can use pacers - or not.
To me it makes no difference if that pacer can actually run faster than the human being he/she is pacing.
As long as the pacer is not towing the runner with a rope, then the runner is putting one foot down after another under his/her own strength.

The runner is doing the running regardless of how far the pacer is pacing.
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Post  Colleen on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:51 am

@charles.moman wrote:I really don't get the rule change.
Either men and women can use pacers - or not.
To me it makes no difference if that pacer can actually run faster than the human being he/she is pacing.
As long as the pacer is not towing the runner with a rope, then the runner is putting one foot down after another under his/her own strength.

The runner is doing the running regardless of how far the pacer is pacing.

Amen.

I can understand the IAAF wanting to have as much equality between races as possible. However, that's the nature of the beast in marathoning - every course is different, every day is different...every group of runners is different. Should we disqualify records from everyone who runs in a pack for most of the race and then breaks away? Should we make people run entirely on their own for 26.2 miles, just to make sure they're not getting some little advantage from having another person with them?
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Post  Sara Jane on Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:16 am

It's gender discrimination. Plain and simple.
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Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:37 am

@Sara Jane wrote:It's gender discrimination. Plain and simple.

Eh, not quite.
MattM's point about the inherent inequality of having pacers really hits the nail on the head. Men are physiologically faster than women, period. Having men to pace women is like having uber-mench to pace men. Unfortunately, uber-mench don't exist yet.
Now, if they only allowed women to pace women or allowed multiple "shifts" for pacers (each pacer only does 5-10 miles of the marathon, for example, like a relay), that'd level the playing field, regardless of gender.
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Post  Sara Jane on Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:55 am

@Mike MacLellan wrote:
@Sara Jane wrote:It's gender discrimination. Plain and simple.

Eh, not quite.
MattM's point about the inherent inequality of having pacers really hits the nail on the head. Men are physiologically faster than women, period. Having men to pace women is like having uber-mench to pace men. Unfortunately, uber-mench don't exist yet.
Now, if they only allowed women to pace women or allowed multiple "shifts" for pacers (each pacer only does 5-10 miles of the marathon, for example, like a relay), that'd level the playing field, regardless of gender.

Sorry, let me rephrase: In my opinion it's gender discrimination. plain and simple.
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Post  Diego on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:16 pm

@Sara Jane wrote:
@Mike MacLellan wrote:
@Sara Jane wrote:It's gender discrimination. Plain and simple.

Eh, not quite.
MattM's point about the inherent inequality of having pacers really hits the nail on the head. Men are physiologically faster than women, period. Having men to pace women is like having uber-mench to pace men. Unfortunately, uber-mench don't exist yet.
Now, if they only allowed women to pace women or allowed multiple "shifts" for pacers (each pacer only does 5-10 miles of the marathon, for example, like a relay), that'd level the playing field, regardless of gender.

Sorry, let me rephrase: In my opinion it's gender discrimination. plain and simple.

I'm going to side with SJ on this one because there is really is no scientific evidence that men pacing women improves their times. If you really analyze some of the men's records this year, the packs broke up around 15-16 miles and the winners basically ran off on their own. It's really not cut and dry enough (to me) to have the new rule.

I also think that women are only just now beginning to race the marathon from the start like the men have done this year. In the past, women ran more of a strategic race, waiting until the final miles, which allowed the fast 10k women to win the race(not a great strategy for many women). I think that will change and quite soon Paula's record may be in jeopardy.
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Post  fostever on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:24 pm

That's a bogus rule and they need to repeal it. If a woman can run with the best men and go under 3:15 it should be recognized. Maybe they need to use male pace setters in the womens races and then we'd see times decrease? I'm not sure if that's true, but it would be a good way to test their theory.
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Post  Admin on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:30 pm

Discriminatory? No, not really.

The only reason this rule change was considered is because the IAAF wants to showcase the women's marathon. The current record was set in London when the women started with the men (which allowed Paula to have male pacers from start to finish). As women's marathoning has become more competitive race organizations have looked for ways to bring those races to the forefront. When the elite women start with the elite men the women get buried in the sea of men running 2:15+ and you cannot easily follow the women's race. Now, more races are starting the women's race ahead of the men's, including the aforementioned London marathon (see also, Boston, NYC, etc). Given that race organizations want to give more coverage to the women's races (and they have increased enormously in popularity) by starting them separately from the men's race, they've all but eliminated the possibility of new women's WR. That's the *real* issue.

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Post  Sara Jane on Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:41 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:Discriminatory? No, not really.


I will agree that the purpose *might* not be discriminatory (whether that's reality or due to lack of vision and foresight) - but that is the result. (In my opinion).

Get Keitany on a flat course (none of the top times in history have been run on the NY course, it's just too difficult) on a good day...and she could challenge for that 2:15...
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Post  Admin on Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:08 pm

@Sara Jane wrote:

Get Keitany on a flat course (none of the top times in history have been run on the NY course, it's just too difficult) on a good day...and she could challenge for that 2:15...

We'll see. Since most of the 'money' races now have separate starts for the elite women that's a distinct disadvantage for someone like Keitany. Breaking Paula's 2:17 in a race without male pacers would be, in a sense, a new WR. That's comparing apples to apples. That's the way I see it.

Unless we revert back to races where the elite women are racing behind the elite men and running with male pacers we won't have a race condition that approximates Paula's current WR. It's kind of the steroid era of baseball (without the 'cheating' aspect). A guy banged out 73 home runs in 2001 in large part due to the prevailing conditions of the time. Those conditions have now changed (for the better most would argue), but the highest single season home run total since 2001 is 58. Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in 2001. That will stand as the single season home record for a long, long time... and baseball is NOT better off for it (in my opinion).

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Post  Sara Jane on Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:25 pm

My issue is less with what is "set up" (though I recognize that is the most likely scenario where it would happen) and more with the "what if" it happens in a race where they start together (London still does that, doesn't it?)...it won't count. That's lame. What if an under the radar woman decides to run Grandma's and gets a perfect day? (I know that's a long shot, it's just a hypo)...it doesn't count b/c she had some men breaking the wind in front of her? But then in my mind that's not like steroids, so...perhaps we are just comparing different issues - or are speculating about different things.
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Post  Admin on Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:56 pm

I tried to minimize the comparison to steroids. It's meant to only represent different 'prevailing conditions' from season to season. In a 2 year period in MLB we went from a long-standing (40 year) record of 61 home runs (which quite a few players 'flirted with') to a home run race where 3 players obliterated it! Following that record-breaking season (post-steroid era) no one has even hit 61 (the old Maris record). Seriously, that's a decade where the OLD RECORD still stands. Forget about the new record. Clearly, the conditions were very different when Sosa, McGuire, and Bonds jacked their HR records.

While I suppose people can disagree on how much benefit a runner gets from pacers, in my mind it *can be* substantial depending on a number of different factors. Paula hit 2:15 once in a race with male pacers. She got 2:17 without male pacers. I see a difference in those two records and if I were an elite female who broke the 2:17 record without male pacers I'd like to be at least discussed as the world's best.

And no, London now has a separate start for the elite women. This is part of the issue I spoke to before. It's becoming nearly impossible to find a race venue where an elite female has the same race conditions that Paula had... with an opportunity to be paced from start to finish.

I honestly believe that the intent is good, but it's a tough thing to figure out 'the right way'. For what it's worth, the IAAF are not just a bunch of men who make arbitrary rulings. There is actually a committee that oversees women's sports, and it's compromised entirely of women. There is a separate commission that handles road racing. There are many dozens of athlete representatives from all T&F disciplines. I do believe that the intent is to improve things... particularly, in this case, as it relates to promoting women's marathon racing.

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Post  Sara Jane on Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:05 pm

So...in a way what you're saying is that the way things are going, the rule won't really have much application (because there just won't be races like that anymore)? I can understand that...but then why make the rule? To encourage remaining race directors to just move forward and have a women's only start so the time can count? I guess I can understand that motivation...but I am still uncomfortable with a rule saying it won't count if it does, indeed, happen when there is a dual start.
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Post  Admin on Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:30 pm

I think that they want it to be more like the course rule. Mutai's record in Boston was a World's Best (fastest marathon time ever) but not a World Record (sanctioned under the international rules of road racing) because of the course profile. The rationale behind the course profile requirements is that, without such a provision, marathon runners would be scrambling to find the most 'favorable' course profile, or even creating new certified courses, just to break the WR. This would almost certainly take the majors out of contention for WR purposes and make a WR as much about the course as the runner. As it stands, you have races like London, Chicago, and Berlin that could produce a WR time on any given year. Course limits are on things like distance between start and finish line, net elevation change, and grade (I believe). This makes a WR time more about the runner and less about the 'other factors'. More apples to apples racing.

I think that's the goal behind the IAAF rule. A woman can post a 2:14 in a dual-start race, and it will be the World's Best female marathon time... but it won't be the World Record.

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Post  Ben Z on Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:53 pm

@Mr MattM wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
As for the pacer issue for the men, they have them and it is a well known fact - so how is that legit?

The issue isn't pacers. The issue is disparity in using pacers, and in that regard men's and women's races aren't comparable.

There are very few elite men that can challenge the WR. There is a small field of pacers who can pace a men's WR runner, but they (the pacers) cannot hold WR pace for the distance. The pacers are good for some of the distance but the runner has to finish alone and cross the line first.

In women's racing, there are a lot of male pacers (relative to the men's WR) who could pace a women to a new WR from start to finish. In other words, the female runner could tuck in behind male runners all they to the finish line. Now, the woman still has to run the time, but now you've got some women with male pacers from start to finish in some races, and other women who cannot because 1) the race has a separate start for women (becoming more common), or 2) the woman has the talent to contend but doesn't have enough clout to get the men necessary to compete for the WR, or 3) it's an all women's race with no male pacers at all. Those scenarios are all pretty much non-WR races.

In women's racing, the pacers aren't women... they're men. And the men are FASTER than the women going for the WR. That's the primary difference.

Matt - I am having a tough time following your argument for why you think it is fair. It's Friday so perhaps that is why I am a bit slow - it's been a long week, seriously.

Are you saying it's OK for men to have male pacers for 30-35K (because only a few men can even pace a WR men's run to that distance) but it is unfair for women because male pacers can pace them the entire 42K?

It's gotta be all or nothing IMO. Either you allow pacers or you don't. Gender is irrelevant. If you really want to have a world's best and a WR togetheer in the books then I could see the World's Best time = a paced race while the WR = an non-paced race. This would alleviate any issues of using male versus female pacers. Because the problem is that everyone is different. While most people receive substantial benefits from having someone pace them all the way to the finish and block the wind, allow them to only focus on running behind them, etc. some people would prefer to break-away from the pacer and run what they are capable of each mile (see the Kenyan men this year with their crazy fast times).
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