Boston Marathon Race Results for the RunnersConnect Team
Recapping the race results each week is usually a rundown of new personal bests and details on intelligently run and hard fought races. However, the recap for the 2012 Boston Marathon will be a little different.
With air temperatures reaching 90 degrees and road surface temperatures topping over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the 2012 Boston Marathon was a race of attrition and survival as opposed to a chance to PR and tame the famed Newton Hills.
The RunnersConnect team had five athletes brave the conditions after some runners chose to take advantage of the option to defer. All five athletes finished, and while no one recorded a personal best, I couldn’t be more proud of how each athlete faced the day and persevered through what some consider one of the most difficult Boston Marathons of all-time.
So, a special congrats this week to Dannis Hughbanks, John Pereira, Jim Rodgers, Jennifer Sheely, and Billy Washer who fought tooth and nail through unbelievable conditions to finish a memorable Boston Marathon. This race is a testament to your willpower and determination. Congratulations!
For a more in-depth analysis of the weather conditions, here is a recap of the weather’s impact on the elite times by Ross Tucker of Sports Scientists:
Conditions really matter. And Boston today was brutally, $%&#ing hard
There was a lot of talk about the temperature before the race, many people panicking about the imminent death and danger the runners would face. I think it’s largely overhyped in terms of safety, but today did illustrate just how important conditions are for fast racing and performance. Today’s races were 7.8% (men) and 7.0% (women) slower than last year, and that’s partly the heat, partly the lack of wind, but it goes to show how “fragile” performance is when you’re trying to race for 2:05 or faster.
That’s why talk of a sub-2 is so premature. Even if the athletes are in ideal physical condition, it needs environmental factors to be absolutely perfect to allow it. And this idea that these African athletes are so special that they can just break down the physiological barriers is a fairytale. They’re exceptional, make no mistake, but barriers are real and if conditions are not perfect, no “belief” or lack of limitation overcome sub-optimal conditions.
Back to Boston – today we saw a day when a mid-race attack at 3:00/km was enough to create gaps of over a minute within 5km! It was a day where running at 15:30 per 5km pace was splitting a world class field full of 2:06 men. That’s a brutal day. And while it wasn’t that hot, I think one can’t overstate the impact that direct sunlight has on thermal load and challenge.
Recently, when I was putting myself through my little barefoot Kilimanjaro experiment, it became clear that direct sunlight exerts an effect on temperature and thermal comfort that is far greater than we acknowledge. The only reason I was able to summit Kilimanjaro barefoot in air temperatures below freezing point was because the African sun did a magic job heating the ground up. At one point, at 4,700m altitude, the air temperature was -3 degrees celsius, and the ground was 20 degrees celsius!
Now the opposite implication was true for Boston today. Temperatures in the shade were reported at around 82F, but in the sunlight, which is most of the race, they would have been 10 to 15 degrees higher. The result is an effective temperature closer to 95F, and that’s the difference between today in Boston and Beijing 2008. There, Sammy Wanjiru apparently defied physiology and physics to run 2:06:32 in the heat and humidity (I say ‘apparently’ because that kind of performance does not defy anything – you can model it as entirely possible given his mass and the pace). But it was, I believe, cloudy, and I think that’s a crucial difference, especially in a city surrounded by buildings.
So Boston 2012 provided all the elements of a war of attrition, and 2:12 and 2:31 winning times for men who run under 2:06 and women who run 2:22 is evidence of it. It doesn’t make for the same kind of awe as we had one year ago, but perhaps it’s a much needed reminder of just how remarkable a 2:05 marathon is, now that it seems so “common-place”!Connect with Jeff Gaudette on Google+