Tag Archives: vancouver marathon

Data Nerd: Analyzing the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2014 Results

2014 BMO Vancouver Marathon Finishing Times
Which is better for running – hot and dry or cold and wet? Personally, I’d prefer the heat but statistically it seems that the colder, wetter weather is better for finishing times. Last year’s BMO Vancouver marathon was the hottest in the race’s 42 year history (with temperatures over 20 C). This year it was cool and rainy (never getting above 10 C), but across the board times were faster. The winners were around 3 minutes faster than last year. The median times for men were 9 minutes faster. And there was a less slowdown between the first and second halves of the race, with 3 times more people running negative splits (faster 2nd halves). The only negative changes – less finishers and less Boston qualifiers (not sure why that is).

2013 2014
Finishers 3877 3783
Negative Splits 99 293
Second Half Slowdown 7.7% 5.7%
Fastest – Male 2:24:09 2:21:08
Fastest – Female 2:40:34 2:37:00
Median Time – Male 4:10:28 4:01:38
Median Time – Female 4:29:45 4:26:29
Boston Qualifiers 375 357

Here is the analysis I did last year: 2013 Results Analysis. If I have time I’ll do some more in depth analysis for the half marathon results.

BMO Vancouver Half Marathon – 1:27:39

BMO Half MarathonLast year I ran my first full marathon. This year I didn’t want to commit as much time to training and instead focused on running a fast half marathon. I’ve run two halves before (Victoria and Scotiabank Vancouver), the fastest in 1 hour and 33 minutes. I knew I could go faster.

The weather this morning wasn’t ideal – persistently raining with gusts of wind, but I powered through. I had no idea how fast I was going – probably the only person without a watch. I took the first 3 km pretty fast, thinking the downhill section would allow me to bank some free time. After that I settled into a steady pace. Luckily I had friends along the course to encourage me to run fast. Thanks Emily, Rhea, Michael, Cynthia, Greg, and Taryn.

Every few kilometres something ached – my right hip flexor was bothering me before the race, my left hamstring cramped up midway, my feet were sore for the second half, and I had a stitch in my side for the last 5 kilometres. But I was able to run through all the problems and finished strong. I had lots of energy left at the end and sprinted the last kilometre. I thought my pace must have been too slow. I was shocked when I saw the time was under 1:28.

Warmup GearIt was tricky figuring out what to wear this morning. I wanted to run the race in shorts and a singlet, but needed something to warm up in. I found an old long-sleeve shirt, a dry-cleaning bag, and cut the toes off mismatched socks to create leggings. I looked like a hobo, but it kept me warm until the race started.

Chip Time: 1:27:39 (Sportstats)
Overall Place: 89 / 9954
Category Place: 18 / 605 (Male 30-34)

Chai Keeps My Running Gear Warm

Data Nerd: Analyzing the BMO Vancouver Marathon 2013 Results

Now that my marathon training is over, I thought I’d use some of my free time to analyze the race results.

Registration in the 2013 BMO Vancouver Marathon was capped at 5000 and there were 4958 registered runners, but the results show only 3876 people finished the race – 1710 women and 2166 men. Another 102 people dropped out, including last year’s women’s winner Ellie Greenwood. For the remaining 980 runners, injuries probably forced many of them to drop down into shorter distances or not run at all.

2013 BMO Vancouver Finishing Times By Gender
Finishing times ranged from 2:24:08 to 8:12:33. Half of the men finished under 4:10:00. The median time for women was 4:30:00.

Half Splits Histogram
It was the hottest BMO Vancouver marathon in the race’s 42 year history, which clearly affected most runners. Only 99 finishers (2.6%) ran a negative split (where the 2nd half of the race is faster than the first). Everyone else slowed as the race progressed and the temperatures climbed. For most runners, the second half of the race was 3%-11% slower than the first half.
Half Splits By Finishing Time
The elites ran closer to even splits, but even they slowed by a few minutes. For someone running a 3:30 marathon, the second half of the race averaged 10 minutes slower than the first. For a 4 hour marathon, it was 16 minutes slower. For a 5-hour marathon, it was 27 minutes slower.

Boston Qualifiers - Male Boston Qualifiers - Female
375 marathon runners ran times fast enough to qualifiy for the Boston Marathon in their category. Overall the ladies did a better job qualifying, with 189 running BQ times (11%). 186 men (8.6%) also ran BQ times. The categories that had the most Boston qualifiers were Male 50-54 (43), Female 45-49 (34), Male 45-49 (33), and Female 40-44 (32).

Race results were acquired from SportStats.ca.

BMO Vancouver Marathon Completed in 3:27:06

30.5 km and Looking Good
Achievement Unlocked – Ran a Full Marathon

Everything went well today. My fuelling strategy with homemade gels worked well, I kept hydrated, and I ran a good, consistent pace, and I finished faster than 3:30 (my goal).

Finishers Pose No Meat Athlete Runs on Plants
Special thanks to Emily, Joy, Erica, and Marsha for cheering me on at multiple spots along the course. Having friends in the crowd gave me energy boosts when I needed it most. The crowd in general was awesome. Lots of encouraging words, funny signs, and good music. Some guys on Cornwall even started a “No Meat Athlete” chant for me.

3:45 Pace Bunny BMO Marathon Crosses the Burrard Bridge
It was a hard race. I felt really good for the first 19 km, but after the UBC downhill my feet started to ache. The uphill around km 24 up to 4th Avenue was surprisingly hard (harder than the big Camosun hill at km 10). But the absolute hardest section was the last 10 km around Stanley Park at the end of the race, even though it was completely flat. It was lonely and my legs were mush. I saw a lot of people stop to walk. I ran my slowest km splits in there, but I managed to get through it. I felt better when I passed the 9 o’clock gun and there were big crowds to cheer me on and push me through the last 2 km.

The heat really did a lot of people in, but it didn’t bother me too much. There was more shade along the course than I expected.

I was impressed by the number of people running in Vibram FiveFingers, but the most spectacular sight was the guy running completely barefoot. I was close to him for a long stretch in UBC. I think he was trying to run along the white lines in the middle of the road to avoid the hot pavement. Crazy.

My shirt said “Powered by Plants” but it really should have said “Powered by Dates”. My breakfast and energy gels were mostly dates, with some banana, coconut oil and other goodies mixed in. It did the trick and got me through the race. I thought I was drinking enough on course, but I was dehydrated enough at the finish line to drink over a litre of water and coconut water without thinking about it.
Energy Pudding Post Race Facebook Update
Continue reading BMO Vancouver Marathon Completed in 3:27:06

T-10 Days Until the Marathon

Dundarave Run
10 days. That is all that stands between me and my first marathon. What a terrifying thought.

I’m almost ready. Or rather, I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’ve started tapering now, so the focus is on staying healthy. In some ways it is liberating knowing that it’s too late to improve my fitness levels.

Right now the biggest weakness in my training is my low weekly mileage. The most I ran in any week was 67 km back in January, and that was the week I injured myself. Since then I’ve averaged 40-60 km a week. I wish I had run more, but there was never enough time and I was worried about reinjuring my calf.
Marathon Training Graph

I’m happy with how my workouts have gone. This week I recorded my fastest training times in the 1 km (3:17), 5 km (20:38), and 10 km (42:49) during my tempo and track workouts. So my speed is definitely where it needs to be to run a fast marathon. My worry is with my endurance.

My primary goal for the race is to run in 3:30. My secondary goal is to just finish. I’m going to spend the next 10 days doing some light running, eating good vegan food, and prepping for race day.

Marathon Training – Week 3

Coopers Park and the Seawall
All this running is tiring me out. I think I overdid it this week with 6 workouts, including 5 km in my Vibrams on Friday – my calves have been really sore and tight since. This week I’ve been focusing on posture and form, so I thought a barefoot run would help my technique, but I should have kept it shorter.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace /km
Sunday 14.9 Long 1:17:45 5:14 map
Monday Off
Tuesday 5.3
(1.5)
Speed
(warmup)
0:22:58
(0:08:03)
4:20
(5:52)
map
(map)
Wednesday 10.4 Steady 0:56:28 4:57 map
Thursday 5.3 Tempo 0:24:26 4:35 map
Friday 5.4 Barefoot 0:23:42 4:20 map
Saturday 9.3 Steady 0:46:03 4:55 map
Running Total 56.1 4:37:52 4:57

Strava RunI’ve been uploading my runs to Strava, a cool running/cycling app for tracking workouts. I like the basic analysis it does – pace calculation, splits, elevation and speed charts. There’s also gamification to keep you motivated, like achievements for personal bests and leaderboards for common running routes.

3 week downs, 14 more to go. Last weeks results are here.

Marathon Training – Week 2

Running in the Mist
I ran 41 km this week, a few less than last week but that’s because I went snowshoeing on Sunday. The focus of this week’s Running Room clinic was pacing and apparel.

Day Distance (km) Workout Time Pace (per km)
Sunday 8.5 snowshoe 2:30:00 map
Monday Off
Tuesday 5.0 Time Trial 0:19:59 3:59
Wednesday 11.5 Steady Run 0:59:58 5:14 map
Thursday 9.3 Steady Run 0:42:53 4:35 map
Friday Off
Saturday 15.0 Steady Run 1:09:59 4:40 map
Running Total 40.8 3:12:49 4:43

We did a 5km time trial on Tuesday to help figure out our marathon pace. I ran it in 19:59, which means my long run pace should be between 4:41 and 5:29, my tempo pace is 4:15, and my 1600 meter time should be 6:30. If I want to run a 3 1/2 hour marathon, I need to run an average pace of 4:59 for 42.2 km.

My First Triathlon
So far I’m having no problem maintaining a good pace over my long runs. On Saturday I was only planning on running 10 km, but I felt good so I ran a for 15 km and then added 30 minutes of biking to the farmer’s market. I bathed afterwards, so that’s probably the closest I’ll get to a triathlon.

Ghetto Running AttireOn Tuesday, our clinic instructor spent a few minutes talking about good running attire. He didn’t have to say much because everyone was decked out in fancy Running Room gear. Everyone except for me. I’ve been running in ghetto gear – old sneakers from my first half marathon in 2007, IRS pub crawl shorts from 2006, baggy hoodies, and my cellphone clutched in my hand to measure my speed. When it’s cold out, I’ve been running in red sweat pants or just wearing long underwear under my shorts. I don’t want to buy a lot of fancy running clothing, but I might have to break down and buy a pair of tights so I have something warmer to wear when it rains.

Shiny new shoesI did buy a new pair of sneakers after my run on Saturday. I knew the old runners were garbage. I know have a pair of Mizuno Wave Precision 13’s. They’re shiny and fast and make my knees feel a lot better.

Two week downs, 15 more to go.