.... but were afraid to ask.
If you are interested in how we assigned bib numbers (and thus seeded folks into starting waves) and how this impacts your assigned starting time, read on. Otherwise, just keep training...
Part 1: Bib Number Assignments (in 5 easy steps)
Step 1: Analyze last year's results
We took all of last years results and broke it into 4 major categories based on the type of qualifier: 1/2 marathon, full marathon, Garden of the Gods, and PPA/PPM Vet. For the first three, we created simple qualifier vs ascent time (or ascent portion of the PPM) tables and used Excel to determine 3 best fit regression equations. They worked out to be as follows:
1/2 Marathon: -31.485*X^2+7.1018*X-0.1666
Full Marathon: -6.9456*x^2 + 3.1414*X - 0.136
Garden of the Gods: -10.728*X^2+4.7255*X- 0.0666
For the veterans, had some extra data that we were able to use, naimly their historical results. We looked at their 2011, 2013, and 2014 Ascent Times (as available) vs 2014 Ascent time. With this we were able to generate 3 additional equations:
3 years back: -2.7082*X^2 + 1.8544*X - 0.0585
2 years back: -1.2532*X^2 + 1.3813*X - 0.0225
1 year back: -1.1367*X^2 + 1.3286*X - 0.0198
In all cases, we determined an estimated ascent time for a given qualifier based on last year's results.
Step 2: Assigning "estimated times" for all of this years runners.
For folks who qualified with a 1/2, Full, or Garden time, this is easy. Take the qualifying time and run it through the equation derived in step 1. For vets, we looked at their 2012, 2013, and 2014 times and ran them through the appropriate 1, 2, or 3 year back equation derived in step 1. We then used their _fastest_ result to determine their 2015 estimated time.
Step 3: Assign all of the award winners, former winners, competitive entries, etc.
Being in this category has some perks. In this case, so long as these runners had an estimated time of 4 hours or less, they are assigned a bib number as outlined on the bib order lists. Those with an estimated time of over 4 hours were put back into the general entry.
Step 4: Assign the top 50 men and top 50 women to the first wave.
Assign bib numbers 101 -> 149 to the top 50 females based on their estimated ascent time. Do the same for bib #150 -> 197 for the top 50 males by estimated ascent time. The first starting wave is a bit larger than the rest, consisting of bib # 1 -> 199. Bib 1 -> 99 are the comp entries as outlined in step 3. bib 100 -> 199 are for the top 50 men and women who entered via the general entry process. We did not want the first person (or even the 10th) crossing the finish line to not be the fastest person on the day,
Step 5: Assign the remaining runners based on their estimated ascent time.
We simply sorted the remaining folks and assigned them bib numbers starting at 201 until we had assigned everybody a bib number. We skipped the 00's to avoid confusion and the 98's and 99's to leave some room for oopses (like lost bibs).
Part 2: How this translates to starting times:
To determine your starting time, simply look at your assigned bib number. If it is between 1 and 199, you will start at 7:00AM. For everybody else, divide your bib number by 100. Take the quotient and add that to 7am. For example, if you are bib number 495, you will start at 7:04. If you are bib number 1659, you will start at 7:16.
The big question: What if you want to run with somebody else who is in a different wave?
Runner's may start in any wave _after_ their assigned starting wave. Thus, if you want to run alongside somebody else who was assigned a later starting wave, you are permitted to start with them. Your time will being when you cross the start line. If you are starting late, it is best to do so at the back of the pack, and slowly cross the starting line to make sure that the system sees your chip.
Finally: Is this system perfect?
Absolutely not, but we hope it will be better than the old system were 1000 runners were set loose at the same time.