Author Topic: 2016 Wave Placement  (Read 1560 times)

John Garner

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2016 Wave Placement
« on: July 27, 2016, 03:53:51 pm »
The bibs and thus starting waves have been assigned. You can see where you are at the following links:

PPA:  http://www.pikespeakmarathon.org/regstats/2016/ppa_bib.htm
PPM:  http://www.pikespeakmarathon.org/regstats/2016/ppm_bib.htm

We used the same ranking equations from last year. The forum post at http://pikespeakmarathon.org/forum/index.php?topic=55.0 goes into the gory detail.

The only change for 2016 was that we also rolled in the results from all runners who pre-registered for the Garden of the Gods 10M race.

Like last year, when we had multiple times for a runner, we took the one that would produce the fastest estimated time. Some runners had upwards of 7 times (3 years of doubling plus the garden 10 mile).

Note that we did not update the qualification times or links, so the bib numbers will not always track the qualification times.

Before you ask, this is a 4+ hour process. We will not entertain requests to bump folks from one wave to a faster wave unless they can demonstrate through other race results (not gps data or a pinky swear that they are really training hard) that they can be competitive for a top 20 spot. If this is you, ping me via the form at http://www.pikespeakmarathon.org/contact_registrar.asp Do not send results from flat races at low altitudes, as raw speed on pavement does not translate very well to ones time on the Peak. Instead send races showing a top 10 placements in other trail races. They do not need to be half or full marathons, they can be a 25k or other Ultra.

--john


Stephen Peterson

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Re: 2016 Wave Placement
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2016, 09:52:31 am »
Thanks for your hard work!  I thought the waves worked very good last year.  There were a few bottlenecks but that's ok for me...it forces me to save that energy later on. 

shiggins

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Re: 2016 Wave Placement
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 12:07:52 pm »
John, thanks so much for your hard work!

I did want to make a few comments, that may have already been made, but instead of just feeling disappointed internally I may as well put this out into the world to potentially have some effect.

I know there's limited value in anecdotal stories, but here's mine.

I've run PPM twice, finishing 69th overall in 2013 (with bib 615) and 67th overall in 2015 (with bib 211). This means both years I've been in the 2nd starting group. Assuming 151 people started in group 1, I passed an average of roughly 80 people on the trail who started a few minutes ahead of me each year. In 2013 there was limited data to seed me with, last year there was my 69th overall placing from 2013, so it was reasonable to think I may have to pass a lot of people if I start behind up to 200 runners and the same will be true this year as I have bib 202 this year.

In your post you suggest that you are only concerned about wave placement for folks who may be competitive for a top 20 spot. I'm not going to try to persuade you that that will be me (even though my stretch goal would put me close).

However, while not requesting any modifications this year, I would like to ask if the current wave assignment process "makes sense".

What are the goals of the wave assignment? I'm going to try to make a few assumptions, and please let me know if I'm wrong.

1.) Be better than starting everyone at once.
2.) Give runners the best chance to not deal with bottlenecks.
3.) Spread runners out for better aid station experience (volunteers and runners)
4.) Allow competitive runners to be as unimpeded as possible.
5.) Run a safe race with minimal passing (maybe this is a joke in a race where it's an out and back...see bottlenecking)

I reviewed your gory details and question steps 3 and 4.

Step 3 is where you give bibs to award winners, former winners and competitive entries. You try to keep from putting folks who are a little slower in this group by filtering by 4 hour ascent time. I would argue that this should be filtered by overall time to minimize need for passing during the race.

Step 4 is a bigger question. Here you give bibs to the top 50 men and top 50 women. The 50th woman last year (for example) placed 266th overall. I respect parity and equal treatment of both sexes; however, not at the expense of the goal of reducing bottlenecking.

At the end of the day this is not really a big deal, but last year I was surprised to find I had pulled bib 220 after a top 70 finish and this year while I'm not surprised to be 202 I have been asking myself "why?".

So, since i don't like to complain without making recommendations, here they are for your consideration and rejection :).

1.) For step 3, instead of using 4 hour ascent time to filter out award winners use overall time of 200th finisher for full race from last year.
2.) For step 4, instead of allotting 50 places to men and women I would do 50 for men and however many places for women as finished within the top 200 last year.
3.) Assign closer to 200 bibs within the 1-199 range. Looks like you assigned 151 this year.

I think these changes would lead to less passing, less bottlenecking and a safer course overall.

Please don't read this and think I'm dissatisfied with the running of this race, far from it and I'm excited to toe the line in group 2 this year!

John Garner

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Re: 2016 Wave Placement
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2016, 02:36:21 pm »
Thanks for the feedback.

As you know, this is not a perfect science but still worlds ahead of what we had in years prior.

For your particular case, your bib of 211 last year was based on a 2 year old time, and the trendline takes the age of the qualifier into account. This year your bib #202 indicates that you were just on the edge of getting into wave 1. The way things shake out really depends on who registers each year, and there is a huge logjam of folks in the 3:30 estimated summit time.


1.) For step 3, instead of using 4 hour ascent time to filter out award winners use overall time of 200th finisher for full race from last year.
This cutoff has no impact to the general entry folks who get into wave 1. Besides, anybody who slides in because I made the cutoff a bit too generous will probably be passed by both waves 2 and 3 before they even hit Hydro.

2.) For step 4, instead of allotting 50 places to men and women I would do 50 for men and however many places for women as finished within the top 200 last year.

Here is the big sticking point. I will not disrupt the integrity of the women's top overall placement. For them, it is a race much like it is a race for the top men. They need to know that when they see somebody that is 10 seconds ahead of them that they are actually 10 seconds ahead and not 2:10 or 3:10. I do my best to make sure that this is the case. (every now and then I get a surprise, like Scheri S Nagaraj who snagged 19th from the 5th wave. Otherwise I was 28 for 30 in the top 30 overall for the women in the PPM. The PPA was a bit messier, with 3 women snagging a top 30 slot from outside of wave 1, including one from wave 16!) What you suggest would result in over half of the top 20 starting outside of wave 1, including some top 10 runners. 

Besides, I rely on the women to pace me through the first 3 miles of the race. The men are way too erratic in this race and really don't know how to pace themselves, always trying to pass anybody within 10' of them. The women are much better at packing and passing at just the right time. :-)

3.) Assign closer to 200 bibs within the 1-199 range. Looks like you assigned 151 this year.
I don't want wave 1 to get too crowded, it would defeat the purpose of the wave starts. I tend to hold back a handful of numbers for recent former winners who have until next week to register. This year I also had to hold back 10 for the Solomon running team (being a title sponsor has some privileges and they would have all received a competitive entry anyway) plus a few for wave 1 reassignments (we now have a process to handle folks who are way out of whack, like Jim Rebenack who snagged 6th overall in the PPM last year from wave 4. His trail bio was quite impressive but it resulted in a crappy qualifier. I had a chat via email with him the Friday before the race, where he indicated that he liked the idea of being in "stealth" mode back in wave 4. Afterwards he reported no issues in passing folks, go figure.)


Overall, the art of passing is a major of this race. If you started in wave 1 you would still be passing hundreds of people on your way to a top 60 spot simply from the folks in wave 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 who went out way too fast and blew up. The trick is to not be so aggressive in the first 3 miles and don't run too close to the person in front of you.

Also, check into Matt's pace calculator at http://skyrunner.com/pace.htm and compare those times with your splits from last year on the results page. Most folks are hitting NoName way too early (too much passing) and not saving anything for the spot above A-Frame.

shiggins

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Re: 2016 Wave Placement
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2016, 04:37:36 pm »
Thanks for responding John!

I understand there are loads of competing interests and you're never going to meet everyone's demands. I also have had very little problems passing, it's probably just a mental thing for those of us on the fringe :).

I will look forward to smart pacing and the opportunity to pass more friendly faces on the trail this year :)