Three notes of interest

Three notes to throw at you this afternoon…

First, a retraction of sorts.

Late last week I posted a list of Ohio’s indoor all-comers records, the best marks ever made within the state. I’m fairly certain that I’m the only person who has ever attempted to compile such a thing. In it, I violated protocol by presenting marks made on oversize tracks as indoor records. I’ve been reminded that this is not acceptable. Mea culpa.

The updated list below shows the best records made on tracks of 200 meters or less, but also includes marks from the state’s four oversized tracks as “all-conditions” records. Those are included because they’re the only places where anyone even attempts to run fast any more (save the occasional D-III championship meet at Ohio Northern or Capital, rarely a threat to a record book).

60 meters 6.56 Henry Neal Cleveland, 1995
200 meters 21.25 Chris Nelloms Columbus, 1992
20.64 OT Clement Chukwu Kent, 1998
400 meters 46.66 Andrew Pierce Columbus, 1999
45.37 OT Clement Chukwu Kent, 1998
800 meters 1:48.9 Ray Brown Cleveland, 1990
1:47.89 OT Mike Inge Kent, 2004
Mile 3:56.56 Jose Abascal Richfield, 1984
3000 meters 8:02.03 Pascal Dobert Columbus, 1996
7:50.23 OT Jeff See Akron, 2011
5000 meters 14:00.57 Scott Fry Columbus, 1988
13:58.71 OT Boaz Cheboiywo Kent, 2003
60m Hurdles 7.57 Greg Foster Cleveland, 1995
4×400 Relay 3:10.78 Illinois Columbus, 1996
3:07.29 OT George Mason Geneva, 2013
Distance Medley 9:49.48 Wisconsin Columbus, 1996
9:39.03 OT Pittsburgh Akron, 2007
High Jump 2.35 Jim Howard Richfield, 1985
Pole Vault 5.73 Scott Davis Brook Park, 1989
Long Jump 8.37 Sean Robbins Bowling Green, 1996
Triple Jump 16.86 Kenny Harrison Cleveland, 1995
Shot Put 21.38 Kevin Akins Columbus, 1982
Weight Throw 25.18 A.G. Kruger Findlay, 2012
60 meters 7.13 Gwen Torrance Cleveland, 1995
200 meters 23.79 LaTasha Jenkins Bowling Green, 1999
23.03 OT Jura Levy Geneva, 2012
400 meters 53.84 Jearl Miles Cleveland, 1993
52.07 OT Ashley Spencer Geneva, 2013
800 meters 2:02.17 Maria Mutola Cleveland, 1995
Mile 4:42.88 Finch Richfield, 1984
4:37.33 OT Amanda Eccleston Geneva, 2013
3000 meters 9:20.20 Maureen Cogan Columbus, 1984
9:06.26 OT Mary Cullen Akron, 2006
5000 meters 15:50.10 Katie Ishmael Columbus, 1985
60m Hurdles 7.93 Jackie Joyner-Kersee Cleveland, 1995
4×400 Relay 3:41.48 Indiana Columbus, 1985
3:36.88 OT Notre Dame Geneva, 2013
Distance Medley 11:35.63 Ferris State Findlay, 2012
11:06.99 OT Connecticut Geneva, 2013
High Jump 1.94 Nicole Forrester Columbus, 1999
Pole Vault 4.63 Jen Suhr Geneva, 2013
Long Jump 6.33 Shameka Marshall Akron, 2006
Triple Jump 13.64 Huana Han Bowling Green, 1998
Shot Put 18.28 Ramona Pagel Kent, 1996
Weight Throw 22.09 D’Ana McCarty Akron, 2011

, an article from Runner’s World regarding the marathon and half-marathon boom.

Scott Douglas wondered if the massive expansion of participation in those races has run its course. For several years, the participation numbers have been going up, as was the rate of increase. (For the nerdy out there, the second derivative of the participation rate was positive.) That’s just nuts, and it will eventually run into an upper bound of some kind.

Douglas refers to Phil Stewart’s analysis of numbers for Road Race Management, an industry newsletter. He looked at numbers from the Rock N’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon series and saw a nearly 13% decline in participation from 2011 to 2012. He was unable to get his hands on comprehensive data from Running USA, the industry trade group that monitors participation, but I think that’s because they’re not ready to release it. Much of their data isn’t released until spring and sometimes summer.

I took a look at another data source: the Association of Road Racing Statisticians. It tracks global participation in marathons only, and his data shows 1,608,848 marathon finishers worldwide in 2012 versus 1,518,355 in 2011, an increase of 5.9%. That’s a slowing of the rate of increase over previous years, but the numbers were impacted by the cancellation of the New York City race, which is usually the world’s largest. It looks like the participation is still increasing, and significantly.

All of the above is mundane number crunching, a fairly boring exercise. The real interesting thing is the comments section to the RW article. Virtually all the comments looked at the data source—the Rock N’ Roll race series—and said that of course the participation in those races is declining because they’re overpriced and poorly organized. These people really hated their experiences, detested them, and have no plan to ever go back. It really reflects badly on the RNR series.

Third, the Drake Relays has upped its game.

Drake has signed on a new sponsor this year, the Hy-Vee grocery store chain, and is sinking big money into the meet. Yesterday they announced additional Olympic medalists signed on to compete, bringing the total to 22. Not all are Americans, as many will come from overseas. Some of the events are going to be really great, especially the men’s hurdles: Aries Merritt vs. Jason Richardson vs. Hansle Parchment in the 110s, Felix Sanchez vs Michael Tinsley vs Javier Culson in the 400s.

Another thing announced yesterday is a revamped schedule. These pro competitions, touted as “London Games Rematches”, are all individual events rather than relays and will be held on Friday night. That keeps Saturday open for the more traditional college and high school relay events. It’s also probably going to help attendance; Drake has sold out Saturday’s session for decades, but Friday always has some empty seats. Maybe not now.

One other smart thing they did was move around the “Drake Relays on the Roads” events, so that they’ll take place on the Sunday morning immediately following the meet. Races of 6k, 10k and half marathon will all finish on the famous blue track inside Drake Stadium. The idea is that you can make a travel weekend out of it: watch a day or two of action, run the race, and they get home in time to go to work on Monday. Anything track and field can do to try to integrate itself into the hordes of road racers is a good thing.

If Drake keeps this up for another year, I’m going in 2013. I’ll follow the plan, watch the meet and run a race.

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