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|
|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|
Second, 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.