Sunday, June 29, 2014

Waterford...Report on the Waterford Viking Marathon - Sat 28th June 2014

The third Waterford Viking Marathon was held on Saturday the 28th of June 2014. This year saw the introduction of a new quarter marathon option.

A look at the numbers....

First off, you can see that the numbers in the marathon have declined over the three years. It's understandable that the first year would get a lot of entrants as many people from Waterford would want to run a marathon in their home city and it would have had a certain novelty factor. Still though, the numbers in the marathon were down 20% this year on the numbers for 2013. Interestingly enough, the numbers in the full event in the Cork City Marathon were also down this year so maybe it's just a choice of so many events?

In contrast, the half-marathon continues to grow. The numbers this year were up 13% on 2013.

Oddly enough, the percentage of women in each event seems to be dropping. In the marathon, the percentage of women went from 23.7% in 2012 to 17.4% in 2013 to 15.6% this year. In the half-marathon, the percentage of women also dropped....going from 53.3% in 2012 to 48.6% in 2013 to 43.2% in 2014.

The percentage of women in the new Quarter Marathon this year was 67.5% of the field of 576 finishers.


Report on the 2014 Marathon...I ran the full marathon as one of the 3:45 pacers having done it last year as well. This year, the course was changed again for the third time in as many years. It started off by taking in a loop in around the streets of the centre of Waterford City. This was a really nice section and took visitors to the city around historic areas that they may have never seen before.

The next section took in two loops around the south side of the city. I remember thinking at around the 10k mark that it seemed quite hilly as marathons go and I'm not sure if you would consider it as being a fast marathon course. As someone who doesn't really know Waterford City, I still thought it was nice to see various parts of the city like this.

After the 8 mile mark, we began the journey south to Tramore on the coast. Everything seemed fine up until after the 9 mile mark. There were two of us pacing and our group had a constant cushion of about 20-40 seconds over the target time.

Marathon Course Error.......Once we got to the 10 mile mark, our time was way out. Even though we had kept a reasonably even pace, we now had a cushion of about 3 minutes as opposed to something like 30 seconds. Either we had run the last mile in about 6 minutes instead of 8:30...which we hadn't...or the 10 mile mark was in the wrong spot....which it was.

i.e. The 10 mile mark for the half marathon and full marathon was actually at about 9.7 miles.

The graphic below shows the area around the 10 mile mark. On the left is the map that is on the race website. On the right is someones GPS plot of where they actually ran.


I'm a bit reluctant to believe everything that is shown on a MapMyRun map or to have completely blind fate in GPS readings but it does suggest a possible problem.

On the right, the plot shows how we ran towards the roundabout from the city (top).....then out about 200m and back 200m. From here, the half-marathon runners ran back in towards the city while the full marathon runners headed south towards Tramore.

It's important to note that we actually hit the 10 mile sign before we reached the roundabout. The map suggests that it should have been on the out and back section.

The map also suggests that the out and back section should have been about 400-450 metres out and the same back......instead of 200m.

For the subsequent markers...11 miles on....we found that we were out by about 400-500m.

As pacers, it was obvious at that stage that the mile markers were out and all we could do was to hope that a few were put in the wrong spot and they would correct themselves later on the course. This has happened in other marathons so it's not unknown.

In Waterford however, the mile markers were out all of the way to the finish line. i.e. the actual marathon course was at least 400-500 metres short. This seems to be borne out by others with readings of about 26.0 miles on their GPS watches. You would expect to see readings around 26.3-26.4 miles.

What this means for someone running say a 3:30 marathon was that their time was at least 2 minutes faster than it should have been.

I'm not sure what the story was with the half marathon, whether that course was short or not? They did however share the same 10 mile mark which came early for them as well.

For people that trained specifically for a time, having a marathon course that is short is unforgivable. In the 2013 event, the local council had put out some barriers in the wrong spot which resulted in the course being slightly too long. This year, it was too short. The problem is that Waterford will get a reputation as an event where the course is always wrong and one to avoid doing.

In conclusion........I just feel disappointed for the event itself. Just about everything else was really good. It feels kind of strange being able to run around the streets of Waterford and still manage to get to the coast...run around Tramore...and back and all in the space of the marathon distance. As a location and course, it's one of the better events in the country. It's a nice event with loads of positives about it and should be getting 9 out of 10. It should have the status as being the premier running event in the south-east of the country. However, the most important thing in any event like this is that the distances of each course has to be correct. Who wants to train for months and run a course that's short by hundreds of metres? Having a accurate course should be a given and it should be the number one priority. This year at least, the organisers failed in that regard.

Results.......The results are available on the Precision Timing website HERE

Comments......Did you run the full marathon or half? What did you think of the course? The measurements? Leave a comment...

Update...Sun 29th June @8pm : Thanks to the comments left here and on other sites, it would seem the following is likely...
1) The Half-Marathon course was accurate and was not short.
2) The 10 mile mark was on the wrong side of the road. It should have been on the other side of the road and would have been the 10 mile mark for half-marathon runners on their way back after the out and back section at the roundabout.
3) The full marathon runners should have been taken out further on the out and back section to make up that extra 0.3 miles or so. Their 10 mile mark would have been on this out and back section. The alternative would have been to make up the distance in Tramore.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did the half and distance was spot on.

Anonymous said...

Think the 10 mile mark was just on the wrong side of the road. Did the half and as we passed the 10 mile mark after the turn around think 'twas right my garmin was just over the distance at the end so no problems with total distance in the half

Anonymous said...

Did the full and Garmin said 200m short.

Anonymous said...

would agree with all you said John. Have done this all 3 years and really like it but to have the course distance wrong again after last year is shocking. It should have been double / triple checked especially on the morning anywhere where out and back sections with bollards are involved. Really is no excuse for this again this year. Amount of water, gels and lucozade available was excellent and it was very well marshalled at all points where the various distance races diverged. Not sure I would give them another chance though.Pity.

Anonymous said...

Yes half distance right for me 2

mark corcoran said...

ran the full and was short ok. but i did notice a 20mile marker on the road that had been more or less equal to my watch but had been crossed out and the 20 mile marker was about 1/4 mile before this . this is the second year the distance has been wrong and a bit of a dissapointment

Anonymous said...

I did the full and my watch was .3 of mile short from round the 10 mile marker.Besides this it was very well organised;plenty of water,sports drink and gels. Didn't enjoy last two miles off road;it was too lonely and isolated so late in race.

Anonymous said...

As a spectator it was shocking to witness the lead runners at the Kingfisher, where the runners split, not been directed by the stewards and ending running the wrong way only to turn back after 5 mins running in the wrong direction. One of the stewards said to one if the runners "u should of looked at the map beforehand". Obviously these stewards voluntarily gave their time but would be more beneficial if an person with knowledge of running was also there.

seamie said...

Superbly well organised event, great buzz around the city, I've ran this race for the last three years and the spectators have increased year on year. No excuse for the errors in distance but hopefully this is resolved, a fantastic day in the Deise

Anonymous said...

It was great event, did the half, my only issue was walkers 3-4 abreast, really unfair when ur pushing for a pb! I still think staggering the times between each would be a better option

Anonymous said...

did the half Agree with the last comment comming onto the track and pushing hard twas tough rounding in and out of the walkers 4 abreast.
That said no problem with the half distance garmin 13.23. so overall good day out

Donal Maye said...

Did the half and clocked a distance of 13.22 miles. Unsure if that was as a result of taking a wide berth on a few of the bends in town early on. Thought it a very fair course, missed my targeted PB by 2 minutes but that's my own fault.....

John Desmond said...

Ref : Half-Marathon

Just to clarify for those who may not be aware. The half marathon is 13.11 miles in length. If someone got 13.23 miles on their GPS watch then that's a good sign that the half-marathon course was fine and measured accurately.

Anonymous said...

13.26 for me fro the half. Agree with the previous poster on the 10 mile mark. It was just on the wrong side of the road and measured up OK on the way back. They must of confused themselves having put out a 10 mile marker that they actually needed a second 10 mile marker for the full.

Good day out, but if I had done the full I'd have been seriously pissed off

Anonymous said...

Did the full copped that the 11 mile mark came too soon. Got to half way mark and we were joined by another group who asked did we think it was off? I have a Garmin 405 and it was showing 0.3 short. My finished distance was 25,83 so plus 0.3 would be about right. Tough day out in the heat and I struggled in the last six miles so was heading a min or so over a pb so it wasn't going to be my day regardless!!! That's my 3rd time doing Waterford and outside of the distance boo boo's they have all been excellently organised

Anonymous said...

Ran the half and have to say that it was a great route and that the event itself was well organised and marshalled. The distance faux-pas for the full was disappointing but I would have to say it was the single (though important) downside.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the organisers will listen to this feedback and get the distance right for next year! I have one other small issue, the photos! Where are they? There is only 299 uploaded on the Facebook page, other than that I can't find anything! I had 3 friends running in the half and another friend and I ran the full and I am unable to find any picture of any of us!

Anonymous said...

Not again!!!..I'm sorry but 2 years in a row?..gave them the benefit of the doubt last year and came back as its a nice area for a race but won't run this again in a hurry. You can have the best run race in the world with all the trimmings but if the distance isn't right its pointless..12 week cycle down the drain.

Keith said...

I did the half and got 13.17 on me garmin so fairly spot on very good course great start in around the city wouldn't even notice the miles passing by water stations plentiful and steward and supporters where great like been said before only problem i had was when we would join back in with the Quarter marathon alot of the walkers where 3/4/5 abreast so having to push your way around them when you starting to get tried was not ideal when you running for a PB overall its an event i would highly recommend the organizers do listen to the runners and have improved aspects of the race over the 3 years

Anonymous said...

I did the half marathon and just wish to echo some of the previous comments re the 10 mile marker sign. Definitely agree that it was on the wrong side of the road and should have been on our way back after the turnaround. 11 mile marker was spot on if runners realised this.

Anonymous said...

Also there was no officials athe the court house at mile 4. This caused some runners to run straight on only for a by stander to wave them the tight way. The road was open and cars were driving against the runners. This is a major safety concern and also given that only for one individual who was jogging around watching the race the runners would have been headed up towards the credit union where the start of the race took place. Cars driving against the runners is a disgrace given the volume and the early part of the race. I think that the marathon course isn't going to attract top runners and the un reliability of the distances eg marathon too long or short is a major turn off for future runners. This all factored in and an extremely inflated entry fee for in some areas unprofessional event is a major concern for the future of the event.

Anonymous said...

They got the distance wrong again. .. everyone who signed and paid to do a full marathon have not done a marathon. But the organiser got the money so that's Ok.

Anonymous said...

I did the half and the distance was spot on. My only issue was with the quarter marathon walkers after coming out of the park and on the track not moving out of the way. I had to completely stop twice in the last .75 mile.

when I was coming onto the track, people who had finished were walking across the top bend and a kid walked right in front of me and I nearly knocked her over and I had to stop. The entry onto the track should be closed off on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Did the marathon and realised as mentioned in earlier posts that the distance markers were 0.25 - 0.3 out ,, as I was heading for a PB I was pissed off ... When I crossed the line I kept going around the pitch until I ran 26.2 miles , roughly 2 minutes later .. And still got a PB ... , but the PB feels tainted ... So overall disappointed ...

Anonymous said...

still waiting for my chip time precision timing has no record of me starting the half marathon only my gun and finish time very disappointed is any one else in same boat????

Anonymous said...

I ran the full marathon and agree it was short around the 10 mile mark. There were 4 or 5 of us together at that point and we all noticed the short mile. I really enjoyed it anyways and loved the bit in Tramore by the sea. My only complaint was when we finished we couldn't find the shuttle bus back to the city. We asked but there wasn't a sign and after a few minutes walked the two miles or so. We were fine doing it but I imagine it would have been a bit difficult for some if they were really tired or injured. The amount of water and gels available was great and important on such a warm day.

John said...

I did the half and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is a great event. I thought that going into the narrow streets early on was a bad idea as it didn't give people time to space out and I found myself behind slower runners and weaving in and out to get past them.