Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ironman Marathon Not An Actual Marathon?

Maybe some of you already knew this, but it's news to me. Some Ironman Triathlons, by rule, can have their Marathon run course be as much as 10% short (or long) and still be good to go! No, really. That's a 23.6 mile marathon, in case you were curious.

See a decent write-up of the whole thing here at Track and Field News.

Wow. There's a lot to wonder about here. First, I don't think, even a little, that this diminishes how difficult an Ironman tri is, and how impressive the athletes are that finish them. But does it matter?


Now anyone that has done a trail run knows that one 50k is not equal to all 50k's. Some are brutal, with over 7000 feet of climbing, while others have less than 2000 feet of climbing. But a 50k record is a 50k record. No matter what. And a marathon record is a marathon record, whether you're running in hilly Seattle or flat Eugene. It shouldn't matter.

And I feel the same way about Ironman races. They should all have 26.2 runs. No question. How can anyone compare one time to another?

Now it's one thing to be "certified." I don't care if a course is certified, necessarily, as long as it's been measured honestly as the correct length. But I don't want a race director consciously making a course where every mile is actually nine-tenths of a mile.

Now apparently the Ironman Championships in Kona is run on a certified course. It's legit. If you're wondering what other courses might or might not be legit, just check this list over at the USATF.

This is one I hope gets changed soon. Let's make an Ironman and Ironman.

1 comment:

  1. The Ironman Kona run course this year was almost .5 miles short by my analysis. (I looked at the course map and where the turnarounds were located compared to the turnaround locations based on my gps track--I didn't just look at the gps distance.)