NYCM to me: “you’re too slow!”

So getting bib #’s for big races is usually fun, right?  That’s the time it really starts getting real…and it’s interesting to kind of read into the numbers and see what kind of meaning they have. 🙂

And in the case in NYC, you also find out your wave/start time in addition to your bib number.  If you remember correctly, the waves started in 2008.  I started in the 2nd corral of wave 2, which was exactly where I thought I would be, with a marathon PR of 3:58 and a predicted time of 3:45 (and I wound up running 3:44, talk about being on the money!)  Now?  I have a marathon PR of 3:43 and predicted time…well I don’t wanna say quite yet.  But I think you all have a ballpark guess 😉  either way, one would think a 15 minute improvement would put me in wave 1.  Especially since most of my friends/teammates with similar PRs/goal times wound up in wave 1.  Boy was I wrong…

wave 2 AGAIN? are you kidding me?

 I seriously thought it was some sort of mistake.  But apparently no, the official word is that my 3:43 PR landed me in that corral and they go by previous time when seeding runners.  Ummmm…then why is it that quite a few of my teammates and friends who have slower marathon PRs than me-quite a few over 4 hours too!-were allowed in wave 1 and I wasn’t?  Your honor system sucks, NYCM.  Take a hint from Chicago.  THEY get it right.  You want a seeded corral?  You better have the proof of running a certain time, or no go.

Well in a way, this may screw up my race goals.  My issue is not so much with the start-as in 2008 that part was fine and I *am* in the very first corral in wave 2 at least (though I’m sure I’ll be forced to the back by people in wave 1 who miss their start…)  My concern is more running into the back of wave 1…especially if they let 10 or 11 minute milers in there!  Yes, it is possible to catch up to wave 1-in 2008, Brightroom captured quite a few pictures from the last couple of miles which had me passing runners in wave 1.  I’d just prefer to pass these people in Brooklyn, early on instead of it becoming a roadblock on the narrow streets of 5th Avenue.  I know some people say it will be fine, but I’ve heard mixed opinions (and experienced it for myself…)

Plus what gets to me is…where’s the consistency??  Why were those others-especially the ones much slower-allowed a chance at a great start and I wasn’t?  Are my goals too aggressive?  Do I have any right to be trying for the times I want?  (And for the record-I am NOT bashing slower runners.  They have their place in the race as much as the elites do.  I don’t think I’m anything special, but I don’t think a 4:30 marathoner should have a 30-minute head start on me.)

Well…I have one last chance to sorta “save” myself…which unfortunately puts a lot more pressure on this weekend’s half-marathon.  Wish me luck…

And at least this drama keeps me from thinking about the other hot topic in the running world this week…that certain marathon in April…


14 thoughts on “NYCM to me: “you’re too slow!”

  1. All those starting crowds, I’ll stick to the smaller marathons…

    Now go and KICK some butt this weekend and show the world.

  2. This slow runner is in Wave 3 🙂 I will admit that I’m happy I’m “blue” at least!
    I can see your annoyance with the whole thing … when they first posted the forms with everyone’s start time as 9:40 I was like, “what?!?!? – no way I’m in the first wave”.
    Even though this is coming from a newbie marathoner – don’t let the logistics ruin your day — you’re going to do great 🙂

    • That’s awesome you are in blue…orange and blue are definitely the coveted starts 🙂 I was orange for my first in 2006 and blue in 2008. I will admit the one good thing about my start is that I am in blue and in the first corral at least. Thanks for understanding what I was getting at and knowing that I wasn’t trying to put others down-but just something is off with their seeding system (I also found out that a teammate of mine who’s a sub-3 marathoner got assigned to wave 2 as well! thats not right!)

      BTW-did you claim your free race coupon from the Bronx Half yet? I’m still deciding…I would have used it for Staten Island had I not already signed up…

      • I cashed in my coupon for Staten Island. I almost feel guilty for doing it since I technically wasn’t going to run Bronx because my knee got all wonky. I hoping to at least be well enough to run S.I…..this whole knee thing came out of nowhere and it’s taking forever to feel 100% again. Come hell or high water I am running the marathon so if it means backing off the running for now, I’ll deal with it.
        If all goes well these next couple weeks and my knee cooperates, I’ll be in Staten Island 🙂

  3. I’m not fast enough for wave 1, but I’ve been in wave 2 (back) and wave 3 (front) in the past. I think it is much better to be in the front of wave 2 than in the back of wave 1. In the back of wave 1, you’ll be dodging and passing people for the first several miles, and on the VB uphill. At the front of wave 2, you’ll have a stress free start at the front of the pack, and by the time you pass the slow wave 1 people, it will be later on in the race. I hear you on some spots being narrow, but I think it is manageable. Those narrow spots in Brooklyn will be crowded whether you are in wave 1 or 2.

    Maybe you know better than me, but I would be shocked if a person with a 4:30 best marathon is allowed in wave 1. I last ran NYC in 2009. My best marathon at that time was a fresh 4:22 from that same year, and my predicted time of course faster, but I was assigned wave 3.

    • i was near the front (2nd corral) of wave 2 in 2008 and actually had a smooth start, even the mile 8 merge wasn’t so bad. I did run into some “traffic” on 5th ave…lots of walkers and ppl who didn’t belong in wave 1 and i think it cost me some time. i was happy with my finish time, but of course i have to wonder what could have been. then last year I was trying to pace my friend to break 4 hours…she had started in wave 2 and upper Manhattan and Bronx were crowded, more than I ever remembered it being-and that unfortunately made her miss her goal. That said, her corral was at the back of wave 2, whereas mine is at the front. And maybe the 3:3x crowd is less dense than the 4-hour crowd? I dunno.

      As for them allowing slower runners in wave 1…yep I actually know for a fact that has happened. Unfortunately some people know how to “beat the system” My corral assignment this year was apparently based on my best time as opposed to predicted time, apparently actual time supersedes predicted? (i cant remember which in the application was mandatory) but the “honor system” just does not work…a teammate and i agree that someone who wants to be in wave 1 needs to show some kind of proof and have the time verified-like what was done in Chicago for the seeded corrals.

  4. I think you’ll be all right. NYCM 2010 was my first marathon, so they put me in the very back of wave 2. My first mile took literally 10 minutes, but I still ran the race in 3:35. I passed so many people from Wave 2 and Wave 1 along the way which sometimes got to me, but I stopped caring around Mile 10 or so. A friend who was put in Corral 1 of Wave 2, on the other hand, had an unobstructed run. I wouldn’t sweat it. Kick ass!

  5. Just out of curiosity – do you think they take any other races into account? I have only run one marathon and it was in 3:46 and I put a predicted time if 3:35 and I am in wave 1 (and not the last corral, in the middle actually). Yet last year I had the exact same PR and predicted time and was placed in wave 2 (ended up deferring because of injury). But I did run a 1:38 in Brooklyn in May so I was wondering if they factor in other races.

    • i honestly don’t know what kind of convoluted logic they use! 🙂 if they would take the time to research other races that applicants run, wouldn’t they also take the time to make sure that people are submitting legitimate times? there are people who are in wave 1 that have never beaten me-in any distance…

      • Yeah I have no idea what determines it. I would love to know! I wasn’t thinking that they research other races, more that they have a database of NYRR events that could factor into the algorithm. But then again based on the fact that their website is so awful, I can’t imagine they have sophisticated algorithms 🙂 I actually ended up missing my wave 1 start in 2009 because of transportation issues (taking official transportation this year!) and started in wave 2 and did not have any issues. Hopefully it works out well for you too.

  6. Hi,

    Quick question: I have the same start time as you but my “start infomation” number is 35. I’m not sure what this means. I’m guessing that I’m in the same Blue group but just further back than you??

    Anyway, good luck in Philly. I’m also running and it looks like we will have a perfect day.


  7. Thanks for the link. It’s the first marathon for me…

  8. Pingback: The Miracle in Philly – A Race Weekend Recap (Long One with fun pics!) « breathlessrunner

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