By roadman on Tue, 04/20/2010 - 11:25am Why is that the name and photo of the first NON-ELITE runner (i.e. ordinary person who doesn't run for a living) who crosses the finish line has NEVER been featured in the media? Neighborhoods: Topics: Sports, MediaFree tagging: Boston Marathon Tweet WidgetFacebook Like Comments probably because there would be a lot of debate as to who that person is. I would say the first couple thousand or so are elite marathon runners. But I see what you mean. There are probably some good stories to be told about some of these athletes here. No, "Elite" is an industry No, "Elite" is an industry term. It has a very specific meaning: The guys that get to start at the starting line 50 feet ahead of the pack. Or, in the case of the women, the women who start half an hour early. Perhaps, but my point was that the media should also focus on the winning runner in the group who had to start with all the other "normal" runners, and didn't get special conisderation (such as being allowed to run in THEIR OWN RACE two hours ahead of the crowds) because somebody has decided they are not "elite" for whatever reason. Right, I was just explaining Right, I was just explaining it to the guy above who didn't know how to define "elite". I agree with you. Ah ok I forgot about them. But doesnt the 10th finisher out of the elite runners deserve more respect and publicity than the 1st place "regular" runners? I mean, the "regular" runner that finishes first isn't going to be some Rudy type character who just popped out of bed some morning and decided to push his inner soul to run 26 miles. And whats up with the wheelchairs? It seemed like back in the day there were usually a few hundred or so. It seems like there was only about 25 this year. Yeah, that guy Here's what you give the "first place" regular runner if that person is really so upset about not being recognized: A copy of Cheriuyot's daily regimen and a sign that says "Run more marathons." Both of those will come in extra handy in getting him or her some actual hardware instead of the drawstring bag of parting gifts. So would a year of high-altitude training. Again, most runners seem just fine with not getting a booby prize for winning the marathon version of the NIT. Old Fart Rant Back in the day, every entrant was more-or-less a regular joe (albeit a dedicated regular joe.) With a smaller field and no 'elites', there were sometimes very surprising winners. It used to be that everybody who received a bib could at least have the dream of winning the race, and the non-staggered start made that an actual (if remote) possibility. That was part of the allure of the race for fans like me. I'm not saying that the race is a piece of shit now - I still enjoy it tremendously, and the athletes are truly superb. However, there was much to be said for the earlier versions of the race being more fun. Suldoghttp://jimsuldog.blogspot.com what he said Yeah. Spent many years watching the runners go by at the bridge at Lower Falls Wine. No staggered starts. No Mardi Gras costumes. 'See How She Runs' (starring Joanne Woodward) could never happen now. And that's kind of a shame. What about the children?! Yes, because there are never any stories about Joe Blow running for Charity of the Week, wearing a Batman/Spiderman/Solo_Cup costume, carrying a flag, moving backwards, etc. Those stories are told for about a month solid heading into the race. Just count the reporters at Crossroads with the runners the night before. Maybe they don't say the name of the first non-elite runner to cross because he/she accomplished just as much as everyone behind them. The marathon has one winner per each classification -- every other non-elite is usually just happy to either A) finish or B) beat their personal best time. They don't usually need further validation, as running the marathon is usually a sign of above-average self confidence. So, you're saying that being a "non-elite" runner, whch is clearly a separate designation for the runners, is worthy of a separate classification? If that's the case, they lets just do away with the "elite" classification as well. No, Straw Man There are four classifications for marathon runners men's, women's, men's wheelchair, women's wheelchair. That's it, straw man. Your rhetorical question that nobody asks holds no merit here. That said, there's one winner for each of those classifications. The winners get the laurels, everyone else gets to walk around the Common today in their new blue-and-yellow Adidas gear with wobbly legs and a sense of accomplishment. Are you sure about that? Are you sure about that? "Elite" is a separate classification for a lot of marathons, at least. And especially in Boston, where the elite women go off separately. Cite for "other marathons": San Francisco Women's Marathon And I'll admit, ahead of And I'll admit, ahead of things, that nobody that runs a 3:06 marathon should be considered part of the "elite" group, really. So SF screwed up by having an "elite" field at all, when they didn't invite any elite runners. It's a good time. A damn good time. But it's not "Standing out from the pack great" good. I mean, Erkesso beat that by 40 minutes yesterday. But still. My point holds. So why bring it up? The article is based on one anomaly, mentions another and features two races completely irrelevant to Boston's race (or the New York Marathon, for that matter). Considering the "standard" for San Francisco, I'm surprised that doesn't happen more often there. Here, the qualifications are quite clear and the qualifying times are laid out. Even at 12 minutes worse than her SF finish, that woman's best time would have still placed her well ahead of the "elites" in San Fran, but way behind Boston's elites. It's not a separate classification in Boston simply because classifications encompass entire fields of runners. Non-elites would be a designation within that field, as would non-qualifying charity runners. Were it a classification, then it would have its own "winner." Perhaps that's what "the people" would like to see, multiple classifications based on skill level: Elites, non-elites, charities. Twelve winners per marathon. It's like youth soccer. There IS the master's There IS the master's division. There are other age groups as well. There's handcycles in addition to wheelchairs. There's visual and mobility impairment divisions. So...there's already close to 12. http://www.bostonmarathon.org/2010/cf/public/TopFinishers.htm If there's only one "men's" classification, then please explain why a group of male runners, which BTW the BAA specifically refers to as "elite", are allowed to start two hours ahead of all the other male runners? Oh wait, I know the answer. Because the Boston Marathon has been divided into two races - one for the privledged few and one for the rest of the gaggle. And I'm not suggesting that the "non-elite" winner get some sort of special prize or award. But it would be nice if the media at least acknowledged the leading "non-professional" runner as well. They are not, actually. They They are not, actually. They start 50 feet ahead of all the other runners, and at the same time. The women's elite field starts half an hour early. D'oh!! For some reason, I was thinking that the main crowd still didn't leave the starting gate until 12 noon. And, for the record, here's an excerpt from the BAA's official Marathon schedule: Start of Elite Women’s Race 9:32 a.m. Start of the Elite Men’s Race & Wave One of the 113th Boston Marathon 10 a.m. Start of Wave Two of the 113th Boston Marathon 10:30 a.m. As you can see from the above, it's pretty obvious that the BAA DOES designate "elite" runners as a separate category. And I'd be interested in knowing how the BAA determines which "non-elites" have to wait for "Wave Two". Qualifying times. Generally, Qualifying times. Generally, "wave two" is the charity runners. As mike said, they're not. If As mike said, they're not. If by "priviledged," you mean those with ability and work ethic, then yes, there are a privileged few runners in contention each year. I don't know how you can make this a class issue when this year's winner told the Globe he is using his earnings to buy a goat. That doesn't sound like someone of "priviledge" getting a break. So you're saying the "elite" runners don't get any advantages and that all runners have an "equal shot" at winning. Well, I respectfully disagree: First, the fact the elite women start almost 30 minutes before everyone else. Second, the 50 foot head start for the elite males. Third, the fact the "ordinary" runners are split into two groups with a half-hour time difference before the are even allowed to cross the starting line. Fourth, the police motorcycles pacing the leaders. Fifth, the media camera trucks pacing the leaders. Now try to tell me how the BAA doesn't set up a class system for runners, and treats all their runners in the race the same. To be fair, the trucks and To be fair, the trucks and bikes would pace a regular Joe who was leading, as well. And the second group of runners didn't qualify to enter the marathon. They're allowed entry in order to raise money for charity. So, there's ANOTHER category to consider The leading non-elite charity fundraiser runner. Perhaps a special extra donation to their charity would be in order for that accomplishment. Seriously, thanks for the clarification on both counts. Although I disagree that the police and media should be following the leaders as closely as they do. And I also remember one time years ago when the leader of the NY Marathon was trying to PASS the clock/media truck, and the driver deliberately swerved (as documented by a second media truck) to prevent him from doing so. Nonsense The difference in the elite women's start time and the men's elite start time means that they can crown the winners of both the men's and women's races at *about* the same time (this year, they were separated at the finish line by 9 minutes). The earlier start time and the 50 foot difference for the elite men from the rest of the pack allow them to get out in front and run an unhindered time. These people are running nearly an hour faster than the next best runners in the pack behind them. That's about FIVE miles per hour faster than the next fastest runners over the entirety of the whole race! They're going to end up out front either way (they're running at 13mph vs 8 mph), but why not let them run a "pure" time without some random variable like whose heels they were running on to get in the way of a fully fair race. Everyone gets the same start time as they cross the starting line thanks to microchip technology in the bibs. The motorcycles and media trucks pacing the leaders don't effect their ability to win...so I'm not sure why you bring them up. In fact, I'd say they do a detriment to the runners because it puts an ever-present haze of exhaust fumes that they have to run through. You'll see in most races in Europe, they use electric vehicles for all of those support scooters now to cut down on the emissions that are left in front of the runners/cyclists/etc. No, they're not treated the same and nor should they be. If you can prove that you're going to run 5 mph faster than anybody else out there and finish in 2 hours instead of 3 hours, then you've earned the right to do so unhindered by Mickey Mouse, F Troop with full gear bags, or even the most conscientious college athlete on his way to challenge you in the 2016 Olympics. However, the Boston Marathon (more than a lot of other marathons) would still allow for someone to charge out of the main pack and make a run against the elites if he's that good. He might not cross the finish line first, but if he were soon after you'd have to check the computer to see what his offset time was. However, if you're that good, you probably asked for a spot on the starting line instead. this I mean, the winner was this I mean, the winner was given this 50 foot stagger and still had to deal with a pack driving him onto a footpath early in the race And I would be extremely upset to have those fumes and often times sirens in front of me for a whole race. I'm surprised people put up with it. Raymon Webster Raymon Webster from Burlington VT seems to be the first person from the 2nd wave to finish (bib numbers 14,000 and up). He was bib number 24292 and came in at 2:52:21 and 616th place. That's 22 minutes better than That's 22 minutes better than the 18-34 qualifying time but almost 21 minutes slower than the slowest elite qualifier's time. That's a significant dropoff, considering the Top 10 were within nearly 7 minutes of each other. Give that man the Rosie Ruiz "Nice Try" award! Just to clarify, the first Just to clarify, the first wave consisted of nearly 14,000 runners almost all of those are not elite runners. I just thought it was fun to point out this guy was the first to finish from the 10:30 start. Two big reasons 1) Practicality The Elite runners are lined up on the actual starting line at the onset of the race. They have a racing start offset of 0:00:00. It's easy to know which one of them is the winner: the first one to cross the finish line. The best "non-elite runner" is going to be the one whose difference between start and finish time is lowest...no matter when they start the race. They might be 10,000 people back in the pack and not cross the starting line until 15+ minutes into the race. At that point, they might totally destroy the pack and end up turning in the best time of someone not lined up on the start line, but you're never going to know that until 2+ hours after the last person to start the race leaves the starting line. 2) Winners are winners In all practical terms, there's no difference between an "elite" runner and a non-elite runner when it comes to the race. If a non-elite finished in a faster time than Cheruiyot's 2:05:52, he'd have gotten the money and the crown. So, the fact that Cheruiyot was the fastest guy out there yesterday is what we celebrate as the winner. There is no "fastest non-elite" because the clock doesn't care if you're elite or not. There's the fastest man to run the race yesterday...and the rest of the racers. It's like asking why Nascar doesn't give a second checkered flag to the fastest rookie every race or why the Olympics don't give out a second gold medal in each event to the countries not named USA, China, or Russia. On #1 -- my thoughts On #1 -- my thoughts exactly. On #2 -- Much of the appeal of the marathon is near the end, when you see the racers that go by getting older, chunkier and slower. This to me is so cool -- the people who struggled enormously and made it happen. I wish there were more stories about some of these cool successes. Thousands run (or walk or stagger) by, and some of these people have incredible stories that are worth hearing. I think maybe that's part of what OP is getting at. Or maybe it's just something I'd like. You can't draw a line between You can't draw a line between elite and non-elite. Elite runners may run for a living, but serious non-elite runners consider running their life's avocation. They train all year, and travel to races around the country and the world. In that sense, they are far from "normal" people. So if someone has been running marathons for ten years, and spends all their non-working hours training, how different are they from lower-level "professional" runners? No clear line. Maybe it would be better to give an award to the first white person - or at least the first non-East African. You can draw that line. It's You can draw that line. It's quite easy, as the BAA draws a literal line between them: Starting Line The two red lines in that picture, behind the front group of runners, but in front of the rest? Those are the chip readers that act as the "starting line" for non-elite runners. Actually... The Boston Athletic Association marks that line pretty clearly: http://www.baa.org/BostonMarathon/Qualifying.asp It's all about your qualifying time. Elite runners compete in more sanctioned events and put in lower qualifying times. If you're wondering where the bar is, here are the elite qualifying times for this year: http://www.baa.org/2010/cf/Public/EntryListsElite.cfm As for the genius who made the crack about a special award for the first white or non-East African, racism aside, your argument makes no sense. A white woman from Russia came in second this year and a white man from California came in fourth. Maybe if people just followed their example and trained correctly, we wouldn't have the slackjawed masses asking for remedial recognition for those not willing to put in the hours. I know why... Because it is not newsworthy. In a way, the ENTIRE RACE is elite If you don't run a previous race in a qualifying time, you aren't allowed to run in the Boston Marathon. Some folks get around the qualifying time requirement by running for a charity team, but then are required to raise thousands of dollars or else charge the difference on their own credit card I think if people are willing to pay the entrance fee, and/or raise ANY amount of monty for charity, they should be allowed to run.