Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sun Run vs. Times Colonist

I finally got the time to run a comparison between the top competitors in the Sun Run 10k and Times Colonist 10k. Based on my races this year, it seems that the TC was a slightly more difficult course, but I wondered if a little analysis would show the same.

I took the top 100 finishers from the Sun Run and compared them the TC finishers to see who had run both races. Twenty-one had run both races. I then compared their finishing times to see how their times compared between the races.

Findings: 81% (17 out of the 21) of the sample ran faster at Sun Run than at TC with an average difference of 19 seconds. In addition, every finisher in the top 30 at the Sun Run ran slower at the TC.

Limitations: I did not run a proper statistical analysis which would allow us to see if the findings were statistically significant. The sample size is small and therefore the results are less reliable than would be ideal. Also, depending on which finishers you choose to select (e.g. picking the top 200 instead of the top 100 or selecting the top 100 men and 100 woman) the findings would differ. There is also the possible factor of decreased performance during the TC since the Sun Run was only one week prior.

It was still an interesting result and provides some vindication for those of us who ran slower at the TC.


Mike Janes said...

Ha good job Shaner. Love how you threw in the sample size and significance levels! Are we talking at the 1 ,5, or 10% level? I love proper statistics! Good Work.


Chris Callendar said...

Very interesting. I wonder if the fact that the Sun Run has more faster runners also contributes - slightly more competition? I noticed that the top 100 runners at the Sun Run are all under 36 minutes, where as the top 100 at the TC are just under 38.

How did you find doing the TC a week after the Sun Run? Do you think it affected your time?

Shaner said...

It's been a decade since I have done any real stats so to do it properly I'd have to pull out my old textbooks. Would be interesting to see, however, how statistically significant it is.

A deeper field at Sun Run may make a bit of a difference as there are more to chase, but I feel the largest difference is the greater net elevation loss at Sun Run (about 25m loss. I personally don't think back to back 10k races affect higher level athletes as they tend to recover quickly.

Brad Cunningham said...


You only ran 3 seconds slower at TC, which to me, means that you ran better than you did at Sun Run. To only lose three seconds on the TC course is pretty amazing.

To add to your analysis, I would suggest that the reason that those who ran faster at the TC came from further back at the Sun Run was due to a bad Sun Run day. As you noticed, those who ran well at the Sun Run didn't run as fast at the TC, thus, to me, demonstrating that the TC course markedly slower.

All that means your 3 second differential is pretty amazing!


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