How Slow Am I

A few things are certain in life: death, taxes, and finishing in the bottom half of running events. I’m really slow. I love to run, but it takes me a while to get from here to there and back to here. By the time I finish a local road race, the fastest runners have already had a chance to eat some bananas and shower salty kisses on their loved ones.

After taking a running hiatus last winter and most of the spring (knees, y’all), I’ve been hitting the pavement about once a week the last 4-5 months. On Thanksgiving morning, I “competed” in my first race since last fall’s 4 Bridges Half Marathon, the Gobble Jog at Marietta Square in Marietta, Georgia. It was a nice run that started at the Strand, made it’s way north up Cherokee, wound past some nice houses and a school, then back south down Church. It was unremarkable because of my finish, 916th place out of 1326, and my girlfriend and her sister, both of whom ran, waiting for me for about ten minutes.

I’ve tried to find the results of each race I’ve done since 2011 to show just how unremarkable my mediocre finishes are. I couldn’t find the results for two of the events, but I have eight: four half-marathons, one marathon, one 10k, a 15K-er, and a smidge-more-than-15K-er. First up, the results of each of these races by time and place.

Race Results

My times and places in these races are the large points. I’m not exactly the worst, but I am decidedly mediocre. Also interesting, the shorter races (the 10k Gobble Jog and the half marathons), barring Olde Rope and Red Top (the blue and teal colors, both tough trail events), have little variation in their times, up to a certain point. The full marathon times, however, climb slowly and steadily.

To better show my mediocrity no matter the distance, below is a chart that compares my finishes using percentiles from 2011-2014. I’ve also showed how I compare to my fellow racers aged 50 and older.

percentile finish

Well, I wish I could say I finished better than those AARP members, especially in 2012. I really owned 30% of those old farts in 2011 and 2013-14. (One race in 2013, the 4 Bridges Half Marathon, didn’t have age data as part of their results, so that’s why it’s missing from Ages 50+.) I will say, though, that my performances have improved since I really started running in earnest a few years ago. That I’m still only better than a third of participants is neither here nor there. I’ve been enjoying my time getting back into it and traipsing through the mean streets of Hillsboro Village and Sylvan Park.


About Jay

Health Policy Wonk. Slow long distance runner. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Cameroon '06-'08. Former Night owl.
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