Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Medtronic TC 1 Mile, Comparing Courses

The winners of the elite races at the Medtronic TC 1 Mile had hardly finished their victory laps and received their trophies at the awards ceremony when the debate began:  How much faster/slower was this year's new course compared to the old run down Nicollet?  This debate will continue in the years to follow no doubt, but John Davis gives his views backed up by math  HERE.

Garrett Heath wins the Medtronic TC 1 Mile. Copyright 

He concludes that the new course is significantly slower and says that he wishes the organizers would change the course to improve the chances that running sub-4 on the course is a more achieveable goal.  In all of this it's wise to remember when Roger Bannister, John Landy, Glenn Cunningham, and the rest of the sub-four chasers were trying to break 4 many said it was impossible.

The doubters were obviously wrong.  This year's TC 1 Mile is probably not the best to use as a true test of how fast the runners can go in this race on this course.  Garrett Heath's winning time, for example, was more than 10 seconds off what he ran two years ago in a faster, deeper field.  Hopkins High's Joe Klecker ran a 4:10 mile on the track at the Hamline Elite Meet a few weeks ago, also in less than ideal conditions.

What that tells you is that the race was run at a pace for a good high school race for whatever reason.  There are so many variables that go into determining how fast a race is going to go.  Comparing what was run this year on this course with what the men ran when Nick Willis and Heath ran the two fastest times for the event doesn't provide a real "yardstick" measurement of the courses.  If the course change had been made in 2014 and the race not been cancelled because of the weather, the comparison would have been more valid.

Willis, Will Leer, Ben Blankenship, Nate Brannen, David Torrence, et al each wanted a shot at the course record.  Barring a stiff head wind that might mandate a tactical race, it would not have been won in 4:08.

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