Recently, we've all gotten excited about fast times Sarah Baxter's been running in CC...especially her 16:00 record at Mt SAC, beating a still-good 2nd place time by over one minute!! Also been laying on the superlatives for Laura Hollander's accomplishments.
Hollander won her conference this weekend with a 19.33 for 6K, the standard distance for collegiate women. In the Pac-12, Kathy Kroeger and Jordan Hasay ran 1st and 2nd with times of 20:06 and 20:10, more than 30 seconds slower than Hollander!! Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu ran 22:49 and 22:50 at Pac-12, winning by 39 and 38 seconds, respectively. (Trevor Dunbar ran 23:28 in 3rd.)
Was it just a matter of some runners (Baxter and Hollander and Lalang/Sambu) running for time, as in the paced "time trials" of track, while others (Kroeger) ran just to win, or others (Dunbar, Hasay) ran for their team rather than individual accomplishment??
And what about their times??
Given the nature of CC, with its varying terrains, generally lackluster weather, and the overall difference between courses (while ALL track races are the same in these areas), what should we take away from what Baxter and Hollander did, or for that matter, Lalang and Sambu??
Does this mean Hollander will beat Kroeger and Hasay by over 30 seconds in a track 5K?? Will Lalang and Sambu run 38-39 seconds faster than Dunbar in a track 5K next spring??
If the answer to those rhetorical questions was a resounding NO!!!, then what significance do times on CC courses have?? Especially in measuring such things as a runner's track potential, or even OVERALL greatness??
Last edited by aaronk on Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
They may be problematic, but times over the years on the same course do mean something. It is still a big deal that Virgin's 13:50 from 1972 is still the 3 mile course record at Detweiller Park for the Illinois State meet record. Withstanding the attacks of, among others, Derrick and Verzbicas. Just like Boston, conditions change, but course records are important.
Now comparing times to different courses is, of course, a whole different thing.
Yes, I made this overall point on that thread. X-counrty times have huge meaning if its the same course year after year, as at the Illinois state meet. Otherwise, there is essentially zero convertibility. I've seen courses that were wonderfully easy, and others that were shockingly difficult. And, of course, that's what real cross country is about: pure, raw competition on courses that can vary enormously. The fact that Baxter beat the course record by 16 seconds and a very good field by 68 seconds says as much about the quality of her performance as the winning time.
aaronk wrote:Recently, we've all gotten excited about fast times Sarah Baxter's been running in CC....
"we" certainly doesn't encompass me, and I'm sure not a lot of other people either.
Indeed. I'm 'all in' for T&F, but I can't get excited about ANY CC times. There are just too many variables. If someone runs a 5K or 10K on a non-aided course that surpasses the track times that I consider exceptional, THEN I could get interested, but I can't think of very many that have done that.
I see them as being like golf scores. Even the same course can play differently depending on conditions. To stretch the metaphor further, "tactical" races are like match play (where you can keep stroke score for the round but no one really cares). It all has some meaning, but less that most people think. I mean, breaking 80 is breaking 80, but it's one thing to do it at the public hacker's course with rock-hard fairways and another to do it at a PGA tournament-hosting country club.
There's a high school course around here on which the only girl to ever break 20:00 is Bridget Franek, and she ran it in 19:08 in the same year she ran 17:3something at the state meet. Somebody thought it would be fun to make kids run up and down the Cuyahoga River gorge a few times...
aaronk wrote:Hollander won her conference this weekend with a 19.33 for 6K, the standard distance for collegiate women. In the Pac-12, Kathy Kroeger and Jordan Hasay ran 1st and 2nd with times of 20:06 and 20:10, more than 30 seconds slower than Hollander!!
Hollander ran 19:33 at the Wisconsin adidas Invite; she ran 19:12 for her league victory.
Hasay was sick overnight or in the morning (food poisoning?); not sure how she could push hard at the end like she did.
Agree w conor, and kuha, and mighty favog. The golf course analogy is a good one. Those who study/follow golf do compare performances across the years on the same course, and of course they do so while taking into account the conditions and the competition on any given occasion.
Also, as just noted above, Hasay's performance at PAC-12 yesterday, in the context of her having been sick early that morning, was pretty impressive.
a belated $.02. A rose is not a rose is not a rose.
In my Sr year of HS I ran the CIF-SS XC champs. In those days the CIF was divided into 3 (maybe four) sections from small schools to large school - to be run in that order.
We were encouraged by the mild weather calm and cool (not cold) temp. The first two races enjoyed these conditions with overcast skies moving in by the final race of the day, the large school race in which I was running ,,, then by the time the large school race had started pretty healthy (30 mph and with gusting) winds picked up, temperature dropped considerably and rain pelted down the last half mile or so.
So looking at the results of the meet ... held on one day/afternoon, in one place, on same course did not necessarily reflect an accurate representation of the races and the times, in terms of comparisons..