Following is the text of a letter to "The Organiser" C2S. If anyone knows who he/she is, or anybody in charge there, I would appreciate it.
To The Organiser
City to Surf
Re:- Against Red/Green bib qualifying time reductions
I hear from my good friend Bob Sully, one of the C2S "Legends", that you plan to reduce the qualifying times for the red and green group starts. For some of us, this is an important and emotional issue. I write this, my strong objection, in the hope that after my 37 runs a real person, one with some authority not a computer, might read and respond to this.
You are being ageist and disloyal. Your most loyal supporters, those who have done 10, 20, 30 or more runs, are of course getting older and finding it ever harder to qualify. It was a major shock when the front group was split in two a few years ago. To further reduce the times discriminates against the older runners. See the postscript.
There are five ways to limit a scarce resource.
Pricing - the most efficient way, and the one I would suggest.
Rationing - That equates to the early closing strategy.
Licensing - That equates to the qualifying time strategy.
Queuing - That was the old way. First to arrive got prime position. Not recommended.
Lottery - Some do it that way. London marathon is an example. A possibility.
My own recommendations are either early closing, or pricing.
Early closing. Continue to do what you do now - close off a group once full. The keen runners, those for whom a red or green bib is important, will make the effort to enrol early.
Pricing - Surcharge or discount. Either way make it slightly more expensive to get a preferred start. I suggest $10 more for Red, $5 for Green. If it is a surcharge you can justify it by the extra cost of providing recognition to the first three in each age, gender, family, affiliation, team, etc. division. A special medal for them for example. If it were a discount, then you could say that it is compensation for being nice enough to make room for others. I think you would be surprised what a big difference a small price differential would make.
What about some democracy? Get the runners themselves to suggest and vote how you should control numbers.
Worst Possible Timing. Think of those who have trained hard over the last few months, and busted themselves in the race, only to find that the time they targeted to for a preferred start has been changed against them. If you really must change those times, then you need to give at least one years notice by announcing now something like "75 minutes this year (2011) will qualify you for a 2012 red-bib start. For 2013 and after you will need to be under 72minutes."
With timing tags, do you really need to split the first group? The red/green split was introduced before timing tags. Now that runners can hang back for a late start there is no longer such a crush to start at the front. (It would be even less of a crush if you only published tag times, not gun times as at present.)
Save yourself embarrassment and hassle. If entries were togo down in a few years time you would be under pressure to put the qualifying times back up. So today's decision would look silly.
The WMA publishes age-grading factors. From those one can deduce that:-
A 50-year old man who runs a sub-75minute C2S is equivalent to sub-66m when young. For a 70yo it equates to sub-55m. To run sub-70m, is like a sub-62 for the 50yo, sub-52 for the 70yo.
It is tougher for women. Equivalent times are
50yo sub-75m = sub-67m; 70yo sub-75m = sub-50m
50yo sub-70m = sub-62m; 70yo sub-70m = sub-47m (close to C2S record)
The point being that it is pretty tough for older runners to qualify. Why make it tougher still?
Edited by LastCardLouis, 07 August 2011 - 09:30 PM.