Wednesday, November 14, 2012

ATHLINKS - You Pissed Me Off and I Want an Apology!

I got an email from Athlinks the other day.
Maybe you got one, too.
The email questioned: "Are You Faster Today Than You Were Four Years Ago?"
(The email I received is copied and is below my ramblings...but please read my ramblings first.)

Am I faster than I was four years ago?
In my case, yes, I am, because four years ago I was barely moving....I was walking and slowly riding my bike. I was NOT running. I was NOT swimming. I was NOT riding my bike as fast as I can.

The email pissed me off!
It pissed me off because the tone of it was to make everyone feel bad about how fast (or how slow) we are as a group.

The email asked for a commitment to restore our speed in 2013....and then it lists a bunch of numbers about speeds in 2009 and 2012 in various distance races and lists the percentage increase in time....blah, blah, blah.

And then after they have shamed you (yes, you, not me, because I wasn't even racing then), they want you to buy a tshirt.


So poo on Athlinks, which is unfortunate, because I like how they keep track of my races and my SLOW times.

Here's what I think of their numbers.
pile of shit poopers.jpg photo

They did not take into account the HUGE increase of OLDER people getting a clue and getting out there.  They did not figure in the number of people who were out of shape, but in the past couple of years have decided to get healthy and get out there and get their run on, or their bike on, or their swim on or their tri on.

They did NOT figure in the ages of people when compiling their statistics.

I am not going to spout off a bunch of stats, but I know that in triathlon the number of people competing has VASTLY increase in the past 5 years.
And if you want actual stats, let me know and I'll look them up.
(another blog)

So my thinking is the reason the TIMES have gone down is because a lot more people are out there competing. Some older and slow like me..
Some younger and overweight and slow..

But we are out there!

So my answer to Athlinks' question -

 How could we let this happen to this, the Swiftest of Nations?

We let this happen because more of us are competing.

So, owe us an apology.

We may be slow, but we are GO!!! | Compete. Claim. Connect.

Compete. Claim. Connect.
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Athlinks asks, 'Are you faster than you were four years ago?'

My fellow Americans the time has come for a change!
Kandi -
The past four years have seen an alarming decline in U.S. racing performances in distances across the board. 5K times are off by +1:17, that's a 4% decline! Average Ironman times have increased by +21:54, a nearly 3% decline. I ask you - How could we let this happen to this, the Swiftest of Nations?

Average Times for Leading
Race Distances from 2009-2012

Distance 2009 2012 Change % Change
5K Run 30:30 31:47 +1:17 +4.04%
10K Run 1:01:01 1:02:28 +1:27 +2.34%
Half Mara 1:01:01 1:02:28 +0:18 +0.15%
Marathon* 4:33:18 4:33:13 -0:04 -0.03%
Olympic Tri 2:52:53 2:55:55 +3:02 +1.73%
Half Iron 5:59:43 6:05:49 +6:06 +1.73%
Ironman 12:49:44 13:11:39 +21:54 +2.77%
* Marathon times were the only notable improvement.
I urge you to join us along with your fellow American road racers, trail runners, triathletes, cyclists, and swimmers in making a new commitment to restoring the speed to your own community.
We have already begun work on tools that will help to monitor and report progress across all events, states, genders, and age groups. We will begin rolling out the changes between now and the first of the year. But the first step begins with you and your commitment to training and racing. The second step is encouraging those around you to do the same!
Lastly, we now have Athlinks tech tees! Another great way to show your support is to purchase an Athlinks shirt for every single person that you know. Trust me, you'll be an American hero.
Troy Busot

1 comment:

  1. Hey there – this the Troy Busot, the author of the original email from Athlinks.

    Let me answer a few of your points above:

    Endurance sports absolutely have grown tremendously over the past decades. I think that there are more than enough voices on that side of the aisle – and we celebrate them daily. I believe that our role, however, is to encourage smart, intense, purposeful training with the goal of achieving ones best performances on race day. I do not accept as fact that we must collectively get slower as we grow. Logical, true, but definitely not written in stone. In fact, 2008 is a very notable exception – participation AND performance were both sharply up over the previous few years.

    Also, I don’t think that fast and happy have to be mutually exclusive. Sure, it’s tough breaking through the speed barrier, but once you’re able to get there, man that’s hella fun!

    There have been several years, 2008 being the most notable, where participation AND performance (decreased average times) were both present. In our data, we show that Marathon is actually doing better than it was four years ago. This is because of the hard-coded time goals built into the sport by the Boston Marathon Qualifying Times. I would bet dollars to donuts that the average marathon times next year (2013) will the best ever. Why? Because humans are very adaptable to limits – either real or imagined. Our data shows this very explicitly. There are huge spikes in finisher times surrounding artificial barriers like 20 minutes for a 5K, 40 for 10K, 2 hour for half marathon, etc.

    The most dramatic increase in female participation has been in Marathon – which saw average times drop.

    Our data shows that excluding elites, who max out in their mid to late thirties, most of us who casually enter the sport get progressively faster up into our sixties. Further, our data actually shows that folks speed up AFTER joining Athlinks or similar fitness communities. They are also 85% more likely to repeat a race from their past after joining Athlinks as well. Why? Because they like/want to compare their times against previous years' results.

    Walkers were excluded from the averages (for the most part). You’d be surprised at how difficult this one is as some walkers are actually pretty quick. In each of our distances, we compared times with a floor of the world record at each distances, and a ceiling of roughly 3-4 times that based on the distance. So 5K went from the record out to 4x the record and marathon was up to 3x.

    This all stemmed originally from Marathon times. We are going to be sharing an infographic that shows these huge spikes in finishers around artificial barriers like 2:30, 3:00, 3:30, etc.
    Then, there are these other huge spires that we couldn’t explain until we looked at them age-group by age-group. It turned out that they were the Boston Qual times. That’s why you see such rigid consistency in Marathon only. If you tell someone that they need to run a 7:00 mile, they will run about a 7:00 mile.

    Listen, we love you and others who have come from the couch to the start line. The email was sent with a large, large dose of satirical, hyperbolic, campaign-style rhetoric. But I would never apologize for pushing people to perform - on the contrary, there are days when I feel like apologizing to the community for NOT doing more with the data that we have. This wasn't the end of the line for this type of push from us. We want more kids, more moms, more retired people, etc. - and we will use data to push people farther, faster, and longer.