Trevor -- not sure if you were kidding -- but Garmin was not wrong on this one. My Garmin 310XT said that mile marker 1 was at 0.97, mile marker 2 was at 1.97, mile marker 3 was at 2.97, etc. In other words, I started my watch 0.03 miles late, and thus it should have said 6.17 at the finish line. Instead, it said 6.00 at the finish line.
Stated another way: my Garmin was at least 99% accurate for the first 5 miles. There's no way that it was only 80% accurate for the last 1.2 miles, because it said the distance from mile 5 to the finish line was 1 mile not 1.2 miles.
Stationed up at Clara Barton Parkway with two other bike marshals, it seemed there was one straightforward thing that could be done to make the race better. There were two short stretches of parkway there with bad potholes and rough road. These caused at least 1 DQ, apparently for a Top 10 male racer, and a half dozen or more flats. And also near-crashes for packs of 12-15 riders squeezed inches apart at high speeds while trying to dodge the many water bottles launched onto the road like depth charges by hitting the bumps.
A resident I talked to said that stretch of road is under the jurisdiction of the Park Service (Clara Barton Natl Historic Site and Parkway), and that the potholes and twisted pavement had been there a year ago. As such a short piece of highway could be quickly fixed, there seems no excuse to put so many racers at risk there. Perhaps the race organizers or someone could contact the Park Service about this? Surely Clara Barton herself, the Red Cross founder, would support making her road a safer passageway.
These are all effectively one data point since everyone is using Garmin and the Garmin satellites. Obviously, there's a defect in the satellite software.
Ditto Kevin's comments. My mileage markers were pretty much on point with what the course said for miles 1 through 5. somehow, the last 1.2 miles only registered as 1.
while I have issues with my Garmin, I'm more skeptical of the course in this case.
I use the Garmin F60 with a foot pod to determine distance (no GPS). I was also 400 meters short so its not just the satellite, but rather a huge Garmin conspiracy to make us all think we are faster than we really are. It almost worked.
first off is the dc tri course even certified as being an accurate distance for the bike and run?
the race can say that its 6.2 miles, but we all know that rd have to change the course for varius reasons, mainly permit and other things like finish location, and being accurate for a distance is not on the top of the priority list for most races.
triathlons have always been notorious for not being as accurate as stated.
also if you really want to cut donw on drafting there is really only 1 solution.
decrease the size of the race and you decrease drafting. simple as that. but its not a financially feasible one.
I've been following your posts today - mainly for feedback on the Garmin since I'm looking to retire my Polar. I went to the NationsTri.com course map for the run and clicked on it. Interestingly enough, it takes you to the MapMyRun 2010 Nations Tri course map. It is slightly different - has a loop in the beginning that we didn't do this year and an out/back on Ohio Dr at the end that we didn't do this year either. It measures to 6.21 miles. When I logged into MapMyRun and mapped the course they show as this years run that we did yesterday, I got 6.0 miles. So your Garmin's got it right. The course was shorter than 6.2 miles.
I'm not sure about the distance - and don't really care to get into it. But I am fairly positive that the run course I ran last year was identical to the run course I ran this year.
East on Independence Ave eastbound
Right on Maine Ave
Left on 15thSt SW
Turnaround on 15th before Constitution Ave
Left on Maine Ave
Right on East Basin Dr
Left on Ohio Dr SW
Around Haines Point
North on Ohio Dr SW
Over Inlet Bridge
Finish on Ohio Dr by first ball field
The run course this year was slightly different than in 2010. Most notably, transition was facing east/west this year, whereas last year it was facing north/south. And whereas this year you ran straight east to the "run out" and then directly on to Independence, last year you ran south for the entire length of transition, exited the "run out", turned left, and then ran north for the entire length of transition before hitting Independence.
Agreed - transition was oriented differently, slightly affecting the run course.
Agreed - transition was oriented differently, slightly affecting the run course.
The more that I think about it, the more that I'm convinced that the change in transition is the main reason behind the short run course. I'm not sure why it was changed from the original plan (perhaps it had something to do with the swim cancellation), but it was indeed changed last minute. And -- I'm just guessing here -- it's probably a lot easier to change transition than it is to change a certified run course. In other words, I'm guessing that their run course certification said "finish line goes 10 feet north of light pole X", and you can't make a change to a run course without having another certifying official remeasure the course.
If there is somebody who actually knows about this stuff (for real), feel free to confirm or reject this theory.
Unlike the world of track and field (i.e, 100 m dash to marathon distance), there are no standards or governing body when it comes to course measurements in the world of triathlons. There is no equivilant of a USAT official out on the course to certify the distance using approved methods. There is no such thing as a certified course in the world of triathlon. The course distance is what the RD makes it out to be. That is our sport's dirty little secret.
If the RD uses his foot to measure the course and says that it's 6.2 miles then in theory he has not broken any rules. This is why there are certain Ironman courses out there that have reputations of coming up a bit short on the bike and/or run. If you want to know which one those are, look at a few of the past IM "world record" and where those have been broken.
Don't even get me started on the number of 1/2 IM races that I had to swim the extra distance :)
You want to know how we certify our course at PeasantMan? ;)
Here is another note. I've done Ironman Florida twice. Each time the finish line is in a different place even though the run is the exact same out and back loop around a park. I mentioned this to one of the athletes that I meet at the airport. She told me that she's done IMFL 5 times and can't recall the finish line ever being in the same place.
The difference isn't that great, but it just goes to underscore the fact that triathlon course measurements do not go under the same stringent standards as USATF certified courses.
Kevin, you're right, there was a degree of kidding there. We must have all had the same satellites connected seeing how so many of us got the exact same reading (6.02), but I understand for some deviation depending when you hit the Lap button. I'm thinking our measure was correct.
At the end of the day, whether you are a podium finishiner or just racing for fun, every participant ran the same distance.
The course was fast, fun, and there was a lot of energy. Personally, I'm just taking the distance for whatever it was and not allowing myself to stew over .2 mi.
I've had my Garmin be spot on before, and I've had it be more than half a mile off in like conditions. With the T-zone oriented how it was, that could change the distance measured. Who knows. My Garmin, at least for me, helps me with ball-park figures/paces to keep me on track within a reasonable degree of error.
I hope everyone had fun on the run at least. We couldn't have had better weather for it, nor a better backdrop of our monuments.
I wish there was a "like" button for Trevor's last post.
I didn't race in 2010, but I did in 2009, and I barely remember the course...
I *think* it was the same. I really just wanted to compare how I did!
the triathlon course accuracy question comes up on the forum board about once a year after a good race.
you always have the standard response of "well it may not be accurate but everyone does the same course, etc"
which is like saying "well you paid for a large extra value meal, but we are giving everyone a medium instead for the same price, at least we are equally short changing everyone".
Which if put in that context is sort of bogus.
there was a point where i used to care of the courses were accurate, but at this point i've found that races just really do not care to measure the courses accurately. As Tuan noted the courses except for maybe olympic trials or such are not certified in distance the same as most USATF course.
So basically the only thing you can do is maybe write to the races and demand they are certified accurate, maybe if enough people did that then RD would do it or risk nobody showing up for the races.
This thread cracks me up.
Re Andy: Seriously. I just unsubscribed.
I love this thread. In fact, I'm making it "thread of the week" in the newsletter.