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  1. #1
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    Fastest Marathon time for a RAAM Competitor?

    Strange question but would appreciate any best thoughts from the group. Of all the people to ever compete in the Race Across America (most interested in the 2 person or solo's, but curious about the "ever" category too from any size team), who has run the fastest legit marathon time in the SAME calendar year?

    We've done some research and the fastest we've found was around 3:04. This makes sense, as the combination of the event drawing primarily those focused on (duh) cycling and the fact that it's in the middle of the year eliminates most legitimate marathon training. But it would interesting to see if anyone has ever run under 3:00 (or 2:50?) in the same calendar year.

    If you have any insight, please let me know. THANK YOU!!

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    anyone remember the story of the rider that ran a marathon during a 600k brevet? Who needs sleep. Was it Spencer Klassen?

    A three hour marathon is a pretty good time.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 12-01-14 at 12:28 AM.

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    Ken Bonner has run at least one marathon in the middle of a long brevet. Can't recall any details off the top of my head.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    anyone remember the story of the rider that ran a marathon during a 600k brevet? Who needs sleep. Was it Spencer Klassen?
    Ken Bonner. In the middle of a 1200K randonnee.

    A bit about Ken ...
    RUSA: Q&A: Ken 'Iron Butt' Bonner
    3 down... 1 to go - Ken Bonner

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    Randomhead
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    Machka, thanks.

    I was looking at the distribution of finish times for marathons. Obviously 3 hours is an hour slower than the top runners, but it's still very fast relative to the crowd. I'm curious how fast an ultra-marathoner can run a marathon. It's a fairly short effort, so it seems like it takes specialized training to get much faster than that
    Last edited by unterhausen; 12-01-14 at 08:34 AM.

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    Thanks for the replies. Good starting points. Unterhausen - qualifying for the Olympic Trials marathon requires (I think) a 2:20 or faster time for men. Matt Carpenter - one of the greatest ultra runners of all time, actually had the speed to accomplish that feat and then went on to make his mark in ultra-running. However, you are right about the specialty, in that once he started going ultra, he was still pretty amazing at the shorter distances, but it was a different level with his focus on the longer stuff.

    Bringing ultra-cycling into the equation would add a completely new element, which is why I'm wondering about the fastest marathon time by a RAAM competitor. By including those on 4 or even 8 person teams, it changes the question as it eliminates the "specialization" component. But still curious.

    Thanks for the help everyone. Please keep them coming!

  7. #7
    Randomhead
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    In the early days of RAAM, there were some elite U.S. cyclists that rode. The example I am thinking about is John Howard. He won the Ironman and also finished second in the first RAAM. But that was before runners and swimmers started dominating triathlons.

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    Yes - John Howard is an incredible athlete. But his strength in Ironman was his bike, and while his endurance abilities would carry over to the run, I don't believe he broke 3 hrs in the marathon - and certainly didn't do so in the same calendar year as RAAM. The "same calendar year" aspect is the key. I know tons of athletes who could focus on marathons - run a sub 2:50 (or faster) and then do RAAM a different year.

    Good start. Keep the ideas coming. Maybe it just hasn't been done (yet)...

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    Many RAAM riders are skinny and have good VO2Max values, so many of them could probably run a sub 3 hour marathon if they wanted. Finding someone who did is the tricky part. As a shortcut, we can look at Boston Marathon: current qualifying time for a male under 40 is, I think, 3:05, so we could look for people who did both RAAM and Boston Marathon and then refine the list by checking when and how exactly they qualified.

    The problem is that neither the RAAM participant database nor the Boston Marathon runner database seem to be available in downloadable form. I did a bit of cross-checking between 2010-13 qualifiers and Boston by hand. There's less overlap than I expected (fewer than 1 in 20 RAAM qualifiers show up in the Boston database), the closest I got was a guy who rode RAAM in a team in 2007 and ran Boston in 2002 in 2:59 (Dave Dornaus). Most people who do show up in the Boston database, finish in the low 3 hours. I couldn't find anyone who did both events closer than 3-4 years between each other.

    One thing working against finding a person who does both of these things in the same calendar year is that RAAM demographics is skewed toward middle age (it is the case with LD cycling in general, but it's especially true with things like RAAM: solo registration alone is $3000, and you need to provide your own SAG team. How many 25 year olds can afford that?)

  10. #10
    Randomhead
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    Marathoning is kind of a middle aged sport too. I was a little surprised that Lance Armstrong had a 2:45 marathon after his first retirement from cycling. I think that may put the lower limit on what a cyclist is going to do in a marathon. And considering the speed that RAAM is ridden at, I'm skeptical that a runner could do a little cycling cross-training and meet the time cutoffs. Maybe for a 2 person team, dunno.

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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Marathoning is kind of a middle aged sport too.
    Marathoning is not quite as middle aged (median age of a marathon finisher in the U.S. is 36), and we're interested in sub 3 hour finishers, which is a tail end of the bell curve in general, so age-related slowing is going to be a major factor. There are standard age grading formulas for running. The decline is not all that strong but, in this situation, it is significant. The effort needed for a 50 year old to run a 3 hour marathon is roughly equal to the effort needed for a person in prime running years to run a marathon in 2:41.

    Out of ~50 male sub 3 hour finishers at Rock n Roll San Diego Marathon this June, there were only two people over 45.

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    Agreed. There's clearly never been someone in the solo to do it. Just doesn't fit. Doubtful in the 2-person too for the reasons you've stated. Curious if anyone in the 4 or 8 person RAAM teams have ever gone anywhere close to 2:50 (again - in same calendar year - not actually "ever" as that wouldn't be a stretch if separate years).

    And the Lance example is a good one. Even with the benefits of the best coaching, perfect pacing throughout the race from his group, and possibly some other lingering benefits from, well... he still ran just a hair under 2:47 at NY and 2:50 at Boston (and wasn't doing any serious cycling at the time). Good example.

    Interestingly, Lance's "group" actually caught up to me at Boston (guy on bike literally tapped my shoulder and said "excuse me - would you please move over? Lance Armstrong is coming through" - no I'm not kidding). It was good motivation to pick it up :-)
    Last edited by Ironcoop; 12-01-14 at 06:31 PM.

  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I think the major challenge here would be equating the events together.
    I can think of two local riders that have done RAAM, either solo or team, and have done Ironman competitions which include the marathon. But I have no idea which years, what their times were, and don't care enough to research it. I think both are probably faster on the bike than running, so not too likely to have world-class running times.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    Agreed StephenH. The top runners - those who can consistently go 2:45ish in a marathon, may do triathlons, but aren't drawn to the endurance cycling - at least not in the same year.

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    I hope you finished in front of LA
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  16. #16
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    Ha - just barely Unterhausen (10 seconds).

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