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 A Marathoning Grand Slam?
Submitted by Bricks :: Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:19 am
Athletes in the worlds of tennis and golf can capture a Grand Slam by winning all their sport's major competitions, so why not marathoning? Race directors of five major international marathons met last week in France to discuss potential ways to boost road running, including the introduction of a Marathon Grand Slam. Representatives from the Boston, New York, Chicago, London, and Berlin marathons discussed offering a $1 million prize for winning all five races. Unlike tennis and golf, however, the Grand Slam prize would be offered for winning all five races in a career rather than in a single season. Most elite marathoners only race twice per year, and scheduling conflicts also mean that some of the major races occasionally fall on the same day.


Guest




Help plz Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:06 pm 

Does any one know what is wrong here?

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Help plz Posted: Fri Nov 25, 2005 8:45 pm 

I was just giving this some thought during one of my runs this past week. I see some major issues that would have to be dealt with. During the local broadcast of the NYC Marathon I heard Mary Wittenberg (race director for the NYC Marathon) respond to the question of how athletes would be able to run Boston and NYC in the same year. She suggested that perhaps they would need to compete in all five over the course of two years. This is where the major issues crop up.

1. In Golf and Tennise you can pretty much expect the same competitors in all the MAJOR competitions. The top athletes make sure they're in shape to compete in these major events. Is it possible to expect the same for runners over the span of two years?

2. If the top 20 marathoners (men and female) choose to compete in the five grand prix marathons will they all compete together at each event or will there be a different mix at each event? If they all compete together at each event then what affect will that have on the other events happenning at the same time? If they choose to go their separate ways and you have a different mix at each event will this lead to debates on how a particular athlete would have performed (better or worst) if the competition had been different?

3. What will happen in the year of the Olympics when athletes have to select their races more carefully? The top athletes have to concentrate on preparing for qualifying events as well as the Olympic event itself. How will this affect competition in the grand prix marathons? I can imagine some might choose not to compete in the grand prix series to save themselves for the Olympics. Or worst, what if, because of the money involved, athletes decide to compete in the grand prix events and skip the Olympics and/or World Championships? What affect will this have on the level of competition at either the Olympics, World Championships or the grand prix events?

I'm sure there are a host of other issues that haven't ocurred to me yet.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Help plz Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 1:57 pm 

Yeah, there are really a lot of problems with the marathoning grand slam concept. Too bad, because I think it would exciting, but unfortunately I think it just doesn't make sense for all the reasons you mentioned. I wonder what kind of marathoning title would make sense, though. With the top runners doing so few races per year, it's hard to imagine much of anything. Maybe some kind of points/ranking system like they have in golf or tennis, so you can determine who is the number 1 ranked marathoner in the world?

mfox

South Orange, New Jersey
Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Posts: 367

Re: Help plz Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 4:40 pm 

Running times does a ranking in their magazine each month of the top runners ini the US as well as International. I don't think it's just for marathoners though. They have their own ranking system they use which I think is a bit debatable.

Another problem is that you have some runners who also compete at other distaences. So how would you8 rank a marathoner who race at other distances that may be different from each other. For example, one marathoner may win NYC who also wins the 10K World Championship, while another marathoner wins NYC the next year who also wins the 5K World Championship. You could throw in any combination of this scenario.

I think you'd have to come up with a ranking system for the course like they do in Golf. You'd have to take the weather into consideration too. How would you rate NYC on cool but windy day versus Boston on a warm day...or visa versa. And how about the competition. Would the event be ranked differently one year if the top 5 runners in the world were competing versus another year when the top 8 runners were competing. Does more competition make the event more difficult to win? What if the runners go through the first half at a slower pace than expected; thus the level of effort for the first half is easier. Just seems like there are a lot of variables to take into account. I mean, if you wanted to be able to crown someone as the Grand Prix champion it might be hard to make that claim definitely.

Look at the College football rankings. Though the NCAA has done better to pit the top two teams against one another you can still argue whether the top two teams were chosen correctly. Each team has a diffferent schedule of competition. Some get their tough games in the early part of the season when they may not be at their best while others play their toughest games later in the year when they had more time to iron out the kinks. Though a national champion is crowned each year there is still plenty of debate about who the REAL national champion is. I think this would happen with the Grand Prix too.


Rickshaw
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

Re: Help plz Posted: Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:30 pm 

True enough, there would be kinks in any kind of worldwide marathoner ranking. I'm not familiar with the details of the ranking systems used by golf or some other sports, but I'd imagine they have similar issues. As long as you could clearly state some straightforward rules for computing the rankings, I think it would be interesting even if the rules themselves were a little bit arbitrary.

I'll have to check out the Running Times rankings. Who are their current top ranked runners?


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