Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Poster: fold art
Subject: RE: Guess what % of marathoners broke 3 hours in 2007?
In my first marathon I was in last place after the first ten steps or so, and stayed there most of the rest of the way. Started walking/jogging at about Mile 18 or 19. At about Mile 24 or 25, absolutely forced myself to "run" the rest of the way. Came up on an old guy (must have been close to 50, maybe more) in the last mile, and beat him in by ten seconds.
To say I was not prepared for a marathon would be quite the understatement, and it showed in my pathetic tag-end performance. I was two levels below almost everyone else in the race--except for the old guy, almost everyone had finished at least a half-hour before me.
I ran 3:56. This was 1972. The race was a small one, with just a few dozen runners, over a tough course; but even though the weather was tough, certainly a quarter or more of the finishers were under 3:00. This was actually considered a fairly poor result.
In the next five to ten years I advised/coached/whatever a couple of college women under 3:00. It was absolutely nothing special at the time.
So I'll go with Runningart2004's estimate. Probably some time around 1990 (plus or minus) the whole "it's an honor just to finish" ethic took hold. Before then, even as participation ballooned, most people treated the distance as a race and not as a survival contest.
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