I was just reading an email I got and felt it was fair to point out that a thread
Ryan Hall- fastest performance by ANY American, EVER
was started before this one by XCTC.
IAAF tables: equivalent to 3:45,12:52,27:00,2:05
Top ten performer, world, all-time.
Hall has broken out.
He wrote me wanting to know why it was removed. By the time I saw it this thread was up and running. His thread had posts with people posting that he must have cur the course, the the results must be wrong, etc so I removed along with some other Hall threads to consolidate things. But that does not mean this thread was the first one on the subject (althhough our subjects are slightly different. I wanted to topic to be on where people think his performance stacks up). I felt at the time it was the most on topic one. But I wrote him an explanation and could see why he might be upset so I'm posting here.
I was just reading an email I got and felt it was fair to point out that a thread
[quote]lots o' PBs wrote:
Did anyone notice that 60% of the top ten in the men's race ran PRs and 90%!!! of the top ten in the women's race ran PRs. Does that seem strange? How often is there that sort of incidence of PRs in a professional race? Am I wrong to question that accuracy of the course given that?
If he hadn't beaten the Olympic silver medalist by almost three minutes, then perhaps I would have questioned it. If he hadn't absolutely decimated the field at cross nationals over a year ago, I would have perhaps questioned the credibility of it. If Hall establishes some consistency, he will be a threat on the world stage. As a previous poster mentioned, he did this effort without pacers. Absolutely amazing!
...But could Ryan Hall beat Gabe Jennings or Paul McMullen in a full marathon? I am thinking not.
That's not too bad, enough though Ryan's still coming up to Gabe's and Paul's level, he does have Sara to romp with in bed every night!
What type of "conversion chart" gives resolution to the nearest hundreth of a second? What a joke.
What kind of "track meet" times a 10,000 to a hundredth of a second? Those fools.
Put all these guys in there prime in this race at this distance and Hall would've destroyed them.
This is one of the reasons American running never progresses because you old farts cling on to the past too much. Just admit it Hall owns those guys.[/quote]
Ummmm, some old farts clinging to the past keeps American running from progressing? C'mon No Way you're being a little irrational. While I want you to maintain your youthful exuberance it doesn't require that you become a blabbering idiot. Trying to equate performances today to performances by old farts is probably as feasible as those conversion charts that have been circulating.
Think about it. Ryan just broke a record that was 20 plus years old. When Curp set that record American distance running was rolling. There was no way in hell I thought it would take this long for a young gun to smash it.
Now, in your youthful worldly view, you think that it is harder to rule the world today than it was when old farts raced and won. That is debateable but not out in left field. I personally think that it is just as hard then as it is now but it would be a worthwhile endeavor to debate. What isn't a worthwhile endeavor to debate is whether an American record holder "owns" the champions of America's past.
The only reason old farts cling to the past is out of necessity not desire. We want these guys to set a new standard. We want these guys to achieve more than Shorter, Viren, Mills. But until they do, at a world championship level, not just an American level, then we'll just have to keep the dream alive.
surley instead of questioning his performance we should be asking what training he did in the build up to this!
Jesus, Love, and lots of hard work coupled with Alien genetics... Thats Ryans secret....
Thanks for making the most intelligent post on this thread. It's always nice to see reason prevail over blind skepticism.
This is a stunning performance. I wish the non-running world would take note.
Sadly, most of the major newspapers in the country have failed to report it.
Plenty of knocking copy from letsrun posters but wish we had a Brit that could run nearly as fast.
UK Athletics have got excited about one of our guys running 63:58
This is impressive with a slightly rolling course! Did you see the video where he crest the hill and you see the woman walking in the background? It does also bring more questions in regard to the legitimacy of the results. The course was not a pancake. In addition, it was out and back from the description on the video. http://www.chevronhoustonmarathon.com/Assets/houston+marathon+assets/galleryimages/MarElevChrt.jpg.jpg
I dont see how a woman walking in the background brings uestion to the legitimacy of the coarse please explain. At some point you have to take it for what it is road will never be right on or exact. each coarse is diffrent an subject to error
I guess it goes to show what a little brother pushing you can do...Ryan just reclaimed #1 in the Hall household.
Jefe in the CO wrote:
Trying to equate performances today to performances by old farts is probably as feasible as those conversion charts that have been circulating.
Hence, we time things. We have performance depth charts to see where we stand against both our contemporaries and our predecessors and to set qualifying marks for the more exclusive meets. And we also have those "silly" conversion charts which attempt, albeit imperfectly, to measure the quality of a performance against those achieved in different events. It's in our nature to question whether Steve Scott's mile record is actually a better performance than Jim Ryun's former record run on a cinder track. We also wonder if Muhammed Ali was a better boxer than Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield or Lennox Lewis. In boxing, the question of who's the all-time best is virtually pure speculation. In track and field, we have objective measurements available to help us make our speculation a bit more scientific. There are some excellent statistical methods for comparing performances in different events, as well as methods which give a pretty good idea of how much people tend to slow down as the race distances get longer. And enough people have run on both cinder and all-weather tracks that the guesswork in comparing times on the two surfaces can at least have some reasonable ballpark numbers to back it up.
A conversion chart is just an attempt to provide a kind of Rosetta stone to "translate" performances. Certainly you can determine how you stack up aganist the competition in several different events by racing people in all those events or looking at your position on a depth chart, but what does that tell us about events that are less-contested? Comparing time-for-place in races or using all-time lists doesn't tell the whole story as to how strong a one hour half marathon is compared to a 13:00 5,000. There have been many paced 5,000s, while the half marathon is a relatively new event as a global championship and the best runners in the world haven't tackled the event nearly as often, so we can't tell if the half record is weak simply by looking at the all-time lists. But we can use deep lists for the more widely-contested traditional events from the mile through the marathon and can determine on average how much runners tend to slow down as the races get longer. Since many races of the same distance are run on both the track and the road, we can also use statistics to make reasonable adjustments for track vs. road. And this gives us a more numerical insight into comparing performances in different events. It stands to reason this is at least somewhat more accurate than saying the world record for 30k on the track is comparable to the 10,000 record. We all know it isn't, but just how weak is that record? Having a more reliable basis for comparison might prove useful when determining qualifying standards for meets or when assigning point values to performances, as in the decathlon. "Age-graded" performances attempt to do the same thing.
So think of it as "silly" if you like, but some people are interested in conversions, perhaps to come up with a ballpark time or pace to shoot for in an unfamiliar race distance, to see which events really are their best ones, to assess where they stand in some kind of local or regional "performance points" seasonal competition, to choose which race they should run (or try to qualify for) at an important outing, etc. You can't always tell these things by racing other people.
The only reason old farts cling to the past is out of necessity not desire. We want these guys to set a new standard. We want these guys to achieve more than Shorter, Viren, Mills.
And since today's runners can't race those of other eras when everybody was in peak form, we use the stopwatch as one way of comparing eras. It isn't perfect, of course. Track surfaces are faster, shoes are better designed, travel is easier, rabbits are plentiful, competition is deeper and money is on the table (and maybe some drugs). But the stopwatch tells us there can't be much doubt that Bekele is running at a much higher level than Zatopek or even Viren or that numerous high school runners today can run faster than Nurmi ever did. And records at any level (personal, school, meet, state, national, world) do serve as tangible challenges for athletes of all abilities - like you said, to set a new standard.
Nicely put. I will admit to using conversions even to this day to give me an idea of what I could run if I wanted to day dream. But just because I use them doesn't prevent them from being fundamentally flawed. For about 10 fold some of the variables that you've identified. A blaring example is that sweet spot for pace and distance that most runners have, really good 5k guy but crappy 10k guy, etc. Every once in a while you get incredible range, like Geb, Tergat, Aouita, where these conversions might actually hold water to some extent. But for the rest of the world sliding up or down leaves large variances in ability and effort leaving no meaningful comparison except just for fun. But I agree we should compare, warts and all and at the end of the day we come to the same conculsion...Hall uncorked a keeper.
I still cling to my theory of running relativity though. A champion of the past, would more likely than not be a champion today. Whereas a high school kid that runs a time comparable to Paavo in no way means that they possess the heart of a champion. Humans do not evolve that fast. They do have access to quite a bit more resources than the generation before them and those resources aid them in running faster times but on a relative basis equal efforts.
Only a runner with very little knowledge would make a remark as you have done.
Likewise well put. Comparing performances in different events is still mainly guesswork, and few individual runners are going to precisely post their "expected" times in several different distances, but stats can at least give us some expected times based on races run by hundreds or thousands of runners. For every Seb Coe, whose race times for 3,000 and longer were not within a moon shot of his 800-to-mile times, there is a Bill Rodgers, a guy who knocks off some of the best long races but never competes at the same level in short ones, and there are some Gebrselassie types who seem to be the best or nearly the best at every distance from the 1,500 to the marathon. So the top performances, the 10th best, the 100th best and so on tend to pan out to a workable average, even though the individual runners themselves are all over the charts. That is, until you get to events like the 30k and, to a dwindling extent, the half marathon. Those races haven't seen their heyday yet and we still have to estimate what kind of times in those distances would be comparable to times in other distances.
I think we can guess pretty close, but until more stats pour in, some of it is still just guessing. Maybe if enough people ran distances from 10 miles to 20 miles more often, we'd find they don't slow down as much as we'd expect between 10 miles and 15 miles, then they slow down more than we expected between 15 and 20. The best we can do in the absence of many world-class race times from these "intermediate" distances is try to use a best fit curve on the results we have. We can also theorize using gas exchange data and other physical processes, and see how those methods line up with the best fit curve from gathered race stats. But there are a lot of gaps in the stats for distances between the 10,000 and the marathon, particularly between the half marathon and the marathon. How many 25ks are there? How many 30ks. Are there any 37ks? All we can say with certainty about how a runner should expect to fare at a 37k race is that it will be run at a slower pace than a half marathon and at a faster pace than a marathon (given equal fitness, equal conditions and ideal efforts for all of those distances).
A champion of the past, would more likely than not be a champion today. Whereas a high school kid that runs a time comparable to Paavo in no way means that they possess the heart of a champion.
Yes, the greats from the past would raise their game today. They did what it took to beat their contemporaries, and you can only beat who shows up, so their combination of talent, training, and will to win was the best at that time. But we can't really know if Nurmi was a 27:00 runner who won in a 30:00 era. Maybe he wasn't even the most talented guy around back then. Maybe he wasn't in the top 1,000 talents. Maybe he was one of the least talented in his major races. Certainly people existed who were just as talented as most of the top runners today but they never ran a step in competition. Was Nurmi capable of 27-something in today's running world, or was his training load - paltry by today's standards but "psycho" back then - far enough above that of his more "talented" rivals that he beat them by outworking them? It's more likely we'll determine who Jack the Ripper was than we'll know exactly how Nurmi or Zatopek or Snell or Viren would really stack up against the top fields today. It's safe to say they'd at least be running faster even if they didn't win or weren't in the mix. Champions don't just fold; they rise up to a different level if they have to. How high could some of them have gone? No telling.
I won't try and rank Hall's performance amongst past american performances, there are too many choices that all have reasons to be the best (Hall's half being a contender).
But, what I do know is that I am more excited to train and race then I have ever been. If you are an american athlete (high school, college, or elite) this has to be a truely motivating performance, its motivated me.
"He runs to please god"
DEFINATELY. Even Ryun's 3:51 doesnt match up to this. Why? Its safe to say that Hall has the capability right now to run close to 3:51 mile, 3:51-3:53 AT LEAST...now could you say the same for Ryun? Could Ryun had ran this fast in a half marathon if he seriously trained for it? THE ANSWER IS HELL NO!
Yeah, but could Hall run 1:44 with 53/51 splits, or a 3:33 with the last 1200 in 2:46 (53.4 last 400)? THE ANSWER IS HELL NO!
Stop comparing apples and oranges and runners from different eras. The bar is constantly raised, giving runners faster and faster goals to pursue.