Admittedly, the race time bias includes all factors unique to that course on that day: weather, temperature, humidity, pace-making, race tactics, the crowd, etc. We can't break out just the effect of the wind, so it's possible that the wind was a major, or minor, or a non factor. But I just note:
- the favorable wind was significant enough to be mentioned by both the race organizers, and Paula, at that time.
- the race time bias is an average of all the elite women (around 20 eligible performances for London 2003); the calculated benefit was due to something common to all the elite women, and something unique to the course conditions that day, at that time. (The men, for example, ran 45 minutes later, in warmer temperatures, and the race bias was about half: -1.3 sec/km)
- Although Paula had two male pacers to run with, not all of the other elite women did (although there were eight pacemakers in total).
- Regardless of the source, the absolute race time bias for London 2003 was even greater than the windy Boston 2011. With math and statistics, there is always uncertainty, but it's not "over the top" to say "comparable scale".
According to the London marathon race report still available on their website:
"Radcliffe also had the assistance of a south-easterly breeze for much of the race".
Paula commented to the BBC moments after the race: "We got a good day. It was a bit windy but it seemed the wind was behind us more than it was in front of us."
Of course the 2003 reports wouldn't compare it to Boston 2011.
Looking at the course map, with a favorable wind, after the first 3 miles against the wind (downhill), 14 miles would be a tailwind, 4 miles would be a headwind, and 5 miles would be a crosswind.
The race time bias computed for Boston 2011 for the women: http://arrs.net/HP_BosMa.htm
The race time bias computed for London 2003, for the women: http://www.arrs.net/HP_LonMa.htm
In another article, Paula said she raced her pacemakers, rather than using them as windshields. Even this would also benefit her time in a way that is so far unique to her.
What other women has had the opportunity to race at a 2:15 pace in a group with two pacers/competitors in a non-tactical time-trial? Seems like a solo effort would be more difficult to maintain.
Avocado's Number wrote:
The ARRS "race time bias" calculations provide little support for a contention that any tailwind at London 2003 had a net favorable effect that was anywhere close to the net effect of the tailwind at Boston 2011, and I'm not aware of any race reports, including the post-race interview to which you are referring, that provide much support for such a contention. Nor does the layout of the London course, which had its start and finish lines within thirty percent of the total race distance and significant stretches during which a wind from the southeast would be a headwind or crosswind. I know that you very intelligently discussed some of these very points in a thread last year. Saying that London 2003 had a tailwind that helped the runners "on a scale comparable to Boston 2011" seems a bit over the top.