Will Cold Weather Really Help People From Cold Climates?

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by LetsRun.com
March 22, 2013
Bydgoszcz, Poland

Considering the weather is going to be cold on Sunday when the 2013 World Cross Country Championships, many are speculating whether the cold weather might help the US (and Canada). Messageboard poster “watchout” certainly thinks that the cold weather might help the US team do well as many of the US runners are from northern states. We’ve pasted his post from the messageboard below.

If anyone noticed, most of Team USA is from northern states… I don’t think that will be a problem.Senior Men:

Chris Derrick – grew up in Illinois.
Elliot Heath – grew up in Minnesota
Ben True – grew up in Maine, trains in New Hampshire
Ryan Vail – Oregon (doesn’t snow much in Portland, though)
Bobby Mack – North Carolina (see above)
James Strang – Went to college at and now lives in Colorado

4/6 well versed in cold and snow. They’ll be fine.

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Senior Women:

Kim Conley – Californian… might not be ready for this weather
Deena Kastor – Californian… see above
Emily Infield – grew up in Ohio, went to Georgetown…
Neeley Spence – from Pennsylvania, trains in Michigan…
Delilah DiCrescenzo – grew up in Illinois, trains in New York
Mattie Suver – don’t remember where she’s from, but she is currently based in Colorado and has coached in Washington…

Not as northern-heavy as the Men, but still plenty of folks used to cold weather.

Junior Women:

Emily Stites – grew up in Ohio, college in Virginia…
Erin Finn – high schooler from Michigan
Carrie Verdon – grew up in California, but goes to college in Colorado…
Katie Knight – high schooler from (Spokane) Washington
Samantha Nadel – grew up in New York
Sydney Scott – grew up in Colorado

Junior Men:

Craig Nowak – grew up in Texas, college in Oklahoma…
Malachy Schrobilgen – grew up in Illinois, goes to Wisconsin…
Matt McClintock – grew up in Maine, goes to Purdue
Darren Fahy – grew up in SoCal, goes to Georgetown…
Thomas Graham – grew up in North Carolina, goes to Stanford…
Andrew Gardner – high schooler from (Spokane) Washington

Junior Women have much more of a cold-weather pedigree, but half of the men are from northern states so they’ll still be ok.

This weather isn’t bad for team US, it’s (mostly) good!

It’s definitely a well researched post. We actually had the same daydream of optimism about Chris Derrick when we first got here as we knew he was Illinois.

That being said, we don’t actually think the cold weather will benefit people from colder climates much at all. To be truthful, we don’t think cold weather really influences running too much. Look at the NYC half marathon results from last week. Wilson Kipsang came in as the best guy in the field and left as the race champion. If that doesn’t convince you, then remember that 7 of the top 8 from the 1992 world cross country in the snow of Boston were from Africa.

Running in hot weather is a different matter as some people just suck at it and are eliminated by it. But cold weather – even if it’s 15 degrees Fahrenheit windchill – should’t do anyone in. It’s not like it’s going to be 20 below windchill wise.

Might the entire course end up looking like this?

Generally in a race, the most fit people tend to come out on top and coldness shouldn’t change that fact. One could even make the argument that the most fit guys/gals are more likely to come out on top on Sunday than normal.

Under adverse conditions, the race takes longer. The course in Terre Haute where NCAAs is run often can be minutes slower if it’s muddy than if it’s rock-solid. The same is true here as we saw something last week about how the course at the Polish champs was two minutes slower than previous years.

So who will do well?

The people that can handle being out of their comfort zone for a very long time aka – the most fit runners.

Footing/Not Temperature is Key
Far more important than temperature is footing. Some people – often big people (anyone remember Chris Solinsky finishing 73rd at NCAAs in 2006?) don’t do well in mud. For them, Sunday could be tough as it’s like someone who isn’t good at running in heat having to run on a hot day.

There is no way that the course just hardens up with solid footing in the cold by Sunday. Just look at the photos (we give you a tour of the crazy course here with a full photo gallery) and you’ll see that is currently is a mixture of snow, ice, and mud.

Supposedly, the plan is to scrape the course of the ice and snow before the start. What would that do? Make it muddier.

The forecast keeps changing and now it does not call for it to be above freezing before race time with the sun not coming out either. If they can scrape the course, the mud won’t be as bad as if everything melted. However, it’s not a question of whether the footing will be bad, but how bad it will be.

By the time the fourth race rolls around on Sunday, the men’s 12k, the footing could play a huge factor. It should be interesting for sure.

We’ve got a full article on the course here. *Photo Tour of Course

Video tour of the course below:
(We’re restoring our original video which got accidentally deleted. If the video below is not yet working click here for an aerial tour).

The 1:59:40 GOAT shirts are here
Posted in: Professional