Predicting your Ridge Run Finishing Time Revisited

A previous blog post presented a couple ways you can estimate your Ridge Run time.

This year, there was a particular high profile runner (let’s just call him Tom) that significantly underperformed compared to his predicted time. And he made his frustrations known to me expressing his complaints that the suggested formulas either do not work or at best need some adjusting for older runners.

Tom Sure Looks Fast

Tom Sure Looks Fast

Age Group Record Lust

This particular runner was gunning for the 60 to 69 age group record. Not just the record for his sex, but for all runners 60 to 69. You see, for this particular age group, the women’s record is faster than the men’s! Tom felt particularly motivated by this fact. He actually voiced that it was not right for the women’s record to be faster than the men’s.

  • The 60-69 record for men is 4:56:12 set by Pat Callis in 2002
  • The 60-69 record for women is 4:51:59 set in 2003

He Didn’t Get It

Tom won his age group. His finish time was very respectable at just over 5 hours. But he failed to break the course record for the 60-69 age group for either sex.

Does the Prediction Formula Work?

First of all, any formula is going to be just an estimate. There are so many variables and factors, that it is not possible to predict one’s finishing time with perfect accuracy. In fact, for the ridge run, any prediction that is within a half hour or so has to be considered as good as it gets.

Assumptions

For these formulas that utilize a 5K time or a marathon time to work at predicting your Ridge Run time, there are a couple of crucial assumptions that must be true.

  • You are endurance trained to be able to run a quality marathon
  • You have trained on and are familiar with the Ridge Run course

Real World Examples

Let’s take a look at some examples, both men and women, to see how accurate some predicted Ridge Run times can be. I’ve chosen the following people because I have data of their recent 5K and/or Marathon times.

  • Estimated Marathon Time = 26.2 * ((( 5K Time ) / 3.1) + 1)
  • Estimated Ridge Run 1 Time = (4/3) * Estimated Marathon Time
  • Estimated Ridge Run 2 Time = (4/3) * Actual Marathon Time
Person
5K Time
Estimated Marathon
Actual Marathon
Estimated Ridge Run 1
Estimated Ridge Run 2
Actual 2011 Ridge Run
Tom
20
3:15
4:20
5:01
Andy
20
3:15
3:14
4:20
4:19
4:16
Kyle
19
3:07
2:59
4:09
3:59
3:58
Scott
16
2:41
2:40
3:35
3:33
3:17
Minde
23
3:40
3:40
4:53
4:53
4:25
Nikki
19
3:07
3:15
4:09
4:20
3:56
Alyssa
3:53
5:10
4:49
 

Overestimation 

Looking at the actual Ridge Run times as compared to the Estimated, the first thing you notice, if anything, is the formulas are conservative and overestimate your finish time.

All I can conclude regarding Tom is that he was overly optimistic regarding his 5K race time, his fitness or both. Perhaps the 5K races that he entered this summer and ran 20 minutes in actually had short courses. To rule out uncertainty on your 5K time, go to your nearest 400 meter track and run 12.5 laps at full effort.

It is also likely that Tom was not specifically trained for the marathon+ distance that the Ridge Run represents and the ruggedness of the footing on the Ridge Run.

Reaching Your Potential Requires Commitment and Sacrifice

Given Tom’s running ability, he has the potential to break the 60 to 69 age group record. To accomplish this, he will have to train specifically and seriously for the Ridge Run which includes, training on the course. This may be a bigger sacrifice than he is willing to make as he will have to give up some of his summer relaxation time that he now spends hanging out at Flathead Lake.

Tom Spending the Summer Traing Hard At Flathead Lake

Tom Spending the Summer Traing Hard At Flathead Lake

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About Bridger Ridge Run

The Bridger Ridge Run blog is an information portal for all those seeking to learn more about the Bridger Ridge Run event held every second Saturday of August in Bozeman Montana. This blog contains notifications about important registration dates and deadlines, history of the event, training advice and other stories and entertaining tidbits of information about the Bridger Ridge Run.
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