Oh dear. Was there an error of around 200 metres in the course measurement at the Fit Magazine City Series 2014 races in the Phoenix Park in Dublin yesterday?
I think there was. Either the 5K course was too short or the 10K course was too long. From running at a similar event on the same course recently, I reckon that it’s the 5K course measurement that’s wrong.
Look at the map below. Both the 5K and 10K started at the same point. When the 5K finished, without completing a full loop, the 10K field continued on the loop. The 10K field then passed the start line again and ran around to the finish again.
Logically, this means that the 10K field ran the full 5K course, then the 200 metres or so from the finish to the start line, and then ran the full 5K course again. It’s quite clear when you look at the map.
The key thing is that both races started at the same point, but the 5K wasn’t a full loop.
For the Aware Christmas Run last December on the exact same route in the Phoenix Park, the 10K set off first and then for the 5K the start line was moved a few hundred metres back down Chesterfield Avenue – probably to account for that discrepancy in the lap. I remember the 10K start line that day being in the same place as on Sunday’s Fit Magazine 10K, which is why I think the 5K course was too short rather than the 10K being too long.
Some runners using Garmins may have found they still ran 5K for the race – this is because a race distance is based on the fastest racing line around corners. (You see this line literally in the Olympic marathon, for instance, where it’s painted blue on the road.) In a large field of runners, where you’re weaving past people and taking wide corners, you’ll be running further than the stated race distance. Most marathon runners will find they cover a bit more than the 26.2 miles.
So, anyone who ran 5K yesterday may have done so on a course that was officially shorter than 5 kilometres.
Still, if you ran well and did cover the advertised distance in a good time, well done. But the race organisers may have some explaining to do.