Running with Moe fo 4/14
Usually I don’t have days when not much is planned, but the other day one such day occurred. These are days when you have too much time on your hands and you begin to think about abstract things.
Since I spend much of my free time involved in races in one form or another thoughts often concern something about a race. This day the thought that came to mind was, “Why do we run 5K races but everyone wants to know the mile time?” Why not have a three miles race and stop there? Why do we need to add that one tenth of a mile to make it a 5K?
When we certify a 5K race, we have to fill out the paper work and include each of the kilometer distances and location. But the organizer of the race also wants the mile marks listed and needs those marked the day of the race. If we marked each kilometer and gave out the times at each one I wonder how many runners would know how fast they are running?
I would hazard a guess that there are a number of runners who do not even know how far a kilometer is. In case someone asks you this question you can tell the person that a kilometer is .62137119 miles in length. The key to this is that a 5K distance is 3.1068560 miles in length — not a 3.1 as is advertised on the race flyer.
The point to knowing this is that if you are running at an eight-minute-per-mile pace, how long will it take you to run a kilometer? Math majors should be able to calculate this in their head as they run the race.
Be sure you divide with all eight digits to get that accurate pace down. The Moe’s Better Half Marathon is 21.0975 kilometers, or 13.10938 miles, in case you want an accurate distance.
I think much of this measurement started when the United States wanted to be in tune with the rest of the world. Every other country uses the metric system for measurement and time except the United States.
In my old days as a track athlete, in meets I ran the 440-yard dash (a quarter of a mile). Now track athletes run the 400-meter dash (a quarter of a 1600-meter run). So, in order to compete and compare times with the rest of the world runners in meets on a world — or Olympic level of competition — the track meets went metric.
I guess this movement started the road racing events going to metric as well.
We still have a couple of races here in San Marcos that are mile long races. The Tanger Turkey Trot Four Miler and the Gear Up 10 Miler are two such races.
For the 10 Miler we may put out the 5K and 10K and 15K marks so runners can compare their pace to the 5K and 10K races they run on other weekends. How does that figure? Run a 5K and runners want to know mile times, but run a 10 miles distance and they want to know 5K times.
If you want to have a trail run, instead of a road race, some changes are necessary. For instance, you can’t certify a trail run the same way you measure a road race. The trail has too many obstacles such as gravel, sand, uneven borders, and an accurate measurement is not allowed.
Race organizers of a trail run can use a GPS measurement, or a measuring wheel, to get a close distance measurement. And if the race distance is advertised as a 5K distance, the GPS devices, or the wheel, do not go out to eight digits of accuracy for certification. Close to the distance is usually good for most runners in a trail run. Close counts in trail runs and a game of horseshoes.
After looking over the information listed in this article I think I better work on making sure my day is well planned out and I don’t have any more “sit back and think on ridiculous thoughts” on my schedule. Too many days like this and I’ll probably end up with headaches and might gain weight from sitting around so much.
Dr. Maurice Johnson is a former professor at Texas State University in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. His column appears every Sunday in the Daily Record.