Friday, April 17, 2009

A tale of two cities

When I was at the convention center today picking up my race packet, I stopped at the NYC Marathon kiosk to sign-up for that run. I know I could have just done this at home, but their site is pretty incomprehensible, so I thought it might be nice to have help standing by.

The only way for someone like me to get into the NYC marathon is by lottery: Their qualifying times are significantly harder than Boston's are and yet the race is bigger--38,000 v. 25,000. My age-based qualifying time for Boston has to be under 3:30, while NYC requires a 3:10.

An initial reaction might be that the New York race is just bigger and more competitive and that is probably what they want people to think. It isn't true.

Neither organization makes it easy to crunch their numbers. But here is what I found:

NYC has about 38,000 runners and in 2008, 997 came in under 3:00 and 3,651 under 3:25. Meanwhile Boston had 25,000 runners in 2008 and about 1,282 were sub 3:00 and 5,293 were under 3:25.

Boston attracts a lot more good runners than NYC. It would be difficult to determine what percentage of the NYC runners get in through qualification v. lottery, but I would guess around 90%.

What one would have to do is search the results for each age/sex category and then find the ratio of runners who came in under the limits. For instance: I found that there were 1470 US Male entrants in 2008. Only 106 of them ran under 3:10.(which is the NYC qualifying time for men that age) That is only about 7%. Just do that for every age/sex group and then scale the percentages by the proportion each group contributes to the total...etc...

I question the wisdom of NYC setting the qualifying times so hard. Their times are not realistically obtainable for most people--so there is no incentive to work at it. Boston's are pretty hard, but most people can, with sufficient effort and a little genetic luck, qualify.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lots of fun in store...

We took tomorrow off to take the kids to the circus. I think we will get a good price for them, even though they don't know any tricks yet.

The circus it at City Hall Plaza in Boston, though it is quite distinct from the circus that "mumbles" runs in the upside-down building next door. Anyhow, after the circus, we will go down to the Hynes Convention Center to pick-up my Boston Marathon race packet.

That night my wife is going to a ladies-only 1980's party--so it will be a full day all around.

The usual hectic schedule for Saturday and Sunday, then Monday is the marathon! If you want to track me, the information on how to do that is here. I am 9899

Maxine? Really?

All of the dialog is taken from some of the comments on the Phil Spector guilty post on Althouse' blog.

Story here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All singing from the same choir-book...

Yesterday I was listening to NPR on the way home from work and there was a show about inflammatory speech coming from right wing pundits. That is fine, par for the course: Back when President Bush was being compared to Hitler, they had a show which dissected the pathology of the left-wing flamethrowers. Right? No. Actually, they had lots of shows where the left wing flamethrower was an honored guest of the show.

Then, today this comes to light:

Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

From the US Dept of Homeland Security.

Ah, this is rich. The folks who could never call people who fly airplanes into office towers terrorists without feeling a little icky, now are all too happy to use the term on their political opponents.