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Where Did The Time Go? (Part 1)

I was an English major in college; took math and science classes only when I had to in order to graduate. I realized to my horror that Astronomy was a heavily physics-based course and managed to squeak through!
So saying all that I do get a kick out of looking at the yearly Boilermaker stats and compare those to previous years and see if they tell anything. I just got them and here is what I see.
For the first time in the last six years we actually got faster in the 15k; but that must be taken with a few grams of salt (or sodium substitute product). In 2009 the average time overall to run the 15k was 1 hour 25 minutes 53 seconds. For females it took 1 hour 31 minutes 43 seconds, males 1 hour 21 minutes 28 seconds. Fast forward to 2013, our slowest Boilermaker ever. Average time 1 hour 34 minutes 23 seconds with females clocking in at 1 hour 39 minutes 50 seconds, males at 1 hour 29 minutes 31 seconds. In 4 years the women had lost 8 minutes 3 seconds; the men 8 minutes 7 seconds.
So now I have set the table for this year. In 2014 the overall time was 1 hour 32 minutes 46 seconds, 1 hour 38 minutes 15 seconds for women, 1 hour 27 minutes 52 seconds for the men. We reversed the trend from the previous year by 1 minute 37 seconds overall, 1 minute 35 seconds for the females and 1 minute 39 seconds for the men.
Below is where we have been since 2009:
Overall      Female    Male        Start line temp in degrees
2104    1:32:46    1:38:15    1:27:52    68 degrees
2013    1:34:23    1:39:50    1:29:31    66 degrees
2012    1:31:17    1:36:45    1:26:22    65 degrees
2011    1:29:28    1:35:06    1:24:41    58 degrees
2010    1:28:40    1:34:32    1:23:59    64 degrees
2009    1:25:53    1:31:43    1:21:28    55 degrees
So why did we get faster this year compared to 2013; one word- weather. While the temperature were slightly warmer in 2014 the humidity levels in 2013 were significantly higher. This year the runners were blanketed with cloud cover from the beginning to the end of the race. In 2013 roughly an hour into the race the clouds burned off forcing runners to deal with the sun and humidity. The result was, at times, the medical tent was filled to the brim. Finally, our 2014 runners were greeted with a moderate breeze; last year the air was simply dead.
Certainly a bit (and I think a very small bit) of the slowdown over the years could be due to the increased participation level/start line; we had over 1,300 more people cross the line in 2014 vs. 2009.
At some point I’ll look at how we stack up to one of the early years. Far fewer participants and at start time of 10:30 in the morning. Amazing to think the early Boilermaker runners were starting at a time today the race is essentially over!
A huge thank you to John Pittarresi, from the Observer Dispatch, whose love for research has always been a real asset to the race. Also thanks to Pat Leone, from Leone Timing, who keeps track of important demographics/ statistics.
Part 2- the 5K

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