Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Why Is NYC So Slow?


New Yorkers like to pride themselves on how fast we are talking and walking. I would think that would encompass running. Overall, I think of New York as a great running city. Central Park is full of fast runners, and the races here always draw quick people. So I was a little disappointed when I visited Nikeplus.com to do a little research for a work piece. This past weekend, Nike held "The Human Race," a series of 10k races in major cities around the world. Showing the cool things that can be done with data, Nike posted the average times from each city. New Yorkers were pathetically slow at an average of 1:02:04, an Oprah-like 9:59 pace. That placed the Big Apple in 15th place out of 26 cities. Compare that with Portland's 58:33, Vancouver's 58:22 and Madrid's blazing fast 56:34. The last one really surprised me. Madrid had the lowest average time of any city. Many Euro cities beat us, even Warsaw. I lived in Poland: everyone smokes. What gives? The good news is NYC beat the pants off LA (1:05:20) and Austin (1:11:51). Check out the results for lots of cities worldwide.

12 miles, 1:33:25

UPDATE: Emily and Michelle put the blame on Nike. It turns out the course on Randall's Island, where I've never run, included a narrow bridge that slowed most to a several-minute walk. "Runners started booing," Michelle reports. Tsk-tsk, Nike. NYC wants a rematch.

70 comments:

nyflygirl said...

I am willing to bet that a lot of the serious racers decided to skip this one, knowing the history of Nike races-majorly chaotic :)

After the Run Hit Wonder 3 years ago, I swore that I'd never do another Nike race! (well with the exception of the 2006 NYC Half. But I don't think Nike came into the picture until after I registered...)

rich said...

The course layout at Randall's Island was a joke, with impossible-to-reach starting positions, a dangerously narrow course, and forced stops to let faster runners through. In the first loop runners were made to dodge oncoming traffic from cars that were moving on the course, and near the 3-mile mark we were stopped for almost five minutes in an attempt to alleviate congestion on a bridge that was about 10 feet wide. The course would have struggled to accommodate 3,000 runners...10,000 runners and walkers overburdened the logistics beyond belief. It was a heck of a marketing event, but a poorly staged race.

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