2014 AMI Round the Bays

February 23rd, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

For the third year in a row, I took part in the AMI Round the Bays. It was excellent weather for it, and great to see so many people out there or walking.

In 2012 I walked the 7 km race and in 2013 I ran the 7 km race. This year I did the half marathon. It was the first time I had done a race where I had a particular time in mind as a firm goal (up until now, it was more just surviving to the finish line). I was aiming to get under 1 hr 50 minutes and my unofficial time (from the running app) was 1 hr 49 minutes and 40 seconds so was happy with that – around seven minutes quicker than one I did towards end of last year.

The interesting thing is the GPS app said that I ran for a total of 22 kms, not 21.1 kms, at a pace of 4 minutes 58 seconds per km (just over 12 kms/hr). Now normally GPS apps are out by a bit, but not that much. And lots of other people said they got around 22 kms also. Anyway I spoke to someone who was officially involved, and he told me that there was a stuff up and the course was too long. It seems the official distance measurer travels on a cycle behind the leading runners to follow their path, and he had it 600 to 700 metres over the normal length for a half marathon. So if it was over length, then my app says I did the first 21.1 kms in 1 hour 43 minutes 31 seconds. Either way, I’m happy!

In case any of the organisers are reading this, some helpful ideas for next year, which make make a great event even better for participants.

  1. Consider having different starting times for the HM and 10 km runners. It really is congested at the beginning.
  2. Having pace setters is a great idea, but would be good to have them easier to find. I suggest you have them off to one side where they are clearly visible, and in a logical order where say the 1 hr 25 pace setter is at the front and the 2 hr 15 pace setter at the back. I didn’t find my pace setter until he over took me at around the 15 km mark!
  3. The free buses into town are excellent (as are the free entry onto any Go Wellington bus) but a few more of them would be good, as the queue did get very long,
  4. Make sure you get the distance right!

But overall such a great event. It isn’t just the run. It is the mini-town at Kilbirnie Park afterwards with so many businesses and organisations there. The free tip top ice blocks were great. A huge number of Xero staff took part – I reckon must be close to 100, which is a decent proportion of their work force.

Next race is in six weeks in Wanaka – the Southern Lakes Half. Is along the Cardrona Valley Road to Lake Wanaka, so should be a beautiful setting for it.

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9 Responses to “2014 AMI Round the Bays”

  1. NK (1,243 comments) says:

    It’s absolutely incredible that in 2014, with all the technology available, that race organisers cannot measure distances accurately. If all else fails, revert to the bloody pedometer!

    The Auckland 70.3 Ironman race had the same problem last year where the run leg was about 1km longer than the 21.1 K it should have been. And that’s a very professional organisation.

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  2. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Good Man DPF.
    I saw the tweet that you did 22 kms @ 5 min/k and thought holy fuck he is fast if that is a training run :-)

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  3. Zapper (1,021 comments) says:

    Nice work. For every half-marathon since I’ve got a Garmin, it’s come out around 21.5km but I always assume it’s because it’s hard to get the shortest path with the number of people. 22km definitely sounds like an error to me.

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  4. lurcher1948 (151 comments) says:

    run a senior dog in dog agility 4 mtres plus per second good on you David run run, but i run fast with my dog over a course

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  5. chris (647 comments) says:

    If all else fails, revert to the bloody pedometer!

    Certified courses are measured with measuring wheels on bicycles, doing the course multiple times. If the course is changed at all, it must be re-certified. Needless to say there aren’t many certified courses.

    They still don’t need to be certified to be fairly accurate, and it’s a real shame they got it so wrong at such a big event.

    GPS watches can be out by bit – you’ll frequently see them out by about 500 metres either way at a half marathon distance event, and this is from a combination of a variety of inaccuracies in the device itself*, and not being able to run the shortest possible line.

    * You can have two people with the same device and firmware version run the same course together, and they still won’t necessarily measure it the same. Inaccuracies are even more common on off-road courses, and courses with a lot of turns.

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  6. chris (647 comments) says:

    Oh and well done David, that’s a great time anyway, even more so when you’ve run that much further :)

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  7. Ed Snack (1,872 comments) says:

    Yep, well done, that is a pretty reasonable time. I don’t think I’m up to a 1:50 half these days, the legs just don’t get along like they used to !

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  8. Left Right and Centre (2,975 comments) says:

    Running 21-22kms at 12km/h is pretty good. Especially with a full-on workload of other shit in life to do and keep up with. Really good.

    Have you tried using a good old-fashioned watch with a stopwatch as well as the ‘gee, I think they’re accurate but who really knows’ i-crap ?

    People who do the hard yards apparently have bigger hearts than couch potato do nothing folks. Literally (and maybe more heart as in grit and steel too ?).

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  9. chris (647 comments) says:

    I’ve heard that too about the bigger hearts, LR&C. Someone was once telling me that his mate did so much exercise (I think it was triathlons, maybe Ironman) that it had enlarged his heart, and because of that he couldn’t stop the exercise otherwise it would lead to other heart issues. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Interesting though.

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