Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sigh. So Much for That.

Well, folks, I think it's clear the model for prediction did not work.

And to be honest, I am thinking this is an exercise in futility because the BAA accepted 818 fewer qualifiers. Given the BAA can and will decide to accept any variation of 23,000 to 24,000, the prediction can never be close to accurate, even if we built in a whole bunch more feeders and demand predictions.

Over at bqrun.com, he has an even more complicated model with 6 years of data. His last update came up with 48 seconds. Still quite far from 2:09.

2957 applicants where rejected. At 129 seconds of cut off, that is 23 runners per second. With 818 fewer spots than last year, you have about 36 seconds of additional cut off. Apples to applies with entry spots the same year over year, the cut off would have been 1:33. So had they accepted the same number as last year, it would have been around 1:33.

All I can say is thank you for reading, and I'm sorry if I gave you false hope. I'm not sure if I'm gonna do this again for 2018 given the uncertainty with the number of qualifiers the BAA will accept. With the fact that they don't publish the data until the day of the cutoff announcement, makes it really hard to come up with a good number.

27 comments:

  1. But you made it, right?!
    It's a bummer about BAA's whimsical approach - and sorry if you think this was futile. I still give you big props for doing the crunching, and totally understand if you pass next time.

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    1. Yes, I made it. Again, I'm just eeking in with 26 seconds to spare (last year I had 18 seconds to spare).

      I just feel for all the folks that didn't this year. Especially the ones with 1:30 or more given the gap we see in the accepted qualifiers in 2017 compared to 2016.

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    2. All else aside - CONGRATULATIONS!

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    1. You were much closer in your estimate. Even more so that the other guy. It is definitely feeling like an exercise in futility.

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  3. You made it! Way to go! I found this fascinating and enjoyed the process. Even though I am not running Boston this year, I was so antsy to figure out what the time cutoff was just from reading your analysis!

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  4. You did the best you could and you can not factor in "whim" or other internal factors in any analysis. Congrats on getting in. I did as well. 1st Boston and I'm thrilled.

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  5. Thank you for your efforts. You were important to a lot of people.

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  6. Thanks chacha for your analysis, I followed your posts for 6-8 months. I don't think you let anyone down with your analysis. Your approach was well thought out. Ultimately, it up to us to run our best time. Reading your posts gave all of us squeakers a chance to dream every few weeks with your updates. Those of us who made it are thrilled. Those who didn't, well, many will be back more determined than ever for 2018 BQ. I hope you'll consider doing the analysis again next year with a few tweaks from things learned from 2017!

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  7. I'm in that >1:30 boat at 1:43. It's a bummer that might motivate me to go faster next time. That said---it would be nice to know the "why" there was the reduction in entries. Like, hey, we had to add an additional 1000 entries for a charity for people who have been diagnosed with a braincloud.

    Thank you for your analysis--if for nothing else, it's neat to see how runners fare around the country with 26.2 mile long yardstick.

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  8. "We’ve run the same course since the race began,” Grilk said in an interview with Runner's World. “The course goes through eight towns, and it divides the towns for hours. At some point, the towns want to open their streets again.”

    That was the comment from the B.A.A. executive director on Runners World. Somebody complained about closing down the road and they took away those 800 spots from qualified runners who normally would be done way before any charity runners would be even be on the Newton hills. Money talks so the qualifiers got thrown under the bus.

    Thanks for your great effort during these last 52 weeks. It wasn't your fault that the numbers didn't match with reality, it was B.A.A. fault for making a gutless decision for doing what's right.

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    1. This makes me think that, if someone did indeed complain, it was a town in the early part of the race. Fewer runners starting in Hopkinton would reduce the amount of time Hopkinton is shut down (and maybe Ashland/Framingham?), but 800 doesn't seem like that many -- maybe five minutes worth?

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  9. Congrats on getting in. Even though the math didn't end up corresponding with the outcome, I still enjoyed the process of you going through all this data.

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  10. What if you modified the assumption on the number of acceptances to account for how BAA under/overshot the previous year? For example, in 2016, BAA had a total number of entrants of 30,741 (http://registration.baa.org/2016/cf/Public/iframe_Statistics.htm) when the field was supposed to be 30,000. If you assume that they reduce the 2017 accepted entrants by 741, then you're pretty close on the 800 reduced entries from 2016 to 2017.

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  11. I enjoyed following this analysis. If you removed Boston results from your dataset would the estimate have been much closer?

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  12. I appreciate your analysis work, but even more so your writing and presentation. You did a great job. Thank you.

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  13. Thank you for all of the work you did. I certainly appreciated it and learned a lot about the whole process. The bottom line is that I need to work harder to earn my spot after seeing how the BAA works. I hope you continue to do it, if times allows in your busy life. Your analysis was amazing and so helpful. Good luck to you and I am so glad that you were accepted! Hope to see you again in the future.

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  14. You gave me hope for 6 months!!! I appreciate you doing this, best of luck and here's to hoping for 2018.

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  15. Chacha, thank you for all the work you put in on this. As a -1:35 that missed the cut, it was a terribly difficult pill to swallow. I was severely depressed for a while and will be bitter with the BAA for the arbitary decisions on field size for the rest of my life (even when I do make the cut and eventually run Boston...it will be different). However, I hope you continue to do the analysis even if you don't predict a cutoff...Just having the numbers of the qualifiers from the major feeders is great information to have...

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  16. I have to agree with what everyone said above--this is great stuff, super appreciated, and do please keep doing it!

    Having just run my first BQ (CIM--did I see you there? LOL) at 3:40 below BQ, I feel like I have a good shot for 2018, but I won't stop worrying (OK, wondering?) until September 2017. Reading fact-based analysis will make the process so much more understandable and acceptable. Please consider keeping it up again, and thanks for what you've already done!

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    1. Maybe you did! I was there - I managed to get BQ-8:21 so finally I will be in the first week of registration.

      I wish I had more time to do this - right now, it's hard. I might consider doing a batch at once over Christmas break. We'll see. But it feels a bit futile since they can change the number they accept at any point.

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  17. Chacha, I missed the 2017 cut by 31 seconds but got a big kick out of following your calculations and everyone's comments. I qualified last weekend at CIM by over 15 minutes for 2018- so no squeaking for me. Did you run it? Thanks again! Henry

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    1. BQ-15?! Wow! Congrats! I was at CIM - I ran BQ-8:21 which I was very happy with! Though like most runners, it's never good enough and I'm now itching to break 3:30 :D

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  18. Boston was ran yesterday in very hot conditions. They had 946 less qualifiers than the extremely low numbers from last year. I can foreseen B.A.A. is going to take 946 more charity runners next year for 2018 just to make sure they are going to have a BQ-2:00+.

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    1. Your theory is interesting, and part of me agrees. It may not be 2:00 but I'll be it's at least 1:30. Which is really too bad.

      I'm still toying with the idea of just hunkering down for a couple weekends and just crunching all the numbers for fun.

      Also, yes, Boston yesterday was miserable as far as weather. Full sun until mile 21 for wave 3. I think wave 1 had sun the entire way. It felt a good bit worse than last year (I ran 4 minutes slower than last year and 16 minutes slower than my PR from CIM).

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  19. Horrible day ran 3:25 last year 55 and easy in .this year I have 339 Disney as was in half which cancelled ran full as was pissed became a workout as not ready . Then 3:38:28 Boston . I have 2 in 3 months and might be out . I also ran 235 in 1983 so many bostons . I think baa should throw out cutoff on home race if you BQ on there course there standards why I need to compete with a different course 30 percent made cut Boston this week and best of best right . All the BQ Boston rinners should be automatic

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