First Look at The Philadelphia Marathon Results


The Philadelphia Marathon was held yesterday. I always follow the race with interest. One reason is that the marathon schedule is light the weekend before Thanksgiving. But, the other reason is that the race never has any shortages of course cutting. This, in of itself is not a commentary on the race organization. There is cheating at every major race.

That said, there are opportunities to cut the course, and some runners gave in to the temptation.

There are two areas where course cutting has been prevalent.

Some runners, after mile 14, instead of continuing towards the out and back will make a right turn towards the finish line. These runners are easy to detect due to impossibly fast splits. An initial review of the results shows that this year was no different. These runners typically finished the last split in sub 4 minute per mile pace.

Before I write on any runners individually, I wanted to be able to look at photos to further validate the results. Late Sunday evening, I noticed that there were some timing corrections from when I first pulled the results. I want to make certain that timing errors are not the cause of some of these results.

Philadelphia, By The Numbers

The Philadelphia Marathon publishes timing data at three intermediate checkpoints – at 10k, the half marathon and at 30k.

  • Looking at the 9274 finishers, there were 239 missed timing mats by 186 different runners.
  • 9 runners did not register at any timing mats
  • 26 runners did not register at 2 timing mats
  • 151 runners did not register at 1 timing mat.

The hit rate was 99.2% for the three intermediate mats, meaning that only 0.7% of mats were missed.

Historically there has been an unpublished checkpoint at the turnaround just before mile 20. I do believe that was the case again in 2019.

  • 57 runners didn’t register at 10k
  • 77 runners didn’t register at 13.1 miles
  • 96 runners didn’t register at 30k

Not all of these runners cut the course. There are a variety of reasons why a chip may not read when crossing a checkpoint.

  • Runner not properly wearing bib (bib behind them, covered by clothing, or bib belt, etc.
  • Damaged bib, chip
  • technical issues (no timing system is 100%)

I will have more to write on some individual results as I dig in and validate my findings.

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    • Quick search gives the potential problems with bib belts:

      1) Runners putting the bib on their backs.
      2) The belt is above the bib (I haven’t seen a belt that attaches this way, but it makes sense).
      3) Hydration style belts as the fluids may interfere.

      • I utilize a bib belt and have never missed a mat. However, I also carry my hydration in a handheld. And I now make certain my bib hasn’t shifted to my back during the race.

    • My bib belt was problematic. After about 10k the bib tore and was hanging by just one hole. While running I managed to thread the tie on the belt through a different corner of the bib, resulting in it hanging at a jaunty cross-wise angle. After another 10k or so this also tore. Not wanting to mess around I then tucked the bib, still attached at one corner, up under by shirt. I spent the next 20k imagining myself written up on this very website! I hardly saw any cameras, but when i did I tried to pull out the bib and hold it up for them and I introduced myself to two runners, in case it came down to “no one remembers seeing him on the course”… In the end it was all for nought, because the timing strip worked just fine and I won’t be hearing from Derek this week!

  1. A thing to keep in mind here is that, while the weather wasn’t great from the start, about 4 hours into it the rain and wind really picked up, the temp dropped and it started sleeting. A good number of people were still on the “out” section of Kelly drive with miles to go before the turn, and that section had a head wind. It’s very possible people turned early knowing they were cutting the course, but without the intention to cheat, figuring their rankings would be low enough no one would care, not intending to claim a full marathon completion, but too cold and tired post-race to find an official and report their DNF. That said, please nail anyone who used this race to fraudulently and intentionally steal a podium or BQ slot.

  2. I notice that Derek is now blocking people from accessing the site – even blocking people that donated – apparently because he doesn’t like people asking questions. Shame on you Derek.

    • What are you talking about? There is an issue with international visitors receiving an error related to WordPress that I am working on. No one is blocked from visiting the site.

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