An In-Depth Statistical Analysis of "Which Marathon Should You Run This Year in New York City on November 4?"
It's drawing day, and we understand that it can be a stressful couple of hours for people hoping to run the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon.
During the application period, we presented you with a quiz to determine Which Marathon Should You Run This Year in New York City on November 4. After gathering more than 1,000 responses, we've tabulated the results and have assigned our top team of analytics experts (ed. note: just me, actually) to present our findings.
So now, we invite you to take a break from the constant refresh, refresh, refreshing of your bank account page and your My NYRR page. Close those windows, find some nice, calming music to listen to, and come along with us for a few minutes as we take a "deep dive" into the data behind our quiz.
(Plus, we've got a bunch of charts and and graphs coming your way, so it might look like you're doing actual work!)
With all that said, we begin with our first question...
What Are You Usually Up to On a Sunday Morning?
We gave you four options for this one—brunch, a long run, sleeping in, or watching football. Here's how the answers broke out:
|A long run||55.0%|
And we have responses for each and every category of quiz-takers here. If you answered...
- Brunch: The TCS New York City Marathon start village on Fort Wadsworth offers a buffet of 40,800 PowerBars, 60,000 8-ounce bottles of Poland Spring® Brand 100% Natural Spring Water, 16,000 servings of Gatorade® Prime packets, 2,160 gallons of Gatorade® Endurance Formula, and enough ground coffee to make about 65,000 cups.
It's no eggs benedict, avo toast, and mimosas, but hey, it's a serviceable meal for someone about to run a marathon.
- A long run: Well, what's a better long run than one that lasts 26.2 miles and covers all five boroughs?
- Sleeping in: You're in luck! Daylight savings time ends on November 4, so you can get an extra hour of sleep...before you leave your house/apartment/hotel to run the TCS New York City Marathon.
- Watching football: The response for this one can vary, depending on your definition of "football." Chances are, you'll miss the Premier League matches in the morning—you'll be a bit busy, what with your run and all—but you should finish in time for the MLS playoff matches and the NFL games later in the day.
The clear winner here was "A long run," so for a quiz oriented toward marathoners, we're off to a good start!
Let's move now to question 2:
Which Borough of New York City Would You Like to Explore More?
Five options here: The Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. Here's how the people voted.
Manhattan came out on top here, with Brooklyn a respectable distance behind. No matter how you voted, though, if you're running the TCS New York City Marathon, you're going to all five boroughs in one day.
(And if you'd like to get a preview of each of the boroughs, we've got some great races you can run before the big one in November.)
On to question 3:
What's Your Average Pace in a Marathon?
So for the 11 folks that responded with "Less than 6:00," I guess they don't have to worry about drawing day—they would have earned guaranteed entry. But for the rest of everyone, here are a few "fast facts":
- The pace group with the highest total was the 8:00 to 9:00 per mile group, followed by the 9:00 to 10:00 per mile group just one vote behind. The 10:00 to 11:00 per mile group rounded out the top three.
- The average finish time in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon was 4:39:08, or 10:39 per mile.
- If you're in those later pace groups, or if you're not even sure what your pace might be, don't worry about it! Whenever you do finish, NYRR staff will be there to celebrate with you.
- And if anyone wants to compare paces with the overall event records, here's how they stand:
- Men's runners—2:05:06 (4:46 per mile)
- Women's runners—2:22:31 (5:26 per mile)
- Women's wheelchair athletes—1:43:04 (3:55 per mile)
- Men's wheelchair athletes—1:29:22 (3:25 per mile!)
So now we move into the real substantive part of the quiz—the part that separates the marathoners from the...other marathoners. Question 4!
How Many New Friends Would You Like to Make This Year?
Unsurprisingly, most people were not looking to settle for just one friend, but also weren't looking to commit to an additional 50,000 friends—the majority here landed on a comfortable middle-ground with "A few."
I would, however, like to give a shout-out to the 30 percent of respondents who are looking to make 50,000 friends this year. And for those 30-percenters, we've got a great opportunity for you to follow through on your goal: The TCS New York City Marathon.
In 2017, a total of 50,766 runners crossed the finish line in Central Park, a shade behind the event's all-time high of 51,394 finishers from 2016. In either case, the five boroughs host the world's largest marathon, so you'll have all 50,000-plus potential friends out there on the course on November 4—plus 10,000 volunteers and one million spectators, just for good measure.
(Just some advance warning, though: If you do make 50,000 friends, you might have to make some tough decisions vis-á-vis your Facebook page. Apparently they only allow you to have a maximum of 5,000 friends. But those are details you can iron out later. Anyway...)
What's Your Sign?
Did you know that your astrological sign can determine your marathon PR?
You didn't, because that's not true, but we threw a question about it in here anyway.
Here's the distribution of astrological signs across quiz respondents:
At a glance, this
pie donut chart looks pretty even, so maybe we should try something else...
That helps visualize it a little better, but I'm left still wondering: How does this compare with the expected outcomes for each astrological sign? Is there any correlation between when someone was born and whether they were more likely to run a marathon?
To find out—or at least, to get slightly closer to an answer—we compared these totals with the astrological signs of all of last year's TCS New York City Marathon finishers. Here's what we found in our expected vs. actual results:
So, actually, if you're an Aquarius, then there might be something to this idea!
But for every other sign, no, there's no direct link between your sign and your likelihood to run a marathon. Kudos, however, to anyone who took the quiz as an Aries, a Taurus, a Leo, a Capricorn, or a Pisces—you turned out in higher-than-expected numbers!
And now, with that Very Important Question addressed, we move on to the final, and Actually Most Important Question from the quiz...
Which Kind of Dog Is the Best Kind of Dog?
For this question, I feel that it's best to leave it up to the people.
So many dogs!
In the interest of transparency, we have listed every single answer that quiz-takers provided in a box to the right.
You can spend a few minutes watching as that scrolls through all 1,000-plus answers, or you can read on below for some of my personal favorites.
The person who wrote "a floppy eared dog": So simple, but it keeps you from being limited to just one breed—I like it!
Bernhardiner: Seeing this answer made me realize that people from outside the U.S. were reading and taking this quiz. (It's the German name for the Saint Bernard.) I love the Beethoven movies, so thank you to whoever wrote this!
Dalmatian: Speaking of dog movies, only two people wrote in this answer, which is, by my count, about 99 short of what we should've expected. Even so, I'll take it.
"One that doesn't believe in astrology": Seems like this person did not like question #5, but this answer made me laugh, so we'll call it even.
The 27 people who wrote "hot dog": You're all great.
The 11 people who wrote "my dog": I hope your dog knows how great and loved they are.
The 56 people who wrote "no dog": Get out.
But oddly enough, the exact same number of people wrote "all dogs" or "every dog," so I'm not sure what to make of this.
The person who wrote "One who can run with you": Unfortunately, your pup can't run the TCS New York City Marathon with you.
They can cheer you on from the sidelines, as this lab/beagle mix proved last year:
Well, folks, that's the end of our quiz. However it works out with your TCS New York City Marathon application, I hope you've had fun here, and I hope this has been a good way to fill up some time before you go right back to checking your bank account every five minutes.
Oh, also, I suppose now is a good time to admit that no matter what answers you submitted for the quiz, everyone got the same result: The 2018 TCS New York City Marathon. Bye now!