Heavy rain and headwind slows down marathoners by about 13 minutes

Today in Boston we celebrate violence as a means to settling political disagreements (Patriot’s Day). Part of the celebration is running 26.2 miles in what passes for “spring” here in Boston:

KBOS 161654Z 05017KT 1 1/2SM R04R/3000VP6000FT RA BR OVC008 06/06 A2995 RMK AO2 PK WND 06029/1622 
KBOS 161619Z 05019G28KT 1 1/4SM R04R/4000VP6000FT +RA BR SCT004 OVC009 06/06 A2996 RMK AO2 PK WND 04029/1558 LTG DSNT NE
KBOS 161605Z 05023KT 2SM R04R/4500VP6000FT RA BR SCT004 OVC010 06/05 A2997 RMK AO2 PK WND 04029/1558 LTG DSNT NE
KBOS 161554Z 05021G28KT 1 1/4SM R04R/4500VP6000FT -RA BR BKN004 OVC010 06/06 A2998 RMK AO2 PK WND 05030/1505 LTG DSNT E PRESFR
KBOS 161454Z 05022G28KT 1 1/4SM R04R/3500VP6000FT -RA BR BKN004 OVC008 05/05 A3004 RMK AO2 PK WND 06029/1440
KBOS 161452Z 05021G28KT 1SM R04R/3500VP6000FT RA BR BKN004 OVC008 05/05 A3004 RMK AO2 PK WND 06029/1440

Temps around 5 degrees C, visibility of roughly one mile, rain heavy (+RA) at times. Peak winds gusting up to 30 knots. The wind direction at Logan Airport was from the northeast and therefore mostly in the runners’ faces (the course goes from west to east).

Wikipedia says that the best time ever for this race is 2:03:02. Today’s fastest time was 2:15:53 (by Yuki Kawauchi of Japan). So the truly miserable weather slowed things down by about 13 minutes.

[Separately, check out the results reporting. Here’s a sample from the New York Times:

Teeming rain, strong winds and the coldest temperatures in 30 years upended the Boston Marathon on Monday, contributing to upset finishes, including the victory of Desiree Linden, the first American woman to win the race in 33 years.

The temperature hovered at 38 degrees, and a headwind of 10 miles an hour or more blew in runners’ faces. But the conditions did not stop Linden — at 34, it was her first major marathon win — and Yuki Kawauchi, 31, of Japan, who came from behind to win the men’s race.

The runner with a time of 2:39:53 won “the race” whereas the runner with a time of 2:15:53 won “the men’s race”.

From our local Fox TV station (with help from AP):

Desiree Linden splashed her way through icy rain and a near-gale headwind to a Boston Marathon victory on Monday, the first American woman to win the race since 1985.

Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi surged late to win men’s Boston Marathon in an unofficial time of 2 hours, 15 minutes and 58 seconds.

From the local CBS station (also with help from AP):

Desiree Linden splashed her way through icy rain and a near-gale headwind to a Boston Marathon victory on Monday, the first American woman to win the race since 1985.

Yuki Kawauchi passed defending champion Geoffrey Kirui in Kenmore Square to win the men’s race

Any man who wants to be featured in the press as having won the overall “race” can identify as a woman: “Transgender Runners Can Race Boston Marathon Under Identified Gender” (NPR). Also potentially useful for winning $150,000 in prize money plus a $50,000 bonus if the runner can set a new record time (separate prize money is set aside for runners according to gender ID, though currently only two genders are recognized).]


  1. Andrea Matranga

    April 16, 2018 @ 2:13 pm


    Pretty sure he would also have to be American.

  2. Fake Elon

    April 16, 2018 @ 2:41 pm


    Why would anyone cut & paste the FAA regulated hieroglyphics for a weather forecast when web browsers for the last 30 years have had so many other options?

  3. Steve

    April 16, 2018 @ 4:40 pm


    The wheelchair race slowed to 1:46 this year vs 1:18 last year. That’s a whopping 36% more time to complete the course with a headwind and some drag from the puddles.

    In contrast the men’s race was only 6 minutes slower than a 15 year median; so the race required less than 5% more time than usual. The Japanese winner insisted he liked the weather, which gave him confidence.

    The women’s race was 15 minutes slower than the 15 year median, and the top three finishers were all North American. The first place winner, Desi Linden is from Rochester Hills, Michigan, and the third place finisher lives in London, Ontario. The second place woman is a complete unknown who lives near Phoenix but ran track in Ogden Utah.

    It’s fascinating but not surprising that the race selected massively for people with cold weather training and genetics.

  4. toucan sam

    April 16, 2018 @ 5:44 pm


    Because Fake Elon, PhilG, our host is a very accomplished pilot certified to the highest levels!

  5. philg

    April 16, 2018 @ 5:56 pm


    toucan sam: Reading a METAR is something even the newest student pilot can do! I think that the format, used worldwide (not just FAA), is excellent for conveying a lot of information in a minimum amount of space.

  6. philg

    April 16, 2018 @ 6:37 pm


    https://www.tcsnycmarathon.org/about-the-race/results/overall-men shows that a man ranked roughly 60th in a big marathon would come in 24 minutes behind the fastest man and therefore, if she identified as a woman, should have been able to win the $150,000 in prize money available this year in Boston. I do wonder why a good, but not great, male runner wouldn’t identify as a woman and start scooping up prize money every weekend.

    See also https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/08/06/marathon-man for how far some people are willing to go in order to obtain marathon glory…

  7. toucan sam

    April 16, 2018 @ 6:42 pm


    Phil I agree and I know many of your readers are pilots! Ironically I happen to know the real Elon and he sometimes flies his new Gulf stream 650 but mentioned he is too busy to get a pilot’s license, however I bet he knows how to read a METAR!

  8. SK

    April 17, 2018 @ 12:12 pm


    Could it be simple racism? After all she is American and he is Japanese.

  9. Gold star

    April 22, 2018 @ 1:39 pm


    Like young children, women need to be encouraged.

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