It is hard to compare race performances from runner to runner from year to year, although from a personal level, most runners should have a pretty good idea if they're doing better or worse. People run different numbers of races (2 to 3 a year versus most weekends), and different races which vary in terms of terrain (flat or hills), distance (1 mile to marathon), time of year (cold versus hot and humid) and level of competition, all of which can affect a runnerís performance.

 

How do you compare different athletic abilities? For example, how do you compare a decrease from say a 30 minute 5K to a 27 minute 5K, a 10% reduction, to a decreased 5K time of 20 minutes to 19 minutes, which only (!) a 5% decrease?

 

And how does age play a part? Young people, like high schoolers, should be improving each year, while older people, like the current and past SFTC presidents, are starting to fall apart. Age grading scoring that is used for K&Q may help in taking age (and sex) into account but it is far from perfect.

What about people who just started running this year or maybe late last year? Most people show marked improvement when they first start running.

 

So, the upshot of all of the above commentary is that selection of most improved runners is subjective. Earl Brown, the King & Queen competition scorekeeper, has done analysis of K&Q results as, maybe, a less subjective way of determining the most improved for 2009.

 

The SFTC members listed in the table below are included in the 2009 SFTC Election Ballot that has recently been sent out to all SFTC members. The following compares the change in world percent in King and Queen (K&Q) Races from 2008 and 2009 for the runners nominated for the Most Improved Male and Female Runners (listed alphabetically by last name). It only includes the results through the Bays Mountain 15 miler. The "world percent" is basically a percentage of the world-record for that distance for that particular age and sex.

 

The percent after the runner's name indicates the overall change in world percent for all the K&Q races, while the races listed under the runner's name indicates the change in the K&Q races that the runner ran in both 2008 and 2009. Note that there are many K&Q races that a runner only ran in either 2008 or 2009, and those individual races are not listed. Also note that this analysis does not compare non-K&Q races.

 

WOMEN:

 

MOLLY ALLEN (39 F) 2.92%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: -2.02%

         CASA 8K: -0.21%

         Animal Chase 10K: 0.34%

         Bays Mountain 15 mile: -2.67%

 

WANDA BURNETTE (58 F) 4.16%

         New Years Wake Up 5K: 1.31%

         CASA 8K: 0.93%

         Greeneville YMCA 5K: 5.36%

         Eastman 10K: 8.10%

 

JUDY CAMPBELL (60 F) 1.23%

         Animal Chase 10K: 2.44%

         Crazy 8s: 0.61%

         Greeneville YMCA 5K: 2.30%

         Eastman 10K: 3.76%

 

CATHY GRAVITTE (50 F) 3.77%

         Run the Tunnel 3.7 mile: 1.13%

         Crazy 8s: 2.20%

         Phipps Bend 5K: 2.51%

         Schoolhouse 5K: 2.18%

 

HARRIET LOCKE (77 F) 1.66%

         War Party 10K: -1.03%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: -5.73%

         Run the Tunnel 3.7 mile: -2.35%

         Justin Foundation 5K: -0.72%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 3.79%

         Crazy 8s: 1.62%

         Greeneville YMCA 5K: 7.56%

         Eastman 10K: 9.00%

 

LANA MOORE (42 F) 1.72%

         War Party 10K: 0.81%

         Crazy 8s: 1.00%

         Eastman 10K: 4.56%

 

JANINE MYATT (42 F) 4.42%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: 3.40%

         Varmint HM: 1.87%

         Eastman 10K: 2.45%

 

MARY RODRIGUEZ (51 F) 3.13%

         War Party 10K: 2.83%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: 1.00%

         Highlands Spring Chase 15K: 2.07%

         Animal Chase 10K: 4.26%

         Justin Foundation 5K: 3.52%

         Varmint HM: 2.84%

         Crazy 8s: 2.61%

         Schoolhouse 5K: 2.81%

         Eastman 10K: 2.61%

         Rhythm & Roots 5K: 3.78%

 

HARPER RUSSELL (8 F) 2.11%

         CASA 8K: 6.62%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 3.89%

 

EMMA STUDHOLME (17 F) 4.08%

         Run the Tunnel 3.7 mile: 2.54%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 6.69%

         Crazy 8s: 3.11%

         Railroad Days 5K: 7.66%

         Schoolhouse 5K: 10.63%

 

 

MEN:

 

TERRY BARNETT (52 M) 4.96%

         New Years Wake Up 5K: 10.29%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 6.31%

         Crazy 8s: 4.80%

         Railroad Days 5K: 8.26%

         Eastman 10K: 7.49%

         Rhythm & Roots 5K: 5.34%

 

FRED BERNARD (62 M) 3.68%

         New Years Wake Up 5K: -0.17%

         CASA 8K: 2.46%

         Crazy 8s: 6.70%

         Eastman 10K: 2.98%

 

JOHN CORNELIUS (54 M) 4.53%

         New Years Wake Up 5K: -1.72%

         Crazy 8s: 2.87%

         Schoolhouse 5K: 0.76%

 

SKIP DICKERSON (50 M) 3.44%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 6.98%

         Crazy 8s: 6.01%

         Eastman 10K: 1.72%

 

LARRY FREE (54 M) 2.05%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: 5.28%

         Run the Tunnel 3.7 mile: 3.77%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 5.00%

         Crazy 8s: 4.49%

         Eastman 10K: 0.34%

         Rhythm & Roots 5K: 1.64%

 

TERRY KETRON (45 M) 3.62%

         Eastman 10K: 1.20%

         Bays Mountain 15 mile: 3.82%

 

JOHN PITT (44 M) 6.06%

         Run the Tunnel 3.7 mile: 3.29%

         Varmint HM: 5.82%

 

DOUG STRICKLAND (48 M) 3.59%

         Surgoinsville 10 mile: -0.48%

         Crazy 8s: -0.45%

 

PHILIP STUDHOLME (14 M) 10.14%

         Firecracker 4 mile: 10.16%

         Crazy 8s: 8.22%

         Schoolhouse 5K: 10.31%