Talk:2012 Olympic Marathon Course

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I re-instated the comparison between the two marathon routes. Why are the organisers not using the London Marathon Course for the Olympic event? Another author saw fit to make this statement. I think it entirely reasonabel to make an observation, which, once stated, is so self-evident as not to need a formal reference. Martinvl (talk) 05:21, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Unsourced distance tables[edit]

These are not allowed in Wikipedia, why is Martinvl insisting on adding them in defiance of well defined policies? The Bogs Dollocks (talk) 21:45, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

In the Wikipedia essay Wikipedia:Using maps and similar sources in wikipedia articles it states quite clearly "It is not Original Research to extract information from a map or line chart using standard techniques, particularly if those techniques are common to two or more disciplines." If you disagree with that statement, please seek consensus. Martinvl (talk) 21:57, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
The point of sourcing is that the data is verifiable by readers who care. What is the "standard tchnique" for establishing the location of the start point of the marathon on Google Earth from a not-to-scale diagramatic PDF representation of the course, and how can we verify from reliable sources that it is 630 metres (and not 600, 610, 620, 640 or 650) from Trafalgar Square? The Bogs Dollocks (talk) 06:22, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Point taken - I checked the scale of the map and since 1 mm on the PDF represents aout 20 m on the ground, I will rework the table, (and double-check everything) rounding to the nearest 20 m/yd which I believe to be justifiable (distance markers are shown using arrows in the diagram). BTW, a quick check comparing print-outs from Google Maps and from the Olympic Committee suggests to me that the PDF is to scale, but I will check that out in more detail as well. Martinvl (talk) 08:33, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
That all sounds extremely arbitrary and unverifiable. Why not stick to describing the locations of the round-number mile and kilometer points as marked on the official map rather than attempting to guess/estimate distances to landmarks of your own choice? The Bogs Dollocks (talk) 11:06, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
Who knows where the corner of Great Tower Street and Marks Lane is? (10 km). The landmarks that I have chosen are not arbitrary - they are identified on the map from which I took the measurements. When I do my checking later on, I will double-check this. Martinvl (talk) 11:52, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Here are the unverifiable tables from the article:

(==Distance tables==)

These tables give the distance that the runners will have covered as they pass various landmarks (rounded to the nearest 10 metres or 10 yards except for the end points).[1]


Landmark Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4
The Mall (Start/End) 0.00 3.57 16.45 29.32
Trafalgar Square 0.63 4.20 17.08 29.95
Embankment (Northumberland Avenue) 1.02 4.59 17.47 30.34
Blackfriars Bridge (1) - 5.98 18.86 31.73
Embankment (end) - 6.13 19.01 31.88
St Pauls (West end) - 6.19 19.06 31.94
Guildhall - 8.55 21.42 34.30
Bank of England - 8.89 21.76 34.64
Leadenhall Market - 9.37 22.25 35.12
Tower of London (Tower Hill) - 10.30 23.17 36.05
London Bridge (North approach) - 11.10 23.98 36.85
Mansion House Tube Station - 11.75 24.63 37.50
Millenium Bridge (North portal) - 12.17 25.04 37.92
Embankment (start) - 12.70 25.58 38.45
Blackfriars Bridge (2) - 12.96 25.83 38.71
Embankment (Westminster Bridge) 1.65 14.81 27.69 40.56
Houses of Parliament (Big Ben) 1.98 14.85 27.73 40.60
Buckingham Palace 3.07 15.94 28.82 41.69
The Mall (Start/End) 3.57 16.45 29.32 42.195


Landmark Lap 1 Lap 2 Lap 3 Lap 4
The Mall (Start/End) 0:0 2:390 10:390 18:390
Trafalgar Square 0:690 2:1070 10:1070 18:1070
Embankment (Northumberland Avenue) 0:1120 2:1500 10:1500 18:1500
Blackfriars Bridge (1) - 3:1260 11:1260 19:1260
Embankment (end) - 3:1430 11:1430 19:1430
St Pauls (West end) - 3:1480 11:1480 19:1480
Guildhall - 5:540 13:550 21:550
Bank of England - 5:920 13:920 21:920
Leadenhall Market - 5:1450 13:1450 21:1450
Tower of London (Tower Hill) - 6:700 14:700 22:700
London Bridge (North approach) - 6:1580 14:1580 22:1580
Mansion House Tube Station - 7:530 15:530 23:530
Millenium Bridge (North portal) - 7:980 15:990 23:990
Embankment (start) - 7:1570 15:1570 23:1570
Blackfriars Bridge (2) - 8:90 16:90 24:90
Embankment (Westminster Bridge) 1:40 9:360 17:360 25:360
Houses of Parliament (Big Ben) 1:400 9:400 17:400 25:400
Buckingham Palace 1:1600 9:1600 17:1600 25:1600
The Mall (Start/End) 2:390 10:390 18:390 26:385


  1. ^ Reference points taken from the [url= official map], offsets measured using Google Earth

Please discuss and agree contents here before putting anything back into the article. The Bogs Dollocks (talk) 13:04, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I can't see the value of these tables as they stand. Where exactly are the the datums for the buildings located? What point on the Houses of Parliament or Buckingham Palace is used, and how would anyone be expected to know that? A better idea possibly, would be to describe the locality of the documented mile points in relation to the London geography. Shufflee (talk) 14:22, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree. There is an attempt to be too specific with the measurements to the nearest ten meters or nearest ten yards, which is a bit overwhelming with the amount of data provided and actually makes the information somewhat inaccurate for large buildings as noted above. The format for miles and yards is weird just and takes a fair amount of mental effort for me to decipher since the smallest increment I would likely contemplate thinking about in a marathon would be tenths of a mile. Location (talk) 21:49, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
If distances are to be shown, they should be in both miles and kilometres. It should be remembered that under IAAF rules, kilometres are mandatory and miles are an optional extra - when the resutls are published, times for five kilometre splits will be published, but nothing in miles. I have been trying to show both. Martinvl (talk) 04:47, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree that both miles and kilometers should be shown (if shown at all) and official timing rules are a completely different matter than what we are talking about here. What I was referring to above was that a data point like 15:1570, for example, isn't helpful. Location (talk) 12:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment from uninvolved editor. I have no position on whether these tables should be included, but it's clearly a highly contentious issue. Please discuss on the talk page and reach a consensus prior to reinstating them. TJRC (talk) 22:44, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

I suggest something simple like this:

Mile point Location
Start/Finish The Mall near Marlborough Road
1, 9, 17, 25 Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
2, 10, 18, 26 The Mall by the Victoria Memorial
3, 11, 19 Victoria Embankment at Cleopatra's Needle
4, 12, 20 Queen Victoria Street by the north end of Millennium Bridge
5, 13, 21 Cheapside
6, 14, 22 Gracechurch Street near Eastcheap
7, 15, 23 King William Street near Eastcheap
8, 16, 24 Victoria Embankment west of Blackfriars Bridge

This is all easily verifiable from the IOC pdf map. The kilometer point table would be longer as it is a mile-based circuit. Shufflee (talk) 11:57, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I think that something like that would be much easier for the reader to understand. Location (talk) 12:49, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

Or this one?[edit]

The IAAF rules require that markers be placed ar 5 km intervals; times for 5 km, 10 km, 20 km and 30 km set between these splits are recognised by the IAAF as candidates for natioanl or world records over these distnaces (provided that the competitor finishes the race). The location of the splits for the London Olympic Marathon are:

Circuit Distance Split Landmark
1st 3.571 km - No splits
2nd 16.445 km 5 km The Embankment, between Cleopatra's Needle and Waterloo Bridge
10 km Great Tower Street, between the Monument and the Tower of London
15 km Parliament Square, a few metres past Big Ben
3rd 29.320 km 20 km Paternoster Square, close to St Paul's Cathedral
25 km Queen Victoria Street
4th 42.195 km 30 km Off Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column
35 km On the Cornhill, a few metres before turning into Leadenhall Market
40 km Victoria Embankment, nearly opposite the London Eye

As with Shufflee's proposal, this too is verifiable and in addition has a real meaning in the race as world records could be set up between the split points and if such a record is made, the landmarks would be instantly recognisable. BTW, I have not yet completed the table. Martinvl (talk) 12:43, 22 May 2012 (UTC)

An editor has added a new, unagreed version of the table, and reacted rather defensively when I removed it pending further discussion. A marathon is all about total distance, and not laps or circuits, they are artificial and course specific. The most interesting thing to most runners is where the mile points (1M, 2M, 3M,... 24M, 25M, 26M) or the kilometer points (5K, 10K,... 35K, 40K) are. We should put both in the table, or have two tables, and probably dispense with the lap count. Shufflee (talk) 09:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I have tidied up Shuffee's changes:
  • The symbol for "kilometers" is "km", not "K" (see:WP:MOSNUM)
  • The symbol for miles is NOT "m", that is reserved for "metres"
  • I have reinstated the circuit data - why did you delete it?
  • I have placed the list of splits back next to the description of the splits where it belongs. Why did you move it?
  • Please justify your comment above "The most interesting thing to most runners is where the mile points (1M, 2M, 3M,... 24M, 25M, 26M)". Most of the runners come from countries where miles are not used. Moreover there is no requirement from the IAAF to display miles.
Martinvl (talk) 12:09, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Martinvl what have you done to my tidy tables! and to my link corrections! Why are you being so so anal about Ks and Ms? I was citing the referenced map. This is a rough guide created by amateur editors, not a statement issued by the "International SI Unit Appreciation Society"! Let's put it back as it was eh? Have you ever heard a runner say they ran "10 km"? No, probably not; they are more likely to say "5 miles" or "10 K". Look at the referenced map it uses "K" and "m" - that is verifiable where your account is not. Shufflee (talk) 12:23, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
When "Edit Conflict" came up, you actually deleted my work - I never saw the "edit Conflict" flag. You should have saved your changes and then reapplied them to the new version. As regards the "rough guide" - Wikipedia is an encyclopeadia, not a rough guide - we might be amateurs, but at least we try to take a professional approach. Martinvl (talk) 14:00, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I apologise if I inadvertently deleted any of your work (which appears to have been deliberate deletions of my work!) when I was fiddling with the article links. I've read many Wikipedia policies and guidelines since embarking this voyage into Wikipedia, and there is a lot of emphasis on sources and verifiability. I attempted to reflect that ethos in my edits. You then came steaming through, casting verifiable content aside, and replacing it with content which seems to reflect more your personal opinion of how the original sources should have portrayed the information, rather than how they do portray that information. Can you explain your interpretation of "verifiable", with reference to my verifiable content that you removed and to your unverifiable content that you added. Are we singing from the same hymn book here? Have I wastied my time reading all that policy stufff? I respect the need to be "professional", but I don't believe that ignoring the Wiki rules is the way forward. Shufflee (talk) 14:27, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Shufflee, I think that you are confusing verification of information and presentation of information. Presentation is covered is WP:MOS and its derivative articles, including WP:MOSNUM which covers the presentation of numerical data (including units of measure). Martinvl (talk) 15:44, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

My proposed kilometre point table[edit]

This exercise is getting a bit fraught now. Martin seems to want complexity, superfluous technical purity and lots of decimal places. I would prefer simplicity and something slightly more accessible. Here is my proposed kilometre table to compliment my previously offered mile table:

Kilometre point Location
5 K Victoria Embankment between Cleopatra's Needle and Waterloo Bridge
10 K Great Tower Street between the Monument and the Tower of London
15 K Parliament Square just past Big Ben
20 K Paternoster Square close to St Paul's Cathedral
25 K Queen Victoria Street
35 K On the Cornhill just before Leadenhall Market
40 K Victoria Embankment nearly opposite the London Eye

If there is anyone else interested in this little debate, could they step forward and be counted please. This needs to be a collaborative decision on what is best for Wikipedia. Not just me versus Martin. I'll happily support whatever gains most support here, but can't currently see the value in over complicating it. Shufflee (talk) 12:56, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

While I understand the need to run loops in order to accommodate spectators, this has got to be among one of the worst designed courses I have ever seen. Like similar events before, the participants are running back and forth through a section of the city that contains many notable places. To me, what notable place they happen to be next to at what particular kilometer or mile mark - or official IAAF split - is irrelevant. This is not a course like Boston where there is some significance to runner X throwing down a blistering place through Wellesley or runner Y giving up the ghost on Heartbreak Hill, or turning onto First Avenue and hearing the roar of the crowds in New York.
The last three options presented (particularly Shufflee's) are certainly better than the original, however, I would scrap the tables if I were dictator here. A map of the course with notable places labeled would be much more preferable, but I know that would be a lot of work for someone to create. I'll post something in WP:Athletics to drum up some more feedback. Location (talk) 16:55, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I have taken the view that the import items that are expressed numerically are:
  • The distance at the end of each circuit
  • The points at which new worlds records can be created (the splits)
  • If User:Location regards the landmarks as being irrelevant, he can ignore that column ans the rest of my table still contains useful information. On the other hand, cover up the landmarks column in Shufflee's table and you have nothing apart from a set of numbers.
Martinvl, regarding your latest table: If people know the distance at the end of each circuit (which is likely useful information that doesn't necessarily need to be placed in a table), then they don't need a table to show them what circuit the 5K splits are located. My 5-year-old could answer this: "If the end of the first circuit is 3.5km and end of the second circuit is 16.5km, in which circuit is the 10K split located?" Your latest suggestion also does not make it clear enough that particular landmarks are passed in each loop. If the object of the table is to highlight where along the course London landmarks are located, then I would go with something like Shufflee's first suggestion with rounded figures based on static points.
The likelihood of world records falling in August on this curvy course (which has to my count at least four hairpin turns) is very unlikely, but who cares what building a runner is next to if a new one is set anyway? The IAAF 5K points would be interesting to note if the course was based upon some sort of 10K- or heaven forbid 5K-loop which made those points static on the loop, but it is not. The total course complies with the IAAF metric distance measurements, but the loop's static points are based on miles.Location (talk) 18:38, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I also think that User:Location is being a little melodramatic about the way in which he presents some of the American sites - I have never heard of Wellesley or Heartbreak Hill. I know that the avenues in Manhattan are numbered, so I guess that there must be a First Avenue - but I do not know whether it is large or small compared to the others. Martinvl (talk) 17:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
The idea is that the points along the course have some sort of meaning in the context of the race, primarily because they are not loop courses. The history of the Polytechnic Marathon, which was the foundation for the marathon at the 1908 Olympic in London, is likely filled with similar stories related to different places on its point-to-point course. Location (talk) 18:41, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
I have added a course description making sure that I have identified the long straights (or gentle curves) and the winding sections. Bearing in mind that one of the aims of the course design was to pass as many historic sights as possible, I have included these in the text. Martinvl (talk) 19:22, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
Looking at the final result, I think that the tables and the text complement each other and, togehter with the pictures, give the article a good visual balance. (At any rate on my terminal settings). If we are happy with the broad picture we could concnetrate on tidying up some of the legacy text. Martinvl (talk) 19:27, 23 May 2012 (UTC)

It looks like the general view is to stick with my two simpler tables. I'll slip them in if I get another few minutes later. Shufflee (talk) 06:29, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Slipped one out and one in. Shufflee (talk) 08:01, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
I see an editor reverted my changes and threatened me with a ban (a 3PP?) on my talk page if I dared to revert back again. I'm not happy with either the revert or the threat, but do not know how best to handle it within the spirit of Wikipedia collaboration, so will leave it to those wiser and more experienced at this game than me. Shufflee (talk) 21:12, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Are we all done on this? The balance seems to be for two tables as per my suggestion. If there is no further discussion I will attempt to restore thos later. Martin, your version seems to have beenr rejected so please don't try to force your will again without some sort of endorsement from aother contributors. Shufflee (talk) 07:45, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Opening sentence[edit]

The second sentence of the article says:

The route will consist of a short lap of 3.571 kilometres (about 2.2 miles) followed by three equal length laps of 12.875 kilometres (8 miles).

I suggest that it be expressed as follows:

The route will consist of one short lap of 3571 metres (about 2.2 miles) followed by three laps of 12,875 metres (8 miles).

This is shorter and, I think, clearer. Brevity and clarity are important, especially near the beginning of the article. What do other editors think? Michael Glass (talk) 00:38, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

Agreed, keep it short and sweet. Shufflee (talk) 06:26, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

I checked it out but decided not to change this one sentence. It would break the style of the article as a whole. Michael Glass (talk) 12:01, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

I don't see anything wrong with that particular sentence right now. I would keep the units in "kilometres" rather than "metres". Location (talk) 13:10, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

24 May 2012[edit]

Nobody said that all the details had to be verified via the PDF map. They merely need to be verifiable via published sources and the obvious (eg "Paris is the capital of France") need not be explicitly cited. OS maps are published sources. You can place a "citation needed" flag if you wish, but except in the case of WP:BLP you do not remove stuff merely because you are not happy with the citations improperly. Martinvl (talk) 07:06, 24 May 2012 (UTC)

You must have known those details were not verifiable from the map when you added them, and you are aware of the sensitity of this issue as evidenced by the discussions you have been involved in here. Why then did you add them, and worse, why did you restore them without adding references? I'm not going to waste any more time by adding flags to each unverifiable sentence when they add no real value that I can see anyway. Shufflee (talk) 08:18, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Are you still looking for sources to justify keeping that content you restored despite its lack of them? Shufflee (talk) 21:21, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
Surely if the information is verifiable by Ordnance Survey maps or Google maps or whatever, then the information would be verifiable. Please correct me if I have it wrong, but the question at issue can be described in one of three ways:
  1. Unverifiable information: unacceptable.
  2. Verifiable information: needs to be verified unless it is common knowledge.
  3. Verified information: no problem.
As far as I can understand, the information is verifiable, so option 2 applies. Michael Glass (talk) 06:03, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
If it's all true then it should be verifiable. Without sources for it cited though, it is difficult for readers to know. If the author referred to something when writing it then it should be easy for him to cite it. I'm not sure why he hasn't and seems relucant to. Shufflee (talk) 07:35, 28 May 2012 (UTC)

Addition of new content[edit]

Please be careful when adding new content that you do not remove valid modifications that have taken place since you took your "working copy". A recent edit by Martinvl removed the fruit of several of my previous edits without explanation. For that reason I reverted. I then added back the obvious clearly new additions from Martin's edid. Shufflee (talk) 06:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

I made the following changes:

  • Reintroduced the sentence about the route change controversy into the lede - it is properly cited later in the article. (See WP:LEDE.
  • Reintroduced to subsections regarding the route and reworded them slightly - the choice of route had two aims - the new wording brings these aims out - one in each subsection.
  • Moved the bit about the 1908 Olympics into its own section and added a section about the 1948 route. These are of historic interest and can be expanded a bit if needed without having undue prominence in the earlier part of the artcile.

I trust that this explains what I did. Martinvl (talk) 06:56, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Shufflee - You have added on new content - you repeated what was in the subsection about the 1908 games. You undid a the subsection that existed and you removed a valid sentence from the lede. If you do this again, I will report you under WP:3RR.Martinvl (talk) 07:02, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Martin, calm down, and please review your unhelpful actions. You:
  • Put a sentence back into the introductory paragraph which was previously removed because it was not supported in the main article and because the "opponents" were not qualified anywhere.
  • You re-split a section about the route which had previously been amalgamated to avoid duplication, into 2 different sections, both about the route and with duplication again.
  • Your put the two tables about the route, which had previously been put together into the same section (one of which still needs to have its format restored to the format decided in discussion here) into separate sections again without explanation.
  • You restored the unsupported sentence "In September 2010 various newspapers...", without justification or necessary new reference(s).
Are you going to correct your mistakes, or would you prefer it if we escalated this and reported you for being so disruptive? Shufflee (talk) 09:01, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Answers to Shufflee
  • Opponents to the change - the newspaper citation is sufficient.
  • Splitting the section - The route was chosen to satisfy two different aims. Each aim is handled in a separate subsection.
  • Two tables belonging in different subsections - see above
  • I will find a second reference if that will keep you happy - it is quicker than trying to reason with you that it is really unneccessay.
Martinvl (talk) 10:53, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see any reasoning there that justifies your complete lack of respect for the changes I made. I, with fully commented edits, improved the logical flow and policy compliance of the piece. You then came along and completely overwrote my changes with an old copy of the article to which you had added some minor changes. That is completely unacceptable behaviour in a collaborative project such as this. Shufflee (talk) 12:51, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't understand what you are objecting to - please be specific. Martinvl (talk) 21:35, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
On 28 May, between 7:39 and 8:06 I made a sequence of 5 simple edits. Each was fully described in the associated edit summary. At 22:03 that day, you made an edit which completely reverted all my 5 edits and which added a new section about previous marathons and reworded the IAAF section. As your edit summary ("Splitting the text up into section and including a note about previous London olympic marathons") was misleading and did not describe your edit correctly or that you had reverted my edits entirely, at 6:27 on the 29th I reverted it with a full explanation. At 6:29 you reverted me with the summary: "The text has been expanded!!!!!" with still no reason for obliterating my work. At 6:31 I then restored my work and went to the trouble of also adding your new section on to the end, and fully described my action. At 7:00 you reverted me entirely again and gave me a 3RR warning too! Now that is what I call disrespectful. Shufflee (talk) 06:33, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

IAAF course and records[edit]

The description of the "IAAF" course was removed with a note about the Boston and New York marathons. I looked at a map of the New York Marathon course andit appeared to me that the course was probably just inside the 50% limit. Regarding Boston, please visit The Huffingtomn Post - the time set for this marathon was disallowed because of the wind and downhill course (the course drops 130 m in 42 km - a drop of 0.3%!). If have reinstated the text regarding the IAAF rules, but prefixed them with comments about world records. Martinvl (talk) 21:33, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

This is what your previous edit stated: "If a marathon is to be recognised by the IAAF, it must meet a number of criteria - the official distance is 42.195 km,[3] the start and end points, when measured in a straight line should not exceed 50% of length of the course (21.092 km) and the difference in altitude between the start and end points should be no more that 0.1% of the course length (42.19 m)." As written, that is not factually correct in that there is a difference between what the IAAF recognizes as legitimate performances and what the IAAF recognizes as record-eligible performances. Mutai's mark was recognized by the IAAF as a legitimate performance, but it was not recognized by the IAAF as a record-eligible performance. Incidentally, if you check the edit histories of marathon, marathon world record progression, and Geoffrey Mutai, you'll find I spent the day of Mutai's performance reverting edits from others who insisted it was a world record. Your cite of the 2011 IAAF Rules in the above sentence was also likely copied from one of my previous edits, too.
I think it's fair to assume that the Olympic course is a record-eligible course that meets the above criteria for the full distance, however, a reliable source would be needed to state that the intermediate 5K marks have been, or will be, measured in accordance with Rule 260.28(e). Location (talk) 01:08, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
Maybe you could assist with trying to find such a reference - the organisers have tried had to keep the "k-word" from the British public lets they invoke the wrath of the editor of the Daily Mail. Martinvl (talk) 06:29, 30 May 2012 (UTC)
As far as I can tell, the rules only require the intermediate splits to be measured to the same degree of accuracy if a world record for those marks is later claimed. I haven't seen anything published about this, but I don't think there is anything nefarious going on. Most news sources probably have no idea how a "regulation course" is measured, never mind the intermediate splits, so they are not likely to report anything about it. Location (talk) 13:07, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Lede changes - 31 May 2012[edit]

An older version of the lede was reinstated because:

  • The statement about the 1908 games is hardly the most important feature of the games. Has it been mentioned in any of the literature about the 2012 games? If so, with what prominence?
  • The standard length for the marathon was defined in 1921 (see the article marathon). Did the IAAF use metric, imperial units or both in their 1921 rulebook?
  • The word "developed" in that sentence is a complete misnomer - the word "reputed" is probably the most accurate - reading the article marathon it seems from that the 1908 course was not 26 mi 385 yd, but a shorter distance.
  • The word "evolved" has connotations of many small chages which is not the case, the London committee has published two routes and they changed from one to the other.

Martinvl (talk) 05:13, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

  1. I think the fact that the Olympic marathon is returning to the city in which the modern marathon distance was founded is a HUGE point of interest. Declaring its importance is no more subjective than declaring the importance of the 5K splits. Blurbs mentioning the 1908 event in combination with the 2012 Olympics are popping up every now and then: [1][2][3][4].
  2. If you're able to track down any of the early rule books, please let me know. The official results aren't clear on when metric became official, but it appears that London switched from miles in 1908 to kilometers in 1948. (The 1924 official results from Paris are in French and specify meters. The 1928 official results from Amsterdam are in English and specify miles, but a non-standard distance of "about 28 miles". The 1932 official results from Los Angeles are in English and specify miles. The 1936 official results from Berlin are in English and specify kilometers. The 1948 official results (London again) are in English and specify meters.) I suspect that the IAAF briefly went with imperial units for the marathon and switched to metric later, since one sources states that they chose the "'London distance' of 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 kilometers)". According to the ARRS, the IAAF was recognizing various mile marks until the mid-1950s[5], so it stands to reason that they may have still been using miles and yards in 1921.
  3. Per Talk:Marathon#True distance of the 1908 Marathon, the idea that the 1908 course was short boils down to one source. On the other hand, that course is credited by virtually all credible sources as the origin for the modern marathon distance. Relevant policy pointer is WP:UNDUE.
  4. "Changed" is OK with me.
- Location (talk) 06:40, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Prior to 1921 there was no "traditional" or "standard" distance for the marathon. The [published] distance of 26 miles 385 yards had only been used once, so could not be considered "traditional". There was no "standard" because every marathon was different.
I believe that the IAAF was metric from its inception in 1921. If you look at the events in the Olympics you will see that there was only the occasional event in the early days (pre-1921) that was measured in imperial units, and then only in the US or the UK. It should be noted that the IAAF was (an still is!) an international organisation, so the official language of 1921 should be checked. Today the official languages are both English and French. It should be remembered of course that in 1921 the mile had no legal defnition outside the UK (& colonies) and the US, so it is highly probable that metric units were always used (the metric system having been agreed internationally by the Metre Convention
If you look at Internation Convention for safety of Life at Sea, 1948 you will see a typical international convention of the era - both English and French are used with a mixture of imperial taking precedence in the English version and metric in the French version. If you look at the SI brochure, you will see that French is the authoritative language.
Given this background, I suggest that Shufflee's wording amounts to WP:OR, which to remind everybody is "any analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position not advanced by the sources." Given that the circumstantial evidence I have given suggests that it is probable that the distance of 42.385 km (with or without the imperial equivalent) became the standard when it was first published (unles of course Shufflee can convinvce me otherwise using authoritiative sources). For this reason I believe it is best to leave it out of the lede and that the wording in the body of the text covers all eventualities (best done by leaving certain things unsaid).
Martinvl (talk) 10:40, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
What OR? Shufflee is correct in stating that it was the yards/miles distance first run at the 1908 Olympics that was eventually adopted by the IOC and the IAAF who at some point - 1921 could very well be correct - used the metric conversion of the distance. It is factually incorrect to state that the distance of 26 miles 385 yards was used only once prior to 1921. The marathon has its origin in the Olympics, but is not an event unique to the Olympics. If you look at the history of the marathon, the marathon craze started after 1908 and events everywhere began using that distance. Not all of them did, of course, but neither were all marathons after 1921 run at the now-official distance. Location (talk) 14:01, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
The wording in Shufflee's text asserts that the standard length for the marathon before 1921 was expressed in imperial units. There was no standard distance before 1921 - apart from two Olympic games that used a 40 km marathon, every Olympic marathon before 1921 had a different length, including the St Louis Olympics in 1912 (even though the US used miles in preference to kilometres and the "marathon craze" had taken off). I allege that it is OR to state (or to imply) that imperial units were used to define a standard marathon before metric units were used. I have supplied sufficient circumstantial evidence to suggest that such an assertion is sufficiently unlikely that one needs a proper citation before making such a statement. Martinvl (talk) 17:56, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I've restored the first sentence with a slight re-wording in recognition of Martin's point about it not having been being standard. The fact is indisputable and the wording is more accurate now. Shufflee (talk) 20:31, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I have reworded Shufflee's last addition, giving it a bit more flesh, while moving it to the end of the lede. Martinvl (talk) 20:43, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
And I tweaked it a bit more. It looks good now, yes? I also put the other paragraph back after a tweak to accommodate Martin's criticism of the use of the word "evolved". Are we all happy with the main intro now? Shufflee (talk) 21:00, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have reverted the last sentence of the lede as we have no verifiation as to when 42.195 km was adopted as the standard. My wording was chosen so that it would be correct regardless of whether the standard, when it was first introduced was in metric units, imperial units or both.

I don't buy User:Location's suggestion that "I suspect that the IAAF briefly went with imperial units for the marathon and switched to metric later ...". Given that the IAAF is an international organisation and that the mile had no legal definition outside the UK or US, whereas the kilometre had a legal definition in all the countries concerned, I suspect that they converted to metric units first and then published the standard. Regardless of which way they did things, I have chosen a wording that covers all possibilities. Martinvl (talk) 21:14, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I've restored my wording of the conversion it was clearly converted since 1908, and explicit wording is clearer, especially in the intro, than numbers in parentheses. Shufflee (talk) 21:35, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I have reinstated my version - the standard Wikipedia convention is to write the converted value in brackets. Martinvl (talk) 21:57, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
Like I said, you very well could be correct. What's your point? The current wording looks fine. Location (talk) 01:13, 1 June 2012 (UTC)


Are we sure that it is a good idea to have self-measured/interpreted elevation changes mentioned in the course description? Surely anything we write needs to be verifiable, more or less as written, from published sources. I tried to verify the description: "A slight turn to the right will take the runners down Northumberland Avenue as they drop some nine metres over a distance of 350 metres (a little under a quarter of a mile).", but looking at Google Earth myself I'd say it was more like: "... climbing 6 metres to the junction with Great Scotland Yard, then dropping by 18 metres by the time they reach Victoria Embankment." It's very arbitrary, subjective and open to dispute if you try to describe it yourself. Better to leave it out if it cannot be verified from sources. Shufflee (talk) 21:25, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I agree. Descriptions of this sort should be verifiable. Location (talk) 01:19, 1 June 2012 (UTC)
I see that Martin has removed the problem text, under the edit summary: "Altitudes", but without adding further comment or explanation there or here. Shufflee (talk) 09:47, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Prose versus symbols in the main intro[edit]

Which is better in the main introductory text; this:

"The distance of the 1908 London Olympic Marathon of 26 miles and 385 yards, later converted to metric units as 42.195 kilometres, formed the basis of the standard distance adopted by IAAF in 1921."

or this:

"The distance of the 1908 London Olympic Marathon of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km) formed the basis of the standard distance adopted by IAAF in 1921."

I prefer the elegance of the prose, with its extra detail, over the geeky parentheses and symbols. Any other comments before Martin (or I) get barred over this for edit-warring? Shufflee (talk) 22:04, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

I like the prose in that it's more informative. Location (talk) 01:18, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

White Space[edit]

I would like to rearrange the to avoid white space forming for narrow screens. On the current version, if you adjust the screen width by dragging the right-hand border in and out, you will see large chunks of white space appearing as soon as the screen gets narrower than a certain amount due to interaction between portait pictures, landscape pictures and the table.

If you to this version of the article and adjust the screen the text always wraps properly. I do not want to change the picture order as they follow the sequence of the route. Martinvl (talk) 09:48, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

I have sorted out the white space problem. Adjusting the width of the page on the current version - 05:51 on 2 June 2012 does not cause white space, whereas adjusting the width on the older version - 21:56 on 31 May 2012 does have these problems.
What web browser do you use Martin, and at what screen width? I didn't see the problem you describe in either of IE7, IE8, Firefox 12.0 or Opera 11.6 from screen width 1920 down to 320. I don't think we should compromise the article's logical order to attempt to solve a format problem perceived by a single user, which will probably move as the article content changes anyway. I have thus restored the previous logical content order. Shufflee (talk) 09:27, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Three points:
  • Firstly it does not matter what browser I am using - white space happens. Browser discussion is therefiore a red herring.
  • Secondly, your argument about article integrity does not convince me. The route planners had two design aims (as I wrote in the section that Shufflee deleted) - each of the subsectiosn concentrates on a different aim and each table is attacehd to the aim which it best summarises - the 5km split table has a concise summary of the lap ans split distances, while the second table is closely oriented towards the landmarks on the route.
  • Even if both layouts have equal content integrity, the white space argument is a valid one - see WP:whitespace.
Martinvl (talk) 10:08, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
It might just be your browser or your settings, so it may matter and may be relevant what browser you use. The article as I left it is how 2 out of the 3 who have commented on the talkpage want to see it. If those are the only two design considerations you should be able to find a good reference to support that. If you allowed us to follow the consensus and replace your unwieldy table with the slimmer and clearer one that I provided your alleged "whitespace" problem may well vanish. Don't forget the aim should be agreement and harmony, not us against you. Don't forget what you told me about the 3RR (or 3PP?) rule. Shufflee (talk) 12:01, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
You could provide a screen-grab to help us diagnose the whitespace problem you say you have, we could then decide between us how best to tackle it. Shufflee (talk) 12:20, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Just so there's a bit wider sample size. In the current format, I see no white space on my browser.Ravendrop 12:29, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I like the article better with the information about compliance near the beginning (Martin's version). I don't think it looks good to have two tables together (Shufflee's version). (I'm not sure what the white space problem is. I have not experienced one on Safari.) Michael Glass (talk) 13:09, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
The information about this course complying to IAAF rules has rightly been inferred, but is not directly reported upon. This is one reason for placing it in a less prominent location in the article, particularly when the IAAF rules regarding the approximate location of drink locations is sort of a petty point. On this point: Given that the athletes are running a particular loop three times (a loop that is actually measured in miles, by the way), it is likely that those stations are going to be placed at static points on the loop rather than at the 5K intervals noted. BTW: I'm not having any whitespace issues either. Location (talk) 15:40, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Looking over both versions, I have to say I prefer the one that User:Martinvl is advocating. Firstly, the order makes more sense to me, as it is essentially in chronological order. Course description, compliance etc. is clearly important when deciding a route. Additionally, the single table is aesthetically ghastly. Yes, it compares the distances (at landmarks), but otherwise it is a horrible mess. I'm not really sure that that detail of milage at x landmark is necessary for an encyclopedia page. A viewer guide, yes. Encyclopedia, no. Ravendrop 20:42, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

General planning of a marathon route typically precedes any fine-tuning of that route, which would fall under compliance with IAAF rules and regulations. IAAF rules and regulations for road racing are relatively extensive, however, this article appears to place weight on those rules pertaining to creating a world-record eligible course. (For example, this article does not mention the part that the IAAF recommends road races be run April or May or September to December.) Regarding your last point regarding the necessity of the table, I agree with you completely. The course description noting various landmarks should suffice. Location (talk) 21:08, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Distance points combined[edit]

How about a single table containing both the mile and kilometre points, something like this:

Distance points Location
1 2 3 4
Start The Mall near Marlborough Road
1 m Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
30 K Off Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column
3 m 11 m 19 m Victoria Embankment at Cleopatra's Needle
5 K Victoria Embankment, between Cleopatra's Needle and Waterloo Bridge
4 m 12 m 20 m Queen Victoria Street by the north end of Millennium Bridge
20 K Paternoster Square, close to St Paul's Cathedral
5 m 13 m 21 m Cheapside
35 K On the Cornhill, a few metres before turning into Leadenhall Market
6 m 14 m 22 m Gracechurch Street near Eastcheap
10 K Great Tower Street, between the Monument and the Tower of London
7 m 15 m 23 m King William Street near Eastcheap
25 K Queen Victoria Street
8 m 16 m 24 m Victoria Embankment west of Blackfriars Bridge
40 K Victoria Embankment, nearly opposite the London Eye
9 m 17 m 25 m Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
15 K Parliament Square, a few metres past Big Ben
2 m 10 m 18 m 26 m The Mall by the Victoria Memorial
26 miles 385 yards
42.195 kilometres
The Mall near Marlborough Road

The best of both worlds? Shufflee (talk) 15:11, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Something about these tables seems awkward to me, but I prefer this single table, too. It does a better job of illustrating how the points are passed in a loop. Location (talk) 15:22, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
The combined table looks a real mess. You have managed to loose the information about the cumulative distance at the start of each lap and you use "m" for miles and "K" for "kilometres" - both contrary to good practice and to WP:MOSNUM and give the table a real amateurish look. On another point, you removed the "upright" qualifier for the pictuure of "St Mary's le Bow" - it is in portrait format, the others are in landscape. You have managedf to make it much larger than the other pictures. You have also again managed to destroy the structure that was in place. In doing this, you have not managed to add anything worthwhile. That is why I have reverted. Martinvl (talk) 18:14, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
I think the reason that it looks a mess is that miles and kilometres have been combined in single columns. It is normal practice in tables such as this to place the units of measure in the table header - that is what we were all taught at school (at any rate that is what I was taught). What Shufflee is actually mixing two "languages", something which will never work!
Maybe editors should look at this version. It was rejected for a variety of reasons, but the miles and kilometres were kept separate. Martinvl (talk) 18:21, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
(previous text amended) Martinvl (talk) 19:11, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
You had no agreement for those reversals. "m" and "K" are directly from the reference, if you know better; present your case here. The image was narrower than the gap (you were complaining about "whitespace"). The combined table is neater than the separate two and gives an easy to follow, consistent picture. The cummulative lap distancs are meaningless. The presentation is logical and structured. By all means offer arguments for or against each change, but don't just keep restoring your own version, regardless of comments and opinions of the others here. This is Wikipedia, not Martinpedia. Shufflee (talk) 19:44, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Answers to Shuifflee:
  • "You had no agreement for those reversals. "m" and "K" are directly from the reference, if you know better; present your case here." If you are repeating incorrect terminology of spelling from a reference, it is normal ro write "[sic]" (See Sic). You did not do this.
  • "The image was narrower than the gap (you were complaining about "whitespace")." You succeeded in doubling the area of that one picture in relation to the others - I believe that to be bad practice.
  • "The combined table is neater than the separate two and gives an easy to follow, consistent picture. The cummulative lap distancs are meaningless. The presentation is logical and structured." Your failure to separate out miles and kilometres removes logic from the table - the numbers in the columns are not in ascending order making it difficult to follow. At risk of repeating myself, good practise dictates that units of measure go in column headers. BTW I have already mentioned this, but you chose not to answer me.
May I suggest that this be presented at Wikipedia:Dispute resolution requests/Third Opinion. I think that am opinion from an uninvoled editor will resolve most, if not all, of the issues. Martinvl (talk) 20:27, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
Martin, could you put together a table just like the first one at the top of this page with miles in parenthesis instead of a separate table for miles and post it here for review? I would also suggest rounding to the nearest kilometer or mile, or nearest tenth of a kilometer or mile if that doesn't work. The "miles:yards" notation should go, too. Location (talk) 20:46, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As requested, here is a revision of Shufflee's table as suggested by User:Location.

Distance points for each lap - km (miles) Location
1 2 3 4
Start The Mall near Marlborough Road
1.6 (1.0) Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
30.0 (18.6) Off Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column
4.8 (3.0) 17.7 (11.0) 30.6 (19.0) Victoria Embankment at Cleopatra's Needle
5.0 (3.1) Victoria Embankment, between Cleopatra's Needle and Waterloo Bridge
6.4 (4.0) 19.3 (12.0) 32.2 (20.0) Queen Victoria Street by the north end of Millennium Bridge
20.0 (12.4) Paternoster Square, close to St Paul's Cathedral
8.0 (5.0) 20.9 (13.0) 33.8 (21.0) Cheapside
35.0 (21.8) On the Cornhill, a few metres before turning into Leadenhall Market
9.7 (6.0) 22.5 (14.0) 35.4 (22.0) Gracechurch Street near Eastcheap
10.0 (6.2) Great Tower Street, between the Monument and the Tower of London
11.3 (7.0) 24.1 (15.0) 37.0 (23.0) King William Street near Eastcheap
25.0 (15.5) Queen Victoria Street
12.9 (8.0) 25.7 (16.0) 38.6 (24.0) Victoria Embankment west of Blackfriars Bridge
40.0 (24.9) Victoria Embankment, nearly opposite the London Eye
14.5 (9.0) 27.4 (17.0) 40.2 (25.0) Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
15 K Parliament Square, a few metres past Big Ben
3.2 (2.0) 16.1 (10.0) 29.0 (18.0) 41.8 (26.0) The Mall by the Victoria Memorial
26 miles 385 yards
42.195 kilometres
The Mall near Marlborough Road

If this table were to be adopted, we woudl have trouble usign it on a screen with a width of 1024 pixels as it would foul the pictures down the right-hand side. To be honest, I went through these arguments with myself when I produced the original pair of tables, which is why I spilt the miles off from the kilometres. Martinvl (talk) 21:22, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Martin, I was referring to the following table, but changed to put miles in parenthesis. Location (talk) 23:06, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
(Redacted table to decrease page clutter.) Location (talk) 01:05, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Another variation to consider:

Distance points
mile (kilometre)
1 2 3 4
Start The Mall near Marlborough Road
1 Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
(30) Off Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column
3 11 19 Victoria Embankment at Cleopatra's Needle
(5) Victoria Embankment, between Cleopatra's Needle and Waterloo Bridge
4 12 20 Queen Victoria Street by the north end of Millennium Bridge
(20) Paternoster Square, close to St Paul's Cathedral
5 13 21 Cheapside
(35) On the Cornhill, a few metres before turning into Leadenhall Market
6 14 22 Gracechurch Street near Eastcheap
(10) Great Tower Street, between the Monument and the Tower of London
7 15 23 King William Street near Eastcheap
(25) Queen Victoria Street
8 16 24 Victoria Embankment west of Blackfriars Bridge
(40) Victoria Embankment, nearly opposite the London Eye
9 17 25 Victoria Embankment just north of Westminster Bridge
(15) Parliament Square, a few metres past Big Ben
2 10 18 26 The Mall by the Victoria Memorial
26 miles 385 yards
42.195 kilometres
The Mall near Marlborough Road

Neater still (the parentheses are for those who cannot distinguish the colors)? The specific colors can obviously be changed as desired! This would also remove the apparently contentious "m"/"K" issue. Shufflee (talk) 22:30, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

Don't even think about it. WP:MOS says this about the use of colour "Information should be accessible to all. Do not use color alone to mark differences in text: they may be invisible to people with color blindness. Also, black-and-white printouts, older computer displays with fewer colors, and monochrome displays (older PDAs and cell phones) cannot show such distinctions.". Placing kilometres in brackets to bypass this rule is pushing the boat. It still does not answer the question of numbers in each column being monototically increasing. Martinvl (talk) 22:52, 2 June 2012 (UTC)
WP:MOS, particularly MOS:COLOR explicitly supports my approach. Color combined with another difference (such as my parentheses) are given as examples of good practice. You may have misread it, or not read it all. Can you remind us what the "question of numbers in each column being monototically increasing"? Shufflee (talk) 09:49, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
You could read Monotonic function, but do you have any comments on the proposal below. Martinvl (talk) 10:02, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Yes I guessed it was a typo, but what was the qustion about it? I have reminded you below why we ruled out a list of self-measured landmarks. Do you have any other comment about the color-coded table now that you realise it complies with WP:MOS? Shufflee (talk) 10:12, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think that combining everything into one table is a non-starter. Maybe we should go back to basics. I suggest that we go back to two tables which are stipped down versions of the original ppair of tables. The first would deal only with lap distances and timing points:

Circuit Distance Timing points
km mi
1st 3.571 2:385 None
2nd 16.445 10:385 5 km, 10 km, 15 km
3rd 29.320 18:385 20 km, half-way, 25 km
4th 42.195 26:385 30 km, 35 km, 40 km

The second would deal only with landmarks with distances relative to the marathon start point. They could be worked out to the nearest 10 m using Google Earth and then rounded to the nearest 100&nbps;m and 0.1 mile, apart from the end points. There are enough interim distances on the map to make this a relatively easy task. The rounding is coarse enough to accomodate any judgements made by the person doing the calculations.

Distance Landmark
km mi
0.0 0.0 The Mall near Marlborough Road
0.7 0.4 Trafalgar Square and Nelson's column
1.3 0.8 Cleopatra's Needle (outbound leg)
3.5 2.2 St Paul's Cathedral (West end)
4.7 2.9 St Mary le Bow
5.0 3.1 Guildhall Yard
5.3 3.3 Bank of England
5.8 3.6 Leadenhall Market
6.9 4.3 Tower of London from Tower Hill
7.6 4.7 The Monument
10.3 6.4 Cleopatra's Needle (return leg)
10.9 6.8 London Eye (opposite bank of the Thames)
11.3 7.0 Big Ben and Houses of Parliament
12.5 7.8 Victoria Memorial outide Buckingham Palace
12.875 8.000 The Mall near Marlborough Road

Martinvl (talk) 23:47, 2 June 2012 (UTC)

I think the above proposal is much clearer. Michael Glass (talk) 03:54, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I have now added all the landmarks to the table timestamped 23:47, 2 June 2012. Martinvl (talk) 09:45, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
Remember, we questioned the wisdom of attempting to measure the distance between landmarks ourselves, particularly agreeing where their datums might be (think Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace), and different editors could dispute the values as they are not verifiable from published sources. That's why we started using trables of known distance positions (the mile and km points). Shufflee (talk) 09:54, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
You omitted the mile points from the lap table. Here is the full picture:
Circuit Distance Mile points Kilometre points
km mi
1st 3.571 2.2 1, 2 None
2nd 16.445 10.2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 5, 10, 15
3rd 29.320 18.2 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 20, 25
4th 42.195 26.2 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 30, 35, 40
Shufflee (talk) 10:05, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If you look at the lap table, you will see that I had the heading "Timing points". Will times be taken at the mile points? I have never seen a a resutl tabel showing mile splits, but every publication that shows times at intermediate points has 5 km spilts as well as the half-way point (for example, the London Marathon - here)

As regards datum points, you will notice that I have specified "West end" for St Pauls, Big Ben for the Houses of Parliament and the Victoria Memorial for Buckingham Palace. Martinvl (talk) 10:22, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

Replacement of tables - 3 June 2012[edit]

I have replaced Sufflee's "multi-coloured" table with a much simpler one which shows one thing and one thing only - the distance of the various landmarks from the circuit startpoint. I have alos added a route summary table to thse subsection "IAAF compliance" as that table compelements that section. Martinvl (talk) 14:51, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

If we have to have a table, I guess I'm OK with the first one. I don't think the second table is necessary in that it only appears to describe on what lap the various 5K intervals appear. Location (talk) 15:24, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
The second table also catalogues the start and end points of each lap. Even without the timing points, I believe that it would be useful. Martinvl (talk) 15:47, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
How? Location (talk) 03:52, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Order of sections[edit]

Rephrasing what I've stated previously: General planning of a marathon route typically precedes any fine-tuning of that route, which would fall under compliance with IAAF rules and regulations. IAAF rules and regulations for road racing are relatively extensive, however, this article appears to place weight on those rules pertaining to creating a world-record eligible course. (For example, this article does not mention the part that the IAAF recommends road races be run April or May or September to December.) This article is specifically about the Olympic marathon course in London, so it certainly doesn't seem appropriate to jump into the details of IAAF Rule 260 earlier in the article. Location (talk) 03:57, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Restructuring - 4 June 2012[edit]

The structure of this article had become fragmented - two of the sections had short ledes followed by a single subsection - something which is poor style. The underlying reason was constant reversions. I have now reinstated a logical structure in which everything concerning the 2012 Olympic route is in a single top level section and comparisons with other marathons each have their own top level section. Martinvl (talk) 03:58, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

The most important feature of the marathon course is that it meets the criteria of being 42.195 km in length. If this criteria is niot met, the course design is an absolute failure. The second most important is whether or not world records can be established. If this criteria is not met, the course designers will be in for a hammering.
I have been trying to put this forward, but this has revereted by Shufflee without discussion. Martinvl (talk) 04:06, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
You need to hold off and discuss proposed changes first. The section in question jumps immediately to the world record considerations. It shouldn't do that. Location (talk) 04:07, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I still don't think it's wise to put the IAAF compliance section that has no direct reference to the 2012 Olympics so near the beginning, but I've rewritten it to at least remove the undue weight towards world record considerations. Cheers. Location (talk) 05:08, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
I have undone Shufflee's changes. Firstly, the last column was the timing points - there are no timing points at the mile markers. Also, why was the half-way timing point removed. Secondly, the introduictory paragraph is exactly that - everything that it says is referenced later in the section - OK, there is not explicit statement that the course had to follow the Olympic standards, but that is so blatantly obvious to everybody that no reference is needed. Martinvl (talk) 18:32, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Changes 5 June 2012[edit]

I have reinstated an older version of the lede and made a few additions to the summary table.

My rationale for changes to the lede are:

  • I have introduced a mention of the extreme points of the course. They give a reader a quick idea of which part fo London is being used for the race.
  • I have reintroduced a summary of the changes in the route, keeping as far as possible a neutral tone. Why were they deleted?
  • I have reintroduced a more accurate statement regarding the 1908 Marathon which also complies with WP:MOS. At least one reference states that the 1908 marathon was 170 yds short of 26:385, also I am not convinced that in 1921 the IAAF actually measured the 1908 course. Given all this uncertainty, all that we can say is that 26:385 was the "stated" distance. Also, it simplifies the langauge when the text is aligned with WP:MOS.

Martinvl (talk) 19:54, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

I've made a few additional tweaks and modifications, all fully explained in their respective edit summaries. Shufflee (talk) 21:44, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Out of date IAAF rulebook[edit]

Isn't there a more recent edition (Published 2011 or 2012) of the IAAF rules? Shufflee (talk) 18:22, 6 June 2012 (UTC)

Did you try Google? I found it in 5 seconds: Location (talk) 18:35, 6 June 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't get the IAAF website to work so that I could look for the latest available edition. I think the piece in the article relating to this is too complex, with inefficient references. All we need is the gist, with a refence to a secondary source for verification. Martin's interpretation of the rulebook could, I believe, be condemned as original research. Shufflee (talk) 12:01, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I'm OK with stripping out the page references. Martin lifted the reference from another article in which I cited Rule 260, then he added Rule 240 to the citation after including other material here. If anyone wants references to be as specific as possible, well, they are there now. I agree that the background on relevant IAAF rules is not needed. We don't put it in article about other marathons, and it doesn't really need to be put in this one. Location (talk) 13:57, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
I have stripped down the references to the IAAF rule book and moved them up to the summary of the course. I have also introduced a change of emphasis, moving it from the rules to the London course.Martinvl (talk) 22:24, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
All you've done is placed the emphasis back onto world records. I'm going to revert this until there is some consensus. Location (talk) 22:45, 7 June 2012 (UTC)
Is the course "Fit for purpose"? The readers have a right to know.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Martinvl (talkcontribs) 06:33, 8 June 2012‎ (UTC)
The purpose of the course is for the running of the Olympic marathon. Your editing history suggests that you think only the IAAF rules pertaining to world record eligibility are important to the reader. Location (talk) 14:46, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Shufflee, I've updated the source per your request. Location (talk) 14:46, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Shufflee (talk) 18:21, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

RFC:Rules for world records[edit]

Will any records set on the 2012 Olympic Marathon Course be recognised as World records? A dispute has broken out as to whether or not this is an appropriate topic in this aritcle, and if so, how it should be presented. The Boston Marathon course is an example of a course on which world records cannot be set. Martinvl (talk) 06:56, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

The question as currently worded is irrelevant. The dispute is whether or not it is appropriate to strike all the rest of the information regarding IAAF compliance and leave only the information regarding IAAF compliance with world record eligibility. There are currently no direct sources stating that this event and course will be guided by IAAF rules (including those pertaining to world record eligibility), although it is seems obvious that they will be. Location (talk) 14:21, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Article 46 of the IOC charter states "Each IF [International Federation] is responsible for the technical control and direction of its sport at the Olympic Games; all elements of the competitions, including the schedule, field of play, training sites and all equipment must comply with its rules...", but do we really need to spell this out? Martinvl (talk) 16:14, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Let me get this straight. You want to cite 1) the IAAF rule that references the separation between start and end points for world record eligibility (260.28) and 2) the IAAF rule that references world records for intermediate distances (260.23), but you don't want to reference the IAAF rule that references the distance of the race (240.1)? I've mentioned previously that I don't think we need to delve into any of the rules of either the IAAF (or the IOC), but you are the one attempting to add technical details pertaining only to world record eligibility. Location (talk) 17:15, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it boils down to whether a detailed analysis of the rules is appropriate or significant enough for a large or prominent mention, particularly as there is no controversey or cover elsewhere or in any secondary references about this aspect of the course. All we have here is a personal view based on a personal interpretation of what the rules say. And at least one of the rules that has been given prominence is ambiguous, to say the least, so needs a verifiable interpretation - not a personal point of view. I'm not sure the subject needs to mentioned at all given the lack of interest elsewhere. Shufflee (talk) 18:19, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
Location , you are half right - what I want to point out is:
  • This race is [probably] elibigle for world records (unlike Boston) because its start and end points are less than 21.092 km apart and the net downhill slope is less than 42 m - both values are in fact zero!
  • That world records for 10 km, 15 km etc can be set on this course
  • The 5 km split points are used for the above.
Delving (as you put it) into the rules is a means to justify the above statements. I have no objection to mentioning Rule 240.1 - after all the IAAF is "responsible for the technical ... must comply with its rules...".
If we can encompass this in a lightweight statement linking it to the London course, then the appropriate place to add it is alongsiode the course description (after all it is a "job specification", not an add-on).
Would Shufflee please explain which rule is ambiguous. Martinvl (talk) 18:30, 8 June 2012 (UTC)
A discussion in the article about the IAAF rules pertaining to record eligible courses would be appropriate if there were discussion about them elsewhere in context of the London course. I haven't seen any, nor can I imagine that there are many reliable sources indicating that they think records are going to fall on this course. Location (talk) 00:07, 9 June 2012 (UTC)
That is irrelevant - world records are set at Olympic events. WE coudl of course note a world record could not have been the original 1908 course because the distance between its start and end points were more than 50% of the course length. Martinvl (talk) 05:53, 9 June 2012 (UTC)

What is the correct course?[edit]

The image of the route map shows use of Little Britain and Bartholemew Lane. It appears to be the one linked from the official venue page at , which is designed to give information to spectators.

The map linked at the foot of the article, shows these two roads are not used. This map is also linked from other sites such as

Which is correct?

I have been searching the web but have not yet been able to confirm which is the correct one. I tried the official website following the navigation links to sports -athletics event-marathon page at but as you see there is no course map in place at present.

Since the course has only recently been measured, perhaps the final route map has not yet been uploaded.

Can anyone resolve this discrepancy?

Should there be some warning that there is conflicting information about the route? Op. Deo (talk) 16:56, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

I think I have now answered my question. I found the following pdf linked from the media centre - maps page of the

It states "This map is correct as of May 2012", and I believe it to be the most up-to-date version. It has OS copyright. I dont know whether it can be used on WP so I will only link it. But the map image displayed at the top of the article is now clearly wrong and needs attention. Op. Deo (talk) 20:43, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure whether or not we can copy the map concerned - the Olympic committee seem to slap one excessive prohibition notices on everything. Anyway I have moved the reference to the newest map from where Op. Deo placed it to the text of the map that has been displayed - in this way people can see immediately that there has been a change (or a correction of an error!). Martinvl (talk) 16:41, 23 June 2012 (UTC)
After Shufflee removed the map, calling it "dodgy", but failing to jsutify his assertion, I have reinstated the map and have also amended the wording to draw attention that there are differences between this map and others published by the Olympic COmmittee, but not passing judgement on either. Martinvl (talk) 08:42, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

The athletes' POV[edit]

Info to consider incorporating into the article: [6][7]. Location (talk) 21:52, 30 June 2012 (UTC)

11 July 2012 reversion[edit]

I have undone these changes for a number of reasons:

  1. The distances 26.2 miles and 42.195 km are inconsistent - also the map given in Ref 3 gives the metric units first. Checks elsewhere show the metric distance is the official distance, the imperial distance is therefore approximate. Moreover the writers in refs 23 & 24 (found by User:Location) only use the metric distances.
  2. WP:MOSNUM states "If consensus cannot be reached, refer to historically stable versions of the article and retain the units used in these as the main units".
  3. I think that the tag clarifying that imperial/metric conversion is neccessary in order to clear up a big misconception that exisits amongs journalists.
  4. I think that the notes "timed" and "untimed" are appropriate for public consumption - the public is generally unaware that 5 km splits are taken.

Please do not re-revert until these points have been cleared up. Martinvl (talk) 05:45, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Re: #1 and #2, I agree that metric units should consistently precede the imperial units in that part of the lede. Re: #3 and #4, we don't need a note to let people know what 385 yards rounds to in tenths of a mile. We actually do not have sources explicitly stating that the 5km points will be timed, and if we did it would work much better in the prose rather than in the table. The table is awful to begin with and all of the notes simply make it worse. Location (talk) 06:11, 11 July 2012 (UTC)


Looks like someone on Yahoo copied our work: Location (talk) 05:52, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Copying of Wikipedia is quite common (no copyright) - I often see my own writing when I am doing research to try and improve any of my articles. Martinvl (talk) 06:07, 11 July 2012 (UTC)

Reporting of results[edit]

The report of the woman's race is significant in that it proved the reporters wrong. Otherwise, the results are reported elsewhere - I have provided links under "See Also" and removed the heading which moved the result of the woman's race away from the reported's forecasts. Martinvl (talk) 19:57, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

It "proved the reporters wrong"? Shufflee (talk) 19:58, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Commentators said that due to the course being windy, it was unlikely that any records would be broken. Martinvl (talk) 20:05, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The article says "runners said" (not reporters or commentators) and that a "a world record would not be set on the course", and the article confirms the women's time "was 7min 42sec slower than Paula Radcliffe's world record..." So it doesn't prove anyone wrong. Shufflee (talk) 20:08, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Shufflee, and that echoes our previous discussions here. Search this page for "world record", then search for "Olympic record". Location (talk) 22:53, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
The real question is whether the results should be reported as a section in their own right or whether they should be reported as an after-the-event comparison of what the commentators said. I have opted for the latter on grounds that the results themselves are fully repoted elsewhere in Wikipedia. I have added links in the "See Also" section to the results.
Yes, a brief recap of the men's and women's results should be mentioned here as it brings some sort of closure to the article. Location (talk) 06:48, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I've created a new section for the speculation about course performances, and for real results. Neither belong in a section called "Compliance with international rules and testing". Shufflee (talk) 06:43, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

I haven't looked into it, but it would be great if we could find out various participants comments about the course. Location (talk) 06:48, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
1) "‘‘The conditions were tough,’’ [Claire] Hallissey said. ‘‘It was a twisty course, and the cobbles didn’t make for very fast running.’’" 2) "The Americans, who have experimented with road racing in recent years, said they were bothered by the sharp twists and turns of the winding three-loop course, which started near St. James’s Park and extended nearly to the Tower of London. Said [Shalane] Flanagan: ‘‘The turns and the ups and downs were really, really hard.’’" [8] Kara Goucher suggests that the difficulty of the course prevented her from achieving a PR: ( is blacklisted). Location (talk) 06:51, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
There are various gags in place on competitors making public comments. Martinvl (talk) 07:07, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean. More comments from Flanagan and Goucher commenting on the course: [9]. Kim Smith mentions slipping on cobblestones: [10] Pre-race commentary about turns and cobblestones: [11] Location (talk) 07:11, 7 August 2012 (UTC)