Sarah Palin Ran a Faster Marathon Than Paul Ryan

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By now, you've probably heard that Paul Ryan said he ran a sub-three-hour marathon, when really he'd run a 4:01:25 marathon. Kudos to the Letsrun.com message board for raising the yellow flag and Runner's World for following up on it. 


Now, as someone who is an aspirational marathon runner, I'm impressed by anyone who actually completes a 26.2 mile course and I try to stay out of our political coverage, so let me recommend Jim Fallows on the meaning of the exaggeration

In reading the coverage, what's fascinating to me is 1) How active and impressive the Letsrun.com forum is; 2) how many vice presidential candidates in recent years have run marathons; 3) how good Sarah Palin is at the marathon. Check out this handy chart I made with Runner's World's numbers.

PalinBeatsRyan.jpg
What's awe-inducing about Palin's feat is that she accomplished it at 41 after having four children, while Ryan's mark was set at 20 and Edwards' best came at 30. There are only about 40 thousand women who were that fast or faster in 2011. (More comparisons: The average marathon time for a woman aged 40-44 in 2011 was 4:47:34. The average for a man aged 20-24 was 4:22:48.) 

If you're wondering what pace these race times correspond to, a four-hour marathon requires running 9:09 miles, which doesn't seem that hard until you've run a couple dozen of them. 
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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