Pat Shingleton: "Drift Cards and Marathon Weather."
I noticed a bumper sticker many years ago that read, "Streakers repent, your end is in sight..." The Louisiana Marathon is set
for Friday, Saturday and Sunday with perfect weather for the runner and spectators, no streakers allowed...Last year, French
researchers determined that thermometers registering readings in the lower 40s produce the fastest marathon times. This was
determined by examining running times for 1.8 million participants over a 10-year period. Faster runners that generate more
body heat also performed better when readings registered in the upper 30s. Alex Hutchinson wrote "Runner's
World" and noted the correlation of weather in the fall and spring and the fastest times. Courses with hills actually
produce better times than easier, flatter courses due to ideal temperatures. Temperatures this weekend range from 69 degrees
on Friday with 63 on Saturday and a colder 53 on Sunday. In 2013, Piers Chapman unloaded a bunch of cards into the Gulf of Mexico.
The deployment of 5,000 biodegradable cards was part of the Gulf Integrated Research Consortium. They're called
"drift cards" and are used to better understand ocean currents. In 2014, additional cards were released and are imprinted
with contact information, instructing finders to report the location where they were found. The bright yellow cards
were scattered into the Gulf, carried on the currents with hopes that 20% of them will be transported to the shore, found
and returned. About the size of an index card, they drift on the surface, moved by wind and current. Many have been retrieved
and returned with small rewards for their capture.