Unlike most websites and print publications devoted to running, the BigDataRunning.com website focuses on the statistical description of the entire population of runners, joggers, and walkers.
Many running websites emphasize the individual performances of top runners and world record contenders. The stories and performances of these elite runners are told to both amaze and motivate.
However, in spite of the interest and benefits of examining exemplary individual performances, an overemphasis on data generated by elite athletes can lead to not seeing the forest for the trees. Just as a study of a few massive redwood trees will not tell us everything about forests, so too the study of world record athletes can provide only limited information about the entire spectrum of foot racers.
A new book, Racing Among the Ages (published 12/2015), shows that the current age-grading standards based on world records are very misleading when applied to the great majority of participants in 5K races.
By looking at the entire spectrum of runners, joggers, and walkers through the lenses of population biology and mathematical statistics, this website provides new insight into the performances of everyday, real world competitors. And in so doing, it also secures a special insight into the place of elite runners within the community of all runners.
David Dyer, the author of this site, majored in mathematics at the University of the South, received his Ph.D. in population ecology from The Johns Hopkins University, and was a post-doctoral fellow in Statistics and Biomathematics at North Carolina State University. Employed for thirty-seven years as an industrial statistician and business analyst, he is now retired and devotes his spare time to analyzing sports data, especially data related to running.
When time permits, both Dave and his wife Kathy like to participate in 5K races and watch Cardinals baseball games. They have four children and nine grandchildren and live on a country highway in Western Illinois.