Drawing Board
Scratch Pad
Everything Else



Game Theory in a Marathon

You know your max pace, but if you don’t know your opponents your pace will be determined by the fastest runner. But some runners run in teams and send runners to the front to “wear out” runners then increase there own pace. Thus they are running their best pace. But you usually don’t know your opponents strategy or max pace.

So it is brinkmanship where you are not in control of the race. Your pace is your max pace which you are hoping matches the fastest runner. You have no choice you match their pace or lose, hoping you win.

But there is something interesting here. The longer the race the more the choice of strategy. The race only becomes a brinkmanship situation at the point when the runners are of equal ability. Those strategies would be to take the record time of the race and fixing your pace ability with reasonable time. That is considering the past statistics are known and the race course and conditions are the same. That is length, weather, etc. To realistically win your pace would have to be comparable to previous winners.

But even if a marathon has strategy, it eventually has fewer decision strategies to chose from. Eventually, it is “I am going to run as hard and fast as possible as I can and the other runners will do the same.”



This essay states nothing new. I just wanted to apply some newly learned “game theory” knowledge that I learned from lectures 1 through 11 of “Games People Play: Game Theory in Life, Business, and Beyond” , taught by Professor Scott P. Stevens. This is part of “The Great Courses” produced by The Teaching Company.