Maths: Maths and the Marathon

This week’s Inspire Programme Video Lecture comes from Dr Tom Crawford, a lecturer in Maths at the University of Oxford, and founder of the Tom Rocks Maths website. In this second of his two lectures on Maths and Sport, Tom looks at world records in the men’s marathon, and how we can make predictions based on lines of best fit.

Also remember to check out the competition that goes with this class – as always, there are prizes to be won in the form of Amazon vouchers! See details of this week’s competition at the bottom of this page.

Competition: World Record

Using the data for the Women’s 100m world record over the past 100 years, find the following using the line of best fit function in Excel. You can download the data as an Excel file here.

  1. Predict when the world record will go below 10 seconds using:
    1. a linear line of best fit.
    2. a quadratic line of best fit.
    3. a cubic line of best fit.
  2. Are any of these realistic? Can you think of how we could improve our predictions?

To enter this competition, please click here. The deadline is 5pm on Wednesday 5th May 2021. All entries with correct answers to the challenge will be entered into a prize draw, with Amazon vouchers to be won!