Student or Learner
I'm reading an article about Marathon. The writer compares his 2005 experience and 1981 experience. And it goes:
"While I’m sure there had been a number of slight modifications, the marathon route was essentially unchanged from the course I’d followed in 1981. There may have been more spectators on the course, but maybe not; the turnout was pretty good back in the day."
I'm confused about the meaning and time reference of the last sentence. Does "the turnout was pretty good" mean that there were many spectators on the course? Does "back in the day" refer to 2005 or 1981?