Tortoise & Hare 2014 @ 9:00 AM

A unique handicap race based on age, weight, height and gender.

Bijou St. Bridge at Bijou and I25

Race Director

Tim Steffens

Race Date

  • 5K Sat, Apr 12
more information from RRCA on the policy Following guidelines from the Road Runners of Clubs of America (RRCA), Pikes Peak Road Runners discourages and in most cases, does not allow use of headphones in its races. The rationale for this is simple: the majority of our races are held on trails, which are crowded with many other runners (and sometimes other trail users). Maintaining one’s sensory capacity during such situations is paramount for the safety of all participants.

General Information

This race is a true handicap event in that it measures your fitness level based on your age, sex, height and weight! Following a victory at the Boston Marathon, Bill Rodgers said that his effort to run a 2:10 was not nearly as difficult as the effort of those who were “out there for 4 1/2 hours!” How would you stack up against those speedsters, the Hares, if you were able to factor out some reasons for running a 4 1/2 hour marathon? How good is your training?

Over the last several years, Woody Noleen and Bob Mutu have worked on handicap charts for our local running scene. Given that we run high altitude, we wanted to somehow factor in training at 6500 feet. We worked with charts from the National WAVA standards that are used by most races of this type, using local 5K race results to massage the data. We came with charts and a formula to measure performance and fitness levels based on four key body factors: age, sex, height and weight.

WAVA data indicated that runners aged 20-34 are in their prime. We therefore gave them no age handicap. All other runners get handicap seconds subtracted from their actual running time.

Women are generally not as fast as men at the 5K distance. Local race analysis showed us that for the prime age group 20-34, this differential was 2 minutes. As runners get older, this differential widened and topped out around 4 minutes. For children, it was less than 2 minutes until they get to be about age 19.

We used a height to weight ratio based upon local race times to develop additional handicaps. Men and women are not built the same and the race results clearly showed the handicap pattern was not the same for men and women.

The formulas we ended up with seemed refined enough and very workable. The Tortoise and Hare race became a true measurement of performance weighted for age, sex, height, and weight!

How does it work? At registration you will give us your age and sex. We will measure your height and weight, taken in your running gear. We will then compute your handicap according to the charts and use these seconds to determine your starting time.

The runner with the largest predicted handicap starts first. For the start, the clock is set at this number of seconds and begins counting down. Other runners start when their handicap time (written on their hand at registration) comes up on the clock.

When the clock reaches zero, all runners have started and the clock then starts counting elapsed time for the race. Since handicaps were awarded at the start, the order of finish is therefore the actual standing in the race. (In addition to handicap times, we will also compute actual running times for all runners.)

The race is like a normal 5k in reverse. The Hares start well behind the Tortoises and have to catch them. The tortoises experience the fun of being in front. This can lead to pretty fast times for everybody, not to mention a very closely contested finish! It is not a predict event, so you do not have to try and hold onto a certain pace—just race!

How fast can you run a 5K if we factor out your age, sex, height, and weight?

Please, no dogs or baby strollers allowed on the course. Please do not trespass onto private property. Per PPRR race rules, headphones, i-pods, or MP3 players may not be used during the race. Those not in compliance will be disqualified.

Awards

Trophies are given to the 3 top finishers (with the handicap factored in)

Wow! Look at the size of those trophies. The 1st Place trophy is taller than Pikes Peak.

(Photo courtesy Jim Kelleher. Trophies courtesy Performance Awards. Pikes Peak courtesy God.)

Event History

This event started out many years ago as a straight prediction race with a mass start. The runners closest to their prediction were the winners.

In 2003, the format was changed to a handicap based on age, weight, height and gender. The staggered start adds extra excitement and encourages everyone to run flat out.

The weather can be wintry for this race, but heck, this is Colorado so that's no big deal.

Results

Course Information

The course is flat and on well-groomed dirt trails for about 2 miles and on cement sidewalks for about 1 mile. The elevation is slightly above 6000 feet.

Directions

From I-25, take the Bijou Exit (Exit 142)

  • At end of exit ramp, turn east (going away from the mountains, towards downtown).
  • The road makes an "S" turn, and you'll be on Kiowa Street
  • Turn left at Cascade Ave
  • Turn left at Bijou Street and immediately move over to the rightmost lane.
  • Turn right at West View Place
  • Park on West View Place or the next street to the north which is Boulder Crescent Street. Most of the parking spots have meters, but there are a few that don't have a meter.
  • The staging area is about 100 yards to the northwest of the nearest parking. Walk towards the mountains, keep your eyes right and you can't miss it.