A great deal of thought and discussion has gone into the FLRC Challenge rules, and they’re correspondingly detailed. Everyone should read the Basic Rules and Background below; continue on to the Individual Competition and Team Competition rules for the fine print about how it all works. But remember, the leaderboard keeps track of everything!
Basic Rules and Background
- It’s Good to Be King: The Challenge director makes all the rules and has the final say on any interpretations thereof.
- Have Fun: Every rule is designed, in the view of the Challenge director, to make the FLRC Challenge more fun. And fair. And inclusive.
- Change Is Inevitable: The Challenge director reserves the right to change the rules at any time to make them conform better to Rule #2. Any rule changes will be explained on the FLRC Forum.
- Mask Up and Be Considerate: For every run, runners should carry a mask, pass others with as much distance as possible, mask up while passing if reasonable, and wear their mask before and after the run if others are nearby. Runners should try to avoid running directly behind another person, instead running side-by-side or leaving 6 feet of space between runners. See FLRC’s COVID-19 Guidelines.
- Wait for the Starting Gun: Results for a course may be only submitted for efforts completed after the runner is registered for the FLRC Challenge and the course is open. In other words, past runs don’t count.
- Lather, Rinse, Repeat: Runners are encouraged to run each course as many times as they want throughout the year while attempting to achieve their fastest time, improve their average time, and add to their number of efforts.
- Any Which Way but Loose: Apart from the East Hill Rec Way, which must be run east-to-west in the downhill direction to count, all the other courses can be run in any direction, and even with a different starting and ending point, as long as you cover the ground for the entire course. There’s no way to distinguish in the results which direction was run.
- Segments Are Fine: You may also run a course in multiple segments as part of a longer run. For instance, you could start in Stewart Park, run the first half of the Waterfront Trail course, remembering your split time, head over to Cass Park to run the Black Diamond Trail course, and then come back to finish off the second half of the Waterfront Trail course. Three caveats: it’s up to you to keep track of your times, segment-based runs won’t be accepted for fastest times, and all segment-based runs must be completed in the same overall session.
- Significant Digits: Although Webscorer records times with additional precision, the FLRC Challenge follows USATF hand-timing rules. As such, the leaderboard rounds all times that are not even seconds up to the nearest even second. Ties are allowed.
- Trust but Verify: The leaderboard automatically ignores results under 4 minutes, but there’s no way to know if a really fast time is legitimate or if the runner accidentally cut the course or entered a time incorrectly. Runners who submit course-leading times or surprisingly fast times should be prepared to corroborate their achievement with a GPS track, Strava post, personal statement from a running companion, or the like. We’ll figure out how best to do this once times are flowing in.
- Age Grading: Age grading is a way of leveling the playing field for people of different ages and sexes. It calculates what percent any given run is of the world record for that distance for a runner of that exact age and sex. For instance, if a 47-year-old woman runs a 5K in 21:30, age grading determines that her time is 74.87% of the 5K world record for a 47-year-old woman. A 47-year-old man would have to run the 5K in 18:49 to get the same age grading, based on the 5K world record for a man of his age.
Age-grading tables include data only for standard road race distances. When possible, the FLRC Challenge leaderboard uses those numbers. For non-standard distances, the leaderboard does a linear interpolation between the age grades of the closest distances above and below the actual race distance.
Note that the age grading for trail races will seem remarkably low because the world records are set on the roads, and likely on flat courses. In other words, don’t read too much into the specific age grading numbers for trail races; what’s important is that everyone will be treated equally.
Individual Competition Rules
- Overall Individual Points Competition: Overall points are calculated using a point system similar to the one FLRC uses for the traditional Stonehead awards on the FLRC Trail Circuit:
- For each course, the male and female with the fastest times will be awarded 100 points. Every other person completing the course will be awarded a number of points corresponding to what percent their fastest time is the overall fastest time. For instance, if the winner of a particular course ran 43:33 for 100 points, a person who ran the course in 44:19 gets 98.27 points because 43:33 is 98.27% of 44:19.
- To calculate an overall point score for the series, each runner’s points for each course are totaled. The maximum possible point score is 1000, should someone post the fastest time on all ten courses.
- Overall Most Miles Competition: This competition is straightforward, but to preempt any questions, it revolves around the total distance covered, not the number of efforts.
- Overall Age Grade Competition: This competition is designed to level the playing field across the entire series. It has two components:
- For each course, each runner’s fastest time is given an age grade.
- For the entire series, each runner’s age grades for all courses completed are averaged.
- The competition is based on the highest age grades for those who complete all ten courses.
- Per-Course Age Group Competition: For the most part, this competition works exactly as in any typical race—the male and female with the fastest times for each course win. However, there are two notes:
- The runners winning the prizes for fastest overall times on each course are not also eligible for their age-group prizes. The age-group prizes will go to the people who place second in the age groups of the winners.
- Runners who age up to a new age group during the year, such as from 39 to 40, may compete in both groups for age-group awards. For instance, if 39-year-old Shalane Flanagan participates in the FLRC Challenge, her runs on a particular course through her birthday on July 8th would be counted for the 30-39 age group, and her runs after July 8th would be counted for the 40-49 age group. Given that she’s Shalane Flanagan, it’s likely she’d win both age groups. Those of you whose age ends with a 9, think of this as one of the few rewards of getting older.
- Per-Course Best Average Time Competition: This competition has two caveats:
- To compete at all, runners must complete at least the average number of efforts that someone has completed the course. Otherwise, the fastest runner could run the course only once and have the fastest time as the best average time, which isn’t fair. For instance, imagine a course where 4 people have run three times, 5 people have run twice, and 6 people have run once. That’s 28 total runs divided by 15 runners, making the average number of runs 1.9. Thus only people who have completed at least 2 efforts can compete.
- A runner’s “best average time” is calculated using the course-run-average number of their top efforts. In the example above, since the average number of efforts for the course is 1.9, only the top 2 efforts for each runner will be used to calculate the best average time. This rule ensures that there’s no penalty for running slowly on a course—a slow effort beyond the average number of efforts will not bring down a runner’s average time.
- Per-Course Most Runs Competition: Note that men and women compete equally for this prize—there’s no reason to separate it by sex because a woman could win it just as easily as a man.
Team Competition Rules
- Team Composition: There are five age group teams: 1-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60+. Runners are assigned to the appropriate 10-year age-group team based on their age as of January 1st, 2021. Team assignments do not change if a runner ages up, such as from 39 to 40.
- Overall Team Competition: The team competition has two metrics, each of which earns points that are combined for a final point score. We use cross-country scoring, where the lowest score wins. Here’s how it works:
- For each course, the age grades of the best efforts for each of the top ten runners (sorted by age grade, not time) on the team are averaged to provide an average age grade for the team. The teams are ranked by average age grading and receive the number of points associated with the ranking. So, if the 40-49 team has the highest age grading for a particular course, it gets 1 point. The second-place team gets 2 points, and so on. Assume the 30-39 team places third, and thus gets 3 points.
- For each course, the number of efforts by members of the team is totaled. Again, the teams are ranked and awarded points based on their ranking. For example, the 30-39 team might have 250 efforts on the course for first place, where the 40-49 team has only 239 for second. The 30-39 team would get 1 point and the 40-49 team would get 2 points.
- Next, the age-grading points and the most-efforts points are totaled for a combined score. In our example, the 40-49 team would have 3 points and the 30-39 team would have 4 points, putting the 40-49 team in the lead for that course.
- For the overall series team standings, these points are totaled across all ten courses. As noted above, the lowest overall score wins.
Any questions? Ask Challenge Director Adam Engst.