FLRC Challenge

REGISTER

The FLRC Challenge is the Ithaca area’s all-new virtual running initiative for 2021. It takes local runners to 10 area courses, split evenly between road and trail, and with distances ranging from 1 mile to the half marathon. Your mission is to run, walk, or hike as many courses as you can in 2021. Register today and complete them all to win the coveted FLRC Challenge medal!

To increase the challenge, we have individual and team competitions for the speedy, the consistent, and the deliberate. The twist is that you can run each course as many times as you want. Individuals will compete for over 200 cash prizes based on fastest times (overall and age group), best average times, and most efforts for each course. 10-year age group teams will go up against other generations for bragging rights based on age-graded times and most efforts. Check your individual and team standings after every run on our dynamic online leaderboard.

The East Hill Rec Way and Pseudo Skunk Cabbage courses are now open! Others will open as the conditions on the ground permit; stay tuned to the FLRC Challenge forum for dates.

We designed the FLRC Challenge to include people of all abilities, and we’ve partnered with the Ithaca Youth Bureau on the FLRC Kids Challenge (details coming soon). It helps parents encourage their kids to run the shorter courses in a low-key, fun way that’s age-appropriate. Last but far from least, all profits from the FLRC Challenge will support local running programs in the Finger Lakes.

Scroll down for more information. If you have any questions after reading this page, ask in the FLRC Challenge Forum or contact race director Adam Engst. Let’s run!

RegistrationSwagTimingCoursesPrizesRules

Registration

Registration for the year-long, 10-race series costs $70, and there is a $20 discount for FLRC members, dropping the price to $50. (Join or renew today!) You can register for the FLRC Challenge at any time during the year, but you can submit results only for runs made after your registration. Note that you must set up a free account with Webscorer as part of the online registration process to be able to use the timing app and submit your results.

Swag

During registration, you can buy FLRC Challenge swag, including a handy buff ($4) that incorporates the names of all ten courses into its design. Every runner should carry a face covering while running, and it’s easy to pull the buff up from around your neck if you need to interact with someone else during your run. Or fold it up and turn it into a headband for summer running.

Also, don’t miss these snazzy quarter-zip shirts with an FLRC Challenge patch ($25), available in both women’s and men’s sizes (links match your measurements to an appropriate size; we can give advice or let you try on a sample—just ask).

Swag will be printed and made available once we’ve received sufficient orders.

Timing

To get credit for running an FLRC Challenge course—and remember you can run each course as many times as you want—you submit your time using the free Webscorer app. It’s available for iPhone and iPad (requires iOS 12 or later), Android, macOS (10.15 and later), and Windows 10. It’s easiest to use on a phone, but if you don’t have a smartphone, you can submit a time using the macOS or Windows app after your run. Here’s a video tutorial, followed by text instructions.

First, you need to sign in. The Webscorer app will remember you.

  1. In the Webscorer app, tap My Account at the bottom of the screen.
  2. Tap Sign In. Do not create a new account at this step unless you are configuring the Webscorer app before you’ve registered for the FLRC Challenge. In that case, when you register, be sure to sign in with your Webscorer account first.
  3. Enter the email address and password for your Webscorer account, and tap Sign In.
  4. Tap Done on the confirmation screen.

If you run with your phone, it’s especially easy to submit times. For those who don’t carry a phone while running, submitting times requires an extra step or two. Here are the general steps:

  1. In the Webscorer app, tap Race With Self-Timing.
  2. Tap My Upcoming Races.
  3. In your list of registered races, tap the name corresponding to the course you’re running. (If you’re unsure, the course name is listed on the sign that’s posted at the start of every course.)
  4. Tap Scan Code For Start.
  5. Point the camera at the course sign’s QR code to start the clock—you’ll be shown a Code Correct message. Tap OK. (If you get Code Incorrect, you’ve picked the wrong race.)
  6. Enjoy the course! (If you have to go back to the car to get something or are distracted such that you need to start your run over again, tap Race Control at the bottom of the screen and then tap Restart Race. Do not use this control for finishing a race.)
  7. When you’re done, tap Scan Code For Finish (not shown below but it looks like the left screenshot).
  8. Point the camera at the course sign’s QR code—you’ll be shown a Code Correct message. Tap OK. Webscorer stops the clock and automatically submits your time.

If you didn’t run with your phone or if scanning doesn’t work for some reason, you can start and stop the clock manually and edit your time after the fact. After Steps 1–3 above, follow these steps instead:

    1. Tap Scan Code For Start.
    2. Tap Record Time Without Code and then Record Time to start the clock manually.
    3. Enjoy the course! (If you have to go back to the car to get something or are distracted such that you need to start your run over again, tap Race Control at the bottom of the screen and then tap Restart Race. Do not use this control for finishing a race.)
    4. When you’re done, tap Scan Code For Finish.
    5. Tap Record Time Without Code and then Record Time to stop the clock manually (not shown below, but it looks like the middle screenshot). The time shown doesn’t matter.
    6. Now you need to edit the time. On the result screen, tap Edit My Own Results.
    7. On the Lap Times screen, tap Edit Splits. (Tapping Edit Laps also works because these are all one-lap races, but you change the lap time rather than the race time.)
    8. At the bottom of the Edit Lap Times screen, tap a digit in the black-on-white row at the top to highlight it in yellow, then tap one of the white-on-black digits below to replace the selected digit. In the screenshot below, the digits for 0:23.1 were changed to 5:49.0.
    9. Tap Done in the upper-right corner.
    10. In the dialog that appears to notify you that you’ve changed the racer’s finish time, tap Yes to accept your change.
    11. Finally, tap Self-Time in the upper-left corner to return to the results screen, where your change will automatically be posted.

Although it may seem like there are a lot of steps, after the first few uses, submitting your times like this will take just a minute.

If you have problems, contact race director Adam Engst for assistance.

Special thanks to Webscorer for adding the capability to record multiple efforts on the same course and allow self-timed runners to edit their times after the fact! Both features were added explicitly for the FLRC Challenge.

Courses

We’ve chosen some of the area’s most scenic courses for the FLRC Challenge with an eye toward making sure there’s something for everyone. Course range in length, surface, hilliness, and location. Check out their pages for driving directions, course maps, and (in time) custom RunGo voice directions using your smartphone or Apple Watch.

Courses include:

  • East Hill Rec Way (1 mile, road): Easy and fast, this 1-mile slight downhill course is a favorite of speedsters and walkers alike. Try for a mile personal record!
  • Cornell Botanic Gardens (2.4 miles, road): What could be lovelier than a run around the glorious F. R. Newman Arboretum in spring, summer, or fall?
  • Waterfront Trail (3.1 miles, road): Starting and finishing at the Ithaca Youth Bureau in Stewart Park, this flat out-and-back course takes you along the shore of Cayuga Lake and past the golf course.
  • Tortoise & Hare (5 miles, trail): Buttermilk State Park hosts this traditional FLRC trail race course, which rewards those who climb the hill with beautiful trails at Upper Buttermilk.
  • Danby Down & Dirty (6 miles, trail): A classic autumn FLRC trail race, this 6-mile course in the Danby State Forest takes you on the scenic Abbott Loop.
  • South Hill Rec Way (7 miles, mixed): Start at the playground and run out and back on all three legs of the South Hill Rec Way in any order you want for this course.
  • Thom B. Trail Run (8 miles, trail): You’ll head out toward Dryden to Hammond Hill State Forest for the Thom B. Trail Run course, another longtime FLRC trail race.
  • Forest Frolic (9 miles, trail): Kennedy State Forest in Virgil is your destination for FLRC’s popular Forest Frolic course on the other side of Greek Peak.
  • Black Diamond Trail (10 miles, mixed): Start in Cass Park and run toward Trumansburg for this speedy 10-mile out-and-back course that’s sure to be a hit with distance specialists.
  • Pseudo Skunk Cabbage (13.1 miles, road): With a start/finish at the Ellis Hollow Community Center, this half marathon follows some of the same route as FLRC’s marquee race, the Skunk Cabbage Classic.

Special thanks to these organizations for allowing us to use their spaces:

Prizes

We’ve designed the FLRC Challenge so everyone has a chance at a prize. And if you’re thinking, “I’m too slow or too old to win anything,” think again, since we have competitions that even walkers could win. The award categories are as follows; see the rules for how certain metrics are calculated.

  • Everyone who completes all ten courses receives an FLRC Challenge medal
  • Overall male and female winners of the series, based on points
  • Overall winner of the series, based on total number of miles run
  • The top ten runners who complete all ten courses, sorted by average age grade
  • The top ten members of the winning team, sorted by average age grade
  • For each course, the male and female with the fastest times
  • For each course, the single person with the most efforts
  • For each course, the male and female with the best average times
  • For each course, the fastest male and female in each 10-year age group

Apart from the FLRC Challenge medal, the rest of the prizes will be gift certificates to the Finger Lakes Running Company, which allows us to support a local business and lets you defray the cost of your next pair of shoes. The amount of the gift certificates is tied to the number of people who participate in the Challenge, so the more people who play, the larger the prizes!

The race director reserves the right to change the per-runner multipliers, but they’re initially set at 50¢ for the overall points and miles winners and 5¢ for all the rest except for the age-group winners, whose multiplier is 2.5¢. Thus, if 200 people sign up for the Challenge, the top prizes would be $100 each, a per-race win would be $10, and an age-group win would be $5.

Some people will undoubtedly win multiple prizes, which is entirely acceptable. There’s only one spot where there’s no double-dipping: for each course, the fastest male and female runners don’t also get the age-group awards.

Rules

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

  1. It’s Good to Be King: The race director makes all the rules and has the final say on any interpretations thereof.
  2. Have Fun: Every rule is designed, in the view of the race director, to make the FLRC Challenge more fun. And fair. And inclusive.
  3. Change Is Inevitable: The race 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. There’s no way to distinguish in the results which direction was run.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

  1. 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. For every other person completing the course, their fastest time will be awarded the number of points corresponding to what percent of the fastest time they ran. For instance, if the winner of a particular course runs 43:33 for 100 points and the second-fastest person runs a 44:19, that person gets 98.27 points.
    • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Team Competition Rules

  1. Team Composition: There are seven age group  teams: 1-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70+. 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.
  2. 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 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.