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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1st Annual Virtual, Day of the Race, Race

I look down at my desktop calendar and see this, printed by the folks from At-A-Glance on Oct. 12th...

"Day of the Race (M)" 

...and I feel a bit panicked... what race? I don't have a race next week... where is it? how far? what time? How much did I pay for this race? Nothing but questions swirled about and then I thought... well, maybe it's just a Mexican holiday?

So, I did what any self respecting American would do. I opened my Google and typed in Day of the Race and instantly felt even more American than I already had. It seems there is, and has been, another side to Columbus Day for over 500 years. You can imagine my surprise! For details go here.

For the short story, folks at tell us "Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race) is the celebration of the Hispanic heritage of Latin America and brings into it all the ethnic and cultural influences making it distinctive" as it pertains to Cristoforo Colombo, or as we lovingly know him, Chris Columbus. 

About Columbus we all pretty much know that he got lost and wouldn't stop for directions no matter the badgering of his wife... boy was she pissed. At the very least he was not certain where he was, except that what he was on, the Earth, was indeed round as he had proclaimed. Don't think he ever let his wife forget that nugget of discovery. But like any good husband, I want to focus more on the lostness of this man and because I... we, are runners, the best way to celebrate this 500 yr. old holiday... is to run a virtual race.

The 1st Annual Virtual, Day of the Race, Race
1. On October 12th, in honor of CC's superior navigational skills you will run sans electronic devices... So- no watch, no Garmin, no music (unless you are playing an instrument or singing yourself). You can have a phone if you feel it is a safety issue... but it must be turned off. (If you ask for directions you might arrive safely at home but you will also be DQ'd- officially)

2.Before you leave your starting point... Write down a length of time you will run on a piece of paper. This must be in time units. HH:MM:SS; writing for awhile is not acceptable and you will be DQ'd officially. Put your watch or time device on top of the paper, press start and head out the door. Now. you're racing.

3. Your route must contain at least 2 roads (or 2 trails) on which you have never run before. You cannot plan the route beforehand (that's no fun and you will be DQ'd officially). You can use familiar routes to gain access to/from these unfamiliar roads. Tie breaker goes to the most new roads with a maximum of 100 new roads, anything over 100 new roads will be cause for immediate official DQ.

4. Keep running until you believe in your heart and soul that you have matched your predicted running time. Then, press the stop button on your watch... it will be helpful if you have returned to your starting point by now. Only you can press start and stop, you cannot have a time keeper... you can have help unlocking your car if you think that is crucial to your success. I don't need to tell you what will happen if you have time keeper assistance of any kind... you already know.

5.Take a picture of your predicted time and your now self-stopped watch's reading of actual elapsed time for your Day of the Race run.

6. Email me (incleanair at gmail dot com) with a photo of your results and I will post those photo results in a FB album on the In Clean Air page once the final scores have been tallied. To be clear, we are shooting for closest to the predicted time mark. This will be figured as a score related to your total predicted finish time with the closest to a perfect score of 1.0 being our #1 performer (unless he or she has been officially DQ'd).

A Scoring Example
If you predict 30 mins but run for 32 minutes your score would be1.0666666 (32/30). 

If you predict 60 minutes and are that same 2 minutes over, your score would be 1.0333333 (62/60). This score would be closer to 1.0 and would win. A mathematical advantage to running longer.

Now, what can you win? Of course there is that to discuss. 
The simple answer is nothing.
The complicated answer is, it's up to you.

What can you find on a run with open ended possibilities. A run where you will explore a neighborhood, spot interesting houses, yard "art", witness random happenings or... you might not see anything at all. But away from racing against your wrist device you may find the best prize of all.

So finally, for all you wrong turn runners, here is a race for you... and all you have to do is get back to where you started from, via a new world. So go out and find you inner Columbus... but please do your best to not wipe out the new found neighborhoods as you pass through; I won't be responsible for that and yes, you will be officially DQ'd.

Leave a comment under this entry over on the In Clean Air page to signal your intent to get lost on the run. 

Happy Running.


  1. awesome race innovation...of course, I'm in...and thinking, in all seriousness, under 59 minutes would be great.

  2. Oh, geez, I should have caught up on my blog reading first. And look, we both have nautical references! So, this is, er, awkward...well, GOOD LUCK with your virtual race!


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