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Hood to Coast Relay tip, Week of July 20, 2003
I've got two tips this week because the while first one is critcial,
it is not relevant to most teams. Nevertheless, knowing about the
cavalier treatment accorded the teams that are at risk tells all teams
that they need to be very careful in assessing the information given
out and not given out by the HTC organization.
"NEW HTC Time Limit: Teams must be able to average no slower than a 9
1/2 minute per mile pace as a whole in order to participate in Hood To
So says the official site. In the inimitable style of the inept race
organization, details are missing. As they say, the devil is in the
details and if you ignore the unstated details you may be taking a
My understanding is that if your race roster is deemed too slow to
finish the race, you will not be allowed to start and you will forfeit
your $900 entry.
OK, continuing with the cliches, forewarned is forearmed and you can
protect yourself. However, we don't know what 10K pace the race
organization deems equivalent to a 9:30 race pace for HTC. A 9:30 pace
for 10K is 59:00. To be safe you should submit a team average of 54:00
If you have submitted a roster with a team average above 54:00 for the
10K times, you should contact the race office to make sure that you
meet their unstated guidelines. It's your money!
Assuming you do not have a potential problem with finishing within the
standard, start thinking about your race day plans. Virtually every
team team uses the same van rotation. They start with the first six
runners in the first van and meet at Exchanges 6, 12, 18, 24 and 30 to
start new rotations of runners. Of course, it works but you can
benefit by being a bit more imaginative. If you transfer runners
between your vans during the race you allow your team to spend time
during the race with more of their teammates. Changing the lineups
also causes each new van rotation to be fresh. It truly adds to the
team aspect of the event.
An excellent setup is what I call a Rolling 7 rotation. The van that
is supporting the runner on on the course always has seven runners in
it. To do that, two runners from each van move to the other van when
the new van takes over.
There is a hitch to the Rolling 7 because a number of exchanges are
off limits to a second van. The answers is not to be hidebound and
insist on starting with a full rotation of 7 runners and using
Exchange 7 as you first van-top-van exchange. Instead, use Exchange 2
or 3. If you start with 2, you will use 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30. If you
start with 3, you will use 3, 10, 17, 24 and 31.
It may sound complicated but it's not rocket science. It's much easier
to do than to explain. All you have to do is pick the exchanges you
will use (making sure none is restricted) and then during the race
making sure that you have the next scheduled runners in the van that
will be supporting the runners until the next time you meet.
My critique of the flawed 2003 race handbook that went out to team
captains last month has been substantially changed since I first
posted it. Get the latest version from my site:
You can also get my teg tables to help in your planning.
I truly hope each team and individual has a marvelous HTC experience.
My cynicism is toward the race organization. If you can avoid or
minimize the problems caused by the limitations of the organization,
you too will have an outstanding race.
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