The Tortoise & Hare is a low-key “handicap” series of seven races that are run monthly from October to April, typically on the first or second Sunday of the month. Computer-predicted times allow runners of all levels to compete equally. Runners start at staggered intervals with faster runners (Hares) trying to catch slower runners (Tortoises).
Starting in October 2015, points are awarded to the top 20 non-first-time runners, with the 1st finisher earning 25 points, 2nd earning 24, 20th earning 6, etc. First-time runners (regardless of placing) and all other finishers are awarded 5 points. Each runner’s best five finishes during the series will be counted in the standings. Runners’ cumulative scores are kept throughout the series and the top five at the end of the series receive checks made payable to one of Fort Collins’ two local running stores in the amounts of:
How to Participate
Entry fees are FREE for club members and $10 for non-members and includes free bagels afterward, usually at Raintree Athletic Club. Below are instructions on how to participate.
- Non-members: Consider joining the club. Membership has many perks and quickly pays for itself. Join the club online immediately and easily. If you don’t join, you can pay the $10 non-member race fee (or purchase membership instead) on the morning of the race in person from 7:35-7:50 A.M.
- First-timers and runners who have not participated in the last two seasons: If you are new to the club or you have not participated in a Tortoise & Hare race during the last two seasons (i.e., since October 2014), please enter a predicted time online at least a couple days before the race.
- All runners: Check your start time and wave number online. Come to the race venue at least 15 minutes before your start time. There is no check in; just show up and toe the start line when we call out your wave number. A volunteer will then record your presence at the race.
Runners who have a predicted pace of 16 minutes/mile will begin promptly at 8:00 A.M. Those who are slower will begin earlier than 8:00 A.M., and faster folks will begin later. This is why we would like you to check your start time and wave number before the race.
When you cross the finish line, you will be handed a popsicle stick with your finishing place. A volunteer will collect this along with your name. Then, usually later in the afternoon, race results will be posted on our T&H Results page.
2015 – 2016 Series
October 11: Rolland Moore Park 4k
November 1: Warren Park 5k
December 6: Spring Park 6k
January 10: Edora Park 8k
February 7: Fossil Creek Park 5k
March 6: Lee Martinez Park 10k
April 3: Cottonwood Glen Park 12k
You can find race finishing times, placings and series point standings in the results section of this website.
Tortoise & Hare Course Descriptions & Directions
Rolland Moore Park 4K (2.5 Miles)
[Course map] Starts in parking lot off Shields between Drake & Prospect. Runners head north on Shields for a few hundred meters before merging left onto the Spring Creek Trail then east through the underpass to the turnaround west of the Center Street underpass. Runners retrace their steps back to the start/finish in Rolland Moore Park.
Warren Park 5K (3.1 miles)
[Course map] Starting in the Warren Park parking lot (off Horsetooth Road), runners head east on Horsetooth and turn south on Lemay. At Harborwalk, runners head west and then turn right onto Breakwater Drive. New for 2014, the course then continues along Skysail Lane, Spinmaker Lane, Mariner Lane, Horsetooth Road, and North Star Course to circumnavigate Warren Lake. The final stretch is along the sidewalk on Horsetooth Road to finish at the Warren Park parking lot.
Spring Park 6K (3.7 miles)
[Course map] Starting in the Spring Park parking lot next to the fire station just east of College Avenue, runners head east on the Spring Creek Trail. Run under Lemay, cross Welch Avenue into Edora Park. Stay on the Spring Creek Trail through the park and cross under Riverside Avenue to the turnaround just east of the railroad overpass, returning to the finish in Spring Park. Please do not confuse this with Spring Canyon Park.
Edora Park 8K (5 miles)
[Course map] Runners start in the Edora Park parking lot near the baseball fields—enter from the Stuart Avenue entrance. Head east on the Spring Creek Trail, running under Riverside Avenue, Timberline Road and Prospect Road via the tunnels. Make a right on the Poudre Trail and pass back under Prospect and make left on Sharp Point Drive. Run alongside the Prospect Ponds Natural Area to the turnaround beyond Midpoint Drive. Runners then retrace their steps back to the Edora Park finish.
Fossil Creek Park 5k (3.1 miles)
[Course Map] Runners meet at the east parking lot for Fossil Creek Park; the entrance is on Lemay Avenue, a little over a mile south of Harmony Road.
The start is on the sidewalk on the west side of the parking lot. Runners proceed south along the east side of Portner Reservoir, then around the south and west side of the reservoir, heading up heading north. After crossing the entrance to the west parking lot, runners cross a large pedestrian bridge, then turn left (west) and use the underpass to cross Fossil Creek Parkway. Using a combination of the sidewalk and bike path, runners proceed west along the Fossil Creek Parkway.
The turnaround point is close to College Avenue. Runners then turn around and go the way they came from. Outbound runners use the sidewalk and inbound runners use the bike lane.
Lee Martinez Park 10K (6.2 miles)
[Course map] The start/finish is in the parking lot on the north end of Sherwood Street. The course goes west and comes back east on the Poudre Trail. The turnaround is between Taft Hill Road and Overland Trail.
[Course map] The start/finish is in the Cottonwood Glen parking lot at the south end of Overland Drive. The race follows the Spring Creek bike path east for 3.75 miles, turning around between Center Street and Mason Street. Runners then retrace their route back to the Cottonwood Glen parking lot.
by Paul Patterson, former FCRC President, and later revised by Felix Wong. Last updated September 7, 2012.
The algorithm for predicting the finish time for a T&H race is a two step process:
- For each previous race, using the previous race distance and finish time, a finish time is predicted for the new race distance.
- Using all the predicted finish times based on the previous races (from above), calculate an overall predicted finish time.
Now the messy details.
The formula used to predict a finish time for a new race based on a previous race is
(new finish time) = (previous finish time) * (new distance) / (previous distance) * (adj factor)
where the adjustment factor is either 1.06, if the new distance is greater than previous distance, or 1/1.06 (approximately 0.9434), if the new distance is less than the previous distance. The adjustment factor compensates for the fact that our pace is slower for a longer distance and faster for a shorter distance. For example, if the previous distance was 5K and the new distance was 10K, we can’t just double our 5K time.
where (since September 2012) the adjustment factor is
adj factor = 1.05 ^ ((log [new distance] – log [old distance])/log 2)
The overall prediction is based on the races from last season and this season. A point of clarification: a season is seven races, so the 2011 season is October 2011 through April 2012.
Separate predictions are made using last season’s races and this season’s races, and then these predictions are combined. Before discussing how the predictions are made for each season, let’s first discuss how they are combined.
Case A: No results for the runner from this season and last season
In the runner did not do a T&H race during the last two seasons, the runner will have to predict a time for himself and then submit it to us using this script.
Case B: No results for the runner from this season, but has results from last season
If the runner did a T&H race last season only, then his/her overall predicted time is the predicted finish time based on last season’s races. (This is the situation for all racers at the first race of the season.)
Case C: One result for the runner from this season
If there is only one previous race from this season, then there are two sub-cases:
- There are no races from last season; then use the predicted time based on the one previous race from this season.
- There are races from last season; then the overall prediction is the average of the prediction time based on the one previous race from this season and the predicted time based on the races from last season. That is:
(1/2) * [(predicted time based on this season’s one race) + (predicted time based on last seasons’ races)]
What this does is weight the one piece of current information from this season more heavily than the old information from last season.
Case D: Runner did two or more races this season
If there are two or more previous races from this season, then the overall predicted time is prediction based on this season’s previous races; that is, ignore the information from last season.
Calculating a predicted time based on a season’s races
If there is one race for the season, use the predicted time based on that race.
If there are two races for the season, use the average of the two predicted times.
If there are three or more races for the season, then use the minimum of the following two numbers:
- The average of the predicted times.
- Fastest predicted time + 1/3 * [Slowest predicted time – Fastest predicted time]
Item 2 above handles the situation where a runner has a large difference between the fastest predicted time and the slowest predicted time and most of the predicted times are clustered around the slowest predicted time.
Our (Volunteer) Tortoise and Hare Race Director
Nick Clark has been our volunteer T&H race director since 2007. Below is his bio.
I’ve lived in Fort Collins since 2006, and been a runner since 2000. I started out pounding the pavement in New York City, but transferred to the trails pretty much immediately after moving to Colorado. I especially enjoy long days in the mountains, but can be found – on occasion – doing a flatland workout or two. I’ve run a number of ultramarathons over the years, but enjoy racing all distances, from 400 meters to 100 miles.
Tools for Race Director
The following tools are used to assist the T&H race director in running a smooth race and to enter results.
- Handicap Times for Runners in Database for Next Race
- Handicap Times from Pace & Distance
- Enter New T&H Race Results (race director/admin only)
- Edit Existing T&H Results (race director/admin only)
Contact Felix Wong (the author of these tools) if you have any questions about them.