Tortoise & Hare


The Tortoise & Hare is a low-key “handicap” series of seven races that are run monthly from October to April, typically on the first 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). If you are a first-time runner, please come prepared with an idea of your current pace so we can assign a handicap start time.

Starting in October 2015, points are awarded to top 20 finishers from 25 to 6, with all other finishers and first-time runners earning 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:

1st: $100
2nd: $75
3rd: $50
4th: $35
5th: $25

Entry fees are FREE for club members and $10 for non-members and includes free bagels afterward, usually at Raintree Athletic Club. Race starts at 8 A.M. Please arrive by 7:45 to register. Registration is on race day only unless you would be doing a T&H race for the first time in the last two years, in which case we ask that you e-mail the race director with a predicted time in advance (see below).


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 2013), please enter a predicted time here at least a couple days before the race.

Call race director Nick Clark for more information: (970) 690-6518

2015 – 2016 Series

The very first runners start a little before 8:00 A.M., so we ask everyone to show up at around 7:30 and definitely no later than 7:45.

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 just 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 merge with Breakwater Drive. New for 2014, the course then continues along Spinmaker Land and Landing Drive to circumnavigate the lake. The final stretch is along the sidewalk on Horsetooth Rd. 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 (above).

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, crossing Riverside, Timberline & Prospect 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 just before 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, a little over a mile south of Harmony.

The start is on the sidewalk on the west side of the parking lot. The 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, the runners will cross a large pedestrian bridge, then turn left (west) and use the underpass to cross the Fossil Creek Parkway. Using a combination of the sidewalk and bike path the runners will proceed west along the Fossil Creek Parkway.

The turnaround point is very close to College Ave. Runners will then turn around and go the way they came from. Outbound runners will use the sidewalk and inbound runners will use the bike lane.

Lee Martinez Park 10K (6.2 miles)

[Course map] Start / finish is in the parking lot on the north end of Sherwood. From here head west on the Poudre Trail crossing under Shields and over Taft Hill Road. Watch for traffic when crossing Taft Hill. Continue on the Poudre Trail for another mile before reaching the turnaround and heading back to Lee Martinez Park for the finish. Due to the closure of the Poudre Trail between Taft Hill Rd. and Shields from February 17-June 1, 2014, we will have an alternate route. Check back on this page in the future for more details. Update: we will meet at Spring Canyon Park by the dog park and run south on the Fossil Creek trail towards Cathy Fromme. Route will be a straight out and back. 

Cottonwood Glen 12k (7.5 miles)

[Course map] 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.

Algorithm Used to Predict T & H Finish Times

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:

  1. For each previous race, using the previous race distance and finish time, a finish time is predicted for the new race distance.
  2. 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:

  1. The average of the predicted times.
  2. 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.

Nick Clark 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.

Contact Felix Wong (the author of these tools) if you have any questions about them.