Woody's Tortoise & Hare 2022 Sat, Apr 09

A unique handicap race based on age, weight, height and gender.

Boulder Cresent & Westview Place, On trail north of Bijou St. Bridge at Bijou and I-25

Race Director

Stewart Cooper

Race Date

  • 5K, Sat, Apr 09

General Information

Register Here

Virtual Runners - Submit Results Here

Because of the changing restrictions due to COVID-19 this event will have In-Person and Virtual options

  • In-Person event: YES!!! Real live racing with actual people! Participants will be required to wear a facemask before and after their run and all volunteers will be wearing masks. We will be asking runners to maintain social distancing during and after the race. There is a cap of 160 runners for the event.
  • Virtual runners will have all weekend (except during the live event) to run the race on the posted course. We will have a Google form for runners to provide their time and and other data required to conduct the handicap calculation.

This race is a true handicap event in that it measures your fitness level based on your age, sex, height and weight! Following a victory at the Boston Marathon, Bill Rodgers said that his effort to run a 2:10 was not nearly as difficult as the effort of those who were “out there for 4 1/2 hours!” How would you stack up against those speedsters, the Hares, if you were able to factor out some reasons for running a 4 1/2 hour marathon? How good is your training?

Over the last several years, Woody Noleen and Bob Mutu have worked on handicap charts for our local running scene. Given that we run high altitude, we wanted to somehow factor in training at 6500 feet. We worked with charts from the National WAVA standards that are used by most races of this type, using local 5K race results to massage the data. We came with charts and a formula to measure performance and fitness levels based on four key body factors: age, sex, height and weight.

WAVA data indicated that runners aged 20-34 are in their prime. We therefore gave them no age handicap. All other runners get handicap seconds subtracted from their actual running time.

Women are generally not as fast as men at the 5K distance. Local race analysis showed us that for the prime age group 20-34, this differential was 2 minutes. As runners get older, this differential widened and topped out around 4 minutes. For children, it was less than 2 minutes until they get to be about age 19.

We used a height to weight ratio based upon local race times to develop additional handicaps. Men and women are not built the same and the race results clearly showed the handicap pattern was not the same for men and women.

The formulas we ended up with seemed refined enough and very workable. The Tortoise and Hare race became a true measurement of performance weighted for age, sex, height, and weight!

How does it work? At registration you will give us your age, sex, height and weight. We will then compute your handicap according to the charts and use these seconds to determine your starting time.

The runner with the largest predicted handicap starts first. For the start, the clock is set at this number of seconds and begins counting down. Other runners start when their handicap time (written on their bib number at registration) comes up on the clock.

When the clock reaches zero, all runners have started and the clock then starts counting elapsed time for the race. Since handicaps were awarded at the start, the order of finish is therefore the actual standing in the race. (In addition to handicap times, we will also compute actual running times for all runners.)

The race is like a normal 5k in reverse. The Hares start well behind the Tortoises and have to catch them. The tortoises experience the fun of being in front. This can lead to pretty fast times for everybody, not to mention a very closely contested finish! It is not a predict event, so you do not have to try and hold onto a certain pace—just race!

How fast can you run a 5K if we factor out your age, sex, height, and weight?

Please, no dogs or baby strollers allowed on the course. Please do not trespass onto private property. Per PPRR race rules, headphones, i-pods, or MP3 players may not be used during the race. Those not in compliance will be disqualified.

Handicap Computation Specifics

Age Handicap is based on gender and age. Click on this lookup table to see how many seconds are applied to the age handicap for each gender and age. Please note that in the table, both age 0 and age 99 results in a handicap of 0. This is simply because if we use pulltag scoring, we use age 99 to indicate somebody who didn't supply their age on the entry form, and if we use chip timing, we use age 0 to indicate no age supplied.

Size Handicap is based on gender, weight and height. First a size ratio is determined by dividing weight (in pounds) by height (in inches). This is rounded to 2 decimal places. Then that size ratio and gender are used to lookup the handicap in this lookup table.

The Age Handicap and Size Handicap are then added together to arrive at the overall handicap.


Trophies are given to the 3 top finishers (with the handicap factored in). These will be the first 3 runners that cross the finish line.

Wow! Look at the size of those trophies. The 1st Place trophy is taller than Pikes Peak.
(Photo courtesy Jim Kelleher. Trophies courtesy Performance Awards. Pikes Peak courtesy God.)


Course Information

Directions to Race Start

The course is mostly flat hard-packed dirt trails with some sidewalks.

Course map
Tortoise and Hare Course Map

Event History

This event started out many years ago as a straight prediction race with a mass start. The runners closest to their prediction were the winners.

In 2003, the format was changed to a handicap based on age, weight, height and gender. The staggered start adds extra excitement and encourages everyone to run flat out.

The weather can be wintry for this race, but heck, this is Colorado so that's no big deal.



more information from RRCA on the policy Following guidelines from the Road Runners of Clubs of America (RRCA), Pikes Peak Road Runners discourages and in most cases, does not allow use of headphones in its races. The rationale for this is simple: the majority of our races are held on trails, which are crowded with many other runners (and sometimes other trail users). Maintaining one’s sensory capacity during such situations is paramount for the safety of all participants.