Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Tour de Summer, brought to you by the Dashing Whippets?

The Dashing Whippets Running Team is putting on a series of races — or stages — for you to compete against one another every other weekend throughout the summer.

Based (very) loosely off of the Tour de France, our virtual race series will consist of five (5) “stages” complete with both stage and overall prizes, shoutouts, and yes, even our own Tour-de-France-jersey-inspired knee-high socks. Some may run for speed, others for entertainment – and we have prizes for both! – though regardless of your goals, we hope these races will motivate, connect, and share joy across the team during these uncertain times.


How do I participate?

Follow these steps to success!


Can you tell me a little about each stage of the race?

Stage 1 on Saturday, July 4th: Run a 5k as fast as possible.

Stage 2 on Saturday, July 18th: Run as many hills as fast as you can for 25 minutes.

Stage 3 on Saturday, August 1st: Run the most even pace possible for 13.1 miles.

Stage 4 on Saturday, August 15th: Run 2 miles, with the first mile being as slow as possible and the second as fast as possible.

Stage 5 on Saturday, August 29th: Run 1 mile as fast as possible.


Can you tell me a little more about stages 2, 3, and 4?

Sure!  For stage 2, find the longest, steepest hill in your area and run it as fast as you can for 25 minutes.  The winner will be the person who gains the most elevation.

For stage 3, we’ll calculate the amount of seconds each of your miles splits deviated from your average pace, and the person with the least deviation is the winner.  So if you run an average of 10min/mile for your 13 miles, and your mile splits are 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 11, 9, then your total deviation from your average pace is 2 minutes.  In the event of a tie, the runner with the faster overall half marathon time will win the tiebreak.  Note: if your GPS data reveals large slowdowns in pace right before each mile split, you may not be eligible for awards.

Stage 4 combines the now-famous slowest mile challenge with your fastest mile.  The winner will be the person who has the largest time gap between their fastest and slowest mile splits.  Note that you have to be running the whole time — no breaks, no walking.  To avoid philosophical rabbit holes (for example: what is running?), look at the “cadence” section in Strava or your preferred running app — if you are in the 150-180 steps-per-minute range, you are running.  If you aren’t, you may not be eligible for awards. By definition, running has forward progress. So each step needs forward progress, otherwise you are running in place, which is a different activity altogether. But you can make very small forward progress steps! And for this race, to avoid people running fast down mountains for the fast mile, we have a rule in place that your fast mile can only have 1% maximum elevation drop.


Can I win an award?

Additional details on awards can be found here.


What is a VDOT score?

VDOT score was developed by Dr. Jack Daniels, Ph.D., world renowned running coach and exercise physiologist. It is a widely accepted measure of your current fitness. The way it works: the faster the race time, the higher the fitness level, the higher the VDOT score.

For stages 1 and 5 of the race series, awards will be given for best open and masters VDOT score.  Stages 2, 3, and 4, we will give awards based on the elevation, pace, and speed increase details outlined in this FAQ.


How are results calculated?

For stages 1 and 5, participant results will be presented in order of VDOT score.  Stage 2 will be presented in order of most elevation gained to least. Stage 3 will be presented in order of least pace deviation to most.  Stage 4 will be presented in order of largest increase in pace to least.  Unofficial rolling race results will be published live starting Saturday morning and will close on Saturday at 11:59pm EST.  When possible, official race results will be verified and published on the Monday after race weekend.


What are the rules?

– Running results must have GPS data synced via Garmin or Strava (No GPS watch? No problem: download the Strava app on your phone.)

– Race submissions without supporting GPS data synced via Garmin or Strava will not be eligible for awards

– Race efforts on courses with a negative net elevation loss > 1% per mile will be disqualified.  (So for a 1 mile race, make sure your finishline isn’t more than 50-ish feet below your start.)

– Participants must be 13 or older to register a VDOT account

– Obey all local municipal traffic laws

– Always consult with a medical professional prior to undertaking intense physical exercise

– Focus on your surroundings and not your device/tracker

– Be a good global citizen: strictly adhere to any applicable social distancing requirements that may be in effect in your local jurisdiction at the time of this event’s running

– Race management reserves the right to 1) seek further verification and substantiation of any submitted result, and 2) request supporting evidence of any participant’s identification including additional government (photo) ID. In either instance, if the participant does not comply or provide deemed adequate supporting information, race management can disqualify participants at their discretion.  Also: this race is free and for fun, so it should be easy for everyone to be good sports.


Can I participate by running my virtual race on a treadmill?

Yes. However, because we cannot confirm GPS results from a treadmill effort, you will not be eligible for any awards.


Why is the 1% net elevation drop allowed?

We acknowledge that this 52.8 feet allowance is somewhat arbitrary and well in excess of IAAF guidelines. However, this is a virtual race and the 1% rule will allow runners some flexibility in choosing their race route. GPS elevation data is known to be inconsistent and therefore makes it hard to “police”. We are simply trying to apply some rigor to discourage participants from seeking to enhance their times by choosing routes that scream downhill.


Can I run the race more than once?

Sure. But since each stage is single-day, you’ve got to be quite fit to attempt to race twice in one day!

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