Frequently Asked Questions
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.
At a high level, what do I need to know?
1. First, you need to register. To do so, simply click the big green “Enter Virtual Race” button!
2. The registration flow will guide you through the required setup steps, including setting up a VDOT account, syncing your Strava or Garmin, and adding your team affiliation. Easy peasy.
3. Wait, you don’t know what Strava or Garmin is, and you don’t have a fancy watch? No worries! You can use the Strava app and run with your phone. No need to feel skittish about signing up, we are here to help (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
4. The rest of this FAQ has some race guidelines to follow. The main one is don’t pick a race course that is straight down a mountain and you’ll be just fine.
5. We have prizes for fast people and for people who just want to jog it and feel part of a community. Everyone is welcome!
6. You don’t have to commit to all five stages! Just do this one to start, and see how it goes.
7. Don’t sweat it if you aren’t in “racing shape.” Participate to support some great funds, your teammates, and our running community in a fun way.
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. 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. 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 will use VDOT score to generate a raw leaderboard, but for these stages we will give awards based on the elevation, pace, and speed increase details outlined in this FAQ.
How do I participate?
– Once the login link is ready, you can then log in to (or set up) your free VDOT O2 account
– Proceed through the checkout process
– Submit your VDOT profile (be sure to add team affiliation! Step 5 of this link will help you add your team)
– Sync your GPS to VDOT O2 via Garmin or Strava
– Save/submit your official race time on race day in your VDOT calendar
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.)
– Results must ALSO be saved to your calendar by Saturday on race day weekend, 11:59PM EST
– 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 5k, make sure you finishline isn’t more than 150-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! However, please note that once you save your result to your VDOT calendar, it will become final and any subsequent race efforts will not be eligible for submission.