Sunday, January 10, 2010

Godiva Eno Equalizer

The "Eno Equalizer" is a 4 mile race put on by the Carolina Godiva Track Club, in Eno River State Park. It is sort of a triathlon event, one which involves a unique combination of running, higher math, and fortune telling.

When I got to the race the temperature was in the mid- 20's and everyone was huddled around a fire trying to stay warm. When I signed up and got my bib, the pens were not working because it was too cold.

I warmed up a little bit before the race and went down to see the trail. The course goes over a long suspension bridge:
This bridge is exactly like the ones in the movies that bounce around like crazy and people fly off and plummet to their death. OK, maybe I am exaggerating a bit because I suffer from Acrophobia, and it scared the crap out me me. My palms started sweating just looking at the thing. I also thought it was interesting that a cross country race would go over a bridge that specifically forbids running.

In the Eno Equalizer, you are placed into teams of three, and the team which gets all of it's runners across the finish line first wins. This sounds simple.

However, in order to "Equalize" the slower runners with the faster, the slower runners get a head start before the race begins. This is where the higher math and fortune telling come in.

Explanation (you should skip this):

The slower the runner, the greater the head start. The amount of the head start each person gets is called the "handicap", and each team gets a "Team handicap" time to divide up among the 3 runners. If this sounds complicated, it is.
Each runner tries to predict how fast they can run the course, and the team meets before the race to determine who gets how much of a head start. If you are having trouble understanding this, that's OK, because nobody does.

So when we were allocating our "handicap", my team mates were very modest. "Oh, I'm sooo slow." I was probably too cocky and too generous, but I agreed to give all the handicap time to them, and give them the head start. By the time the race officially started there was only me and another guy at the start line. The other 31 runners got a head start, and I kind of felt left out.
In fact, Ken Becker, probably the fastest guy there, got like a 10 minute head start. We thought that he might be done before the race actually started.

When the race finally began, I ran as fast as I could, trying to catch up to people. Of course, I had to stop and carefully walk across the bridge, holding the cables tightly. After the bridge, I hit the first big hill which was a monster. It quickly defeated me and had to walk up it. The rest of the course was very hilly and hard. Next year I am getting a handicap, dammit!

I took a few picts which are here

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