Handicapped Running

You might want to try this the next time you're at the track. It makes racing more fun and works with runners and non-runners alike. Suppose you run a lot, you have been doing it for years and you're fast, at least in comparison to your non-runner friends. If you raced them in a 100 yard dash, it's no contest - no fun at all. You don't try hard because they're so easy to beat and they don't try because they don't stand a chance. But if you handicap the race, all that changes. Everyone does their best.

Let's say that you and three friends are going to race. You set up the handicap like this. You, as the best runner, must run 110 yards, the second best runner must run 105 yards, the next best sets up at the 100-yard line, and finally, the worst runner only needs to run 85 yards. When everyone is ready, someone yells GO, and you all run to the finish line as fast as you can.

The handicap will take a few trials to get right. The idea is to go for a tie. Let's say that in the first race, the slowest runner, running only 85 yards, beat the next two runners (who tied) by 5 yards. Therefore, in the next race, he should run 90 yards. Let's also suppose that you finished 2 yards behind the two middle runners. Therefore, you should run 108 yards in the next race. The handicap is correct when all four of you pass the finish line at the same time.

Handicapping works with everyone. It doesn't matter who you race. If the handicap is correct, you and all involved will do their best, even if the race is between you, your 5-year-old son, and your 60-year-old mother. - COB

There will be a new post every... Oh I don't know. Let's say every two weeks.