Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Doubling Up

Who says there’s nothing new under the sun? On Sunday, July 21, a contingent of Fort Collins runners participated in the Double Road Race-Denver, the first of its kind in Colorado and only the third Double ever held in America.

So what’s a “double?” And maybe “so what?” Take it from some of us who made the trip to Denver’s City Park. It’s hard. It’s fun. We’d all like to do another one.

Here’s how it works: You run a 10k, pause for an intermission, then run a 5k. Simple enough—until you try it. Bob Anderson, founder of Runner’s World magazine, has done several doubles and says he learns something new every time. The concept of the double is his and he has the innovative spirit, organizational savvy and wherewithal to turn his idea into an event as popular as any 10k or half-marathon.

He describes the Double as “something like the triathlon only different.” It’s a two-stage race where competitors don’t switch from swimming to cycling to running, they just run. The second leg, the 5k, starts an hour and forty-five minutes after the 10k start which means that the faster you run, the more rest time you get.

During the recovery period you have all sorts of options: You can visit a chiropractor, massage therapist, roll around on a foam roller, drink, eat, walk or simply rest. Herein lies the trick. What is the best way to recover and prepare for segment two? Perhaps it’s different for everyone and the only way to find out is to practice during training. The founding organization has published the Runner’s Guide to the Double Road Race that lists training ideas and 25 strategies you can use in order to do your best in the Double.

Denver race director Tyler McCandless of Boulder, one of the nation’s finest long-distance runners, encouraged an elite field to participate in the inaugural Colorado race. McCandless has competed in Doubles in Pleasanton, California where he finished third in an aggregate time of 47:13 and in Overland Kansas where he set a men’s world record in 45:15:05.

The first Double held in America attracted more than 1,000 runners in Pleasanton, California and was won by Fernando Cabada of Boulder, Colorado and Tina Kefalas of Hillsborough, California. The fastest aggregate times for the Double are McCandless’s 45:15:05 and 53:13:04 posted by Molly Printz who trains in Boulder and won in Kansas. Winners of The Denver Double were Colleen DeRueck of Boulder with a time of 54:26 and Brandon Johnson of Denver, 48 flat.

McCandless didn’t compete in Denver, choosing instead to participate in the children’s one-mile event. “Halfway through the race, the young girl who won her division, took the time to tell me this was her first race,” Tyler said.

The Double is for everybody, from beginners to old-timers, with an unusual emphasis on runners over 40. There’s prize money three deep in 10-year age groups and acknowledgement of an age-graded scale to even the playing field for older runners.

The event will return to Colorado, probably Denver, in the summer of 2015.

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