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Saturday, March 10, 2001 -- Goode, VA
Goode What Goes Down Must Come Up Handicap (iPO Event Id#: 3026)
Story by Steve Crowder with photos by Leslie Crowder

[Details] [Coverage] [Handicapped Results] [Results by Run Time] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Race Pic
Okay, who's got the time?
Whoever once said that the fastest runner doesn't always win the race must have just competed in the What Goes Down Must Come Up 4-Mile Handicap Race in Goode, Virginia. This past Saturday speed went out the door when it came to determining the winners of this annual event, as the fast, not-so-fast, young, old, and everyone in between were placed on equal footing for a day.

For this unique event, participants are asked to predict their finishing time before they start the race and then attempt to run as close to that time as possible. The clock counts down instead of up, and runners leave the starting line based on their predicted time. In other words, a runner who thinks he or she will run 7 minutes per mile for a total time of 28 minutes, leaves when the clock hits 28:00. A faster runner who anticipates a pace of 6 minutes a mile would leave 4 minutes later when the clock hit 24:00. Everyone's goal is to finish as the clock ticks to 0:00, hence making the finish of the race look more like the start of most events.

Race Pic
A nice day whatever the time
To make matters a little more interesting, no watches are allowed, and the difficulty of calculating a finishing time is increased by the challenging course. The race isn't known as the What Goes Down Must Come Up 4-Miler for no reason. Runners face a course that rolls throughout the Goode countryside with major uphills just past the second mile and at the finish. The finish of the race gives the event its name, as runners descend a long downhill before finishing with a steep climb over the final half mile.

After runners got through exercising their minds by doing the math on their predicted times, Gerald Carney got the physical exercise underway as he left the starting line at 44 minutes. The first runner to leave the start line is affectionately known as the "rabbit", with everyone else making up the "chasers". Over the next 20 minutes, 47 chasers went after the rabbit, with the final chaser of the day, Chris Moreland, leaving exactly 20 minutes after the rabbit had taken off.

Race Pic
I predict some nice climbs!
When all is said and done, two things generally hold true, and this year's race was no exception. First, the fastest runner rarely wins, and while Moreland completed the course in 24:35 which was over a minute faster than Brad Fitzgerald's 25:47, Moreland only managed to finish eleventh overall.

The second thing that almost always happens is that someone comes extremely close to predicting their time exactly. This year, that person was Al Comby, who predicted he would run 37:30 and only missed by 4 seconds, finishing in 37:26. Taking second and third were Jim Weimer and Donna Elder, who missed their predicted times by 24 and 25 seconds respectively.

After the race, the top ten runners closest to their predicted time received trophies. As a testament to how well many runners know themselves, it took a difference of less than 35 seconds to finish in the top ten. In the end, however, everyone came out a big winner, as all participants were treated to a delicious pancake breakfast to help refuel mind and body. Thanks to race director Jerome Loy and the Lynchburg Road Runners for putting on this unique event.