A new type of running competition is hitting the roads of America this summer. The Double Road Race is a distance race consisting of two segments or legs – a 10-kilometer road run, followed by a five-kilometer road run, with a short rest break in between, order of finish determined by best combined or aggregate time.
Bob Anderson created and conceived the Double Road Race. He is the founder and former publisher of Runner’s World magazine, as well as a lifelong runner. At the age of 17, Anderson started the magazine and built it to a circulation of 435,000 before selling it to Rodale Press in 1984. In 2012, at age 64, he ran 50 races (350.8 miles) to celebrate his 50 years as a runner, averaging 6:59 per mile. He placed first in his age group in 31 of these races, which ranged from 2 miles to the half marathon.
Anderson envisioned a running event “that was something like the triathlon, only different.” The result was the Double, a two-stage race where competitors don’t switch from swimming to cycling to running, they just run.
“The Double is the only distance running event with a halftime,” Anderson says of his creation. He also emphasizes that the Double is not two races in one day, as some might think, but one race consisting of two segments or legs. There is, of course, a world of difference between the two concepts in terms of pacing.
Competitors in the Double Road Race run the 10-kilometer leg first, then 1 hour, 45 minutes after the start of the 10K they toe the starting line of the concluding 5K leg. Runners have the option of spending the in-between rest break in an area called the Recovery Zone, where competitors are provided everything from hydration and nutrition to physical therapy and exercise equipment to keep their legs from stiffening up.
The race is an infinitely more strategically oriented running event than a regular race, says Anderson, so much so the Double has been called a runner’s chess match on the road in shoes, short and a singlet. The idea is to pace yourself properly through both segments, factoring in the recovery break, to record your best aggregate time – or at least do your best against your competition, for even in the Double you’re not just running against the clock but also against other runners.
The world record holders in the sport of Double Road Racing are among the fastest runners in the United States. From the outset, the Double Road Race was set up as a professional competition—with prize money going to the top finishers, overall and by age group. Fifty percent of it will go to Masters runners 40 and over, which is unheard of in big-time road racing. Results are compiled and reported on the Double Road Race web site, with special cash awards for the season leaders. Previous race stats are available in the 64 page Double Road Race Guide Book.
The Double Road Race events benefit the national Just Run and local non-profit youth running programs. These programs inspire and encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle through education and promotion of preventative health and wellness to children and their communities. In addition to the Double Road Race competition, the events feature a one-mile run/walk and the Bob Anderson Kid’s Cup Mile, designed for children 10 and under.
Ten Double Road Races are scheduled across the U.S. The first event of the 2013 season will be held June 30, in Overland Park, Kansas, where Anderson was born and raised. Special guest of honor at the event will be Olympic hero Billy Mills, who received the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2012. He shocked the sports world by winning the 10,000 meters at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. Mills, who will be celebrating his 75th birthday on the day of the Overland Park Double, also went to high school and college in Kansas. Both men will be returning to the Heartland of Kansas which inspired them to make a great impact on the running world.
The 10 Double Road Races scheduled for 2013 are:
June 30 – Overland Park, Kansas
July 14 – Marin, California
July 21 – Denver, Colorado
August 11 – Indianapolis, Indiana
August 18 – Redwood City, California
September 28 – San Juan Bautista, California
November 3 – Needham, Massachusetts
November 9 – Manhattan, Kansas
November 23 – San Francisco Bay Area, California
December 22 – Pleasanton, California
All events sanctioned and organized by the Double Road Race Federation.