Last One Standing
Participants run a 4.167-mile loop every hour, and are eliminated if they fail to complete a loop in an hour. The path of the loop is on trails during the day and along a dirt road after dark (There is no pavement on either course). The distance of each loop is equal to 100 divided by 24, so that a competitor runs 100 miles for a full day of competition. There is no predefined finish. The winner is the competitor who completes a loop that no other competitors complete. If no competitor outlasts every other competitor, there is no winner.
There will be a maximum of 10'x10' area for each runner to set up "base camp" at the start/finish. There will be no aid stations on course and NO AID outside of the start/finish area. There will be bathrooms and water available at the start/finish. Maybe some ice. Maybe. Otherwise, you're on your own. Oh, you will get a whistle at 3, 2, and 1 minute remining before the start of each "yard" (as the loops have come to be known). There will be shirts. No other swag, aside from the Last Person Standing who will get a special trophy to commemorate their achievement.
San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park is unique and beautiful. As the Friends of San Felasco website states, "San Felasco Hammock was purchased under Florida’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program in 1974 due to its diversity of plants and geological features. Today at over 7,000 acres, it is one of the largest protected contiguous stands of mesic hammock in Florida." (http://www.sanfelasco.org/)
RULES from Laz
To melt it down to the essentials, the rules during the race amount to this:
1) runners must be in the starting corral when the bell rings.
2) runners must start when the bell rings
3) runners are allowed no assistance after the bell rings, until they complete the yard.
Not having other runners on the course with the runners in the race is an obvious part of number 3.
Now, some race directors are lax about enforcing rules. But most of the time it is a matter of not wanting to make runners unhappy, so they sort of let the starting corral slide or look the other way if they think the "aid" is not significant.
In reality this is an injustice to the runners. Example: Last year at Big's, I rang the bell and a yard started. I watched the runners go around the corner and turned to put my bell away, only to see a runner emerging from the tent. He was disqualified. He argued that he had "started" and taken one step, then went back to finish preparations....
Had someone allowed that before? If so, that "nice" race director cost the runner a shot at a world championship, because he was a contender. Not enforcing the rules is an injustice to the top runners in a race, because it leaves them vulnerable to being put out when they are unaware of the requirements when they get to a big race.
Not enforcing the rules is an injustice to the average runner, whether they are advancing to the big races or not, because they deserve to compete under the same conditions as the best runners. It is an insult to an athlete to imply they are not important enough to bother with watching their race as well. At the heart of my personal philosophy as a race director, coach, or official is this: "Not every athlete has the same ability, but every athlete has the same worth." If two yards is the furthest a backyarder has ever gone, their third yard is just as important as the 100th yard, for whoever finally breaks that barrier. We should treat it just the same.
The other question that comes up is why these rules are absolute. That is easy. Look how few rules there really are. Someone was making an argument that "taking something from a runner so they didn't have to carry it; that isn't aid...". Well, parsing every action of a crew is how we start down the road to having a book of rules. And then requiring monitors with rule books to try to enforce where the line falls. Fewer rules are better rules. Absolute rules are better rules.
Crews out on the course is not a good idea. Crews are motivated to "help". Cheering morphs into passing information or taking instructions, and information is aid. The runner is better served to only see their crew in camp.
This is really intended to be a simple game.;)
There will be no refunds if you decide to drop. If you decide to drop out, your money will go into the donation for the Friends of San Felasco.
Brought to you by:
Patrick Gallagher (Last Person Standing at Death at Dupuis (2019), Big's Backyard participant, and aficionado of discomfort)
Local time: 8:26 PM
Leo Acosta (Race director for Death at Dupuis and all around pain enthusiast)