Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
"Particularly intriguing is the tactical challenge The Double offers"
by Dave Prokop It's a novel idea! The kind that could only be dreamt up by someone with a decidedly creative and innovative bent.
Take the two longest races on the Olympic track program (the 10,000 and 5,000 meters), run them back to back on a road course with only 100 minutes in between, the winner being the athlete with the fastest aggregate time, and you have a new athletic competition called, appropriately, the Double.
Photo: Bob Anderson (101) and son-in-law Justin Wall ran the first Double held October 2010 in San Jose del Cabo. Lead Photo: start of the Cancun Double held March 2012.
The Double, also known as the Double Road Race, is the brainchild of Bob Anderson, one of the greatest visionaries in the history of distance running. As the founder and original publisher of Runner's World magazine, Anderson played a major role, one which has been largely overlooked, in the running boom of the '70s and '80s which transformed running from a minority activity to a mass movement.
Even then Anderson, an avid runner himself, was originating innovative running events like the 24-Hour Relay, where teams of anywhere from two to 10 runners would run alternate miles for 24 hours around a track. I'm more than a little familiar with Anderson's 24-Hour Relay concept, having been a member of two world-record 24-hour relay teams – a two-man team, in which we covered 149 miles in 24 hours, and a seven-man team, which covered 249 miles in 24 hours.
What makes the Double, in my view, particularly intriguing is the tactical challenge it offers, and you could literally write a book about this if you know anything about running. For instance, how hard can you afford to run the 10k to be able to come back with something left only an hour later to perform well in the 5k? If you're clearly superior to your competition, it may not be such a major consideration – just run both races well. But if you're in competition with equally matched runners, these tactical considerations are not only serious, but something quite unique in distance running. Still another challenge of paramount importance is – what is the best way to recover between the two races? How many unique variations will runners develop in this regard?
Comments and Feedback