I'm planning to make my mark on the www.towerrunning.com rankings in 2012 so I've amped up the number of races I plan to race in. I'm already ranked in the top 70 for the 2011 rankings, but I had too few races this season to really be in the hunt for points.
The ranking system works like this: In each race, the top 30 athletes are awarded points depending on their gender placement. 80 points are awarded to 1st place down to a single point for 30th place. These points are then multiplied by the race factor. Most races have factors of 0.5 or 1.0, depending on the competitiveness of the race. There are also a select few races designated as "Masters Races" that have factors ranging from 1.5 to 3.0. Examples include a few well-known races such as the Empire State Building Run-up (worth 3.0 points) and the Chicago Sky Run in the Willis/Sears Tower (worth 1.5 points). An athlete's cumulative score is based on their top scoring 8 races, with no more than 5 races coming from a 0.5 or 1.0 factor race. Athletes are then ranked in order of their cumulative score.
So, to be really competitive in the rankings, I'm going to need to run in a fair number of races and score points in Masters Races. With all that in mind, here is my tentative race schedule for 2012:
You can see that it will be a pretty busy February and March since this is traditionally when many charity climbing events are held. You will also note that I only have a handful of Master’s races planned for the year, which may seem counterintuitive if my goal is to score points. However the reality is that at my current fitness level, I won't be scoring very many points at Masters Races. For example, by winning the Parc Trump, I scored 40 points (race factor 0.5). However by coming in 17th (for men) at the Chicago Skyrun (race factor 1.5) I only scored 21 points. Considering the travel costs to get to the different Masters Races (many of which aren't within driving distance) it makes much more sense to focus on winning local races in 2012.