Double Road Race slated in Overland Park

The Double Road Race Federation (DRRF), governing body of the new sport of Double Road Racing, just announced it has scheduled three new events and plans to award almost a million dollars in prize money by 2015.

Fresh off the resounding success of the first Double Road Race™ ever held in America – the Pleasanton Double, Sunday, Dec. 23rd, which attracted almost 1400 runners – the Double Road Race Federation (DRRF), has announced it has scheduled three more events.

Double Road Races™ have been scheduled for Overland Park, Kan., on Sunday, June 30, Denver, Colo., on Sunday, July 21, and Pleasanton, Calif., again at the end of the year (date to be confirmed by the end of this month).

The DRRF also announced that it plans to stage at least 10 Doubles in 2013 (other locations will be announced soon), increase that number to 60 in 2014, then 150 in 2015 – and it expects to pay out almost $1 million in prize money by 2015 to it’s participants.

The Double Road Race™ is a unique distance race consisting of two legs – an opening 10-kilometer leg, followed by a concluding 5-kilometer leg, with a break in between colloquially called a “Halftime” (Bob Anderson, creator of the Double and former publisher of Runner’s World magazine, calls it “the only distance race with a halftime.”). Order of finish in the race is based on combined time, and runners have to complete both legs of the race to receive an official time.

A running visionary and innovator, Bob Anderson founded Runner’s World at age 17 with $100 to invest and a dream to base it on. Already an addicted runner, he wanted to see a running publication that would not only appeal to him, but would carry articles which he could read to help his own running. He published the magazine for 18 years before selling it in 1984 after it reached a paid circulation of more than 435,000.

His creation of the Double Road Race™, at a time when road races are more popular than ever before, marks his renaissance in the running world. First there was Runner’s World, now there is the Double Road Race™ and the new sport of Double Road Racing. The initial impact of the Double is similar to the impact the magazine had when he first started it in 1966. Time will tell how big this idea ultimately becomes, but all signs are promising to say the least.

“The reaction to the Double Road Race™ and this new sport we’ve created,” says Anderson, “is beyond our wildest dreams. Only one Double has been held in the United States so far and the positive reaction from runners who ran the Pleasanton Double on December 23rd has been truly amazing.

“Nearly 1400 runners participated. They came from 26 states and three countries to be part of the first Double ever held in America. And almost everyone asked us the same question afterwards: ‘When is the next one?’ Runners told us they liked the uniqueness of this new sport, and it goes beyond just running a 10K and 5K in one day. It’s the strategy involved, the camaraderie during the recovery period, the sense of not only doing something different but how to put the right combination together, like solving a puzzle, to produce your best aggregate time. There’s never been a challenge quite like this – and we all know how runners like challenges.”

Speaking about challenges, Bob Anderson undertook a particularly difficult one himself last year. At age 64 (he turned 65 on Dec. 29), he ran 50 races in 12 months to celebrate his 50th year as a runner, totalling 350.8 miles and meeting his goal of averaging under seven minutes per mile for the entire series (he ultimately averaged 6:59 per mile). His 49th race of the series was his own Double Road Race™ in Pleasanton!

“What a day that was in Pleasanton!” Bob Anderson says. “I ran 6:59 per mile pace in the Pleasanton Double, and when I stood up on stage to accept a special award afterwards, my voice cracked as I was consumed by the moment. I was excited to be almost at the end of my 50-Race Challenge, as it had come to be known, but I was even more happy to see and hear that other runners also enjoyed participating in this new event and sport we had created.”

The Double Road Race Federation (DRRF), which Anderson organized and chairs, has set up rules, regulations and standards for the Double. The federation will produce and direct Double Road Races™ around the world following the same guidelines used in Pleasanton. Each will be directed by a runner in that particular location working with the federation as an independent contractor. This will ensure that all Doubles will be run following the same guidelines. A special Double Race Director program has been established and the federation has begun looking for race directors who meet the criteria of keeping the runner first.

The first race director who signed with the DRRF is professional runner Tyler McCandless of Boulder, Colo., who will be the race director of the Double Road Race™ Denver (Tyler was third overall in the Pleasanton Double). Second race director to sign up was Bruce Gilbert of Overland Park, Kansas who has been running for 50 years. He will be the race director for of the Overland Park Double.

Bob Anderson’s ultimate vision with all of this? “That Double Road Racing will become a bonafide sport around the world, and based on what we’re doing now in our promotional efforts, that it will be part of the Olympics within 20 years.”

In keeping with Bob Anderson’s sensibilities – he’s for the runner first and last — the Double Road Race Federation wants to give back to runners in many ways. Each Double will be directed by a runner who will be paid a fee and commissions. The DRRF will provide the backing, knowhow and support to pull off a quality event.

Anderson adds, “We will be expanding to 60 Doubles in 2014 and will be awarding $300,000 in prize money, $132,000 of it to men and women age-group winners.

“By 2015, we are planning on having 150 Doubles around the world and awarding $900,000 in prize money, $450,000 of it to our age-group winners.

“It is important that we do everything possible to encourage people to keep running their whole lives. This is why we are going to be awarding 50 percent of our prize money to runners 40 plus. This percentage of prize money going to masters runners is unheard of in road racing competition.”

What does this all benefit? Runners of all ages, it turns out. Part of the program at each Double will be the Bob Anderson’s Kids’ Cup Mile. This race will be for youngsters 10 and under. Also, at each Double will be the Road Mile Run/Walk benefiting youth running. A portion of the entry fee will be donated to non-profit youth running programs. Anderson believes it is important that we encourage our children to take up running and make it part of their lifestyle.

Copyright 2013 Double Road Race Overland Park.

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