I recently wrote an admittedly fatigue induced post that included a missive on the discrimination that exists in our sport against the sprint distance. It's generally used as an introductory stepping stone, or by the more recreational participants. Let me get one thing absolutely clear- I admire both groups. Those that go on to longer and longer races and training devote a great deal of time and energy to the sport, and may be more naturally inclined to succeed at the longer distances. I also admire the less serious among us. I'm an advocate of any type of exercise. It's great for many, many reasons.
This series, however, is geared towards a narrower population. It's for those folks who want to excel at the sprint distance; those who want to go really hard for about 60 (+/-) minutes. It's a pace faster than you'd consider for an Oly distance race- one that is near 100% for the entire time and pays attention to the little things that might save a few seconds here and there.
At this point, I'm very open to any and all suggestions. For a race to qualify, the maximum run is 4 miles. I'm aware of the following- Polarbear, Bethel, Urban Epic, CELT, Pirate, Fireman, Pumpkinman, Colby and Norway. What am I missing? I'm happy to include other races if that's desired. For an athlete to qualify, they need to do at least four races, and place in the top 10 overall for men or women in at least one of the races. I know that narrows the field, but I don't want the recordkeeping to become a second job for me. As for scoring, I haven't thought about that yet. But I'll try to incorporate the following:
1) It will place greater emphasis on those races with more competition- which means that the "value" of races will likely change during the season.
2) It will try to account for times, not just places. If triathlete A beats B by 30 seconds one day but loses by 2 minutes another, B has the advantage.
3) Top four races count. That's a significant commitment, but is also generous enough to allow for different schedules- it's less than half of the races offered.
Notice that this is an Unofficial series. I have no affiliation with any of the race organizers, and reserve the right to change the makeup, methodology or scoring system at any time. For that matter, if it's too much to do, I might just drop it altogether. That isn't my intention, but I need to leave myself an out.
Again, the purpose here is to bring more attention to those who are fast, like to go fast, and work at going fast. Pacing, endurance and nutrition have little to do with these races. If you're concerned about your heart rate, this isn't for you. This is for those who are willing to throw caution to the wind for one hour.
There's one other important component. In 2011 and 2012, the USAT National Championships will be held in Burlington, Vermont. They will have both Olympic and Sprint distances, both of which determine the teams for the World Championships. It would be great to have strong contingents for both races. I can easily see how the "better" athletes will do the Oly race. So if we get really good at the sprint, we could have a great showing in the Sprint race.
Fast is good. Fast is fun.