So, how much does that downhill help you on the 1-mile East Hill Rec Way course? I was shocked at my time from this morning (wahoo!) but also haven’t done a mile on the track since the summer of 2019. Would love to hear how much of a difference anyone thinks that this particular downhill makes on your time.
Congrats on that 5:49 and taking the lead on the East Hill Rec Way leaderboard!
It’s a good question, and I don’t think we’ll know for sure until later in the summer, when enough people who have track PRs can compare. My gut feeling is that it’s worth 10–15 seconds. But let’s see if we can do better.
It’s a roughly 80-foot drop over that mile, from 940 feet to 860 feet.
I found this Runners World article, which says:
Every 100 feet of elevation descent speeds you 3.6% of your average one-mile pace (2% grade/mile).
So if you were a 6:00 miler and I’m calculating right (0.8 mile x 0.036 x 360 seconds), you’d run 10 seconds faster with an 80-foot drop. Spot on!
10 seconds sounds about right to me. For the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to collect as many sub-5 miles on the Rec Way as I can. To me, a 4:59 mile on the Rec Way (downhill) feels about like a 5:10 mile would on a flat road.
If the Challenge returns for another year, I vote for an uphill mile like the Remington Road Uphill Mile race that was held for a few years.
And on the topic, here’s a fun video of a pro ultrarunner in Colorado attempting a sub-4 mile down the steepest road in America. Breaking 4: The Lickskillet Downhill Mile - YouTube
Ooh – can’t wait to check out that video! Also big thumbs down from me on the uphill mile, LOL. That sounds brutal! I will take my fast time happily thank you very much!
Interestingly, but coincidentally, having done repeat miles on the EHR with High Noon many times over the years, we generally thought that the uphill mile took 10 seconds longer than whatever your time was for the downhill direction.
I think if we’re looking at famous downhill miles, the late David Torrence’s (aka Big Wave) attempt of the Miracle Mile in Berkeley is almost certainly the most iconic one out there. He was a college student who was sincerely trying to break 4 and decided that doing it downhill would help him build the confidence to do it on the track. He eventually had a PR of 3:52 and ran at the 2016 Olympics for Peru. There was a super long LetsRun thread about it and a very badly recorded video which makes it even more special.
Also big upvote for uphill efforts as suggested by @Petorius - I’d thrown in the Kline kilometer as well which @apacheck is a fan of. Only fair to have truly challenging courses mixed in there with the fun fast ones
Oh yeah, big fan of the Kline Inclined Kilometer Climb. You can get the full kilometer I think if you’re willing to cross Cayuga Heights Road.
There’s challenging, and then there’s evil. I’d mostly worry about cars taking out runners on those hairpin turns.
But the Remington uphill mile might be a great one for next year.
Don’t worry, hill monsters—trail courses with serious hills will be opening this week!