During the Last Glacial Maximum roughly 20,000 years ago, ice sheets covered North America as far south as the American Midwest and eastward to New York City. Around 13,000 years ago, these glaciers retreated, and just a few years later, the Carolina Godiva Track Club founded its Winter Series, a slate of runs designed to promote fitness and friendship through those dark, glacial periods now relegated to a few bleak months each year.
All races are open to both Godiva members and non-members, who need only pay a $5.00 registration fee to run, and registration is usually available on race days.
Founded in 1975, the Carolina Godiva Track Club ( www.carolinagodiva.org/
) has hundreds of members of all ages and abilities and welcomes new members. Godiva stages the annual Umstead Marathon and offers other programs such as a training program for beginning runners, a marathon training program, a series of summer track meets, and group runs most days of the week.
The competition heats up as the weather cools with the initial event of the series, the annual Run for the Donuts on Oct. 14 at 10 a.m..
Runners are assigned randomly on race day to three-person teams. Each team runs five loops of a cross-country course. When all teams have finished their final loops, a patented Donut Index is applied to tabulate a finish time in seconds divided by the sum of the team members ages in years.
The winners get the best donuts, and the others just get regular donuts, longtime Godiva member Gary Schultz explained.
Next up will be the popular Misery Run, staged on the Lucas Farm in Carrboro on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. The five-mile race features mud, hay bales, and various other items one might expect to find in a cow pasture.
Its a popular run ... runners can still expect the usual five-and-three-quarters miles of grassy pastures, trails, hay, and all that jazz, Godivas Jim Clabuesch said.
The calendar year finishes up with the precipitous Couch Mountain five-mile run through Duke Forest on Sunday, December 9 at 10 a.m. While the races hills may pose a challenge, the race was even more daunting once upon a time.
It was known for some time as the Blood and Mud run, race director Paul Naylor said, because wed get typically nasty weather and there were places where runners had to climb a barbed-wire fence.
Naylor said post-race revelry evokes a surreal scene.
Years ago after one of the races, an Amtrak train went by, Naylor said. We could only imagine what (train passengers thought) seeing these people standing around in mid-December, scantily clad, in the woods drinking beer
burning meat of uncertain origin and serving questionable swill.Kicking off 2013
2013 will start off at a reasonable hour, with the 1 p.m. staging of Godivas New Years Day Run on Jan. 1 from the Duke School for Children.
When I inherited the race, that (time) was already the custom, race director Patrick Bruer said. Usually there are a handful of runners that will do a midnight run over in Cary or somewhere like that, and then theyll come to this one at one oclock in the afternoon.
Its eight kilometers, so thats 4.97 miles, its all on trailsthere are no road crossings, Bruer explained.
For those looking to hone their speed and their wit on the same occasion, the format features a trivial challenge as well.
When you sign up for the race, you get the list of questions, Bruer said. If you want to, you fill that quiz out, and then after the race, you find out who won the trivia contest.
The Eno Equalizer 4-mile team handicap race is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. in Durhams Eno State Park. All handicapped races staged by Godiva are graded by age and gender.
Each team member can trade handicaps between runners, race director Richard Smith said :Someone with a two-minute handicap can give one of his minutes to the person with a five-minute handicap.
Teams are drawn at the starting line, and each runner has their individual handicap, Smith explained. Maybe a runner has more handicap than theyre worth, and they can (donate) some of their handicap.
With a staggered start to account for the age / gender grading, Smith said the system makes for an exciting finish.
The first team with all three runners across the finish line wins, he said. If all handicaps worked exactly, all the runners would finish at the same time.
The Geezer Pleezer Run starts and ends at the Carolina Friends School in Durham on Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. The race is another age-graded event, race director Gary Schultz said.
(The grading) is based on the World Masters Association tables, Schultz explained. We give head starts according to age. Last year, one of our first runners
was 76. We can grade everyone from age five to 100.Ending the series
The 2012 / 2013 series will end with the Hard Climb Hill event through the Korstian Division of Duke Forest on Sunday, March 10 at 10 a.m.
This could be our hardest event, or it could be the easiest, race director Jerry Surh said. There are three distances you can run 3, 7, or 10 milesand you can decide on which distance youre going to run while youre running.
The race provides an out-and-back three-mile loop, seven-mile loop, and then the option to repeat the three-mile loop again, making 10 miles.
At the heart of the three-mile loop, though, theres a steep hill, and the road is called Hard Climb Hill, Surh said.
Carolina Godiva members running or volunteering at five of the seven events qualify for the coveted Winter Series t-shirt, and the Hard Climb Hills 10-mile option counts as two events.
Not long after the final event, warmer weather will return for Godivas 2013 Summer Track Series, that is, unless the next Ice Age hits.
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