I am often asked for my recommendation for running a race. Below is a suggested race format.

Disclaimer: Please note that no one solution will fit the needs of all organizations. You really need to decide what will work best for your organization, number of racers, time constraints, and so on.

Scoring Method - Times or Points. Many people have argued the virtues of each. Basically, if you are confident in the accuracy of your timing system (including your start gate and switch) and the consistency of the crew running the track for the duration of the race, then we'd say go with Times; otherwise, if you have any doubt, go with Points. A drawback with points, though, is a greater chance for ties. This is less of a problem if you can fit in a lot of racing.

Scheduling Method - Use the Perfect-N Type scheduler for scheduling (for points scoring, it is recommended that you run two or more runs per lane to reduce the chance of ties). The Perfect-N Type schedule generator will yield schedules that will meet these minimum criteria:

  1. Each racer will race the same number of times in each lane. The total number of heats is easy to determine with the formula below.
    Total # of Heats = (# of Racers) X (# of Runs per Lane)

    Note: You can budget about 90 seconds a heat, if your race crew is moderately organized. Very organized crews can do under 45 seconds a heat.
  2. No head-to-head match up count exceeds another by more than 1 (basically, competition between racers will be spread out as much as possible).

Preliminary Round - The purpose of the preliminary round is to:

  1. To give each racer an equal opportunity to race.
  2. To allow each racer to race against a fair number of opponents.
  3. To reduce the number of racers to a more manageable number to run in the Trophy Round.
    Note: With small groups of racers, it is possible to skip a preliminary round and proceeded directly to a trophy round. If you find that your number of racers for a race group is equal to the number of finalists listed in the table below, you can just run a trophy round. This will save a lot of time in running the race and will still give you an accurate trophy order for the race group.

Trophy Round - The purpose of the trophy round is to accurately determine the trophy order.

Using the table below:
  1. Find the number of trophies that you wish to award.
  2. Select how many lanes to use. This can be less than the total number of lanes that you have. You will need to change the number of lanes in the Software Settings screen if it is less.
  3. This will give you the number of finalists to advance to the Trophy Round and the number of runs per lane to set in the schedule generator to get the most accurate chart.

With these parameters, the Perfect-N Type scheduler will yield what are called Complimentary Perfect-N schedules. These schedules meet the minimum requirements above, but will also match each racer against every other racer. Everyone will actually meet each other twice, but from opposite lanes the second time around so lane differences will be equalized. These schedules provide the most accurate means of determining trophy order.

Trophies Lanes to Use Finalists Runs Per Lane
1 2 or 3 3 2
2 2, 4 or 5 5 4 (2 Lanes)
2 (4 or 5 Lanes)
3 or 4 4 2
3 3, 4, 6 or 7 7 2
5 or 6 6 2
4 7 or 8 8 2
8 9 2
5 6 11 2
8 8 15 2

Note: There are other possible combinations to create Complimentary Perfect-N schedules, but all involve a greater number of runs per lane resulting in a lot more heats. You can see other possible combinations on Stan Pope's website at http://stanpope.net/grdir.html. Just look for the CP chart symbols.