How It Works

Basic Rules

At the beginning of each COVID-Cup season, captains are selected and runners are assigned to teams of ~6 if they have not created their own teams during registration. The teams will compete for four weeks. Each week, runners must submit a time for that week's race distance. The "race" needs to be recorded with a GPS device or App and a screen shot of the results submitted for verification. Times are calculated to create an average team time for the week. At the end of the season, the team with the lowest cumulative average time is the winner.


Time Bonuses

Time bonuses will be awarded each week to the top two teams. First place will get an overall time bonus of 10 seconds (this will mean a 10 second deduction of the team’s overall average time for that week). The 2nd place team will get an overall time bonus of 5 seconds (this will mean a 5 second deduction of the team’s overall average time for that week). Time bonus will not be calculated in the handicapping (discussed below).



Weekly Handicaps

Week 1 will have no handicapping applied, as it needs to be the baseline for the next few weeks. For the 2nd week, a handicapping percentage is created based on your 5k time as compared to the fastest 5k time in the group. So, if you are 20% slower than the fastest, next week your handicapped time will be reduced by 20%. All times will have age and gender grading applied to try and create parity. From week 1 to week 2, each team will also be handicapped with the difference in time between them and the fastest team.


For further incentive, there is a time adjustment for performance relative to predicted time. Week 1 times are used for week 2 and week 2 times are used for week 3. We use the formula developed by Pete Riegel to calculate each runner’s predicted time for that week’s distance and then calculate the team’s predicted time. Then, based on the actual performance against prediction, the team is either rewarded or penalized. For example, if the overall team time for the week was 98% of the predicted time, their team time will be lowered an additional 2% or increased 2% if it was 102% of the predicted time. Finally, there is a slight time bonus for the top three teams with the fastest gender adjusted times.

Team Selection

6 Person Teams
Each team will consist of ~6 runners, depending on total number of participants. Runners can create their own teams during registration, or be assigned to teams the day before the season begins. Each team will have a captain who is responsible for coordinating communication and ensuring the timely submission of weekly race results.


2 Person Teams
Each team will consist of 2 runners. Runners can create their own teams during registration, or can request to be paired up with another runner. Please identify your teammate by name during registration. There will be a question asking if you have a teammate during the registration process.

Team Relays

Each season will consist of at least one team relay. The relay distance indicates the total distance that the team must complete that week. Teams can divide up the miles between runners in any manner that they see fit, however, for each distance, there is a minimum distance each runner must run. For example, for the 50k challenge, each runner must run at least 2 miles. The team's total time will be added to the overall cumulative time for the season. Teams do not have to complete the race in any particular order or time sequence. Teams just need to complete and record their times for the entire relay distance.

Race Logistics

Runners will submit one race time per week. They can complete their race any time between Monday and Sunday, but all times must be submitted by 8pm PST on Sunday for the week. No races with a net descent greater than 25’ per mile. Please try to stick to loops or out and backs.


Female times are multiplied by 0.88 to mathematically attempt parity.


If you miss a week, your slowest time in the other weeks is put into the spot you missed. If you miss two weeks, your slowest time in the other weeks +30 seconds will be put into your second missed spot.


To enhance engagement and team interaction, we are implementing the use of the Group messaging app, GroupMe. GroupMe is free to use, is available on every device, and can even be used over SMS, which means you don't need the app in order to participate (although it is encouraged that you use the app). We will primarily communicate with all participants via GroupMe, and will set up groups for each team, so everyone can easily communicate, encourage, and banter amongst each other. While we have no choice but to run alone, hopefully a little group chat can make us feel more together.