The Eno Equalizer - originally scheduled for January 22 - was postponed at the last minute when a severe weather alert was issued for the Triangle Area. As things turned out, the forecast snow and ice did not actually arrive until about noon, and a few runners who had not heard about the postponement showed up anyway for the race. Whether we should have gone ahead in the face of such a weather forecast is debatable (as Walter Fowler said to me, "This is the winter series - there's supposed to be snow and ice"), but clearly we would have been taking a gamble had we ignored the forecast.
So, the event was hastily rescheduled for January 29, again under the threat of a severe weather warning for later in the day, but we went ahead and were rewarded with cold (low thirties) but otherwise dry and clear conditions. The new system for drawing up the teams used "computer times" based on actual performances in races over the last year. The other rules, however, were the same as in previous years: the runners were asked to make their own "predicted times" that were used to determine the start times (slowest runner in each team starts first, then the other two team members start at the times which, if the predicted times were accurate, would just allow them to catch the first runner). Finally a formula was used to calculate the "official time" for each team (the slowest of the finish times for that team, minus the average of the start times) that rewards both fast running and accurate prediction of finish times.
For the first time in this event, we decided to have the runners wear numbers to minimize the likelihood of mistakes at the finish line - this plan would have worked rather better if the race director had remembered to bring along the safety pins (which he left at home), but most of the runners carried their numbers with them, and it definitely helped keep the results in order. My thanks to the volunteers for helping to make the race run smoothly: Dwayne Allen, Shelly Bloom, Delaine Deal, Walter Fowler, Gary Schultz and Jerry Surh.
As UNC's Playmakers Theater stages "Copenhagen", a play that explores both the scientific and philosophical implications of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, it is worth remembering that all predictions are subject to uncertainty, whether they concern the weather or the performance of runners in a race. Meanwhile, I hope everyone enjoyed the run.
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