Nielson Challenge

Sat May 1, 2021 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 US Directions

8:00 AM Start

$0 8:00AM MDT
156 spots left. Registration ends May 1, 2021 at 4:00am MDT

If you know you'll be running the virtual option, there is no need to pre-register.  Pre-registration is for the live event only, and pre-registrations for the live event are limited due to COVID-19 capacity limits.

COVID-19 Protocols

  • All federal, state and local mask and social distancing rules will be in place.  Masks are required before and after your run, and optional while you are running.

  • Participants must pre-register, unless you have a Nielson Challenge Forever Bib, in which case we already have your registration information.  There is no race day registration.  Pre-registration is open until 4:00 AM on race morning.

  • There is a virtual option for those that are not ready to mingle with the public. There's no need to pre-register for the virtual option. Simply run 2 miles and report your results via a Google form.

  • Please wear a mask before you start and after you finish. Use your own discretion for wearing a mask during the run itself.

  • The start/finish will be located near the bathrooms, as will the general staging area. The starting mats and finish mats will be separate, and about 50 feet apart. The actual course is the same as it's been, we are simply moving the start/finish so that they are not actually on the trail.

  • When you arrive, you can pick up your bib, self-service style, from the bib baskets. The bibs will be in alphabetical order. There will be one bib basket on each table, and the tables will be appropriately spaced apart. Hand sanitizer will also be on each table, and we'll clean the tables and wipe down the bib baskets periodically.

  • Also when you arrive, we'll take your temperature with a contactless thermometer, and ask if you have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been around anybody with COVID-19 symptoms. We are trying to put as few volunteers in harms way as possible, and also limit your less-than-six-foot exposure to others, so the temperature check is the only time you'll need to come within six feet of a volunteer. Once you have your bib and get your temperature taken, you are free to start.

  • The starting will be an open staggered start window. We usually have the timing equipment operational by about 7:30 AM. Thus you can start anytime between about 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM. When you start, please do so in a socially distant manner, making sure you are not too close to others outside of your household
  • When passing others on the trail, the trails are wide enough to pass in a socially distant manner.

  • When you finish, put your mask back on, recycle your bib as needed, and you are done and can go about your daily activities.

  • Those that ordered a Nielson Challenge Forever Bib can keep your bib. You can use that same bib at all future Nielson Challenge races and never have to register again.

  • For those that use a normal white Nielson Challenge bib, please remove your bib and place it in the recycle boxes. Well'll take those bibs home, but wait a few days before we go through them and prepare them for the next Nielson race.

  • Please don't get near the starting mats and finish mats except when you are actually starting and finishing. If you get close to them with your bib on, the mats will pick up a read from the timing chips on your bib, and those false positive reads make it difficult for the software to determine when you started and when you finished, especially since the start window is super long.

This is a 2 mile race held the first Saturday of each month.  You are running against your handicap, which is computed from your previous results for the last two years.

The first time you run this event, you'll establish a base time for yourself. This base time is used to generate a handicap time. The handicap time is calculated using an algorithm developed by Bob Royse, and it's geared to favor a beginning runner and the slower runners. Click here for an explanation of the handicap algorithm.

Once you have an established handicap, you are racing against your handicap time. The person who improves the most from their handicap time is the winner. Each month the results are sent off to Bob Royse and he fires up his Nielson algorithm and regenerates all of the handicap times based on the latest result data.

As mentioned before, the handicap does favor a beginning runner or a slower runner who is putting in a lot of quality training time, as it's these types of runners who tend to have significant time improvements running the same course. But the race is also good for established runners and the swift of feet because it gives those runners a good indication of their fitness level. It's the same 2 mile course each month. Thus given similar weather conditions, you have a very good basis to check out your running fitness from month to month.


At each monthly race, the person who improves the most over their handicap earns a Nielson shirt. Their name also goes on the Nielson plaque for that month. At the PPRR membership dinner and meeting in November, the person with the most Nielson wins during the past 12 months is recognized as the year's winner and gets to keep the Nielson plaque. (A new plaque is then started for the next 12 months.) If multiple people have won the Nielson an equal amount of times, then the yearly award is determined by the person who improved over their handicap by the greatest amount.

The shirts are generously donated by Michael Schenk of EON Studios, located at 836 N Institute in Colorado Springs (633-7986). Visit EON Studios for all of your screen printing needs. Michael gets his exercise on a bicycle, while his wife Susan does the running in the family.

North Monument Valley Park, W Fontanero Street & Culebra Ave
Colorado Springs, CO US 80903
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