thoughts on elevation

Recently in surfing the internet, I happened to look up the elevation for the Rock the Parkway Half-Marathon (RTP), which I am running this weekend (eek!) and the Hospital Hill Half-Marathon (HHR), which I’m planning to run in June. I was surprised by what I discovered.

Using Map My Run, I figured both routes and then examined the elevation changes in the runs. In other words, I figured out how many hills were in the runs- how much I would have to go uphill vs. downhill.

Rock the Parkway is 13.07 miles. It begins and ends at the same point (it is a lollipop course)- 855 feet above sea level. It climbs up to 1000 feet, down to about 960 feet, back up to 1000 feet, and then downhill to 855 feet.

Hospital Hill is 13.14 miles. It is basically a loop course but the start and finish are not quite at the same place. It begins at 835 feet above sea level, climbs to about 965 feet, drops to 880 feet, climbs to 950 feet, drops to 860 feet, climbs to 990 feet, and finally ends at 925 feet.

I can see why HHR would be a harder run. There’s more hills and more climbing, up and down and up and down, whereas RTP climbs up one moderate hill and remains at a reasonably steady elevation until the end of the race. I suppose what surprised me about these two races is that, although HHR is definitely a harder race, RTP and HHR are basically in the same range as far as elevation.  HHR has a local reputation as being a very hilly race, so I guess I always thought it would go significantly higher in elevation than other races.