Frequently Asked Questions:
Q.Do I have to email the administrators to be promoted to a higher level?
A. NO! Staring in April of 2018, we have a review board that reviews ALL upgrades! In order to be eligible for an upgrade, you MUST list your races on your personal race page. Please make sure you provide as much information as possible when adding a new race, as we do check each and every race finish that you list. Providing your bib number and placings help expedite the review process, so please help us help you! The database algorithm generates a review when you meet the qualifications for a new level, so there is no need to email us. Please expect 24-48 hours for the review to be completed (this will depend on how many we have in the que and also if it's a weekend or weekday).
Q. Do I need to maintain my current Fanatic level status by achieving the criteria each and every year?
A. No. Once a Fanatic, always a Fanatic (provided that you renew your annual membership dues). You don’t have to even complete another race after you are admitted into the Fanatic Insane Asylum, though we’d much rather prefer that you’re out there participating in the events.
Q. Do I need to achieve all three criteria mentioned in a level in order to progress to a higher level?
A. No, you only need to achieve one of the mentioned criteria in a level to progress.
Q. For my best streak, does it have to be attained in a calendar year?
A. No, Main Maniac relaxed the rules for Maniacs back in 2008…it can overlap in 2 years. This applies to Fanatics as well. So if your streak of 6 races in 6 months (Uranus level) was run from October 2014 – March 2015, then it officially counts.
Q. Do triathlons and duathlons count?
A. Yes! Ironman 70.3 triathlons and other multisport events with 13.1-26.1 mile run segments count! However, the run must be continuous. For example, if the duathlon has two run segments that are each 7 miles, this does not count. This is an explicit exception to the “common start” guideline at the top of this document.
Q. Do relays count?
A. In some specific cases, yes. A relay is a race that is split into shorter legs and run as a team. Many relays do not count because the individual legs are too short... even if all the legs you run add up to more than 13.1 miles. However, if the relay has a solo category where you run all the legs yourself, you can count this IF the category meets all the standard guidelines (open to the public, 20 starters, 15 finishers, you are listed as a finisher, etc). If you unofficially run a relay on your own, congratulations on the stunt run and great ultra training. It doesn’t count. Remember: the solo category itself must meet 20/15 and all the other counting standards. Additionally, some marathons and ultras have a relay category. Provided that ALL legs are between 13.1 and 26.1 miles (for example, a 2 person marathon relay where each leg is exactly 13.1), and your entire team finishes, count it! However, if one or more legs are short, this doesn’t count. Why? Because usually it is impossible to tell in the published results who ran the long legs and who ran the short leg(s).
Q. Do “double half marathons” count? Do they count as one or two?
A. As of December 2014, First Fanatic has encountered several races that are offering up a “double half” category, usually alongside a marathon. If each half (as in, both) in the double half has a common start where everyone lines up together and someone says “go”, it can count as two races. Again, that second half has to have a common start time where everyone lines up together. However, if you are running 26.2 consecutive miles and your second half starts when you personally cross a mat at the end of the first half, congratulations on your marathon. Sorry, that does not count toward Half Fanatics. Just because you entered a category called “double half” and probably paid extra, you are still running 26.2 miles at one time. You can’t buy a rules exception. The second half did not have a common start. We recognize that the common start guideline is waived for two person relays and triathlons… but in those cases, participants are running 13.1 miles. The Prime Directive in this club is that we count races that are 13.1-26.1 miles long. If you are running 26.2, you might consider becoming a Maniac.
Q. Do stage races count?
A. Sometimes. A stage race is like a person running a relay solo, but with an enforced rest period (usually overnight) between each leg. If no individual leg/day is 13.1-26.1 miles long, it doesn’t count. If one or more days is 13.1-26.1 miles, then:
- The event counts as ONE AND ONLY ONE if you have to sign up for the entire stage race to participate. You must complete the entire event to count it.
- You can count each 13.1-26.1 leg/day individually ONLY IF the race allows "a la carte" sign up (meaning, interested people could sign up for each day individually as a standalone event if they wanted).
- Even when a la carte registration exists, you can NOT count legs longer than 26.1.
Q. Do prediction races count?
A. These are races that have a common finishing time instead of a common starting time. Participants predict how long it will take them to run the course and then start at the appropriate time with the goal of reaching the finish line as close to the common finishing time as possible. Provided your prediction race meets the other standards, yes, count it!
Q. I found a race that utilizes treadmills. Woohoo! Does it count?
A. If you can run 13.1 miles on a treadmill without going insane (as opposed to Insane), more power to you. However, treadmills are tricky devices that go out of calibration easily. A mile on a treadmill may not be the same thing as an actual measured mile. Plus this kind of pushes the concept of ‘race’ beyond what First Fanatic originally envisioned. No, these do not count.
Q. I’ve heard that obstacle course races (Spartan, Tough Mudder, Water Buffalo Hat stuff, etc) don’t count! Why not? My Garmin shows I ran more than 13.1 miles.
A. First off, relax. Obstacle course races can be big fun and you are encouraged to have big fun, even when it doesn’t count toward electronic moons. These runs almost never publish the distances of their events in advance for various reasons. We count races based on advertised distance… if they don’t state this in advance, then they can’t count. And in general, the distance you see on your Garmin should always be viewed with a grain of salt anyway.
Q. Help! My race was cancelled. If my friends and I run the course anyway on race day, does it count?
A. Race cancellations happen for various reasons, and First Fanatic feels your pain. If you run the course informally with friends (as an impromptu Fat Ass), congratulations on the training run, but it won’t count toward stats.
Q. When trying to meet the 20 starter/15 finisher minimums for an event, is it per race or can I add all the races together?
A. 20/15 is intended to apply PER INDIVIDUAL RACE. If the Water Quality Day Half Marathon has 11 finishers and the WQD Marathon has 10 finishers, hooray for the marathon – it counts for Maniac purposes… but the half does not count for Fanatic purposes.
Q. I’m part of a marathon relay team in which each member is running ~6.7 miles each, but after I complete the first leg, I’d like to run with one or more of the other 3 members on their respective “legs”. Can I count that as a completed half marathon?
A. While technically you may have run an entire half marathon, you were not registered to run in the half marathon event, just the relay, so sorry, it would not count. But at least you provided good company for your teammates!
Q. I’m part of a team doing a relay event and just about all of the members had to drop out due to altitude, hills and other stuff, resulting in my having to run 5 miles for the first leg and 11 miles for the next leg…can I count this as a half marathon?
A. First off, you need to pick more reliable teammates, and if I were you I would make them pay for your meals, drinks, massage, etc…for getting you into this fiasco. But worst of all…IT DOESN’T COUNT!!
Q. If I run a marathon, can I count that as 2 half marathons? Can a 52 miler count as 4 half marathons? Can a “24 hour race” count as 4 “5 hour races”?
A. Sorry, no. Pick races because YOU want to run them… and if you are eyeing races of these distances, consider joining our sister club, Marathon Maniacs. And, as stated above, this applies to “double half marathons” that are really marathons in disguise.
Q. I participated in a 12 hour race. I completed 13.1 miles under 5 hours. I can count this, right?
A. Sorry, no. You entered a 12 hour race; these don’t count toward Fanatic stats (but DO count toward Maniac stats). This guideline goes by the advertised distance of the race itself, not the personal time you chose to stop.
Q. Why can’t I count Marathons and 12 hour races? Clearly these are harder than halves!
A. They absolutely are; First Fanatic agrees. However, if this is the type of challenge you seek, then you may be a good candidate for the Marathon Maniacs.
Q. Help! I ran the Pikes Peak Ascent in 6 hours. I know that I can only count “5 Hour races” max! Pikes Peak was hard! Am I hosed?!?!
A. First off, breathe. Relax. Secondly, congratulations. It counts. You are confusing the additional rules for Fixed Duration Events with the rules for Fixed Distance races. Pikes Peak is a fixed distance race… the whole business about “the maximum allowed time for a fixed duration event is 5 Hours” doesn’t apply. At all. It is a half marathon, not a “6 Hour Race”. Yay!
Q. I’m missing from the results of a race! What do I do?
A. If you believe you have completed an event legally but are NOT listed in the results (example: chip error), see if the race director or timing company will add you to the results based on photos and back-up tracking systems, like spotters at the finish line. As a final backup, if you have a medal and some additional info… like a finish line photo… that works fine. Unfortunately, a medal and a bib are no longer enough now that some races send these out as part of virtual race packages.
Q. I’m upset because all these rules mean that the race I want to run apparently doesn’t count.
A. Apologies, truly. We are a club based on counting stuff… so we have to have a common frame of reference regarding how to count the stuff. Do not consider this to be a judgment of merit for other events! There are all kinds of cool events to run. Many count. Some don’t. They are still probably fun. Anyway, there are about 10,000 countable events and we want you to be a lifelong runner. Try different things.
Q. I’m upset because a race’s website states that their event counts toward Half Fanatics, but this document shows that it doesn’t. What gives?
A. This invariably comes up when races try to offer up something nonstandard that isn’t simply a half marathon or 25k. Sometimes they misread our guidelines. Sometimes they don’t read them at all. We can’t police all race websites. If a race goes out of its way to mention that something nonstandard counts, that should be a big flashing warning signal that it might not. The club has 10,000+ members now and races want to attract us to their events.
Q. Help! A race’s website states that their event counts toward Half Fanatics, but I can’t tell if it really does and this document doesn’t cover it at all.
A. Ask. New cool things come up all the time and while we’ve tried to cover the basics here, we have no idea what will come up next. Just know that if it doesn’t follow the Prime Directive of being between 13.1 and 26.1 consecutive miles with a common start, it probably doesn’t. It’ll probably still be very fun!
Q. I got swept off the course by an official race vehicle, but then went back out and completed the event on my own. Can I count it?
A. Ooops. Sorry. If you got swept by an official vehicle, your day officially just ended. First Fanatic does allow you to count races you complete after the course closes (provided you are in the results), but the implication is that you did this with an ok from the race. Getting swept means you did not.
Q. I ran an event that is not in the Half Fanatic calendar. May I count it? Does an event have to be in the Half Fanatic calendar more than 30 days in advance to count?
A. The guideline states that a race has to be advertised via website more than a month in advance. This does NOT mean it has to be in our calendar more than 30 days in advance… or at all. The guideline means that the race has to have useful information out there somewhere. Our calendar points to event web pages. Provided a race has advertised itself in plenty of time, it is perfectly fine (and countable) that the race is not in our calendar. Similarly, races can be added to the calendar all the way until the day before the event. Although First Fanatic would like for many/most events to get listed in the Half Fanatic calendar, the calendar does not control “what counts”.
Note from 2009: We are certain that there may be many more circumstances that need “interpretation” of the rules but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. If you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding these rules, please e-mail First Fanatic. In the meantime…HAPPY RUNNING!!
Note from 2012: Yes, that note above certainly turned out to be true. Oh my. This, alas, is why the document you just studied perhaps reads like a state constitution. Please do NOT read this document with the intention of finding LOOPHOLES. Rules interpretations by First Fanatic and the Board of Directors are done by intention. Not all cases and interesting new race types have been considered… as always, they will be considered as needed. Rules loopholes that exist because the document writers used…er… goofy language are simply not the same thing as cool races with a structure that had never been pondered before. In the meantime…HAPPY RUNNING SOME MORE!!
Note from December 2014: Seven years have passed since the original stone tablets of “what counts” for Maniacs were passed down from Mount Tacoma. The original three word idea of “we count races” has now morphed into eight pages. And we have more than 10,000 members now! In no way are these guidelines supposed to limit your fun… races and runs that don’t count are encouraged. Whatever it takes to keep your running HAPPY!