The World’s Most Intellectually Daunting Biathlon

From 1996 to 2007, IBECC included an optional academic/athletic biathlon connected with the LMU 5K/10K Run for the Bay. The point of the run was to do some tangible good for other people (we donated the proceeds of the race to a local charity), to help students learn about the connection between mind and body, and to honor LMU’s commitment to the “education of the whole person.” Winners of the biathlon were determined by combining the presentation score with the team’s performance in the run. This has always been the most unpredictable part of IBECC because, based on their performance on the presentation, even teams of walkers can do well in the biathlon.

Once the competition migrated to different locations, the biathlon became impractical. However, holding IBECC in Cambridge gives us an opportunity to bring back a version of this event. In the spirit of our original LMU Run for the Bay, we hope that students participating in the biathlon will help us raise money for a local charity. This year, funds will go to the Hopkinton Center for the Arts. Believing that he should never ask students to do something he isn’t willing to do himself, Professor Thomas White, founder and director of IBECC, is running the 2016 Boston Marathon two days before IBECC to raise funds for the HCA. Accordingly, we’re asking each runner or walker to ask a few friends (5 would be ideal) to donate $5 for each of the four miles ($20) he or she will cover. (We hope that each team will take seriously the fact that a major goal of the biathlon is to raise a donation for a local organization. We’re asking that each team aim to raise at least $100-$200.) Donations can be made by clicking here (feel free to ignore the Crowdrise $5 fee request). In addition to the biathlon awards, described below, there will be a prize of $500 for the team that raises the most. When donations are made, please send an email to with the amount and team. (Click here for the page that reports on team donations.)

To register for the biathlon, click here.

Run/jog/walk division. First, at least two members of a team must run or walk a four-mile route that goes along the Charles River. (See below for a map of the course.) This will be conducted as a time trial throughout Thursday, April 21, and Friday morning, April 22. (That is, you’ll be running against the clock.) Once we set the schedule for the presentations, students will sign up for starting times for the time trial. Runners/walkers will be loaned a GPS watch, which will record time and distance. Scores will be based on finishing place in gender. If more than two team members do the time trial, we’ll use the top two scores. These will be combined, and, in order to encourage maximum participation, adjusted according to the percentage of the team that participates. Teams will then be ranked to give us a run/jog/walk team score. The run/jog/walk team score will be combined with the presentation score for a “run/jog/walk biathlon score.” (Click here for a detailed illustration of the scoring. If anyone on the team is physically unable to do this, the team will not be penalized. The 4-mile course is technically wheelchair accessible, but note that it has a steep ramp and some difficult surfaces, especially the grating over a bridge.)

Click here to sign up for a starting time for the run/jog/walk division.

Tourist division. Teams may also qualify for a “tourist” division of the biathlon by covering at least 8,000 steps between Wednesday evening and Friday noon. (We’ll lend you a pedometer.) This is the equivalent of 4 miles and can be easily accomplished by sightseeing in Boston and Cambridge. At least two team members must participate. In order to encourage maximum participation, the team score in this division will be determined by total number of steps of the members of the team who participate multiplied by the percentage of people on the team who participated. Teams will then be ranked to give us a tourist team score. This will be combined with the presentation score for a “tourist biathlon score.”

Biathlon awards. All participants in the run/jog/walk division will receive a hydration pack. Members of the two teams with the highest “Biathlon run/jog/walk scores,” and the five men and five women with the fastest run/walk times will receive awards. Prizes will also go to the members of an additional two teams chosen at random. Any runner (even if the only member of your team participating) will still be eligible for the ‘fastest male/female’ prizes.

Members of the top two tourist division teams will receive awards.

Teams that have some members participate in the run/walk and others who tourist will be put in the Tourist Division. Runners/joggers/walkers on mixed teams will be assigned 8,000 steps in the biathlon competition. Any runner will still be eligible for the ‘fastest male/female’ prizes.

Scoring. For a detailed explanation of the biathlon scoring, click here.