North-South Competition

General Pope
General Pope

The Bull Run Run includes a competition between the two sides of the Civil War — the North and the South. Our goal is to further the North/South theme of the event and increase the interest in the friendly rivalry between the two modern day “armies.”

Each runner will join, or be conscripted, into the North or the South. Runners will wear the colors of their side in the form of distinctive bib numbers. The North runners will have numbers starting at 1, the South will have numbers starting at 251. (See below for why.)


The bib numbers for the North will be blue. The South colors will be gray. (We previously used yellow because we did not think that the gray numbers would look good. They do.)


General Lee
General Lee

The competition will be scored by those finishing under 10 hours. Just as in real battle, the front line troops determine the outcome and the REMF’s enjoy the spoils. (We doubt “REMF” was a term used in the Civil War, but we bet there was an equivalent. Here is one Vietnam War veteran’s take on REMF.) More to the point, using only the people under 10 hours allows us to designate the winning side and distribute awards before everyone has left.

Each runner under 10 hours will score for his or her side. If the runner is from the side with the greater number of entrants (the North, as it was in 1861 and is now), she will score one point. If the person is from the side with the smaller troop strength (the South), he will score a proportionally larger amount to account for the lesser troop strength. In 2018, there were 315 final BRR entrants. 220 had chosen to run with a blue North number, and 95 had chosen to run with a gray South bib number. Each North finisher under 10 hours scored one point and each similar South finisher scored 2.3158. The factors were based on that year’s relative troop strengths. In the years that we have had this competition, it has never been close enough to bother with all of those digits, but they are there if needed. In 2018, the score was North 39 (due to 39 sub-10 hour finishers), South 37.0528 (which had 16 sub-10 hour finishers).

Once the winning side is determined, ALL finishers (those who have already finished and those yet to) for that side will receive an award. (The award will not be mailed.) In 2018 it was a BRR bandanna; as with all the awards, we shall see what 2019 brings forth.

Next year, the winning side will be issued the lower numbers. So let’s see if the South can break the North’s current two year victory streak.