History of the Pretty Good Race:

by Phil Miller (from the CS 25th Anniversary Symposium, 1990)

The Pretty Good Race was first run in 1981. Phil Hayes was in charge of the Immigration Course, did a bit of running, and car pooled with me. He had run in a 10K race as part of the AAAI conference during the summer and thought an IC Computer Science race was a good idea. I liked the idea too. The name, linked as it was to Pittsburgh's "Great Race", came as a wisecrack from Bruce Lucas. Richard Korf easily won what was then a 3 miler. I say he won it easily because I was second and I lost contact going up the very first hill. One clear memory is John McDermott commenting as I crossed the finish like that I had done well for an older person. He meant it too. Elaine Kant won the women's division. The T-shirt design was by Phil Waddler. Mark Stehlik was in charge of the start/finish line.

The second year was much like the first, but more competitive. Peter Highnam was taking his running seriously and "ran away" with the race. Elaine won the women's division again. I made my first appearance as Karel the Robot. Nico Habermann and Al Spector ran and the whole thing was a lot of fun. Mark Stehlik was in charge of the start/finish line.

John Pane won the next year, his first of six wins! Things get murky fast (though my memory isn't bad for an older person). Lori Zuti, an undergrad with the Introductory Programming group ran a good time in winning this year or perhaps the next. A sig-legged robot graced the T-shirts and the PGR remained a lot of laughs. Mark Stehlik was in charge of start/finish line.

At about this time, Nahid Capell came to the PGR and she came to race! She won the women's division several times, posting very fast times. John Pane continued to win. Faculty and students from ECE, Math, Psychology, and Art participated. Rob Guzikowski ran one year, setting the 5K race record. Rob was awesome, but John came within seconds of taking the record last year. Lawrence Butcher ran at least once. He did. He got into shape and ran the PGR. Bernd Brugge has turned in some very good performances in recent years, but he is getting older too. The park map T-shirt design that we use to this day was penned by Harry Holland for the 6th PGR. Mark Stehlik was in charge of the start/finish line every one of these years.

The 9th PGR marked the sixth time John Pane won the race. I don't remember too much because I was carried off the course not more than 400 meters from the start; felled by haywire hamstring. The rest was pain and depression.

It is funny but when I see old grad students, people from the late 70s and early 80s, they frequently bring up the PGR. It is one more thing that is unusual and nice about CS. I hope you can come: participate, help, or watch. This will be the 10th, 25th Anniversary, Pretty Good Race. They have all been fun. The race begins, as always, under Panther Hollow Bridge. This time it will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 23rd, [1990], as a part of the 25th Anniversary. And, of course, as always, Mark Stehlik will be in charge of the start/finish line.