A Strava Race Is Getting Spicy for Free Burritos

While digging around through press releases for a different post, I stumbled upon an announcement for a new Chipotle and Strava promotion running the month of January. While this press release had a lot of hand-waving feel-good New Year’s resolution words in it, two words caught my attention: Free burritos.

However, the deeper I dug into this, the more fascinating it was. I promise, this is hilarious. And somehow sports tech related.

You see, Strava and Chipotle have come up with a challenge whereby the person who logs the most reps of a given segment (Jan 1st to Jan 31st, 2024), wins a year’s worth of burritos. Well…technically speaking, it’s defined as:

The winners of each Segment Challenge will receive “Lifestyle Bowls for a Year” (as defined below). Each “Lifestyle Bowls for a Year” prize consists of Chipotle Rewards credits good for one (1) free regular entrée per week for a year, or a total of up to fifty-two (52) regular entrée items. The approximate retail value (“ARV”) of the Lifestyle Bowls for a Year Prize is Five Hundred and Seventeen Dollars and Forty Cents ($517.40). The ARV of all prizes is $3,104.40.

For clarity purposes, “regular entrée item” means a burrito, burrito bowl, quesadilla (only available through digital orders), single order of tacos, or salad, subject to availability. Does not include kid’s meals or three pointers. The Chipotle Rewards credits will expire one (1) year from the date that the Chipotle Rewards credits are delivered to a Chipotle Rewards account. A free Chipotle Rewards account is required to claim the prize. If a winner does not have a Chipotle Rewards account, the winner can create one for free at the time of award.

When it comes to the segments in question, Strava & Chipotle have selected six different segments, which appear to be linked to start or end at various Chipotle stores. These Strava Segments are as follows:

Chipotle LA Segment: 0.3km / Flat
Chipotle NYC Segment: 0.3km / 3% grade
Chipotle DC Segment: 0.28km / -2% grade
Chipotle Chicago Segment: 0.33km / Flat
Chipotle Columbus Segment: 0.32km / 2% grade
Chipotle Denver Segment: 0.32km / Flat

As you can see, they’re all about 300-meters long, with zero to barely any incline/decline. Keep in mind that while DC’s segment is downhill, in order to repeat it, you’ve gotta go back uphill each time. Also note, that you need to tap on the register for each segment you want to suffer on.

In order to track all this madness, Strava is using the ‘Local Legends’ feature, which basically highlights the person who does the most iterations of that segment. I wrote a thing about it a few years back, when I took that crown for the massive Col in Amsterdam.

After the first open/known day of data, zero people cared in Washington DC. Like, literally nobody made an effort on the first day. Likewise for Columbus, which seems ripe for someone to wake up and at least make a half-hearted attempt. Meanwhile, in New York City and LA, a few runners put in respectable Day 1 efforts of roughly a dozen laps each (and then one NYC individual upped that to 51 laps by Day 2, he appears legit). One person in Chicago showed up too, with an equally good start of 20 laps of the segment on Day 1.

However, for the folks in Denver, it began as all-out war on Day 1, and has escalated quickly since then. All of this is taking place at the home of the first Chipotle, and the segment in question is up/down a residential street (seen later in the post).

To begin this battle of stupidity, a duo of athletes ran together, Andrew Berndt and Sam Werner. Andrew logged 15km of nothingness sidewalk, while Sam did nearly 19km of repeats. Notably, though, neither of these guys just walked for hours. Instead, they made a legit workout out of it, including hitting the KOM/CR with a pace of 2:12/km (3:30/mi), and an average pace of 4:20km/7:05mi – which is harder to do than you think, given they simply went back and forth with average paces slower due to the 180° turns each time.

Andrew kept it simple with his activity naming, as well as the declaration “That KOM ain’t going down”, which means…it’s certainly going down. This is Denver after all, with the greater metro area home to some of the fastest runners in America. However, the winner here isn’t about speed, it’s about sustained stupidity. There are no free burritos for the KOM. Instead, it’s all about the total quantity of times you run this segment:

And Andrew also correctly responded to questions from his concerned fanbase that, “..it’s all about attempts for the year 🌯 supply — this was just an effort to assert some dominance on day 1!”.

Meanwhile, Sam noted in the description of his upload that:

I just need to do this like 500 more times to get free chipotle for a year! Honestly less boring than the track, given the mortal peril from drivers. 2x((5×200/0:15/200/400jog), 400 hard). All at mile pace effort, though distances were probably a bit short

I noticed that on Day 2, Andrew decided to make loops out of it, wrapping around Chipotle seen above, rather than going up/down the same street. This adds a bit of mileage for the extra half-block at each end, but avoids having to do 180° stops each set. Albeit, the segment does include car dodging across one quiet residential street.

Another slate of fast runners made their intentions known as well, including Mark Maguire, who was actually the first person to lay down some serious segment mileage, including both initial Local Legend and a new CR/KOM. Beyond that, he even did a TrainerRoad workout and titled it appropriately:

Unfortunately, the early bird lost his Local Legend status, and currently sits in 3rd place with 34 attempts. However, I’m concerned that Mark appears to be a triathlete. He got a 2,500m swim in yesterday, but followed it up with only 4KM of walking laps on the Chipotle Segment. So while he clearly has the athleticism to be in the running, his multi-sport abilities are currently a liability in this competition.

We’ve then got Garret clocking up a mere 7 reps on their first day. However, his description threatened to do 110-mile weeks for the rest of the month, if that’s what it takes.

Just so we’re clear Garret: At the current rate, it does indeed appear that’s what it’s gonna take. One of the commenters on his post accurately surmised that “Chipotle don’t know what they’ve done…”. And the following day, Garret got distracted running 24KM of non-burrito mileage. He might be a DNF already, or, he could spring back into things – only time will tell.

Thus at the moment, it appears Sam and Andrew are ready to duke it out. Yesterday, Sam commented after his “Truly hoping the 49 in 2 days deters anyone from trying!”. But he didn’t learn anything from Andrew’s KOM declaration, and Andrew himself took out Sam, now sitting at 63 segments. Also, he had time afterwards to create some custom logo-work for this effort. Maybe he’ll create t-shirts too.

This could end up being an incredibly fascinating challenge. When you’ve got a smattering of clearly very capable runners all vying for a year’s worth of free Chipotle, shit’s gonna get real. I mean, both the literal and figurative ways. Any bets on the ultimate winning number of repeats?

Meanwhile, over on Team Free Guac, you can unlock that achievement with far less pain than running a gazillion loops of a random street in Denver. To do that you’ve gotta register for this challenge here, then upload two things a week to Strava. From there, the first 75,000 people to redeem the code in February get a side of free guac.

But obviously, and far more importantly, I’ll circle back at the end of the challenge to see just how many laps these folks did.

With that – thanks for reading!


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  1. Mister Ray

    On another note can you do a review of the new ERG mode on the Peloton Bike+ for Power Zone classes.

  2. Michael Smith

    Following up at the end of the challenge is not enough. I vote for weekly updates! Great stuff!!!

  3. “…shit’s gonna get real. I mean, both the literal and figurative ways. Any bets on the ultimate winning number of repeats?”

    What? To the bathroom?

  4. Andrew

    As a normal crazy person I definitely looked into it in Columbus. But it looks like a guy has already committed to doing his morning 10 milers on the loop. I’d say its a scare tactic, but he’s run 100mile weeks for the past year

  5. Robin

    This is the sort of content that will make me continue to be a paying supporter.

  6. Allen

    Since this segment is only one direction and slightly uphill, It seems the optimal footwear for this challenge would be a pair of Heelys. Run up and skate back down.

    Perhaps you can run up and golf cart back down.

    If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.

    • Pavel Vishniakov

      As a person, who skated in Heelys on public roads / sidewalks – it’s nowhere as easy (or safe) as you think it is – I trashed at least two jeans and a couple of shorts because I was not noticing some small stones.

  7. Eli

    I’m sure no one is going to use an alternate form of transportation to win. Use a scooter to go back and forth easily?

  8. Mike

    My company did a steps challenge over 2 weeks, after 2 days it all got very competitive between… well me and a college. He was racking up 30k steps a day and I was managing only 20k a day walking the dog, who was already starting to complain after 4 days LOL… I then had an idea, what if I put my phone next to my thigh under my cycling shorts, well would you believe it, that tricked the iPhone into thinking I was walking and upping my step count. All turbo trainer rides and a few longer outdoor rides saw me win by a decent margin, cheating… absolutely but I wasn’t going to lose.

    Now this college is actually a good friend of mine, so it was friendly fun, 4 weeks after the challenge I told him what I had done, I bought him a couple of beers, which was more than I got for winning.

    So I love this challenge can’t wait for the end of January to see what the resulting carnage will be

  9. DTrain

    Hey Chipotle, how about adding OLH in the bay area for a segment. Give us a chance. LA and Denver are a bit of a drive.

  10. David

    The “easiest” way to win this is to pull a Ray. Run the segment wearing multiple watches. Earn N x segment credits as long as you start the watches offset from each other enough.

  11. David Walker

    I feel geographically challenged from this challenge. Does each segment feature a Chipotle Restaurant ?

  12. Miska

    Ray needs to get on a plane ! This has the potential to be his YouTube video with the most views ever. Slo-Mos, drama, interviews with the KOM and tears from the losers at the end of the challenge.

    • If I still lived in DC, I might have made an effort out of it (not interviewing, but winning).

      As one of the leaders in Denver said, it’s really about throwing down some massive Week 1 numbers to scare people away. When in reality, it’s a 30-day even, and if you do just 20 or so segments a day (12KM, including the return loop each time), you’re talking 600 segments.

      The Denver segment is actually really nice in that you can do the loop around the building, and basically just make it like a ~700m running track. I’ve done 14-16mi on a track before, so loops don’t really bother me. Whereas the DC segment appears to end just beyond two intersections, so basically you’ve got three intersections worth. Frankly, they should have selected a different Chipotle. The ones at Dupont Circle or Central Station have many more options for ‘clean’ segments that aren’t crossing traffic a bunch of times.

  13. Alain

    DC – I’m laughing because this is precisely the walk from the back entry to my office to our lunch stop Chipotle. And I’m certain the reason why so few are running it is because there isn’t much in the way of apartments on that stretch. If you want to run most people head West toward the White House and the National Mall.

  14. Jesper

    So this is just running, no biking??? I feel discriminated!

    And only in the US. Feeling double discriminated..

    They could at least have made one for the London location. Not that it would matter for me. Or teamed up with Subway or something for over here….

    • To be fair, all these segments would be absolutely horrific for cycling. Heck, even for running some of them are non-awesome.

      As for outside the US, yup, I agree. Chipotle in London, Germany, and France (plus Canada).

  15. Ben Dover

    This is fantastic content and the real reason I visit this site. It makes me smile

  16. Garrick

    Interesting that they have 2 in the Midwest (Chicago and Columbus) and none anywhere in the Southeastern US. No Dallas, Atlanta, Charlotte, or Miami.

  17. Lee K.

    So the Denver Chipotle is in the University of Denver neighborhood and feeds a lot of college students. I would not be surprised if these guys are college students or recent grads, and therefore highly motivated by a year’s worth of free Chipotle.

  18. John

    OSU segment is getting weird. There is a club runner OSU student who puts down 100 miles a week. Sometime later last year, he cranks it up to 110 miles a week. I guess my man likes Chipotle because he clearly knows about the challenge early and hits it hard, bringing a huge volume of his (regular) training to a silly micro-segment. He writes some clever posts as he logs big miles every day, and entertains the local running community with daily huge efforts running ITB-band busting repeats. One day he gets a little smug in his posts and his friends knock him down a peg. Generally, some good Strava fun. The guy has a big lead, and just keeps dedicating massive miles to the segment. BUT THEN SOME GUY UPLOADS A BUNCH OF “OLD RUNS” or turns off private or whatever and all of a sudden 110 mile a week guy is second place in the battle of the Local Legend. I’m having a hard time understanding the data, because the mysterious pop-up Local Legend has chosen to keep his data bare minimum (like, I’d love to check the start times and figure out how these two have never had a fly-by… but alas). It’s either a genuinely wholesome dude figuring out his “personal phone situation,” or one of those stories of people who start in the back of the pack and cut the marathon course to claim a burrito a week for a year. I’m more intrigued than suspicious, and frankly something about the whole thing is just exceptionally entertaining.