Ever made it from Buchanan to ICICS in the 10 minutes between classes? Ever wandered into class late, soaking wet and sad? The members of UBC Speedrunners have (done the first thing). They go fast so they’re not late.
“Ironically enough, campus speedrunning is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Discord user SweatWeasel98 in a 360p video call on ubcsecure that cut out seconds later. “You don’t have to call me SweatWeasel98 in the article by the way, it’s just kind of my tag in the community.”
Even during our call, Weasel was training — preparing for his first attempts at beating a campus record that has stood for 15 months by running in place in his room. The category is called Tree%, so named for its finish line inside the Forestry building’s main lecture hall.
The rules are simple.
Start your run lying face down on the Crescent Road sidewalk just outside Buchanan D. At exactly 11:50 a.m. on a Wednesday while regular classes are in session, reach behind your back and press start on your Fitbit timer — UBC Speedrunners has loaner Fitbits if needed. Your goal is to take a seat in FSC 1001 as fast as possible. There is one mandatory checkpoint at the Main Mall fountain to prevent, in Weasel’s words, “some wack-ass cheese.” The category without this stipulation is AnyTree%, which has a much smaller community of runners who were too busy clipping through the Chemistry building to talk to me.
“The Discord has been innovating the past few months, and everyone is just waiting to see who can put the new strats to use in a full Tree% run,” said Weasel. “The big one I’m trying to apply in my next run is an obstacle avoidance strat called ‘iterated leapfrog.’”
Iterated leapfrog is exactly what you think it is.
The hardest part of any Tree% run is the people. According to Weasel, pedestrians typically do not know a runner is attempting a historical feat when they’re shoved out of the way, so they tend not to yield when sped past on Main Mall. But runners have discovered that every Main Mall blockade has one thing in common: short people.
“Yeah you just have to jump over the short people, and when you land, find the next short person in your way and jump over them. Rinse, wash, repeat, and you might just have yourself a Tree% record. That’s the theory at least,” said Weasel. “I don’t really think they mind, we’re so fast they probably don’t even notice.”
When asked for comment, a representative of UBC Short People Club Association said “the SPCA is firmly against this concerning new trend.” When told it was a speedrun strategy, the representative walked back the statement, saying “woah, nevermind bro that actually sounds hype as hell.”
SweatWeasel98 holds three other campus records, the most impressive being 2amTree%. You can watch their attempt at a fourth record on November 29, but if you are under 5’5” and do not want to be leapfrogged, you may want to stay inside.