By definition, the function of a Derby or race is to determine which Rope Runner is fastest. That admitted, it is our opinion at Rope Runner, that a very exciting and enjoyable event may be held without obsessing too much on the details of the race itself.

Rope Runners are all so different and creative, and they are so entertaining simply in their appearance and the wacky way they roll down the rope, we think the girls are satisfied with the simplest of racing formats, without a lot of emphasis on the competitive aspect. We prefer to place the emphasis on the joy of participating in a group activity and modeling how to have fun even if you dont win.

Let the size of your group and the time you have at your disposal determine how complicated to make your race. Some of our favorite race formats are described below. For a detailed explanation of various, more complex elimination methods, such as Round Robins, visit one of the Pinewood Derbysites. This one is very good: http://www.usscouts.org/pinewood/cspdpro2.html 
We recommend keeping the races moving along quickly, so that those who have been eliminated do not become bored. Consider dividing a large group into smaller groups whose fastest racers can then compete in a grand finale, if desired. Other activities can be offered to those not racing at any given time.  It is important to be very clear about the rules before you begin, and make sure everyone understands them.

Depending on the number of participants, and the time you have, decide in advance what to do with false starts and how to handle derailings and falls, emergency repairs, etc. Be sure that the ropes are equally fast by testing them in advance. Try to make their angle of descent and tautness exactly the same, then do some test runs. Also, tell the racers not to bounce the rope or give their Rope Runner a push to start, which also will bounce the rope. That only slows down the Rope Runner, and may even cause it to fall off the rope.