by Sam Dolinar
Starting in 1983 and continuing for several years in the mid 1980s, the Great Pumpkin Run was run on a variable-distance course at the Rose Bowl. All runners first ran a 1.9-mile loop and then headed for a turnaround point 1.2 miles away, marked by the Great Pumpkin. However, all runners reaching the turnaround point took turns carrying the Great Pumpkin back toward the start, thus shortening the course for all successive runners. The first runner reaching the Pumpkin ran the maximum race distance of 4.3 miles. The last runner could run as little as 1.9 miles.
Here's a map from 1983 describing the variable distance Great Pumpkin Run course.