Satellite view of the course with the path of the race highlighted in blue

The buggy course runs on public roads through and behind Carnegie Mellon’s campus in Schenely Park. It starts at the intersection of Margaret Morrison and Tech St near Margaret Morrison Hall, loops around Flagstaff hill turning right, and finishes at the intersection of Tech St and Frew St. The race is approximately 0.8 miles long with a total elevation gain of approximately 85 feet, although the net elevation gain is only 24 feet.

The course is broken into 6 segments: 2 uphill legs followed by a long downhill stretch and then 3 more uphill legs.

The course is officially defined in Section 5 of the Bylaws.

Hill 1

Satellite view of the course with Hill 1 highlighted in orange

This is the section of the course from the bottom of Tech St. near the Margaret Morrison rotunda to the top of Tech St. where it intersects with Frew St. The race begins with the buggies stationary at the bottom of Hill 1.

This hill has arguably the most prestige attached to it. The fastest pushers during the races, male and female, get crowned King- and Queen-of-the-Hill, respectively.

Officially defined in Rule 5.3.2.

Hill 2

Satellite view of the course with Hill 2 highlighted in orange

Hill 2 starts near the stop sign at the top of Tech St., continues over the crest of the hill, down Schenley Dr., and technically ends at the monument in the middle of Schenley Drive. As the buggies begin rolling down Schenley Dr. they begin to move faster than the pushers can run. Therefore, the pushers typically give their last push around the crosswalk of Schenley Dr.

The pusher for hill 2 has the important job of timing the final push into the freeroll to maximize the buggy’s speed entering the downhill portion of the course.

Officially defined in Rule 5.3.3.


Satellite view of the course with the Freeroll highlighted in orange

The freeroll is the mostly downhill portion of the course, during which the buggy is freely rolling and is generally going too fast for a pusher to keep up with. The freeroll begins where the Hill 2 pusher lets go, usually between the crest of Hill 2 and the crosswalk, and ends after the chute. During the freeroll, buggies can reach speeds of up to ~40mph. Technically, Hill 2 extends into the freeroll until halfway through the monument, though it is rare that a buggy will require a push after the top of Hill 2 (exceptions may include a buggy that is heavily bagged, Camo, and Zephyrus). The freeroll is the fastest part of the course, and is therefore the most fun to drive.


Satellite view of the course with the Chute highlighted in orange

The chute is the portion of the buggy course at the very bottom of the freeroll where buggies reach their maximum speed and must then navigate a relatively sharp right turn. The beginning of the chute is marked by a flagger who signals to the driver the best point to be turning. The end of the chute is generally thought of as the lower edge of porter hall, or Window 0.


Rollout is the measure of distance that a buggy travels beyond the Chute before being picked up by the Hill 3 pusher. This is used as a rough measure of mechanical and driving efficiency. As there is no scale on the course, Porter Hall’s windows are the standard unit of measure. The fire hydrant on the side walk along Porter Hall, which appears at the 10th window, is the mark of an excellent rollout. This is called “rolling the plug.” Past the plug are the stairs leading into Porter Hall. “Rolling the stairs” has happened, but is usually the result of a late pickup by the hill 3 pusher.

An aerial view of Porter Hall with each Window labelled

There are some other rollout-related landmarks. “Window 0” is the edge of the driveway between Porter Hall and Scaife Hall. This is used by some organizations for timing. “Rolling the gazebo” is when a buggy stops at or near the corner of Frew and Frank Curto/Schenley Drive, never a good outcome.

Hill 3

Satellite view of the course with Hill 3 highlighted in orange

Hill 3 technically begins at the monument in the middle of Schenley Dr., turns left onto Frew St., and continues up Frew St. to a point about 50 feet beyond the lower entrance to Porter Hall. Hill 3 contains a portion of the course typically known as the chute.

This is the steepest hill but is typically the shortest. Pushers best suited to this hill typically focus more on strength than pure speed.

Officially defined in Rule 5.3.4.

Hill 4

Satellite view of the course with Hill 4 highlighted in orange

Hill 4 begins at the transition of Porter and Baker halls and ends at the top of Baker hall.

Hill 4 is a unique hill in that the grade of the hill changes dramatically over the course of the hill. Pushers that do best on this hill need to have a mix of strength for the lower portion and speed for the upper portion.

Officially defined in Rule 5.3.5.

Hill 5

Satellite view of the course with Hill 5 highlighted in orange

Hill 5 begins at the top of Baker hall and continues to the finish line at the end of Frew St. in front of the Hall of Arts. It is the longest hill and also the flattest.

Pushers who excell on hill 5 are typically the best sprinters.

Officially defined in Rule 5.3.6.

Course Profile

Elevation profile of the buggy course
Course SegmentLengthElevation Change
Hill 1365 feet
+45 feet 1-2 trans
+27 feet
Hill 2211 feet
+45 feet 1-2 trans
+3 feet
then -3 feet:
net 0 feet
Freeroll-62 feet
then +10 feet:
net -52 feet
Chute~ net 0 feet
Hill 3223 feet
+45 feet 3-4 trans
+20 feet
Hill 4404 feet
+45 feet 3-4 trans
+45 feet 4-5 trans
+20 feet
Hill 5544 feet
+45 feet 4-5 trans
+9 feet