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In a potato race, a bucket is placed at the starting point, which is 5 m from the first potato and other potatoes are placed 3 m apart in a straight line. There are ten potatoes in the line. A competitor starts from the bucket, picks up the nearest potato, runs back with it, drops it in the bucket, runs back to pick up the next potato, runs to the bucket to drop it in, and she continues in the same way until all the potatoes are in the bucket. What is the total distance the competitor has to run? [Hint: to pick up the first potato and the second potato, the total distance (in metres) run by a competitor is 2×5+2×(5+3)]

The distances of potatoes from the bucket are 5, 8, 11, 14…, which is in the form of AP.

Given, the distance run by the competitor for collecting these potatoes are two times of the distance at which the potatoes have been kept.

Therefore, distances to be run w.r.t distances of potatoes, could be written as;

10, 16, 22, 28, 34,……….
Hence, the first term, a = 10 and d = 16 - 10 = 6
S10 =?

By the formula of sum of n terms, we know,

$$S_{10} = {{12} \over {2}} [2(20)+(n -1)(-1)]$$
= 5[20+54]
= 5(74)
= 370

Therefore, the competitor will run a total distance of 370 m.