RORY: How much longer?
LORELAI: I don’t know. I just know that every year I block this part out.
After already dancing for more than fourteen hours, the dancers are then forced to race each other around the gym for an undetermined period, with the last five couples to complete the lap when the music stops being eliminated from the competition. The “runaround”, as it is known, is taken directly from the film They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, in which “elimination derbies” are held to maintain the spectators flagging interest. The consequences are fatal for one of the characters in the film.
Lorelai says she blocks this part out every year. Apparently Rory has blocked it out too, even though she’s only ever watched, as she has no knowledge of it. It seems they’ve only ever had a runaround after Rory has either gone home or fallen asleep in the bleachers.