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Whither Short-O?

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 27 October 2001, 2:03 AM  
The following is prepared for the Technical Newsletter to stimulate debate. Thought I'd try it out here first.

NZ adopted the short-distance orienteering format about 10 years ago, with possibly the first major event being the double short-O run by HBOC on Maraetotara as part of the nationals in 1991. It has been run as a double until the WOA Champs last year ran a single. Suddenly, all short-distance events are singles.

I fear this is the beginning of the end for non-elite short-O.

At international elite level the short distance is really different from the classic. The winning time is 25 minutes compared to 90 for classic men and 70 for classic women. The course planning is more intense, compared to the long legs and the compulsory 1:15,000 maps of the classic. It was designed as a discipline that different people could win, in the same way that middle-distance and marathon runners do not win the 100m distance on the track.

At the non-elite level this distinction is blurred. Many orienteers aren’t fit enough to run faster for a short period, or skilled enough to navigate at the higher speed. Course planning for the classic distance often does not provide really long route-choice legs, course lengths are often too short and the 1:15,000 scale is almost extinct. Small wonder then that the average orienteer can’t see much different between the two formats, and orienteers in the same way on both events.

Then there is the regrettable tendency to equate value with course length. “I’m not paying xx dollars/driving yy kilometres just for zz minutes of orienteering,” they say. In my view the success of the short-distance formula for nearly a decade has been the willingness of organisers to put on two in a day.

Look at what is happening with the single short-distance races. Even though our distance for a single race is “no greater than 60% of the single day (winning) times” (in an attempt to retain those who calculate dollars per minute) the fields are less than those for classic. Plus a number of orienteers choose to run up compared to their classic class. If the single races had a winning time of 25 or 30 minutes like the elites there would be even more departure and running up.

I think the choice is clear. The short distance is only different if it is truly short. Non-elites will only enter short races if they feel they are getting their money’s worth. The short-distance must be a two-race event, or not run at all. The elites who have specifically asked for a single race to prepare for international competition provide entertainment by being run in between.

Show Profile  Dave Barr Posted: 27 October 2001, 2:14 AM  
Would there be major complaints if short-O's were only run by elites and elite juniors? The oldies could run another classic.

Edited by - Dave Barr on 10/27/01 10:15:36 AM

Show Profile  mikea Posted: 27 October 2001, 7:09 AM  
As an oldie I enjoyed the double header short O's especially when the second race start was based on the first race placings of winner starts first or last at one minute intervals. I found this tense and exciting.
I for one would love to see the double header reintroduced.
If the elites or other specialised groups want a single race, so be it, surely this is no big deal.

Spring, Summer, Autumn "O" yeh !!!!!

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 27 October 2001, 10:50 AM  
Well I love double race short-o's and I'm an I have to wait 14 years until M35?

Was there a general consensus among elites when the national squad requested a single race short-o at Nationals? Having two races shouldn't affect your orienteering in the first race, surely you just run as hard and orienteer as well as you possibly can! The second race is an exciting technical show down rewarding those of the fleet of foot and a cool head.

I for one would have been amping for the afternoon race, if there had been one, on Hidden Gullies this year....

The one race short-o format panders to the World Champs destined elite, and reduces competition for the competition starved domestic elite...I want more races!!! And not at flippin Labour Weekend....ggrrrr..ggrrr (annoyed student noises)

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 2 November 2001, 3:18 AM  
I've discovered something relevant to this which was written by the planner of this years national short-O.

The format of this event needs to be vigourously debated and a consensus reached.
My opinions which I have aired elsewhere already are:

1. It should be a one race event (otherwise it just becomes the
equivalent of a classic race with a rest in the middle.)

2. Course lengths shold be about 40-50% of classic distances except for under 12
courses which should be 60% (otherwise they become ridiculously short).
In retrospect I consider my courses for the short O this year, although technically
OK in length at near 60% were too long.

3. Winning time targets should be simplified to save a lot of work for the planner.

4. If it is decided that the short O is to be two races then chasing starts should not
be allowed in open terrain or in high visibility forest. (The leaders in the first
race are unfairly penalised in thise conditions.)

For those competitors wanting "more orienteering" on the day than just one short race
it is easy enough to have a score event or a Park O event.

Terry Brighouse

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 4 November 2001, 1:46 PM  
I ran the Wellington Short O champs today. The winning time was fifty minutes, which I thought was too long for a short race, but the winning time was supposed to be 60!

Is it supposed to be short distance orienteering, or just a short-classic? Why do the "rules" say the course should be 60% of a classic race, shouldn't it be 100% of a short race?

How about all red courses have a winning time of 25 minutes?

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 4 November 2001, 2:24 PM  
from the NZOF rules (as amended)

Rule 16.11 Target times in single-day events, approved 26 Aug 00
M21E(open) 90 is revised to read M21E(open) 105
W21E(open) 70 is revised to read W21E(open) 75
Add to paragraph "Short Orienteering Events" the following:
But regardless of what is chosen for other classes, M and W21E shall have a single race in a day designed for a 30 minute winning time.

So the race was 20 minutes too long, not 10 minutes too short.

Show Profile  Andrew M Posted: 5 November 2001, 12:36 AM  
A question,

If the event organiser decides to organise a Short Orienteering race, does this race have to be 60% of a classic race in accordance of the NZOF rules.

Or can the oraginser use discretion to decide that the "short" race will have a winning time of 25 min for all grades.

Show Profile  Phil Posted: 5 November 2001, 3:03 AM  
If you want shorter winning times you guys have to orienteer/run a bit faster. I think the rules say that the course should be set for the fastest resident orienteer in NZ, whether or not they enter the race.
If Carsten was there he would have run 30min.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 5 November 2001, 4:02 AM  
To answer Andrew's question, here is the appropriate passage from the NZOF Rules ...

Short Orienteering Events where one race is run in a day, shall be designed such that the win time for each race shall be no greater than 60% of the single day times. Where two short distance races are run in one day they shall be designed for no more than 40% of the single day times for each race. But regardless of what is chosen for other classes, M and W21E shall have a single race in a day designed for a 30 minute winning time.

The important words are "no greater" - that gives organisers discretion to set a short orienteering event as short as they like, but they shouldn't set it longer than 60% of a classic.

Show Profile  Andrew M Posted: 5 November 2001, 5:23 AM  
Thanks Rob,

Well I hope you all enjoy the ANZ Challenge Short race with a winning time of 25-30 mins.

Show Profile  darren Posted: 5 November 2001, 12:59 PM  
Well you guys certainly had a good weekend of training. Well done Neil, have you been doing some secret training? The organisers obviously seriously cocked up their planning for the short race, there is no excuse for a winning time 20mins to long. Unless of course they can't read. Do we need a system in place where an elite runner not planning to go to the event can vet the elite courses? This will become quite important when we get our domestic O-league up and running.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 6 November 2001, 2:05 AM  
Surely the NZOF controller qualification system is sufficent to impart this information....otherwise it would seem to be completely ineffective.

Otherwise it was a very good weekend orienteering and kudos must be given to all involved.
A bit of a shame that the Auckland orienteering farmland snob machine lessened the competition, although there was very close racing.

Interesting how 5 South Island elites could make it to the Auckland Champs, but only 2 Auckland elites could make it to the Wellington much for this "O League"..

Show Profile  darren Posted: 6 November 2001, 2:41 AM  
Jamie, I can't speak for the other Auckland farmland snobs but I was not at the Wellington Champs for two reasons. One, I was working organising the Kings College Orienteering Champs on a farmland map in Auckland. Yes, I did know the Wellington Champs was on when I agreed to do the Kings job, but I chose to work instead. I have done Orienteering in over 23 countries and there are some terrains and competitons that are worth driving 8hours + for. This years Wellington champs was not one of those events, last years was. I guess its about value/quality for money. I had run on the map before and it did not inspire me enough to go back again, not because it was farmland, simply because it wasn't challenging enough orienteering. If it had have been an O-league race I probably would have made the exception.
One day you will understand.

Show Profile  stu barr Posted: 6 November 2001, 2:57 AM  
Orienteering is orienteering.

Experience is the father of wisdom.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 8 November 2001, 2:51 PM  
One day....hopefully later rather than sooner

I just think its bullshit that people are always talking about series your abortive attempt last year.

What inspires people the most are good carnivals and mu;ti-day events

New Zealand orienteers can already compete in the Australian O League and having an event in New Zealand, as the rumour goes, is meaningless and would degrade from both the Australian and New Zealand competition. How many times would a New Zealand elite travel to compete in Australia per year? And would this affect their ability to travel to the other island therefore affecting domestice competition?....I think so

My evidence for this perception is the above observation...2 Auckland elites at the Wellington Champs....which were, it must be pointed out, a trial.....Are these people really keen to represent NZ?

Wisdom doesn't prevent mistakes, and some people make the same ones over and over again.

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