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New Auckland OY rules

Show Profile  SteveO Posted: 21 February 2008, 10:24 AM  
WARNING: Arcane statistical discussion follows.

It is perhaps time to review the new Auckland OY scoring rules now that we have a sample size of one (promotional, non-OY, different target audience but same courses and number of runners) event to consider.

A quick summary: there are 4 red courses, 2 orange courses, 1 yellow, 1 white. The courses have factors of 130, 75, 50, 35 (Red 1-4), 25ish (Orange TBD), 20 (Yellow) and 10 (White). You choose whatever course you like regardless of grade and your OY points are Course Factor x Median Time / Your Time. You are awarded those points in your age grade but I’ll ignore that for the purposes of this discussion.

So what would have happened if OY points had been awarded at Celebre last Sunday? The median times for all Red courses were within 5-10% of the sample (note: not target) median times given in the February Auckland Orienteer with the exception of Red 3 which was run a bit quicker. Red 1 runners would have got 210 – 84 points (congratulations Neil K), Red 2 runners 104 – 43, Red 3 runners 112 – 26, Red 4 runners 47 – 8, Orange runners 37 – 19, Yellow 44 – 8 and White 17 – 4. I’ve got a spreadsheet available if you’re really interested but it’s easy enough to work out yourselves.

The interesting thing is the statement in the rules “The highest placed runners on a course will normally score a similar number of points to the median runners in the course above”. If you define “highest placed runners” as “the top 15%” (and I will although the rule makers didn’t) then that statement holds true for every case with the exception of Red 1 / Red 2. In that particular case the top 15% Red 2 runners scored a similar number of points to the bottom 15% Red 1 runners. Changing the Course Factor for Red 1 from 130 to 100 would correct this.

There was also a discrepancy in the Yellow / White comparison but this could be overcome simply by only considering club members as there were a high number of non-club members on these courses at this promotional event.

So roll on OY1 in a couple of weeks. It looks like the scoring system will be pretty much in line with what the rulemakers were trying to achieve – although the Red 1 factor may have to get pulled back at some stage.

DISCLAIMER: I’ll probably be running Red 2 so anything that reduces the points awarded on Red 1 has my support.


Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 21 February 2008, 3:33 PM  
Interesting and exciting!

Course 1 at celebre was somewhat shorter than a normal OY (?), this meant two things that could effect the points in the future. More people who would normally do course 2 were having a go at course 1. And as the event gets longer the tail enders of an elite field tend to be fall behind at a growing rate.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 21 February 2008, 5:46 PM  
What WERE the rulemakers wanting to achieve? The relationship between courses suggests it might be the ability to move between courses during the year. Maybe it compares a runner who likes to do a longer course with someone of the same age who does a short one. Or is it just to inject a change to revitalise interest? (This is not a dig, it's a valid objective.)

On the latter, is interest maintained through to the last AOA OYs of the year? WOA's OYs get highly variable attendance, it doesn't seem to be attributable to the obvious culprit distance from home, and coordinators Ian and Allison Basire are trying to get a bit of debate going.

Show Profile  Neil K Posted: 21 February 2008, 8:13 PM  
As far as I can tell all of your suggestions were positives mentioned when composing the new rules. The change of course thing was particularly for those improving during the year (beginners moving from orange to red), and for those who sometimes want to stretch themselves and sometimes not.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 21 February 2008, 9:45 PM  
Statistical comment follows - though I acknowledge that social objectives might be more important.

The fairness of the approach would seem to be very dependant on the ratios of course factors. And maybe there should also be something in the maths about the spread of results. Some time ago there was a school examination system in which it was held that "a number" should be given to all, whether they studied Latin or Workshop Technology. I think a set of "course factors" was applied, though it was popularly known as "scaling".

School Cert was tossed out, and ever since we've struggled with other ways of measuring competence in school subjects.

Show Profile  pete s Posted: 28 February 2008, 8:07 AM  
Hi Steve - looking at the results of Celebre, I'd say that Red 2 didn't get the result I'd anticipated (assumed a strong A runner would win in 60 mins) - so that would correct the course factor issue you mention. If anything, I'd agree with Neil that Red 1 was a bit short - next time I'd add a good 1/2 - 1 km to it, to aim for a top elite winning time of 60 mins.

I have to admit when I set the rest of the courses I didn't pay too much attention to the OY rules - I was primarily thinking about the target audience for a promo, and what would interest them.

One of the things I was pleased with was the response to an Orange long course (7km), which attracted quite a number of adventure racers etc. Surprisingly, even the strong adventure racers still found a long orange course a challenge (eg wayne Hodgetts ran in 1.41, and he's a strong runner and very experienced adventure racer with nav skills). They all seemed to love it though, and in general the comments were that they thought it was tough but achievable (versus running around blind for hours on a red course). In summary, a good format to continue with through OY's and promo's I think - it is great to have these people come to an O event.

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