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Ranked Start Order / Butterfly Loops

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 13 April 2010, 12:02 PM  
At Nationals in both Elite classes (and I suspect in other classes) there were incidents of packs forming and as a result racing faster and cleaner than they otherwise might.

No disrespect to anyone that got an advantage from others at nationals, you would be a fool not to if the opportunity presents itself (and I would have if I could keep up with Tom).

But it does create an unfair advantage for those who happen to be starting near (in particular just in front) of good runners.

At nationals there were podium placings achieved by runners who were caught by others early on, not to say they wouldn't have achieved this on their own, but they wouldn't have achieved this on their own.

I was a bit gutted because I lost a $5 bet with someone in what should have been a very safe bet.

I realise this problem can never be entirely eliminated, but there a few options to minimise the chances or opportunity to get an advantage.

Like:
a) Increasing the start interval
b) Some sort of ranked start order
c) Butterfly loops or similar
d) Qualification races

In Europe with a much larger number of runners, they often have a combination of approches b, c and d.

Interested in hearing others opinions / suggestions.

Or is it even a problem? Should I just suck it up and write off my $5 as a warning about the dangers of gambling.


Show Profile  Greg Posted: 13 April 2010, 12:14 PM  
Its a huge issue, we should have virtual tracking and as soon as a faster runner behind you cross in front of your "leading line" (like the Americas cup virtual) then you are out of the race and have to stop, maybe some sort of electrical shock vest you have to wear that paralyses you when this happens.

Or maybe its a bigger factor when the maps are open and you can see for miles

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 13 April 2010, 1:06 PM  
I note that when (b) is used, the fastest often start last. This increases rather than reduces the chance of pack-forming, but is presumably thought acceptable in the interest of dramatic effect.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 13 April 2010, 1:07 PM  
Greg, in your suggestion above regarding electrical shock vests, are you using the word "you" in the general sense (as in applies to all competitors) or in the personal sense (as in we make pcbrent wear an electrical shock vest....)?

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 13 April 2010, 1:58 PM  
Michael I think the idea with b. is that because simalar ranked runners are grouped there is less chance of packs forming or at least they will form later in the course, so the comparative advantage gained by pack running is less. Also if a pack does form, it is less likely to drag a crap runner through with a good result. Instead it will drag a good runner through with a good result which they probably deserve more anyeay because they are better.

So yes, b. is an advantage for the higher ranked runners, but that is the way it should be. IMHO.

Show Profile  Keith Posted: 13 April 2010, 2:24 PM  
Good post brent.
I think for nationals the start list should be seeded (b). With fastest last. This is the norm in most europeon races. In britain additionally it goes through to the level below the nationals, ie all superseries races. It's a 5 min job for someone in the know to seed the elite fields. The theory being that in a middle, if one top runner catchs 2 mins on another, they are normally out of the top 3. Which might not always be the case in NZ, but if NZ elites sharpen up it should be.

Given the open nature if the terraine some kind of butterfly or phi gaffling could've been done realtivly easily in the long.

I don't think NZ has enough elites for qualificatioon races.

The start interval was the same as most international races and I think this is a good thing. There's a certain skill to using other runners to make your run better... and if you're good enough to have that start position, than why not.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 13 April 2010, 2:32 PM  
Brent, winsplits show Bryn was already ahead of you by 2 minutes when he got caught by Darren.

What you should be gutted about is winpslits shows you were in second place when you stuffed up.

Your very safe bet has nothing to do with packs forming and everything to do with your own mistakes.

So yes, suck it up.

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 13 April 2010, 2:53 PM  
No HeadHonch, my safe bet had to do with Bryn making more mistakes than me. Which would almost definately have happened on the 2nd half of the course if Bryn was running by himself.

What I am gutted about is that Darren didn't start 2 min behind me, then (if I could keep up with him) I would have come 3rd and be $5 richer.

Show Profile  pcbrent Posted: 13 April 2010, 3:01 PM  
Damn Winsplits

Show Profile  Paul I Posted: 13 April 2010, 4:52 PM  
"simalar ranked runners are grouped there is less chance of packs forming or at least they will form later in the course, so the comparative advantage gained by pack running is less. Also if a pack does form, it is less likely to drag a crap runner through with a good result. Instead it will drag a good runner through with a good result which they probably deserve more anyeay because they are better."
...precisely, at a controlling seminar that recommended splitting up any groups of higher ranked runners through the field, I made the same point, but it wasn't agreed with.
My vote for the ranked order starts, and definately yes to a butterfly at a minimum, which is also good practice of these for o/seas events.

Show Profile  Jamie Posted: 13 April 2010, 5:41 PM  
A seeded start at Nationals, based on ranking, is a great idea (it might inspire some of us to improve our classic rankings)



Show Profile  Michael Posted: 13 April 2010, 8:54 PM  
So, based on the latest ranking, where would you put Bryn? Ross? Heh, heh.

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 13 April 2010, 10:04 PM  
Not only that Michael, but based on the Squad rankings from 2009 Brent would have had Greg Flynn starting 2 min behind him for the middle. A real bonus.

Show Profile  nick Posted: 15 April 2010, 1:20 PM  
Sounds like a bad bet Brent

Show Profile  Greg Posted: 15 April 2010, 2:18 PM  
Honcho the squad rankings are completely unofficial, to use the official NZOF rankings he would have had Mark. But how relevant are rankings from 5 years ago??

Show Profile  addison Posted: 15 April 2010, 3:28 PM  
Greg hit the nail on its head with the second paragraph of his first comment. It was open and you could see. Great terrain however, but sometimes you have to factor these sorts of things into your planning.


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