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New National Relay Format

Show Profile  o4life Posted: 29 March 2018, 9:23 PM  
With the new structure, our club, North West, can't put together a legal Mixed Short team & we have the third largest number of participants in the relay. PAPO can't field a legal Mixed Veteran team & they have the second largest number of registered entries for relay.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 1 April 2018, 5:43 PM  
That may not matter - is there a competition for combined results across all relay classes? I'm interested in whether people get what they want - which will vary from close competition for some, and a suitable run in a club team for all who want one. Can't wait for those TC evaluation criteria.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 3 April 2018, 9:00 AM  
So I was a bit of a skeptic regarding both the need to make changes to the relay, and the changes themselves. But I was pretty much won over yesterday. 4 exciting races with a decent sized field in each. And I can vouch that orienteering skills were tested more thoroughly in the new 'open' compared to the old 'mixed long'. And while I haven't looked closely at the data, it was my impression that there was not a significant number of composite teams or otherwise 'not quite official', not to the degree that I expected anyway. One thing to note is that with 4 races happening concurrently, being able to easily identify who is running what, and having very on-to-it commentary, become more important. ACW did an excellent job on the latter (I can't comment on whoever had the mike while I was in the forest but I'm sure if it was ECW it would have been just as good), while the race number 'code' used was good for the former - perhaps an additional band of one of four bright colours might have added emphasis?

No doubt there is some room for tinkering, particularly in regards to whether there is a need for an U18 (could be red or orange) OR (not AND) U16 (would be orange) division or whether the mixed short remains the de-facto junior competition; and whether modifications to age class restrictions for the mixed short would allow more older runners (especially from smaller clubs) to at least run in an official team. But please, no further partitioning of the senior age classes! (perhaps until we have a number of clubs that could field an 80+ team!)

BUT: while it's a thumbs up for the format, there's still questions to be raised about process. Should it be so easy for significant changes to be made to a national championship, and how do we make sure that next time someone has a bright idea about how one of our premium events could be improved, that it does go through a proper consultative process?

AND: I would still love to see an equivalent of the former mixed long relay reappear somewhere on the calendar - maybe a season-opener... if we could ever agree on what time of year THAT would be!

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 3 April 2018, 10:06 PM  
Bit hard to comment with no results - or is that just me?

Show Profile  HidingControls Posted: 4 April 2018, 9:09 AM  
Having not run a lot of Relays (2) I have nothing to compare.

It wasn't until the last week that it became clear to me that a team could enter any course they liked (perhaps my lack of knowledge) as a non competitive team. Nor is clear to me what samll club (<30) means. Is that at the champs or is that overall?

So with an M16 and W18 we ran NonComp on the Masters Course. It would have been nice that it was official, so perhaps having Long, Middle and Short red relays could work with some caveat that 20/21E runners can't win the shorter distances??? The Masters course certainly suited the abilities of the younger Red runners.

From my watching the relays were exceptionally competitive in open and masters and a near three way tie for 3rd in the Juniors.

Show Profile  Ellmo1769 Posted: 8 April 2018, 6:55 AM  
I thought that the relays were great. Maybe I am biased as our club managed a victory in the Open though.

In terms of the Open relay I think maybe 3 very similar leg lengths could be slightly better so there is more chance of mixing the order of where you run the women.

Also as above possibly some junior relay - whether it be 18's or 16's could be a good addition.

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 8 April 2018, 9:08 PM  
It was brilliant to get back to red level orienteering, and I thought the courses, the run through, the different grades, and the whole package was superb.
Agree about looking into a junior categary, though.

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 30 March 2019, 5:19 PM  
When is a club relay not a club relay?

When there are 18 clubs in the country and the revised Mixed Short grade, which is the only one that caters for our juniors, can only have 'official' teams from 4 clubs. Auckland, Nelson, Dunedin and Peninsula & Plains.

Nelson won't be able to field an official Mixed Short relay team in next years Nationals, despite possibly having 10 juniors.

The revised relay format is failing our juniors. It needs urgent attention.

But I'm glad that our Masters get to run red...

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 10 April 2019, 12:08 AM  
So after a bit of thinking I've come up with a suggestion for the Junior grades of MW16 and under.

Current entries mean that there will be 18 official teams in the Mixed Short from only 4 clubs with PAPO(9), AOC(5), DOC(2) and NOC(2).

It leaves 27 Juniors from around the country in unofficial teams and not feeling part of the competition.

So how about this. Firstly, we change to having three relay grades: MW12, MW14, MW16. All three are mixed.

Secondly, Clubs must select their official teams. This means (with only a few kids running up a grade) that there are now 22 official club teams spread across the three grades but from 6 clubs: PAPO(9), AOC(5), DOC(3), NOC(3), CMOC(1) and WOC(1).

Thirdly, a regional 'selector' gets to choose official teams from AOA, CDOA, WOA or SIOA. This adds in perhaps 3 extra regional teams - SIOA(2) and WOA(1). These won't be super-teams as they are selected after clubs have first rights.

This would leave only about 6 juniors not being in an official team. There are now three chances of winning a title (one for each grade instead of only one (just like has happened for the seniors)).

I don't think it will much extra work for the planners. MW12 could run yellow (or a mixture of white and yellow). MW14 would run orange and MW16 would run the same course as the Super Vets.

So any chance this can be adopted by 2020?

Show Profile  camd Posted: 10 April 2019, 9:49 PM  
The problem with having all these different grades is that it is totally diluting the idea of there being a national club relay. The best part of national relays to me used to be about running in a team with a range of different ages and people, something which helped to foster club spirit and which was missing last year.

Why not go back to having a main relay and a short relay and add a leg onto the main relay? So you could have roughly M21E - M14/W16/M60/W50 - M16/W18/M50/W40 - M18/W21E/M45 (all red courses) Then the short relay something like M14/W16/M60/W50 (orange) - M12/W12 (white) M12/W14/M70/W60 (yellow)? The idea being to get the grade combinations to encourage competitive teams to have both masters, young and elite all in the same team. (ie if I'm not mistaken, fixing the main percieved issue with the old relay not giving masters/juniors enough chance to be in a competitive team?). It also gives the potential for more splits = less following, another common complaint I have heard.

Adding more junior relays just isn't going to work, it will only end up more and more like Oceania relays (the biggest non-event in orienteering ever).

Show Profile  rob.g Posted: 11 April 2019, 8:14 AM  
2020 Nationals don't exist as far as the ONZ calendar goes.
In fact there are no major events since the shift away from the usual event allocation!!!

Show Profile  mcroxford Posted: 11 April 2019, 5:21 PM  
Rob, Sprint the Bays 2020 has been announced.

Show Profile  o4life Posted: 11 April 2019, 11:07 PM  
Given the list of entries I've seen for North West club this year, we cannot field a legal team in the Veteran or Junior/Short relay teams. The only way we can field a Masters team is if out W60 runner runs down. I love the format of last yrs relay but there clearly needs to be tweeks to make it work. Certainly don't want to go back to the old format.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 16 April 2019, 11:27 AM  
I'm reminded of drivers' behaviour on the roads. Why does that turkey bother to indicate, AFTER they're halfway thru the overtaking? Me: now there's a gap in the next lane. Think, move. Oh yes, better indicate.

Many relay formats provide exciting racing at the front. Much better with red legs. I'm really a B runner but I run A. I can sometimes have a midfield run on a good day. Yes I suppose I'll enter the relay. But what's this - I've been put in the open with a cripple and a 12-year old because we're the club leftovers? Or on the scrapheap of "spares" to run with people I don't even know? Don't think I'll sign up next year.

I look forward to seeing some evaluation criteria:-)))(

Show Profile  Jenni Posted: 16 April 2019, 12:33 PM  
I've been too busy to contribute to this discussion - just sneaking a minute (or few) while I'm sitting in a talk at a conference now.

I'm not a fan of the format change. But this year we decided it needed another year of trial, in a different part of the country to allow a wider experience to inform the needed discussion. And we didn't think it was our role as host club to define the NZOC relay format.

I think a good relay will
- have red level courses available (as well as orange, yellow and white)
- have course length options suitable for most people
- provide options for all clubs to include most of their members in legal teams
- have no more than 4 classes so as to avoid the non-event nature mentioned by Cam

I prefer classes which mix ages as this encourages better club spirit. This was what I liked a lot about the old relay classes - everyone was interested in how their club MW20-40 runners went on the first leg, and the open runners were cheering on their older team-mates. The problem in the old format (apart from the orange difficulty stipulation) was that for a big club any female much older than 35 and male much older than 40 were not likely to make any of the top teams regardless of the fact that they might have been the best in the country for their age.

A smallish tweak I have wondered about for this year is allowing MW16s and below to be able to be legally included on any of the legs other than the Short 2nd and 3rd legs.

That is the grades now called Masters and Veterans would no longer have these titles but something else based on length probably. This would allow more clubs to put in legal teams - there could be an all MW16 team legally entered in the "veterans" grade.

I don't think we can regulate for how clubs pick their teams to address the issue Michael raises. In PAPO we have traditionally picked 2-3 top teams per grade and then tried to make our teams as even as possible, this has upset competitive people who have just missed getting in a top team who would like to be in a nearly as competitive team. But I think 2-3 top teams is enough - if you can't make those then tough, grow your club spirit and do your best for you team which has some weaker runners in it. I definitely have never wanted to have a PAPO "rejects" team which will finish with a very long time - our slower runners are put in teams with some close-to-top (but not quite top) runners.

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