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Not so short O

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 8 June 2000, 3:42 PM  
In the May issue of New Zealand Orienteering Malcolm Ingham raises the issue of Short O races in New Zealand. It appears that these races are getting further away from the initial reason they were set up.

At first a morning race was held for qualification and then the final race was in the afternoon. This is how short distances races are held overseas, often with qualification and finals on seperate days.

In New Zealand it proved that the grades were too small and the qualification was a waste of time.

Then came a qualification race with a chasing start final based on qualification time. To me this is the most exciting and enjoyable format. First across the line is the winner.

But at the nationals this year the short o merely became, as Malcolm Ingham put it, "simply a Classic event divided into two parts."

I am not sure what the rules are about short distance races but clearly they need to be redefined to avoid what happened at the nationals this year.

Malcolm Ingham suggests that the event could just become a one off race and the price halved.

It is my general feeling that the youth in orienteering prefer the chasing start, head-to-head style racing where as the older generation prefer to just be out in the forest and do their own thing.

What should the format for short O's be and is there a generation gap in the way people prefer to orienteer?

Show Profile  fraser Posted: 14 June 2000, 7:25 PM  
While a classic event divided into two parts is different from a classic event it still lacks the true spirit of short Os if it doesn't have a chasing start or you don't need to qualify.

The beauty of true short distance races is that you must balance the speed you run at with your navigation ability to do the course as fast as possible, and its all about pressure.

During the morning race of a short O, if there is a chasing start in the afternoon, you must run hard to get a lead or at least be in the main bunch. The afternoon race you obviously must race hard and the pressure is on because anyone who passes you will beat you.

However, a classic race of two halves with no chasing start merely encourages consistency in your racing and does not push you to your limits. It is far too easy to just ease up ever so slightly and have a clean run, ending up with a Classic distance racing mentality all over again.

With no chasing start, is it truely as exciting and as intense as situations when you have people starting just seconds in front or behind you?

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