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M/W 16

Show Profile  HeadHoncho Posted: 2 September 2003, 1:11 AM  
Following from the NZOF Technical Committee sent to clubs yesterday:


Proposal to alter M/W16A and related grades for major events
Invitation to Clubs to provide comment before final consideration by the NZOF Council at its meeting in November.


This proposal was initiated as a result of an article published (in abridged form) in NZ Orienteering Magazine by NZOF Selection Committee Convenor Marquita Gelderman. On her return to New Zealand after a competitive visit to Australia, she questioned the placement of the M and W 16A Grades on Orange level courses. She noted that most other countries have these grades on their equivalent of Red courses, and that because we were "out of step" with our rival nations our M/W16A runners were generally well beaten in international competition as they were unused to competing on similar courses.

The full version of her article was circulated to the Technical Committee, and the subject has been discussed at length in forums such as Maptalk by other interested orienteers. The proposal to move these grades to Red level has met with almost unanimous approval by those who would be affected by the change as well as by most experienced coaches, the selectors and others.

Coaching Director Jamie Stewart has entered the debate with a well constructed proposal which was presented to the NZOF Council meeting in August. There it was agreed that because groups other than the key grades would be affected and there was an implication for clubs as a whole, the wider (e.g. social) implications of such a change be added to the proposal and it be circulated to clubs for their comment.


All clubs who wish to provide feedback on this proposal, are asked to forward these to Bruce Henderson, NZOF Technical Committee Convenor at or to 5B Nikau Grove, Lower Hutt, by 30 September. These will be taken into account by the Technical Committee before placing a final proposal before the NZOF Council meeting in November.

The Proposal

That the NZOF Competition Rules be amended so that M/W 16 A Grades be moved from Orange to Red course level; and that surrounding grades (M/W14A, 18A and all other Grades from M/W12 to 18 including new grades for M and W 10) be reformatted to ensure a smooth progression of difficulty from White to Red. The proposed new course tables are shown below, and can be compared with the existing tables in the competition rules (see the Technical Committee pages on the NZOF website).

The course lengths set out below are designed to reflect the current relative strengths of the competitors in the various A Grades, and an assessment of where less experienced members of the grades would be if they were to run a properly constructed B course instead of being outclassed by more experienced runners who return to their correct grades for (e.g.) trials and National and major Regional Championships.

13 Course Format (suggested by Bruce Henderson, based on tables below)
Course Men Women Relative Length Difficulty Existing Course
1 M21E (Open) 100% Red
2 M20A, M21A (Open) M35A W21E (Open)60% Red
3 M18A, M40A, M45A 47% Red
4 M50A M16A W20A, W21A (Open) W35A 41% Red
5 M55A, M21AS (Open) W40A, W45A 37% Red
6 M60A, M40AS W18A, W50A 33% Red
7 M65A W55A, W21AS (Open), W40AS, W16A 27% Red
8 M70A, M75A, M80A W60A, W65A 18% Red
9 M18B, M21B (Open), M20B, M40B W18B, W21B (Open)32% Orange Was C9 and 10; M16A
10 M16B, M50B W16B, W20B, W40B, W50B, 23% Orange Was C11; W16A
11 M14A W14A 3.5-4.5km Orange M50B,W20/40/50B
12 M12A, M14B, M21C (Open) W12A, W14B, W21C (Open) 2-3km Yellow M/W14A, M/W16B
13 M10, M12B W10, W12B 1.5-2.5km White M/W12A, M/W14B

12 Course Format (as suggested by Marquita Gelderman and Jamie Stewart)
Course Men Women RelativeLength Difficulty ExistingCourse
1 M21E 100% Red
2 M20A, M21A, M35A W21E 60% Red
3 M18A, M40A, M45A 47% Red
4 M50A, M21AS, M16A W20A, W21A, W35A, W40A41% Red
5 M55A, M60A, M40AS W18A, W45A, W50A 33% Red
6 M65A W55A, W21AS, W16A 27% Red
7 M70A, M75A W60A, W65A, W40AS 18% Red
8 M14A, M21B 35% Orange M16A
9 M18B, M40B W14A, W21B 29% Orange W16A, M20B
10 M50B W18B, W40B, W50B 23% Orange W20B
11 M12A, M14B, M21C W12A, W14B, W21C 3.5-4.5km Yellow M/W14A, M/W16B
12 M10, M12B W10, W12B 2-3km White M/W12, M/W14B

10 Course Format (as suggested by Marquita Gelderman and Jamie Stewart)
Course Men Women RelativeLength Difficulty ExistingCourse
1 M21E 100% Red
2 M20A, M21A W21E 60% Red
3 M18A, M40A 47% Red
4 M50A, M21AS, M16A W18A, W20A, W21A, W40A38% Red
5 M60A, M40AS W50A, W21AS, W16A 27% Red
6 M70A W60A, W40AS 18% Red
7 M21B, M14A 35% Orange M16A
8 M18B, M40B W21B, W40B, W14A, W18B 29% Orange W16A, M/W20B
9 M12A, M14B, M21C W12A, W14B, W21C 3.5-4.5km Yellow M/W14A, M/W16B
10 M10, M12B W10, W12B 2-3km White M/W12, M/W14B


As noted above, our M/W 16 runners are out of step with their overseas competitors; this affects them adversely, and hinders their ability to develop as top-level competitors. At the present time also, most of our juniors habitually "run up" in almost all OY and Badge events to gain better competition. As a result also, "B" Grades are generally poorly supported; when runners return to their own grades for e.g. the Nationals, there is an imbalance between the different groups within the grades. It is expected that with the provision of a better course difficulty structure, competitors will be able to compete in their own grades more regularly and have a more accurate idea of where they stand competitively.


· Team selection (e.g. for ANZ Challenges, JWOC etc) should become more straightforward
· Relative beginners in the grades 14-18 will be better provided for on "B" courses and will not find themselves pitted against more experienced runners who have returned to their correct grades for a major event.
· In running up, our juniors are forced to compete against runners up to four years older than themselves. This does not help them to develop in the context of their peer group, and places them "out of synch" with their maturity level.
· A properly constructed Novice to B to A Grade structure will provide a better progression for improving orienteers than a system where large numbers of runners run out-of-grade and B grade courses are poorly supported.

Aspects of the proposal we are seeking comment on

1. How would the above course restructuring affect the junior members of your own club a/. having regard to your current membership and b/. looking say 2-3 years into the future? Would a well-constructed A and B course structure as set out above cater for your upcoming members? (Comments on this aspect will be used to provide information for or against the proposal as a whole)

2. Given that this restructuring relates to major (Badge and National) events, to what extent would you have to alter your regional event structure to "feed into" this structure? (Note: This grade structure proposal will not affect the Secondary Schools Championships, as they have their own grade system.)

3. When would you feel the most appropriate changeover date to this structure would be? There are two schools of thought here -one that the changeover be made early in the year so that it will be in place for the Nationals at Easter, the alternative is that the changeover be on 1st August 2004 so that all juniors spend at least six months running in the existing system (and therefore grade and level of difficulty) before the change, ensuring that they don't have to jump in difficulty too quickly (Note that Red Kiwis can make the changes to the Nationals without any difficulty, provided they have enough lead time to finalise the courses)

*Whichever date is chosen, it will be vital that clubs ensure the affected juniors are clear about the changes and that they have time to discuss it amongst themselves, decide whether as individuals they should run A or B Grade at relevant events, and that they agree amongst those they compete against, that they make the necessary moves together to ensure good competition. For this they may need the advice and support of their club coaches and senior members.

Lastly, there is an implication in this revised structure for planners and controllers. More than ever, the careful planning of B Grade (Orange) as well as Yellow and White courses will be necessary to ensure a proper progression of difficulty for our up and coming competitors. Controllers will need to be strict in their interpretation of the NZOF Competition Rules as regards such areas as control placement and route choice, to make the structure work effectively.

Please send feedback and comments to Bruce Henderson at the addresses given above, by 30 September. All comments received before this date will be taken into consideration; anything after this date cannot be included. Also, no verbal comments please -I cannot promise to remember them, especially if I receive them at an event!

Bruce Henderson
NZOF Technical Committee.

Show Profile  Michael Posted: 2 February 2004, 6:01 AM  
So it's been passed with effective date 1 April.

But we don't know what "it" is. Presumably Bruce took account of submissions before putting a final version to council. The council minutes only show some dotted i's and crossed t's, none of the rest of "it".

Organisers of coming major events, controllers who want to keep up with things, areas which run OY series need to know the detail.

Show Profile  onemanfanclub Posted: 7 February 2004, 3:15 AM  
If we know "it" has a dotted "i" and a crossed "t" then what could possibly remain of "it" to inform us about?? (sorry, couldn't resist).

Seriously though, is April 1st really the best time to bring in a change like this? I assume this means we will have juniors who have been running at one colour level in the regional champs, southern series and anything else major-ish I might have missed suddenly stepping up a colour at Nationals. Why not make changes like this between seasons? Oh that's right we don't have seasons...




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