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Discussion: No packet pick up Friday Eve

in: Canal Cities Challenge (Aug 6–7, 2011 - Buffalo, NY, US)

Aug 3, 2011 1:37 PM # 
Due to anticipated lack of demand, Friday evening's packet pickup for the Canal Cities Challenge (Aug 6-7) previously scheduled for 6-9 PM at the Microtel in Springville, has been canceled.

Packets will be available at registration at the meet site starting at 7:30 AM on Saturday. The first start is at 10:00 AM.

Other than your bib, the most useful content of the packet would have been the competition notes which can also be found here.

Your start time can be found here.
Aug 3, 2011 2:34 PM # 
What is the distribution of classes between Green X and Green Y courses?
Aug 3, 2011 5:09 PM # 
Thanks. Glad I asked. :-)
Aug 3, 2011 6:01 PM # 
Actually, it's not that simple.
Green-X is M-Green, M-18, M50+, and M55+
Green-Y is F-Green, F-20, F35+, F40+, F45+, F50+. and M60+
Aug 3, 2011 7:08 PM # 
For future organizers, when entry numbers require that there be more than one course designed for a given "color," it would be nice to communicate what classes are to run which course in the meet notes along with the course lengths/climb/controls information.

I've been to A-meets where it's not obvious until you reach the start line which course your age group is running.
Aug 3, 2011 8:52 PM # 
Disappointing - I thought having all men run the same course was an issue of the past.
Aug 3, 2011 10:15 PM # 
Hah, I was going to be disappointed that M60 was not on the same course as M50 and M55 -- and they really should be -- but then I remembered I'm running two blue courses and a brown course, so no worries. :-)
Aug 4, 2011 1:12 AM # 
As I am sure you all know (it was actually news to me), OUSA recommends that M60+ run on Green Y with the F classes. You can read it in the rules of competition in section 4.1.2. If most competitors do not like this, perhaps they can get the recommendation changed. Wait, as I remember, a couple of years ago it was the other way around and must have been recently changed to the current scheme.
Aug 4, 2011 1:36 AM # 
Actually, this subject was brought up at a meeting in March 2007:

The wording is in the rules is "recommended", not "required." It is my opinion that this is to allow M60+ to be put with the women when the numbers warrant it, but it allows for the M60+ to be put with the men at the discretion of the meet director. If the start window can accommodate all of the men on one Green, then why not do it? And, if there is some overflow, then move the M-18 and M-Green to the other course.

And, for those of you wondering why the Brown and Green-X course couldn't be truncated on Saturday, the rule to specifically disallow this was passed in April 2005, though it is missing from the rules.

Rule 17.6.1 passed:
Aug 4, 2011 1:47 AM # 
was passed in April 2005, though it is missing from the rules

Yikes. How many other "secret" rules are there?
Aug 4, 2011 1:57 AM # 
The age/sex classes on Green X/Y were an item on tonight's BOD meeting agenda (yet again). I'm still dialed-in to the meeting. The course/class discussion occurred at around 9PM. Chromosomes were mentioned. I don't think there was any resolution. Not sure if any action item was issued. I may have dozed off during that part. They're on the last agenda item now (the 2012 budget).
Aug 4, 2011 2:14 AM # 
That "secret" rule was unknown to the jury Saturday afternoon that reviewed the Brown and Green-X course and ruled on the protests. We used 17.5 and 17.6 as accessed from the OUSA website. And as stated above, item 17.6.1 is not included in these rules. In any case, the determination was made to void the courses based on what we did find in the published rules and in the field.
Aug 4, 2011 2:14 AM # 
And being stuffed into Green-Y does take much of the interest out of the competition.
Aug 4, 2011 2:23 AM # 
Yes, sorry Ken. I misspoke about what rules the jury applied.

I knew that the course shortening rule was passed, but a bit of trolling was needed to unearth it post event.
Aug 4, 2011 2:38 AM # 
Surely the M60s out there will be all over the post-race route comparison with those F35s, no?
Aug 4, 2011 2:43 AM # 
Some of the randy ones, at least.
Aug 4, 2011 3:02 AM # 
Pink Socks:
This Green X vs. Green Y "problem" is really masking a larger issue, which is that we don't have enough young people in the sport.

Why are M50, M55, and M60 getting split up? Because they are proportionately too big.

Looking at the US Champs results last week:

M50, M55, M60: 53 participants

The remainder of Green: 38

All Blue Combined: 15
All Red Combined: 50
All Brown Combined: 48
All Orange Combined: 17
All Yellow Combined: 10
All White Combined: 16

If you require M50, M55, and M60 to all run the same course, those three classes alone already dictate the length of your start window.

Some other numbers, for comparison:

From US Champs:
55% (136 people) of those who competed are 49 years old or older.

From the recent Warrior Dash in Seattle
4% (711 people) of those who finished are 50 years old or older.
Aug 4, 2011 12:42 PM # 
What's a warrior dash? Could it be too hard for old people and not much fun for them? Raid the Hammer has very few super masters teams and those may be two of the reasons. Conversely, perhaps orienteering is too hard for kids and not much fun for them either.
Aug 4, 2011 1:59 PM # 
It seems that the concentration of competitors is in the M50,55,60 categories. That is the current market and our primary customer base until ongoing efforts come to fruition. For the time being then a prime focus must be to keep the customer satisfied, before it becomes disenchanted with bad treatment. A move has been expressed for many years for these classes to be put on the same course. Despite these desires clubs ignore it for the convenience of start windows or what have you.

From my marketing days:
Rule #1: Keep the customer happy.
Rule #2: See #1
Aug 4, 2011 2:00 PM # 
Warrior dashes ( are essentially 3-4 mile obstacle courses featuring running along trails (no navigation). They draw huge numbers by orienteering standards and are 'famous' for their 'attitude' and atmosphere. Two of my former students who work nearby are somewhat athletic (run a couple of times a week, basically don't compete in any kind of races) went to one with folks from work. They described it afterward as "It's not so much that you run it as you 'do it'; and the party atmosphere is great". (Reminds me a bit (only a bit) of a Billygoat or a Highlander in that respect although the party there is much more of a gathering. The "special trophy" idea is common, however; as is the idea that showing off the trophy gains you a small amount of status in certain circles.) Older folks can complete the course without too much more trouble than young folks; they mostly choose not to.

By contrast, the Raid the Hammer courses are sufficiently long that completing them within the time limit is a challenge for some younger teams; super masters teams may be rare there due to the physcality of it.
Aug 4, 2011 3:25 PM # 
I'm still confused why comparing yourself to an M50-59 is fundamentally more enjoyable/fullfilling/better than comparing yourself to an F35-49?

And what happens when you turn 66? Does your happiness suddenly drop because you're not running the same course as your 65yo buddy? Should we have just one old-dudes' course and lump M50-80 into a big mens' club?
Aug 4, 2011 3:46 PM # 
It's a testosterone thing. Out racing another guy is far more fulfilling than just "beating a girl", especially if the guy is younger than you. :-)
Aug 4, 2011 3:48 PM # 
Pink Socks:
From the Warrior Dash website, This running series is held on the nation's most unique and demanding terrain."

Older folks can complete the course without too much more trouble than young folks; they mostly choose not to.

711 fifty-plussers completed the Warrior Dash, and that was just the one in Seattle. Basically, there are more fifty-plussers out there choosing to run the Warrior Dash than choose to go orienteering.
Aug 4, 2011 4:11 PM # 
bshields - surely you can understand that if you've raced against someone for the last four years, it's kind of cool to continue to be able to do that, even if you're officially an age group above? If you're on what is essentially the same course, then I'd rather stay with the guys I know than with the new women.
Aug 4, 2011 4:26 PM # 
Basically, there are more fifty-plussers out there choosing to run the Warrior Dash than choose to go orienteering.

Fair enough. I was going off your "4%" number. In absolute number terms, you are clearly correct.
Aug 4, 2011 4:28 PM # 
As pointed out above, there were 53 men running in those three classes versus about 25 women. The idea is to go where the competition is, period! And yes - I continue to run M60 frequently for both the joy of the competition and getting beaten up by youngsters, occasionally, and for the longer and frequently more interesting courses.
Aug 4, 2011 7:59 PM # 
It's been noted that among xc skiing masters, the 50-60yo age classes are the most competitive. The current thinking is that it's a baby boomer thing. I think it's also gotta be related to the fact that the younger crowd (M/F21 and below excepted) generally have younger kids that need more attention, so have less free time to devote to sports. I don't think that's an orienteering thing, seems to be the same trend everywhere.
Aug 8, 2011 10:07 PM # 
Pink Socks:
The current thinking is that it's a baby boomer thing. I think it's also gotta be related to the fact that the younger crowd generally have younger kids that need more attention, so have less free time to devote to sports. I don't think that's an orienteering thing, seems to be the same trend everywhere.

Shortly after I wrote my previous comment above (from August 3rd), I was kinda wondering two things: 1) maybe this is a boomer thing, or 2) maybe orienteering has always had an older crowd.

I've only been orienteering in earnest since 2004, and I went to my first A-Meet in 2005. Basically, I haven't been around all that long.

So, I did a quick compare and contrast. I took the results from this year's Classic Champs, and compared them with the oldest, most relevant results I could find linked from the O-USA website, which were the 1998 US Short & Long Champs in Rochester.

(Note that most of those old links point to dead websites... I had to use the Wayback Machine to find archived results.)

I compared how large the age groups were (as a percentage of all competitors) in 1998 vs. 2011. The 1998 event had 334 competitors, the 2011 event had 244.

00-20 18.3% 16.4%
21-34 20.4% 09.8%
35-49 26.6% 19.3%
50-64 18.3% 30.7%
65-99 02.7% 11.1%
Open 14.1% 13.1%

Each column adds up to 100%, natch. The median runner (not including Open) in 1998 ran in M/F35+, and the median runner in 2011 ran M/F45+.

I'm only comparing two events. I don't have the time/desire to compare more.
I'm not a statistician, nor do I pretend to be one.
One is a Classic Champs, the other a Short & Long Champs.
Both events are in New York.
This doesn't account for older folks who run a younger course.
There may be other factors of which I'm not aware.

So.... comparing these two events, we're seeing the younger ages shrink and the older ages grow, and the median age has increased about 10 years. Is this a trend? If so, is it significant enough to do something about?
Aug 8, 2011 10:35 PM # 
The median age of Deadheads is creeping up. There are fewer than there used to be. But, the cohort is not invariant… some (albeit very little) new blood is added from time to time.

I think there are a lot of cultural phenomena that flourish in the zeitgeist of a particular moment. They may linger for a while, but fade away, while never completely disappearing. Atari 2600, anyone?

Is orienteering like that? Certainly, not exactly. But, very few pastimes can stay the same and stay around.
Aug 8, 2011 11:38 PM # 
All it seems to say is that the group did a terrible job of attracting new blood, and perhaps a very good job of retaining the blood there has been. Which points to exclusivity, high threshold to entry, and other things none of which we don't already know.

This discussion thread is closed.