Do you prefer the Sprint Middle Long format or the 2 day combined time classic A meet format?
Please include which course you typically run at A meets as well.
Reasons for and against are welcome .
You have doomed the AP world, Leif. A flame war is inevitable.
Why the sudden curiosity?
Given the two choices, I prefer SML.
Assuming we're talking about a weekend of races, I'll add that I prefer that all 3 are condensed into 2 days. I don't want to contribute to a flame war, so I'll leave my reasons out of it.
I run Blue for SM, and I run
really slowly Blue for L.
I like SML if the terrain and map for each race is appropriate, and the logistics of of getting to three races isn't a pain. Sometimes 2-day classic just makes more sense, and I like it when organizers do what's most appropriate.
OTOH, I'm not likely to attend a meet in CO any time soon, so my 'vote' probably isn't that important. ;-)
Will this poll contribute to a format decision for a future A-event?
I actually like both about equally. SML is new(ish) and the mix of distances is fun, but I would not want to see 2-day Classic go away entirely. I typically "run" Green.
I prefer SML to be spread over 3-days, because you get more time with O-friends; also you can have the sprint last, ie, on get-away day, ala NAOC 2010-12. I can see the 2-day/compressed being attractive though to people with limited vacation time (ie, Americans).
When I travel to an A-meet, I actually like to get away from the orienteering and see something of the surrounding area. A museum, late lunch in the city, golf on a new course...
So I enjoy the "efficiency" of the Classic format: Start by ~10am both days; Finish by 11:30...and have the afternoon free for other activities. And I like the drama of putting up a good/poor time on Saturday, and speculating (trash-talking) about the eventual outcome on the combined times the next day.
I prefer the two-day Classic because SML reeks of political correctness and Borg assimilation, among other things. I most commonly run Red these days, sometimes Blue, and I have made a single foray into Green, though I think it will be a while before that becomes a common occurrence. (Once when I was ill, I ran Brown.)
I really loved the two-day Classic in Moreau SP. But if you have excellent sprint venues, you could do S/S/S A-meets. It doesn't have to be an either/or, do what gets you excited. [Blue]
As a meet director, I've noticed that no matter what you offer, a significant portion of entrants will try to turn it into classic distance by running up or down a course. The other problem with SML is that you need three times as many awards, unless you resort to some sort of combined points system. That said, I like SML and prefer it as a competitor. I'd also like 2-day classic with a sprint or, better yet, sprint relay thrown in Saturday afternoon. I'm pretty much doomed to Red these days because I simply can't read 1:15 maps on the run anymore.
I think SML is important because your top athletes need practice at specific disciplines for WOC. Having said that, it would have been a real shame to "only" do a middle and a classic at Moreau, which was still the best weekend of racing I've run at while I was here. But the SML format was far better for the recent CSU event, which would have struggled with two classics.
I think Cristina therefore has a good point, which is "whatever makes sense for the area."
I hardly get any vacation time but if we're talking a race in CO, I'd take a long weekend anyway, so two vs three days doesn't matter. I hope to travel to more of these weekends soon, providing they are not all lumped into the same month making those of us with bosses who actually care where we are unhappy.
I run red at big races.
I agree with others that the terrain should dictate.
Moreau said "two day classic"! Long was/is doable, but would have been a stretch to do a middle.
I'm not sure CO/WY terrain lends itself that well to sprint or middle, though some areas might.
That said, I'd prefer to travel to CO/WY for classic races over SML (I like the middle when there's a challenging map; sprint is just training as I'm slow).
Brown or Green
If areas suit, like having the different races of S-M-L, mixing it all up. Better for me squished into 1 weekend and not 3 days unless one is a holiday. I want to play orienteering as much as possible, but missing work is hard! Run Red, occasionally blue.
SML for racing, and I run Blue. But honestly I'll race anything... I'm not super picky.
Enjoy both formats over 2 days, like to have some of each within the season; red.
Pick whichever your club can get most excited about for this event within the potential areas you have available.
I run Blue, and I have a slight preference for SML because of its variety and relevance for international competition. I enjoy classic races almost as much, though, and compressed 2-day A-meets are preferable to me.
I prefer that the courses be well designed in their format and with respect to the terrain. That contributes more to my enjoyment than either format. [Generally run Green at A-Meets; run up at others.]
And I echo ebuckley's comments about many runners making the format fit their needs...
I run Blue and prefer a Middle + Long concept on a two-day weekend (Sprint can be skipped altogether if you ask me - unless you really have an interesting/technical sprint map). Two long/classic Blue courses can be a bit tough if it's real blue courses with winning times around 90 minutes. But as many people already stated, I agree that the terrain often should be the deciding factor. If you have technical terrain then yes middle distance is interesting. Otherwise two (slightly shortened) long Blue courses (winning times around 75-80 minutes) might be preferable. I am generally against more than one (real) race a day.
2-day classic. And make it as epic as possible. [blue]
Another possibility is a middle double-header on one day plus classic or long the other day. Adding a third day for just a sprint is too much travel for me.
Blue runner. Please do what the available terrain will best support but I'd rather do a SML weekend than a two day classic weekend, ignoring other considerations - sprint and middle, done well, are enjoyably different challenges from classic/long done well.
I'll echo what many have said in that the courses should suit the terrain. I love to sprint, but I also like the technical aspect of middle and route choice problems of longer courses. to me, classic is middle ground between those two but I think what I don't like about the 2-day classic is the combined time aspect. No problem running classic distances, but in a combined time scenario if I have a crappy run on Saturday, then my motivation to really 'race' on Sunday is hard to muster. I'd like to see each 'race' stand on its own - I'm not so concerned with awards though...
Turning Green next year, though I may still run Red except for the championship races - we'll see when we get there...
Slight preference towards SML, for the sake of variety. Strong aversion to having two US "championships" because of the devaluation effect.
I do think that it is a bit misleading to think of SML as the international standard or that it is necessary to prepare our athletes for international competition. The IOF keeps fiddling with WOC, and who knows what that is going to look like in a few years.
And, for the most part, WOC is the only international competition we (10 people or so from the US) go to every year. The World Cup circuit and manifold other international races have other formats divergent from SML.
So, to recap: a) the international standard at WOC is a moving target, b) it impacts a small part of the US population, and c) there are more international races with other formats aside from SML.
If we're just talking personal preferences, I like 2-day classic combined better, both for the distances and the combined aspect. It's fun to know where you stand after Day 1 and think about who you have to catch or stay ahead of on Day 2. To use Brendan's term, it's more epic. I run Green, and that's not epic but it works fine for me at this point.
Whatever the format, I much prefer that the racing be on just 2 days unless holidays or vacation time are involved.
This all came out of discussions about the format of next summer's RMOC A meet associated with the Laramie Daze.
I am/was advocating a long - middle - goat format (sat- sun- mon) for Blue/Red and having 2 classic days and a goat for the other courses.
I like that S-M-L tests different skills!
Why not accentuate the different skills within our sport -- test endurance and route choice with the long, test detail reading and concentration in the middle and challenge the runners at their highest speeds in the sprint?
The classic tests one style of orienteering two days in a row! So I believe that when you get the chance you should spice it up with S-M-L and take the sport to the next level!
And CO/ WY certainly have the terrain to run all three disciplines especially when we map/ update in kame and kettle glacial deposits! Diversity is the name of the Rocky Mountain terrain game!
Oh and I run Blue.
Now that we know we are thinking about RMOC maps, I think a SML could be really fun. My suggestions, off the top of my head:
Sprint: Garden of the Gods. (This map was pretty terrible for regular classic orienteering, but could be great fun for a sprint)
Middle: Manitou Lake (I have been befuddled by the contour detail there many a time)
Long: Saylor Park or somewhere similar (Florissant Fossil Beds would be perfect, but probably still not usable, alas...)
Green runner here.
Garden of the Gods has been basically unavailable for a long time. No off-trail use allowed. But the meet in question is slated for the Laramie area.
As for "dilution of championships," I think this ground has been covered many times before I arrived in the US, but the UK runs British Champs in each discipline and then also has the JK orienteering festival, which for everyone but the elite has the same format of the US Classic Champs. Both carry a ton of prestige and everyone pretty much goes to both. Some people would prefer to win a JK, others a British Champs. It seems to me a similar situation would work here, if the Classic Champs wasn't a US champs as such, but was kept alive in a festival format.
Garden of the Gods was fun (and hot) when I ran there in July or August 1984 - but yes, the map was pretty terrible and basically illegible then.
...and in Sweden it´s O-ringen that is the non-Championship event that everyone wants to win...
I think a good sprint needs to be held in at least a semi-urban area, with roads, buildings, and the like. I don't like the idea of setting a "sprint" course on a regular forested orienteering map.
The only appropriate venue for a sprint in the Laramie area that I can think of would be the University of Wyoming campus. Any plans in the works to map that?
Even O-Ringen diversifies its races...
Non - elite classes have distances broken up into Middle and Long!
*D21 Elite and H21 Elite consist of the following distances: middle, middle, sprint, long and long with chasing start.
You can do good forested sprints. I've done a great one on a slate mine in the Czech Republic, for example. I wish I had any idea where a map existed though. It was some of the most intense orienteering I've ever done.
Yes, I've done a great terrain sprint in Portugal. And the Italian WC races with first half woods and second half insane medieval village were fantastic.
Good sprints get you to take many decisions in a short amount of time. Forest and park sprints often allow you to just point yourself in the right direction and run till you see the control, one (or zero) decision per leg. [Franklin Park didn't fall in this category and was a decent sprint.]
SML is by far the best, although over three days maybe SMML
Laramie has some detailed non-urban terrain that is fine for sprints, although urban sprints do have a very different character (which I often find very annoying). Honestly, though, corn mazes make for quite excellent sprint venues, and there are a lot of them around (although the only one in Wyoming appears to be a couple of hours away).
the only one in Wyoming appears to be a couple of hours away
The event is next September. We've got plenty of time to plant corn...
The people that like SML are mostly on Attackpoint. The people that don't like SML are mostly not on Attackpoint. What exactly are you hoping to learn by asking Attackpoint readers their opinion, Leif?
I'd prefer 1 to 3, classic to SML. Friday sprints at distant A meets don't seem reasonable to me. A 3pm start after 4-5 hours in a car should be outlawed. True, terrain dictates. Green.
Much prefer a 2 day, combined time classic format. Will do the others but most are mis-designed - a sprint for some with a win time of 12-14 minutes winds up being a 30+ minute struggle for many. Same problem applies to the "Middle" format - fine for the Elite but misapplied to the majority. And agree with Bob, having a sprint late Friday afternoon is outrageous.
As for the suggested 2 day classic followed by a goat? In the Laramie Range? That would be two long walks followed by an overnight campout. Give us a rest day a least.
I wasn't aware of such a large bias and ultimately I think this is an important discussion. I tend to see this discussion as a classic conflict between tradition (classic) and change (SML). I would like a nice explanation of why folks prefer classic over SML with the terrain factor removed from the equation i.e. the terrain is equally good for both classic and SML ....
I understand the reasons for SML but I am less moved by the reasons to hold classic races (1) Efficiency (2) Combined time competition (3) less work for the club but I would like to hear more reasons!
It should also be noted that I dont view classic as the same as long. I think the definition of a long course should be 13-16 km for blue not the typical classic 9 -11km with a similar ~ 30% increase in length for the other classes.
Perhaps this survey should be taken to clubnet using a program like survey monkey! Maybe we will learn something... maybe we wont!
I enjoy and will continue to support both formats. There is room in the O' world for both. I run green as my championship class, but still like to do red or blue sometimes for kicks.
2 Day A meet !!!
Walk makes a good point... The execution of SML can certainly be poor for the non elite classes. This is where course setters really need to think about winning times for each individual class. I suspect that one of the major reasons folks dont enjoy the SML format is because the title "sprint" implies very fast running and low winning times. When you finish with a time of 30+ mins ( as walk states) you become discouraged with the format and the expectation placed by the "sprint."
What if sprints for each class actually had winning times of 12-13 minutes would folks in the majority enjoy it more? Say a 1.3km sprint for Brown runners??? Same for the middle distance... accurate winning times for all classes would greatly improve the SML experience.
The other way around this is to have Red/ Blue do SML and have the majority run 2 day classic events. But that of course puts more work on the club...
For some reason a lot of people like their orienteering to be sliced and diced into:
- middle = pretty short distance, but "technical", not so much route choice.
- long = mainly a physical and route choice challenge, but not "technical"
- sprint = read clue sheet quickly? I dunno. Sprint is just a different beast; doesn't really make sense to categorize it along these lines.
I see a good classic course as combining the best of middle and long into one race, without making it the grueling physical effort of a long. I see no reason to make any orienteering course not "technical" or less "technical", and I see no reason to make any orienteering course weak on route choice. So in the ideal world, make it the hardest navigational challenge in all respects and slap a comfortable distance on it that makes the travel worth while. For me, classic fits that mold best.
The suggestion was to combine the results of two (or more) days results for the event. If the individual days are comparable, combine the times. If the days differ as in Middle/Long, then use one of the scoring algorithms, normalize each day to the winner's time equaling 1000 or such. There are several models available from European events.
The multiple day allows one to go to bed at night perplexed at the thought of regaining the errors of the day, or maintaining the margin. Overcoming or ignoring that thought is one of the neat aspects of this format.
Since Gur first raced Ughh from the waterhole back to the cave, athletic contests have diversified. We now have races from 100m (perhaps less) to 42km and beyond. 177km in Tasmania this last week. Within what is called "track and field" there are people throwing things of different shapes and jumping over things, as well as running. It's good that orienteering is developing contests of different character. I would urge people to experience them all, and not turn them into the same experience by running up or down a course.
IMO, a good classic course should have a mix of Middle and Long legs, with perhaps a series of Sprint legs (forest or campus) thrown in for more variety. I understand, though, that shorter courses (W-Br) make such a mixture more difficult to provide.
Oh god no. Please do NOT put sprint legs on a classic course.
SML but any meets I can go to is fun!
A question: does "classic" have a defined meaning in this context, or is it simply used loosely to mean "what we used to do"? I think that "long" "middle" and "sprint" have defined meanings and winning times in IOF documentation, and perhaps in national documentation too, though that could differ between countries.
I think bshields has a pretty good definition of classic.
Classic, run red because I prefer long courses...if red is really long (over 8k) I have been known to run my age group, brown. I really don't care that much for sprints since I like to be in the woods and many sprints are not.
I prefer technical navigation and base what national races to attend largely on map contour detail and other factors that increase navigational difficulty.
If you can navigate faster than you can run, which is probably more frequent for older, experienced orienteers, then sprint races feel rather boring - like a cross-country time trial. If I am looking for that experience, I will find a local trail race.
Long races are often not especially technical either and once you make your route choices also emphasize endurance strongly over navigation. I can get the same pleasure from a sprint adventure race or mud run without having to spend the vacation time and money to travel across the country.
And finally, even though the middle is supposed to be the pinnacle of technical orienteering, course setters all too often try to stick too many controls too closely together, so that if you just point yourself in the right direction, you almost fall into the control. A poor middle distance course setter can thus take a very technical map and ruin it by making it an exercise in staying on your bearing for 100-150m.
So I generally prefer classic courses on technical maps because of their flexibility in maximizing the possibilities of the map.
either is OK, but I do not like friday races during the school year or on non holidays. I run red at champs, blue occasionally when in shape and eligible for green.
Variety, testing different skills
I generally prefer SML events but will happily go to Classic events as well.
While the terrain definitely plays a role I think bigger factors are the map quality and the course setter's ability. I can adjust my orienteering style to the terrain but if the map is poor or worse yet blatantly wrong then most people will struggle no matter what kind of course is set there.
Trickier to get right is the course setting. Classic courses can be very enjoyable when set well (in my mind that mostly means a course that requires a variety of orienteering techniques to do well, ideally with some serious direction change, a mix of short and long legs, a mix of compass work and detailed map reading, changes of pace, some route choice, etc.). On the other hand I've noticed that some classic courses tend to have a bunch of equal length legs for the entire course, not a lot of direction change and I find myself repeating the same procedure leg after leg for an hour and a half.
The same holds true for SML courses but I think there there are better guidelines for what makes a good course and at least in my experience I've had better luck finding high quality courses with SML events then with classic events. Maybe I've just had poor luck with the classic events I've attended in the States.
Leif - why - that's a completely different question than stating a preference.
Curious why you phrased it as "I would like a nice explanation of why folks prefer classic over SML". Is any reason needed? Why wouldn't you need a reason for people to prefer SML over classic?-)
I didn't mention a preference, they both have merits and I like to work different types of courses.
danf perfectly captured my sentiment.
I'd like to point out to anyone who has mentioned that they prefer the classic format because of the combined results over the two days that you can just as easily provide aggregate awards for an SML meet. We did that this year at the Ottawa O-Fest / Ontario Champs where medals were handed out for the individual races but we had some prizes for the overall weekend champions.
Combined results is a different debate.
The 2011 West Point event was SML, with class winners determined by total time over all three races. I liked that format for a non-champs event.
I don't know any 'older experienced' (as opposed to younger experienced) orienteer who can navigate faster than they can run on a *good* sprint course.
Leif, there was previous lengthy debate about Two-Day Classic vs. S-M-L.
The discussion was more in the context of which format should be called the US Championships, but it might still be of interest for your fact-gathering mission. :-)
In response to ccsteve:
My personal experience shifts me to the SML camp. I understand the arguments for SML to a level that satisfies me but when I posted that comment I was feeling a bit bewildered by the justifications for classic over SML. So I asked a pointed question to elicit a response. One that would help me empathize with the more classically inclined folks and maybe help others too (?)
Long encompasses all the variety a classic could have, and Middle and Sprint are shorter, more intense navigation experiences.
I think the SML is a better all around test and showcase of skills.
Nothing wrong with Classic, but SML gives you more to assess.
I prefer Classic and I run Brown. I generally skip the Sprint at A meets, they have little attraction to me.
Maprunner, West Point was a lot of fun, but their sprint was not a sprint for anyone except Ross. When the course lengthens to 20+ minutes, as walk said, you're testing completely different things.
And ndobbs, you wrote that in the most difficult way to understand ever, but I think I agree with you. Has to be a good course though.
Bewildered exposes the mental alignment that I was looking for;-)
The original question was "which do you prefer" - it asked for no justification. When you saw people picking "the other one", it became something to investigate.
Let me digress for a moment...
I prefer chocolate - in fact, I consider myself a chocoholic. My rule is, you just can't have too much chocolate. (I thought one dish might have been too much, but I was mistaken...)
Others don't like chocolate - and I really don't know why. I expect that it doesn't agree with their taste buds or digestive system, but that's ok. I certainly respect their opinion. (especially since it leaves more for me)
Every once in a while I'll mix chocolate with something else - like vanilla - just for variety, and that's ok too...
It's a preference - it may not have a deep (and understandable) reasoning;-)
Ok having said that, the classic format is interesting because:
- two longer races on consecutive days
- summed times
Yes you can add any number of times together, but it isn't the same - let's run one of those mixed races and take 100m, 400m, 1600m, and 3200m results and put them together. The .5 second difference between the 100m runners doesn't really factor in given the difference in times for the 3200m. I mean you can, but it really isn't similar.
And for someone who isn't interested in a Sprint, and finds that a Middle isn't quite long enough, the SML ends up being a race and a half. Wouldn't you rather have two full races?
I consider the effort reasonably equivalent between the formats, and since this isn't a quest to declare one better, it's perfectly fine to ask for some of each.
Ccsteve, what was the best or most distinctive sprint race you have run?
A very good sprint is more technically challenging than many a middle or long (is that clearer Becks?).
In addition to what I said above, this thread seems to flirt with being a "push poll".
I am pleased to find what I suspected, that there are a whole lot of people out there who really don't like sprints. Really good sprints are worth doing. The fraction of really good sprints in North America is well under 1 in 10. I suspect Wyoming would fall in the 9 in 10, not the 1 in 10. So, when the sprint is a waste of time, we are back to ccsteve's nice formulation: 'the SML ends up being a race and a half. Wouldn't you rather have two full races?'
That said, I'm unlikely to go to WY anyway, so Leif can ignore my vote if it helps him get the answer he wants.
@ndobbs: many people don't want the most technically challenging orienteering possible; they want an enjoyable run in the forest. I include myself in that set.
@feet: and if you (in the non-feet-specific sense) do more half-decent sprint races you will become a better orienteer, making your runs in the forest more enjoyable.
@feet again: and "don't really" would be more accurate than "really don't"...
There have been a number of times when a "sprint" was offered on Saturday afternoon, and I didn't even bother to sign up for it.
Put me in the SML camp (blue). But like others, I'd prefer just ML if the sprint is a tacked on 1:5000 blow up of the map we ran on in the morning.
I prefer the variety of the formats and 'knowing' what type of course to expect. I'm also surprised by a lot of people who have the opinion that 'more is better' in regards to classics. A number of the classic style courses I've seen have uninteresting legs simply added to get the right race distance. Give me 35-40 minutes of pure concentration over 70 minutes of easy nav any day.
I prefer SML because rewarding consistency in a North American context in 2-day classic usually means rewarding the person that sat back on Day#1 for the first few controls and 'learned' the terrain then picked up the pace. I won a lot of NAOC and COC titles with that reserved approach but it got me nowhere in the one race means everything at WOC. So I prefer SML for the one-race-takes all approach and also like the variety.
But I have often wondered about the argument that you don't get as much orienteering at SML. It suggests to me that the L for most categories is not L enough.
For men's elite the 2-day classic winning times were generally 65-70 minutes each day (68 each day at the 2010 US Champs). So a total of 130-140 minutes of racing. For M and L it is 35 and 95 minutes or a total of 130 minutes of racing. Not much difference but a huge difference of orienteering techniques.
So perhaps the issue is some categories the L isn't long enough.
When the non-elite category winning times were established was the L made longer than the classic? If not why?
Further to my point above. I've often thought in a North American context that it would be a lot easier to market the sport if the winning times for all categories say ages 17-75 had winning times of 15, 30 and 90 minutes for S, M and L. The way it is now is that the winning times vary by age group and gender and it makes it confusing to newbies.
This has perhaps taken this question OT but I feel that perhaps some of the dislike of SML (or preference to 2xC) isn't just because our sport has a lot of people that prefer the 'good old days' but because when SML was brought in the winning times (in a North AMerican context) weren't thought out well for the non elite categories. If the question was would you prefer 2x60 or 30+90 (+S) I wonder how the answers would differ (or perhaps the 'good OLD days' would stay the course).
I dont think this was really ever meant to be a poll without bias and I am suspect of a tabulated result. We can go to clubnet/survey program for that. As soon as I made my comments it was no longer really a poll in my opinion but a discussion about the two formats and I am happy with the comments made by both sides. That said I am much more convinced of the classical leaning runners than I was before starting this thread. I am learning a lot about how we can improve our meets even if the "statistics" are bias.
At this point the "poll" will really have no effect on the outcome of the RMOC A meet format next summer... we are thinking about more exciting propositions now!
So no need to worry about the ethics of this thread!
I don't think lengthening the Long moves things in the right direction for 90% of the NA orienteering demographic. For most people Long is already too long. How many orienteers in NA can actually orienteer for 90 min straight? Very few, and for the rest it ends up being >120min straight, and anyone falling in that category is almost surely failing at orienteering by the end of the course.
The stated goal of Middle and Long courses is to distill out some subset of orienteering skills to be emphasized. For what purpose? Is it too much of a mental challenge to tackle everything at once? Is the idea to create a lesser navigational challenge so as to emphasize the physical challenge?
Are you perhaps suggesting that it's like food, Brendan? Drinks and a really tasty appetizer on Saturday, then make up for it on Sunday by providing more steak than a typical person can eat at one sitting?
Yes, that is a good analogy.
I can eat a lot of steak.
I prefer SML although I rarely race sprints. If I do a sprint it's just for fun and I usually walk.
I like the thought that for a Middle I need to gun it from the start and that errors will come from not being able to think fast enough. For a Long I know I need to pace myself and I need to guard against errors coming from getting too tired and not being able to focus near the end.
That said, I tend to do better at 2-day classics since I'm not very fast and can't always push hard for a long. But I prefer the challenge of SML.
I usually run Brown although still do Green sometimes.
I like both types and would hate to see US A-meets go exclusively to one or the other.
I typically run Green and am nowhere near elite (or even competitive) so I realize my opinions may not matter.
I like Classic for most reasons that have already been mentioned, including that it is fun to know where you stand after the first day and try to catch people.
When the event is S-M-L I personally prefer having each event on different days (so a 3-day weekend). I also don't necessarily like them in that order - I hate having the long as the last day when a) I am tired and b) I don't want to take forever out on course because I need to leave to travel home. In fact, I think my ideal weekend would be a day with one or even two sprints, long on the second day, and a middle on the last day.
I really enjoy sprints even though I'm not fast. Especially campus/urban type sprints. I really enjoyed the one at West Point several years ago that was on the campus. Also the DVOA Lehigh sprint and the one at the Flying Pig that was at a college (Miami University?). I think it is just fun getting to orienteer in a totally different sort of area.
And I am one of those people who adjusts for length by running up or down courses sometimes. I run the course I do because that's the distance I can physically handle.
Skimmed some of this thread but in general, I prefer SML to classic (Red). I think forest sprints are great fun: see the COC sprint this year in the Yukon and most GVOC sprint camp races. I much prefer forest sprints to boring urban areas. The caveat is that it needs to be quite well mapped as getting stuck in unclearly mapped thick vegetation can really affect the race.
For people who like overall results, what about a point system, like Swiss O week and the Scottish 6 days? Bonus, we could cut down on awards time!
This may not be a popular point of view but I'm going to go out on a limb and look at this from a bit of a business perspective, mostly in response to bshields assertion that "I don't think lengthening the Long moves things in the right direction for 90% of the NA orienteering demographic"
It's been stated many many times that the average age of orienteers in the States is climbing by roughly a year per year. What will happen in the next 20 - 30 years when a good portion of today's orienteers are no longer orienteering / are running the top few age categories. Who's going to fill in the rest of the age categories? It is up to the orienteering community, led by event directors, and club and OUSA boards to determine that primarily by what target market they choose. If you want to attract people that can orienteer for 90+ minutes then you need to set courses that demand that skill. Shortening courses and making them easier will attract a certain type of person but is that really the kind of people you want to be attracting? I'm not suggesting that there shouldn't be options for those people but the highlight should be on the tougher courses with easier options for others (rather than easy courses with tougher options for some - a subtle but important distinction).
If you have a vision for something (in this case orienteering) you need to market your product (orienteering) as such and to the right demographic. You can't listen too much to the people currently using your product if they represent a small portion of the target market.
Don't give people what they want. Give them what's good for... somebody else.
Well, the problem is that "you" can't "give" "people" what they want. A subset of people has to serve the rest of the people. With an eye on what it takes to still be in the business of serving people a few years into the future.
SML - Green - and I like what Hammer and Jteutsch are saying about longer Longs.
Before I learned about orienteering I spent a lot of years doing road running. At a local in-town event, I was quite happy to run any distance offered. Because I'm basically slow, I would never have bothered with driving more than half an hour to a race less than 10 miles or a half-marathon in length--I still wouldn't be up at the front of the field at races from 10mile to marathon in length, but I would at least finish proportionately closer to the front. When I started doing quite a bit of orienteering, I still preferred to run longer courses, particularly since my navigation was (and still is) inferior to my running. Now that I am getting older and I can no longer usually get around a blue course under the three hour time limit, I usually run red. I would go to more A meets if they were classic format, and if they had a time limit that was 3 hours after the last start, with the possibility of requesting an early start if you know yourself to be a slow runner. I would have less objection to SML format if the time limit didn't get cut to 2 hours on the M races, thus making the length increase to a blue course again problematic for me on time limit (and if the S is on a Friday, I will certainly skip it). But I understand that I am in a small minority and that you take what you can get, so I travel to four or five rogaines a year(best), and a few goat-type races (second best), and try to keep up social contacts (and perhaps show some support for the general sport) by fitting in a few A-meets when I can. And then of course try to help or participate in as many of our local events as I can.
Leif, if you're talking WY then maybe an MML weekend would be awesomest. The more middles the better. :-)
Hmm, the people currently using the product are the people that are currently commenting on its merits, and they are ALL your target market now. I don't think orienteering could afford be Apple and play trendsetting and have 'I know what you want better than you do attitude'
In our sport long term event planning means 1 - 2 (?) years tops so shifting product demographics is as abstract in this discussion as eating steaks.
But we can certainly drive ourselves into extinction by continuing to embrace formats that are less likely to bring in new blood. I don't think Classic vs. Long is a sufficient enough distinction to make a difference, but abandoning Sprint is.
SML, Red but thinking to move to Blue. For the variety of the formats, strategies, and executions.
Unfortunately "classic" does not align to any serious competition but qualifiers, ex. WOCs/JWOCs have SML and WMOCs have SL formats.
Leif, I hope you are not planning for July when WMOC, JWOC, and WOC will take place next year.
Sergey, I think the RMOC / LROC plan for 2012 is for late August / early September.
and the Sanctioning Calendar
, RMOC/LROC is aiming for Labor Day Weekend (Sept 1-3, 2012).
Sergey, are you planning something in Idaho for July?
It seems like a lot of the frustration associated with SML comes from lack of execution on the part of course setters/ organizers. If the winning times are off and the course cut off is too short people are going to naturally become disillusioned with the newer SML format.
If individual course setters/ organizers can understand what Sprints, Middles, and Longs are each trying to test SML meets may increase in popularity. So I think the problem is more in the execution than in the format itself and that stems from a lack of experienced organizers/ orienteers in NA.
I like to think that SML will grow in popularity as more people experience quality SML and travel to other countries where SML is more the norm.
Ultimately it is the quality of the product we produce that will increase new blood whether classic or SML.
I think the frustration is from the fact that those disillusioned with the Sprint and the Middle aren't trying to test much, they are mostly out to have a good time and these formats don't do much to achieve that, according to the applicable definition of a good time. It would be nice to have a wider range of offerings, for those out to test specific skills and for those looking for a good time with a map, but unfortunately at this stage this would increase the already disproportionate effort volunteers must provide for us all to have events. So one format or another should be picked, perhaps geared to the customer mix but with an eye on the future and sustainability.
But, really--where are SML the norm?
I think the RMOC / LROC plan for 2012 is for late August / early September.
Such timing would make this event inaccessible to the significant proportion of juniors that begin school before Labor Day -- weeks before Labor Day. This would be a great shame, because WY terrain is some of the funnest we have.
This year's CCOF was pretty much at the latest time for these kids to be able to attend. One week later would have taken several from the south and midwest out.
Well, as Sergey pointed out, July is out due to WMOC, JWOC and WOC.
It's impossible to accommodate everyone's schedules and preferences...
"Travel to other countries"
Lets see: I've been to multi-day events in Sweden - twice, Italy, Scotland, Slovenia, France - twice, and Switzerland - twice. There have been courses at all these events adjusted to age/gender with a variety of Middle and Long distance each day. Only at one, our first Swiss 6-Day was there a Sprint. It was fun, intense and in the middle of a thunderstorm but still cool. Can't say that I found SML to be a norm.
Regardless, any course needs to be crafted for the terrain, and needs to be interesting as many have pointed out.
j-man - I wouldn't say the norm for back at home, but they're certainly well accepted at the British Championships, which get ever increasing turnouts in all three disciplines. What is huge in the UK right now is long urban, like the Venice Street race, but I haven't seen anywhere in my limited travelling of the USA where that would work. (Ottawa would though Jeff!). But those disciplines are now pretty standard for the major races across Europe, and the more classic style seems to be dying off. For the in between races though, the local meets and the like, most courses probably fit the classic bill.
And the August weekends of 8/11 and 8/18 are the Western Canadians and Canadian Champs in Alberta. (And there's a junior training camp!)
Hasn't Laramie Daze usually been around Labor +/- a week?
You can note that my comment was "where SML is more the norm!"
's the map in progress of downtown Ottawa that Becks is referring to. We're hoping to use it next year for a long urban race.
My intuition tells me that many of the Red - Blue runners like SML more than the Green - Brown - Orange runners. And that Green/ Brown runners are more against the Sprint than Middle or Long.
Ok, so assume I can trust my intuition... why not have Red and Blue do SML and the rest of the categories run classic races at A meets? (besides the increase in work load)
Is it really an increase in work load? A middle Red or blue is not too different in length to a green classic, surely? It works for the JK back home no problem.
Jeff - it got bigger! Awesome!
Organizers will have to set up a sprint in addition to the two other races(classic/middle and classic/long) and there are more medals to sort out which = more work than just a 2 day classic meet. Its not necessarily a ton more work though.
@Leif - because then it's the same as an SML weekend where the oldies skip the sprint and run up a course at the middle.
Jeff - I'm there already. That's more appealing than SML or classic ;)
@ndobbs - Its not exactly the same because of 1) the combined time aspect for the classic runners 2) "the different style" between the classic and middle 3) there is no pressure on the runners in the classic categories to run a sprint unless they really want to!
I haven't seen anywhere in my limited travelling of the USA where that would work. (Ottawa would though Jeff!)
You mean you haven't seen this
To have central cities mapped to ISSOM is a lot of fun, but in my opinion has limited use. Why? You just can't have a fair race for anything up to an hour because of cars and traffic lights. It has to be longer in order for this unfairness to average out for different racers/teams. But holding three hour races, we'd go broke trying to map any significant number of venues to ISSOM. So, it'd be much better to have an agreed-upon standard for less precise mapping of urban areas, and hammer that way... we are trying.
Seems to me that among the best examples of properly designed Sprint courses were those set by ndobbs for the Team Trials. He had a (very) new ISSOM college campus map with which to work.
July is out due to WMOC, JWOC and WOC.
WOC ends on July 22; that leaves 9 days according to my calendar (except for folks moving on to the O-ringen, which ends on the 27th).
It's impossible to accommodate everyone's schedules and preferences...
True enough; there have to be both winners and losers, so to speak.
...And it's my job to push for the juniors to be among the winners.
Hasn't Laramie Daze usually been around Labor +/- a week?
Again, true, but most -- if not all -- Laramie Daze have been B-events. The A-events out there (RM 1000 Day, 2006 US Champs, 2008 US Champs) have typically been earlier -- some as early as June, but not later than mid-August.
T/D: Exactly, a map of bits of Boston would look great for sprint, but on the ground, no means for a fair championship race without stopping traffic. I think University Campuses are a better bet, as ndobbs very nicely demonstrated with his SUNY Purchase sprint course. UC Boulder also looks like it has a good map, and Yale has bits that could be used for a great 12 minute sprint if the map was done by someone who knew what they were doing :)
And when can I come to Old Oakland?! Looks amazing! :D
We are working on the west side of the Bay for now. Pretty much all campuses in SF are on our list to map—we're happy putting on Sprints as long as people show up!
Classic Oakland may be featured at this event
Orienteer Kansas has a sprint map that covers all of KU's campus and even extends to downtown Lawrence. They are hosting a spriddle on this map in just a few weeks.
Anyone who loves sprints absolutely needs to go to Vancouver (or Victoria, in 2012). Anyone who hates sprints hasn't been. They've got campus maps, downtown maps, forest maps, super-crazy 1:2000 maps, waterfront maps.
Also, there's a random photo of me (with pink socks, natch) on the page with the Old Oakland map. That's weird.
"... Map Adventure"
Scheduling in Wyoming also needs to take into account the mosquito season, which I think is one of the reasons why Swampfox prefers doing it later.
We prefer "map adventure" with 150+ attendees at $20 over an "orienteering event" with 50 participants at $7. Makes us happier.
@Tundra/Desert: Wondering then is there a reason you kept the Rogaine word for the Henry Coe event?
:) a map for a rogaine
instead of 24 hour adventrue running thingy
Sorry thread hijack....
Or better yet 750 attendies at $65. Just call it some-or-other-athlon
I don't think rogaine is such a bad word, sorry Patrick! it has no connotations other than the hair tonic. Which is not a difficult thing to remedy. The O word, on the other hand, carries a bunch of baggage, mentioned here umpteen times, that I fear we have no hope to overcome.
>It seems like a lot of the frustration associated with SML comes from lack of execution on the part of course setters/ organizers.
I would argue quite the opposite. There are very few well set classic courses.
Try to get all the aspects into one race and usually fail. Then you run over the same terrain the next day. This is your sport in a nutshell. Trying to do everything in one race and trying to appeal to everyone in one race format.
REmember the 2-day classic is sort of artificial anyway (a wise man told me this once). Its sort of like trying to appeal to 5K and half marathon runners at once by racing something in between both days but part way through throwing in some fartlek. Epic fail.
I agree classic courses arent often set well and many sprints are too simple.... my original comment I was meant to refer to execution in terms of winning times and cut off times for the non-elite classes in SML as pointed out earlier.
I don't think rogaine is such a bad word, sorry Patrick! it has no connotations other than the hair tonic.
I don't like rogaine for three reasons. One, it doesn't really describe anything. An "adventure run" at least tells you that it's both an adventure and it involves moving your feet. Two, the name is associated with something else already. I met some Nuun reps a few weeks ago, and I asked them how they picked their name, and they said it was because it was a unique name. Three, the more prominent usage of the name reminds people of balding men.
If someone asks me what I'm doing next weekend, I think saying "24-hour Adventure Run (or whatever)", is better than saying "a rogaine". Maybe they think I'm soaking my hair follicles all weekend...
In regard to the Colorado/Wyoming event being planned for late August/early September, I'd second Guy's suggestion that it is less harmful for a major US championship to conflict with international events which people CHOOSE to attend versus having a conflict with the beginning of the school year, which is a nearly MANDATORY show-stopper for any family with kids, most US juniors and teachers.
If you are good enough to go to WOC or JWOC or WMOC, you can choose to miss a national championship. Yeah, I feel bad about it and maybe you don't have 100% of the best people in every category at our championship, but that is your choice.
For many years, bringing kids to Colorado/Wyoming and western Canadian events has been a highlight of my summer and a life-changing experience for many juniors. (and one that has helped excite kids who have become our future JWOC and WOC competitors). For the last few years, due to the late scheduling, I haven't been able to share that experience with a new crop of kids.
And surely if the event is held when families can come, the host club(s) will get higher attendance and more income. If not for the kids, then do it for their $$.
And as far as mosquitos, even at their worst, the Wyoming ones are nothing compared to their counterparts in more humid climates. Certainly they have never diminished my experiences in Colorado and Wyoming.
What's the cutoff? We are planning PNWOF 2013 for 17–25 August and hope that is not too late.
The proposed A-meet in Wyoming is not slated to be any sort of championship that I know of. And I think the reason why you don't fear the Wyoming mosquitoes is because Swampfox has avoided scheduling events when they're at their worst (I won't claim to understand the details of that scheduling).
The Wyoming A meet may just end up as a major championship... The kind of championship that would squash my little intraclub SML v. classic vendetta!
I suppose I'm responding off-off-topic, but I like SML, IFF the S is urban. Forest/park sprints are lame, and are simply pandering, as previous posters have pointed out.
The ideal format for me, politically correct or not, is an urban sprint, an intense technical middle, and a grueling long.
To have central cities mapped to ISSOM is a lot of fun, but in my opinion has limited use. Why? You just can't have a fair race for anything up to an hour because of cars and traffic lights.
Not that this is incredibly relevant or important to this discussion but almost all of that map of Ottawa can be accessed without crossing a single major road.
Speaking of jargon, we recently had a question come through the QOC website asking what was meant by "classic" orienteering, as that is what we have most of the events listed as. I wonder how many other places we use bewildering language without a second thought.
Interesting to see the potential participants petitioning the organizers to change the dates of an event half way across the country. Seems to be another quirk particular to orienteering.
It didn't used to be called "classic". It used to just be called "orienteering". Kind of like how what used to be called "orienteering" is now called "foot-O".
Not without a second thought but I haven't come up with a short phrase to describe QOC events offering point-to-point courses that more or less conform to USOF classic course setting guidelines that I think is clearly better.
"...USOF classic course setting guidelines..."
Where does this exist? (I am hoping it doesn't)
In the latest USOF/OUSA course description guidelines, officially adopted about 2+(?) years ago, the term "classic" was intentionally not used, because it is imprecise, unnecessary, means different things to different people, in different times and places, and is not used by the IOF or any other national federation, of which I am aware.
The course concept which I believe a plurality people associate with the term "classic" is embodied in these guidelines as "multi-day Long", same type of course, but slightly shorter.
I am still unsure if these guidelines are published in an appropriate place on the OUSA website. I am afraid to look, as this has been an ongoing source of frustration.
To the point that some seem to think everyone should say that "XYZ Style" orienteering is best - it ain't going to happen;-) We like variety - why should there be "one best way" to hold an event?
How about this - if I was going to attend 10 top level events next year, I might like to get to:
4 x SML
2 x Classic 2-day
2 x Longer (extra long, goat, rogaine, etc)
1 x Relay or Team
1 x Ski-O
And so having a variety of events to choose from is a very good thing. If I've been to 8 SMLs, the 9th may not be so high on my list.
And to the question of sprints - I enjoy them. My first "race" was a sprint and I realized that I needed to be quite a bit more fit to do it well. An early A-meet was a sprint finals weekend. I just understand that some people don't care for them... (and there's nothing wrong with that;-)
Tundra, many schools in my area started Aug 15 this year. That would keep almost all TROLs from any possibility of attending.
If you are good enough to go to WOC or JWOC or WMOC, you can choose to miss a national championship. Yeah, I feel bad about it and maybe you don't have 100% of the best people in every category at our championship, but that is your choice.
Do not agree. It might look different from outside, but for our top athletes the sport is much more than a yearly trip to WOC. (or it should be ;) ) national championship might not mean much to some, but if you dedicate big/most of your time money career to the sport, National championship title should be pretty high on your list. Oversheduling the two most important events of athlete's season (woc, and us champs) is a bad form. And is not a choice but a forced decision on the athlete.
The Wyoming A meet may just end up as a major championship...
Then it won't be SML, as that is taken. And 2-day Classic might soon be taken too. Still available for 2012: Relay, Night, Ultra-Long.
In regard to what Nikolay says, it's an interesting philosophical question as to the relative weight one would put on a) having a shot at winning the national championship versus b) finishing near the bottom of the results list (or not even qualifying) at the world championship. With very few exceptions, b) is what the people we have sent to world championships have faced.
Well, OUSA has obviously determined B to weigh more heavily than A in that it is donating $20k for B and none to increase the quality of the field for A. It seems that Canada's HPP program might weigh A much more heavily than B. It will be interesting to see how these two contrasting approaches compare going forward.
In economics, how much you are willing to spend on something is an indicator of how much you value it.
There was a country which had a government which I shall call "jurassic". (Just a label you understand. ) It was a sunny country and it was very nice to sit around and drink beer. And it came to pass that the country could not pay its debts. So the prime minister negotiated with some other countries to help it out. There was a requirement, the government was going to have to raise taxes (or perhaps enforce the taxes they supposedly had). And the people were not happy. The prime minister bowing to pressure thought he would get off the hook by holding a referendum about the taxes.
Nothing to do with orienteering really. Just an interesting conundrum of whether leadership is about the popular solution or a vision of a different way.
Not without a second thought but I haven't come up with a short phrase to describe QOC events offering point-to-point courses that more or less conform to USOF classic course setting guidelines that I think is clearly better.
I meant without a second thought on my part... and I don't have a better suggestion either, other than perhaps a link or footnote that describes the term.
Getting back to Clem's question: is SML the norm in many places outside of North America? By which I mean not, "do courses typically fit into one of these three categories?", but rather, "are composite 'events' composed of one of each of these races in a weekend?". I honestly do no know the answer.
In the UK, for National Champs there are all three disciplines, but shoehorned into two weekends instead of three - middle and sprint together (sprint generally two races, quali then final) and long and relay together. The JK has the SML format (plus relay) for the elites, but is Sprint, classic, classic, relay for everyone else. Those are the two biggest competitions of the year. Most other weekend events will be either two classics or a middle or street race plus a classic.
I think an important issue is that for many people, 1 to 1.5 hours is an appealling amount of time to spend out orienteering. Beyond 1.5 hours, mental focus and navigation have a tendancy to go downhill and it's not necessarily much "fun" anymore. Less than 1 hour and you're simply getting less of the product than you would if it were in the 1 to 1.5 hour range (i.e., more bang for buck). "Classic" distance orienteering hits the physical-excercise "sweet spot". That, I think, is a big part of the attraction of the "classic" distance.
This is, I think, more true for "recreatonalists" than it is for "racers". Recreational orienteers, I think, have less ability to adjust their orienteering speed/technique for different disciplines. They also have less interest in "dialing it up" for a shorter, more intense race.
Prefer CC. Tend to skip SML unless its really convenient and when I do SML I usually skip the S, move up in M, and do the L.
bmay, eldersmith and others did a good job of summarizing my view but I will add a few points.
1) Primary reason I Orienteer is for exercise and I like the 1.5 hours that the C provides. Any less and I almost feel "cheated" since same prep time for warm up, cool down, tape, stretch etc.
2) If I want a hard short workout of 20-30minutes on the street, I will do a local 5KM. Much easier and not much difference to me.
3) One aspect of Orienteering that I really enjoy is that a "tortoise" can beat a "hare" through route choice, map reading etc. It seems to me that S doesn't offer as much opportunity for this and that the fastest guy usually wins.
4)Same price for S as for L, so I again feel cheated since I'm only out for 20-30min vs 90 min. Local 5km is same price but at least I get a t-shirt thrown in (not that I really need another one).
One other observation is that several CC preferers indicated they avoid SMLs, while no SMLs said they avoided CCs. If this is true of the masses, then it seems to suggest that doing a CC is the way for organizers to maximize attendance.
Also, that the move to SML has been largely for the benefit of M/F-21+ and at the expense of others. It would be interesting to see if USOF A-meet info supports/refutes this.
If I want a hard short workout of 20-30 minutes on the street, I will do a local 5 KM. Much easier and not much difference to me.
I've heard this a lot and I must say I don't get it. To me, a road 5K is a completely different activity, as it involves (1) Minimal thinking, and (2) A much higher level of physical exertion. All I am thinking about the last half mile or so of a well-run 5K is if I am going to reach the finish line before I die. When I am at the red line physically, there is no possible way I can do even the most trivial navigation.
On the other hand, on a sprint orienteering course, I can't run at anywhere near this same pace, because I need a portion of my brain to remain able to accurately read the map. But although the pure physical challenge is not as great as in a road race, the combined physical and mental challenge is at least as substantial if not more so, and is what makes a sprint orienteering course so much more fun, interesting, and DIFFERENT than a pure running race.
When sprint orienteering was first developed I thought all orienteers would feel this way, but clearly I am wrong about that. However, I don't understand the argument that a sprint orienteering course is not much different than a road 5 K. I'm hoping someone can explain it to me.
The road 5ks out here are far more expensive than the most expensive Sprints (ours).
I've always liked S/M/L. Although this might just be nostalgia, since my first A-meet was a really well produced S/M/L weekend :-)
Lately, some health issues prevent me from running a full length blue course. This makes me really appreciate the middle distance courses, since I get the chance to run on the same course as my old competition.
For some reason, I also feel like the middle-distance blue courses I've done are more interesting than the short classic courses. Terrain? Course setting style? Expectations? My approach? I don't know why, but the short classics often feel somewhat dull.
This is just my personal preference, and has nothing to do with what I think is best for the sport.
To stevegregg: I probably wrote too hastily in comparing 5k to Sprint. They are different races and a Sprint is definitely more fun but the similarities (shorter duration, higher intensity, street) are such that I am not compelled to get on a plane or drive long distances for either of them.
To T/D: 5km in my area cost about $20, $5 more on race day.
GNC Sprint is $31 (after discount) regular registration rising to $41 within 45 days of race day. No t-shirt.
This discussion thread is closed.