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Discussion: beige

in: QOC Little Bennett (Jan 25, 2015 - Clarksburg, MD, US)

Jan 26, 2015 8:00 PM # 
What are thoughts on adding the beige course? Maybe DVOA will try at appropriate venues.
Jan 26, 2015 8:15 PM # 
Erik, I'm not sure how this increased the course-setters workload; however, from my perspective, it was great. I would have done orange had beige not been available due to another strenuous physical engagement later in the day. I'm still learning this sport so orange isn't a bad thing---but I'm ready for a little more challenge.
Jan 27, 2015 2:04 AM # 
What's a beige course?
Jan 27, 2015 2:19 AM # 
Just a shorter than Brown advanced course.

from qoc website:
"Based on a suggestion by Don Davis in an issue of ONA, I have added an experimental “Beige” course. This is an advanced level course, basically a shortened version of the Brown course and is designed for older orienteers who find the Brown course a bit on the long side to complete in a reasonable time. It would also be appropriate for those folks who normally run an intermediate level course (i.e. Orange) and would wish to sample what an advanced course has to offer."
Jan 27, 2015 2:47 AM # 
UNO has been doing something similar at our September Camping Weekend at Pawtuckaway for the past few years - although we've called it Tan rather than Beige.
This works well if there is good terrain close to your start/finish area, so you're not using much distance to get to the technical fun stuff. Can also double as a sprint course.
We've had very positive feedback on this.
Jan 27, 2015 3:16 AM # 
Tan? Beige? Really? C'mon, can't we have something more like Champagne Gold?
Jan 27, 2015 10:19 PM # 
I think Don's original proposal called it Silver (for all those Silver haired foxes ...).
I laughed about this, but it turned out to be just the right course for me this time, and it was fun. It was also pretty well-subscribed, with 28 participants, not that many fewer than Brown or Green.
Jan 29, 2015 5:20 AM # 
This was course setter Sam Listwak's initiative. He said it only took him 2 more controls than he otherwise would have set out. The name of the course was going to be Silver but there was some limitation in the epunch system in which they had to use a name that was used before--I suppose the name Beige was used at least once in the support that Valerie has been providing to orienteers all over the US. I'm told that it was well received by those from QOC. Not only did it give older orienteers an option but on of our QOC 11 year old girls, Alexis Merka, went out on it and enjoyed it--she said it wasn't that difficult. I thought the course had some pretty good legs for being so short and in what is not very technical terrain.
Jan 29, 2015 5:51 AM # 
What sort of distances are used for Brown and Beige?
Jan 29, 2015 4:52 PM # 
The Beige was 3.0; the Brown was 4.7 I think.
Jan 29, 2015 6:47 PM # 
Name wasn't epuch software driven, but website related. Using a course name outside of the normal ones requires the name to be established on the QOC site before results can be uploaded online. Beige was already available from a previous event, so that was the easiest name to use.
Feb 1, 2015 3:56 AM # 
For local events, especially in the winter, I set Brown fairly short, like 2.5 to 3.0 km. It's not always popular, but it there are certain people who always select it, and often someone is injured and wants a short course.
Feb 1, 2015 3:52 PM # 
Sounds like there has been a creep in course lengths, or simple amnesia about the standards.

A 4.7km course is not Brown course by any definition (USA) for a Long/ Classic/normal/single day/multi-day course that I am aware of, except in extreme conditions (total downhill in groomed forest?) which I have never seen in DVOA or QOC territory.

Even with split long and short Browns this 4.7 length is at the extreme end, and if there is a single Brown course it should err on the short side to provide an inclusive range of options.

In fact 4.7km is well within the Green range. Perhaps some people see 6.0+ Greens at A events with split Green courses, and think this is a typicall Green. It is not.

Yes, almost every event (local to international) should have an advanced course in the 2.5- 4.0 range, for the less physically able, basically the exact reason that cedarcreek has mentioned. In the US, this is called Brown.

Yes, this course might not be well attended, but I think we owe it to the people that use it. They have paid the most dues.

And yes, this course is frequently difficult to design, with the most suitable terrain not close to the parking/event center. Therefore the standard advice is to plan this routing (not details) first, in conjunction with the beginner course routing to establish the start/finish areas. The other advanced courses have the length to accommodate the Brown, not the other way around.
Feb 1, 2015 5:01 PM # 
When EricW offers course design advice US course planners should listen.
Feb 1, 2015 5:18 PM # 
Have to say I agree with Eric. I would consider 4.7 to be well within the realm of Green and 3.0 to be a typical Brown. I can see adding a course below Brown for Long and Ultralong type events. But for normal local events it may be more prudent to just keep the lengths under control. (Especially since adding more courses is just additional work for course setters which can already be difficult to recruit.)
Feb 1, 2015 5:41 PM # 
Not that my opinion matters much because I don't get to too many A-meets, but I also agree with Eric. When it was stated that the Brown had been 4.7 km which is why they needed a shorter beige course, that struck me as quite long for a Brown, although I didn't look up the recommended lengths.

Right now we have 7 course colors, White through Blue, with four of them being advanced difficulty and theoretically varying only in length. It seems like this should be enough, and we shouldn't need to add a 5th advanced course length.
Feb 1, 2015 7:41 PM # 
I agree with Eric, and thought 4.7 was pretty long for a "Brown" course.
I was happy, being injured, to have a 3.0 advanced course to choose.
Down with distance creep!
Feb 1, 2015 7:49 PM # 
Little Bennett:
Blue - 9.5 km
Red - 7.7 km
Green - 5.9 km
Brown - 4.5 km
Beige - 3.0 km

The right range, but more options than really needed?
Feb 1, 2015 7:56 PM # 
I think we in QOC have nurtured a culture of making sure our Blue runners are well served, which has had the odd effect of meaning Red is often the least-subscribed advanced course.
Not sure if this will change anytime soon.
FWIW, the courses had between 15 (Red) and 42 (Green) participants. Probably space to consolidate somewhat.
Feb 1, 2015 8:11 PM # 
As a rough rule of thumb, starting at 3-3.5 for brown and and multiplying by 1.5 produces a great sleight of advanced courses in NE USA terrain.
Feb 2, 2015 5:22 PM # 
What I liked about Little Bennett was having a wide menu of options without the need to add a lot of controls to achieve that variety. The advanced courses had a number of legs shared across several courses, which I think was fine given the number of starts for those courses. I can't speak for the course designer, but it appears that setting 5 advanced courses of differing lengths was not that burdensome.
Feb 2, 2015 11:16 PM # 
If there really is a consensus that 4.7km is too long or at least very near the allowable limit for a brown course in typical Mid-Atlantic terrain (or more generally), OUSA isn't reflecting it very accurately in the guidelines for local events it currently has online.

For my part, I didn't expect quite so many takers for the beige as we got - apparently there are a substantial number of people who prefer a shorter advanced course than is often offered at QOC events. I'm not sure what to think about suggestions that they could be catered to without creating an additional course. Either blue would end up shorter, presumably counter to the preferences of the the-more-orienteering-the-better crowd who make blue frequently more popular than red, or there'd be a pretty big increase in distance between a 3.?km brown and a 5.?km green. I don't know whether the larger number of people who ran the 4.5km brown course at Little Bennett would have been happy having to choose between those two options or not.
Feb 2, 2015 11:41 PM # 
Pink Socks:
I'd say let QOC Do whatever they want with course offerings, lengths, and colors. It's a local event, and QOC has more starts than any other club (by far, I think), so what they are doing is obviously working.
Feb 2, 2015 11:48 PM # 
Clem's suggestion means something like:
Blue - 9.5 km
Red - 6.5 km
Green - 4.5 km
Brown - 3.1 km

Gaps too big? I don't know the answer.
Feb 2, 2015 11:54 PM # 
@jtorrance, the guidelines you linked to were written over 20 years ago and could possibly be updated but are still a nice starting point. They aren't rules.

Other clubs in the US think white courses taking competitors 1-2 hours is "normal".

Otherwise, I agree with Pink Socks that QOC is doing something right. Keep up the good work. :-)
Feb 3, 2015 12:24 AM # 
Pink Socks:
In Cascadeland, we haven't used colors as long as I've been around (10 years now). Instead, we used course numbers (eg Courses 1-7) through last summer, and starting last fall, we're using Beginner, Intermediate, Short Advanced and Long Advanced for the public courses and then adding Elementary, Middle School, JV, and Varsity during the school league.

I'm not advocating this nomenclature, because I think our situation here is somewhat unique. Because of permitting, dense vegetation, and seasonal availability, some of our events are restricted to trails only, many are trails mostly, and most of our venues are too small to offer a true red or blue*.

So why try to shoehorn the national standard nomenclature into events that wouldn't really be recognizable to most of the nation?

* What's a true blue, anyway? There's sprint blue, middle blue, and long blue. A middle blue is like a long green, for example.
Feb 3, 2015 1:40 AM # 
I think the main point here is that this "Beige" length isn't a new idea, it's just what Brown was intended to be. It's not as if somebody is putting together a 1.9 km technical course. How many advanced course there are between there and the longest one, and what you call them, is a matter of local needs.

(I merely object to the choice of the label "Beige". It's just, yecch.)
Feb 3, 2015 4:31 AM # 
Agreed. I'm all for revising the nomenclature if we offer an advanced course of ~3km in addition to the usual seven courses more in future. As long as we stay wedded to colours, the original suggestion of Silver seems pretty good to me.
Feb 3, 2015 3:19 PM # 
Jon, I think we can do better than Silver. ;)

This discussion thread is closed.