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Discussion: CalOFest moved to 2023. New Tahoe 2021 event includes US Champs and NA Rogaining Champs

in: Orienteering; News

Apr 22, 2021 6:44 PM # 
California Orienteering Festival is moved to 2023:

This difficult decision was made in the interests of safety and fairness due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions. It was made jointly with the International Orienteering Federation, International Rogaining Federation, Orienteering Canada, and Orienteering USA along with our partners and landowners. This change includes the North American Orienteering Championships as well as the World Rogaining Championships.
The Festival will be held in San Francisco and Tahoe locations during summer 2023, with dates pending IOF and IRF approvals.

Bay Area Orienteering Club will host Tahoe 2021: US Champs August 6-9; NA Rogaining Champs August 14-15.

Tahoe 2021 will include the USA Orienteering Championships (Sprint, Middle, Long, and a relay), with the same weekend dates and Tahoe areas as were originally planned for CalOFest. The North American Rogaining Championships (24 hour) will be held on the same dates and Tahoe area as the originally planned World Rogaining Championships. Details and registration will be available soon at

Tahoe 2021 will allow those who can travel to attend high-quality Orienteering and Rogaining events as originally planned in August. Permits for the event are pending, and we continue to monitor Covid safety requirements. Courses for Tahoe 2021 will not overlap NAOC 2023 courses.
Current CalOFest registrations are automatically transferred to 2023; you do not have to do anything, your fees will not increase, and you are guaranteed entry! We encourage you to leave your registration in place. However, for those interested in alternatives, you may write to

We look forward to seeing you in California, and we wish you good spirits, good health, and good fitness.

CalOFest Steering Committee
Apr 22, 2021 7:02 PM # 
This seems like an excellent call in the light of current circumstances. Really excited to orienteer at Tahoe in both 2021 and 2023!

Will there be separate registration for the Tahoe 2021 events?

Thank you very much for the update.
Apr 22, 2021 7:42 PM # 
I'm very happy that the organizers will go forward with high-quality and appealing events this year, and I'm looking forward to both the 2021 and 2023 events!
Apr 22, 2021 8:04 PM # 
Thanks to the organizers for the perseverance and resilience. I look forward to being there, with many other Canadians, in 2023.
Apr 22, 2021 8:28 PM # 
Yes there will be separate registration for Tahoe 2021 - details to come soon.
Apr 22, 2021 8:40 PM # 
This is great news! Thank you to the organizers for all your deliberations and work to make both of these events happen.
Apr 22, 2021 8:59 PM # 
Apr 22, 2021 9:04 PM # 
This is pretty much what I was hoping would happen, though it seemed too much to ask for.
Apr 22, 2021 10:35 PM # 
Seems the best way to proceed, given all the circumstances. Thanks for all your deliberations and decision making!
Apr 23, 2021 8:32 AM # 
Why are the events moved two years to 2023? Is there a NAOC planned in Canada in 2022? Is there a WRC scheduled somewhere in 2022? Anybody know? Thanks.
Apr 23, 2021 9:46 AM # 
Yes, WRC is already committed for 2022.
Apr 23, 2021 12:53 PM # 
I believe the 2022 NAOC will be in the Ottawa region.
Apr 23, 2021 2:07 PM # 
Sharon, there will be an announcement fairly soon re upcoming NAOCs.
Apr 23, 2021 7:51 PM # 
I want to salute Gavin Wyatt-Mair and his team for making this happen. The circumstances they have encountered have been unprecedented. The obstacles were enormous and they could have more easily thrown in the towel and cancelled everything. But instead they have come through it all with plans for two great events.
Apr 23, 2021 9:04 PM # 
Yes, the organizers have had incredible obstacles thrown their way. I'm glad they're able to salvage something, both from their work and for the competitors who are able to attend. Thank you!
Apr 25, 2021 1:54 PM # 
I will echo the thought that the organizers have had a lot thrown at them. With the number of "ifs" that they have had to deal with, they are finding their way. Basically, they are working with a Covid map that is not well drawn but they are making do. Tahoe is a great place to orienteer and, as was mentioned, going there in 2021 and 2023 is great.
May 5, 2021 2:14 PM # 
Just in case anyone was thinking the NAOC could still have been held this summer; speculation now seems to be that the US/Canada border will remain closed until at least late summer. I miss my American O friends!
May 10, 2021 11:57 PM # 
Any update on when registration will open for Tahoe 2021?
May 11, 2021 12:45 AM # 
The Championship status of the events is still pending sanctioning. Presumably registration info will be forthcoming once approved.
May 11, 2021 3:28 AM # 
Sounds like the "North American" Rogaine Champs may be questionable...
May 11, 2021 3:41 AM # 
Sad but true. The latest word in Ontario is that our state of emergency and stay-at-home order will likely be extended until early June. Things are finally starting to bend in the right direction though.
May 26, 2021 1:03 PM # 
Any update on when entries will open for the Tahoe event? It’s still happening right?
May 26, 2021 1:20 PM # 
Still waiting on sanctioning approval.
May 26, 2021 1:46 PM # 
No application for sanctioning has been submitted.
May 26, 2021 8:08 PM # 
I notice a PGA golf tournament will also be held in the Truckee area the first week of August. Is that going to put extra pressure on available accommodations?
May 26, 2021 10:42 PM # 
We already have a place booked (motels were expensive!). And we are hoping the event will go ahead as planned.
May 26, 2021 11:51 PM # 
I booked a place I would need to cancel by June 5. Is there really a possibility this won't happen?
May 27, 2021 1:04 AM # 
Hotels *are* expensive! We booked in Tahoe Vista (a bit cheaper than Truckee; even Reno was expensive unless you're into Super 8 or Motel 6). Tahoe Vista has two places with cute cabins that are cheaper than motels; they require a 4-day minimum and there are still some available.
And, as always, book something with cancellation much closer to the event. :-)
May 27, 2021 1:37 AM # 
It probably doesn’t help that all of the Bay Area wants to hang out in Tahoe while there is still “work from home”...or to finally vacation together in the big rental houses.
May 27, 2021 8:02 PM # 
The latest email intake of my Orienteering USA inbox assures me a Tahoe 2021 sanctioning application will be soon forthcoming.
May 27, 2021 8:11 PM # 
The Sprint will be Friday morning at Sierra College, east of Sacramento. Best to plan to spend Thursday night in the Sacramento area, and Friday night at Tahoe. Sacramento hotels should not be hard to find.
May 27, 2021 8:27 PM # 
Whut? The webpage indicates all events will be in the Tahoe area -- and my party of four has already booked lodging accordingly.

The events will be held the same weekend dates (August 6–9), and at the Tahoe areas, as were originally planned for CalOFest.
May 27, 2021 10:18 PM # 
The event is going ahead as planned - the final program should be approved tonight with registration opening shortly. Lookout for the official announcement as soon as we can.
May 28, 2021 3:19 PM # 
Here is the program for Tahoe2021, we are working on registration opening asap.

August 6th Sprint, Sierra College, Rocklin,
August 7th Middle, Little Truckee Summit, Tahoe
August 8th Long, Sagehen, Tahoe
August 9th Club Champs Relay Burton Creek

August 14,15 NA Rogaining Champs +4 hour Rogaine

Sierra College is about a 1hr 20min drive from Truckee and was chosen to preserve the NorthStar Sprint map for the NAOC Sprint event in 2023.
May 28, 2021 6:27 PM # 
So no sites in Nevada? Spooner Lake moved to 2023?
May 28, 2021 7:53 PM # 
Thanks for this info! Is there any more specific location for the rogaine (and potential events in between), please?
May 28, 2021 9:05 PM # 
Thanks! This is very helpful. I gather there’s no model.
I think Spooner Lake was always just going to be an NRE, not a NAOC race … but I could very well be misremembering.
May 28, 2021 9:48 PM # 
Spooner Lake was going to be a midweek NRE for CalOFest - not part of NAOC. Probably not going to be part of the 2023 NAOC races either.

We are currently working on having a model at Little Truckee Summit for the USChamps.

The rogaine will be at Northstar with a potential model event at Boreal ridge.
May 29, 2021 1:03 AM # 
Thank you! Now I can work on lodging…
May 29, 2021 5:51 PM # 
O Joy:
Will there be the opportunity to camp at the Rogaine site on the 13th as had been planned for the WRC? Thx!
May 29, 2021 8:34 PM # 
yes the rogaine camping is currently planned to be the same parking lot area as was planned for WRC
Jun 1, 2021 5:04 AM # 
I'd like to start planning with club members who might be there for the 2021 Tahoe relay. Am I on the right track by assuming the format will be the same or similar to what was described as the Club Relay in Bulletin 3 for what at the time was intended for 2020 and is now being moved to 2023? (As opposed to the National Team Relay, which I presume will still be applicable for 2023 but not for 2021.) Namely, 3-person team, forest format, point system based on age and gender.
Jun 1, 2021 6:05 PM # 
details being worked out now - there may be some differences in the points system.
Jun 5, 2021 5:22 PM # 
Planned Club Championship relay categories for Tahoe2021:

3 member teams, forest based courses.

Classes (all from one club):
Youth: 16 and under
Elite: 17-40
Masters: 40+
Y/E/M: one from each of above categories

"Build your own" : any combination of elite masters and junior as well as club and gender. Will not count in club overall scoring.

Registration for Tahoe2021 opening very soon!
Jun 6, 2021 6:06 PM # 
When is soon???
Jun 6, 2021 10:18 PM # 
@smaclean: Thanks for posting the relay details! Do i read this correctly that a team of three 39-year-old women would be in the same category as a team of three 25-year-old men?
Jun 7, 2021 12:38 AM # 
It seems I oversimplified a bit too much in my description :-) Just trying to give enough info for people to think about teams here. Official rules will be published.

There will be separate Men and Womens categories for Youth, Elite, Masters and combo Y/E/M teams.

e.g.Teams of 3 Women all between 17 and 40 yrs old will only compete against other teams of 3 Women in the Elite age range.

Each category will have a winner (8 + Buildyour own)
Additionally points will be awarded for the top 5 teams in each category and used to calculate the top 3 winning clubs. 'Build your own teams' can have any members but will not count towards club points.

Early next week for registration.
Jun 7, 2021 1:10 AM # 
OK, so more or less back to the 1990 (and earlier) format.
Jun 7, 2021 7:47 PM # 
The proposed relay class scheme seems not to reward teams for including older orienteers, since 40+ is still young relative to the demographics of likely attendees. Why reinvent the wheel when the points system that has been prevalent for so many recent years was working well and was more inclusive?
Jun 7, 2021 8:58 PM # 
+1 Eric
Jun 7, 2021 9:55 PM # 
Why reinvent the wheel

Some would say that it was more of a sledge than a wheel.

Although... since almost 30 years have elapsed since the points system was introduced, and it's almost the same set of people who are participating, maybe the cutoffs for being worth a certain number of points need to be shifted forward by 25 years or so. ;-)
Jun 8, 2021 5:08 AM # 
NB: When Steph says registration will open NEXT week, that's Scottish for THIS week. In fact, if you look as of right now, you just may find it open (so I'm told).
Jun 8, 2021 8:17 AM # 
It's up on EventReg, but the link from the website is not there yet.
I have a question. A few months ago, there was talk of requiring SI Air+ punches because of Covid. Since it's become clear that the spread of the virus is primarily through the air and not by contact, is this still a requirement? In other words, do I need to rent an SI Air+ when I have a perfectly good SI 11?
Jun 8, 2021 4:36 PM # 
Registration is now open.

All but the oldest e-sticks will be allowed.
Jun 8, 2021 8:18 PM # 
I am looking forward to it and appreciate the info provided on the website and here!

If possible, can you provide any more timing details as it affects travel and lodging plans?

I see it says the sprint on Friday is in the morning.

Is the rogaine noon-noon, 12 am -12 pm?
Jun 8, 2021 11:05 PM # 
sure....The Sprint will be early on Friday as it is pretty hot at Sierra College in August, don't have exact window yet but times will be assigned for competitive courses.

24 hour rogaine: noon Sat to noon Sun. Maps handed out at 9am Sat.

4 hour: Sat 1:30 to 5:30 pm. Maps handed out at 12:15.
Jun 9, 2021 3:02 AM # 
Thanks Steph for sharing the Relay category plans.

Interesting choice to move away from the point system that OUSA codified after many years of learning - with 'recent' changes to 3 person teams, with 3/6/9 point categories.

One the the benefits of following the OUSA rules on points, is to allow more clubs to field competitive teams, generally resulting in a more fun, competitive set of races. Another benefit is it's likely closer to what your attendees were likely already making team & travel plans around.

I'm happy to have a relay hosted, and we'll make teams to match the categories you pick - but if your relay category plans are still flexible, I'd encourage you to stick closer to the existing framework.
Jun 9, 2021 3:30 AM # 
I'd like to echo what Wyatt, Eric and others have said. I'm trying to field the first-ever relay team representing Grizzly Orienteering from Montana. Unfortunately, the stricter category designations make it much less likely that we'll be able to field a 'legal' team.
Jun 9, 2021 4:56 AM # 
+1 to Eric, Wyatt & Boris.
Jun 9, 2021 11:39 PM # 
The Tahoe2021 Steering Committee (I'm not a member) is now aware of the questions and comments posted here regarding the relay categories. They will discuss this at their weekly meeting tomorrow night (yes, they've been meeting weekly for three years (!!)) and then will post something here. Stay tuned.
Jun 10, 2021 1:48 AM # 
I should say that i applaud BAOC for organizing a relay. I am really excited and motivated for it. And also, i would love to get to the point in US orieentering when such categories as outlined above are competitive and feature many teams. That's what we should be aiming for. Unfortunately, that's not where we are at the moment, and maximizing the number of teams should be one of the priorities when organizing a relay. Thanks for giving the thoughts expressed in this thread serious consideration.
Jun 10, 2021 6:48 PM # 
Edit: I'm not commenting on what should be done in this competition. Just general comments about the points system. I don't want to derail the thread since Erin is looking for feedback.

As long as this debate has come up in this thread I'm going to voice my unpopular opinion. I dislike our points system to make relay teams.

It's super confusing and makes it much more difficult to make teams. It also means I usually have no idea what is going on in terms of head-to-head competition during the race because of how much courses and competitors change, which is a let-down during a mass start since that's much of the excitement.

Obviously the benefit is to make it possible for all or most clubs to have relay teams, which is very important. But I think there are other ways. I agree with Boris that we should be aiming for a system like the one suggested by the organizers, but in an ideal scenario for US orienteering, we will never reach that point. If the sport grows in the US, there will always be small, new clubs unable to field full teams.

Just from my experience, I really liked Spain's method of competing on regional relay teams, not clubs. The regions even made jerseys for each Spanish championship. It'd be possible to do the same in the US. Something like Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West, etc. How to create those regions could clearly be debated, but, yeah, it made for much more exciting competition than what I've experienced at relays here.

Of course, this goes beyond what the organizers can decide for this championship. But like I said, since the topic came up, I figured I'd offer another opinion.
Jun 10, 2021 6:52 PM # 
Hey Everyone,
I am the course setter for the relay and hearing the feedback definitely entertaining the idea to go back to the 3, 6, 9 point team. I proposed the current categories because I thought that it would be cool for clubs to not have to mix it up so much and bring people together in a certain age range. Not sure if this is clear but anyone can run up in the elite category and any women can run the the men's. I realize competitively this could be at a disadvantage to win but it should not limit teams from entering. Here are some questions before I definitely decide to make the change.

1. Is the challenge to put teams together gender specific or age specific or both?

2. If for example I was able to work out roughly distance compromises so that mens and womens times were equal but distances were different and then instead of having gender categories just keep Junior, Elite, JEM, and Masters and you could have a mixed gender team and course length would be differentiated by gender of the team. Would that work assuming it would be roughly fair?

3. One thing that makes it a little bit harder to create a good relay experience is to have 5-6 different levels of courses. If you then add forking to those you end up with tons of controls in the forest and a lot of splitting which with our small population in the US makes for a less exciting rely. My thinking was that I can design course with simple forking's that meets of age classes without having to split it up to much so you have a mass start with everyone and the distances say masters and elite are running equal out and those athletes may be coming in together or continually crossing paths in the forest to make it more exciting. Its probably possible to do this to some extent with the 3, 6, 9, but in the 9 especially you have a variety of navigational levels that make it hard to set to keep it interesting. So I may be learning on this piece and am open to feedback there but I wonder with the 3, 6, 9 has the experience been and less splitting up in the forest?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated to inform the decision. Thanks
Jun 10, 2021 8:21 PM # 
A few comments based on history (dating back to around when Gswede and schirminator were born):
- There are few clubs that have multiple "elite" male runners, even fewer that have multiple "elite" female runners. I'm putting that in quotes because I'm talking about just ages, not even getting to skills. And of those few, you cut down the number even more when you're looking at how many clubs can get enough people to travel to a distant event.
- Until 1990, we had a "conventional" relay system, with multiple categories (elite men, elite woman, masters men, masters women, etc.). It... wasn't great. It kind of sucked. Part of the problem was that BSK won the men's relay every year, and NEOC won the women's relay every year. Almost by default.
- Starting in 1991, we went to a single-category relay. Not 3/6/9, just one relay, four legs. The 1991 relay was a big improvement, and the runners were supposed to run a leg at least as hard as what they "usually" ran at A-meets.
- 1992 was the same, but clarified things by assigning points to each runner based on age and sex, and you needed four points to field a team. I think it was 1995 when an 8-point category was added, intially with the same courses. At some point after that, the 8-point was shifted down a notch in terms of the courses. And a 12-point category got added somewhere along the way.
- Later, the relay was reduced to three legs, and the points adjusted accordingly.
- Everyone would probably have their favorite point along this progression. Mine was four legs, two categories (4-point and 8-point), with the 8-point having shorter courses (e.g. Green/Orange/Brown/Red and Brown/Yellow/Orange/Green).
- During this same time (the 1990s and maybe into the early 2000s), the 1000-Day was running similar relays which I think were always still single-category, and that went well.
- With the number of people we have in relays in North America, forking is utterly unnecessary.
Jun 11, 2021 2:46 AM # 
Thx JJ for the additional context - and +1 to your sentiments.

I recalled the story back to '91, and that '91 was better that prior years, but I didn't realize prior-years were actually the 'conventional' system (close to what BAOC initially proposed for this year.) I've enjoyed the point-system relays being especially useful to various clubs hosting competitive Relay teams over the years. (Often much more competitive than many/most individual age categories.)

Erin & other BAOC organizers - as I've said before I'm very happy to have a Club Relay, so we'll be fine with whatever you choose - and to the extent I have a 'vote' remains with Boris, Erik, Brooke, Janet & others to retain the 1991-2017-like points-based teams.

Finally, if I were to make one change to the most recent 3/6/9-point, 3-person team based rules, it would be to follow the demographics, and grant 1 additional point for 70+

- Wyatt
Jun 11, 2021 4:47 AM # 
I love the idea of regional teams instead of club teams. Not necessarily for this year’s event which is now around the corner, but maybe a future organizer will like the idea and run with it.
Jun 11, 2021 7:04 AM # 
We switched to state teams (rather than club) for the Australian Relays in the 1990s and definitely didn't regret it. That said, an accident of political geography left us with just the right number of teams for a good competition (six states and the ACT), plus competing for one's state is part of the Australian sporting culture in a way that isn't matched in many other parts of the world that I know of.
Jun 11, 2021 7:57 AM # 
The 12pt category was first used in 2004, when the relay champs happened in Maine.
Jun 14, 2021 5:55 PM # 
For those on the fence... Tahoe 2021 is now officially sanctioned and approved as the 2021 US Nationals.

Venue permits for the middle and long are still pending from federal agencies, but that has become somewhat standard under COVD-19.

Read the official update here.
Jun 15, 2021 3:29 AM # 
We still have a few more things to iron out before finalizing the relay details.

Our primary emphasis is to hold a fun relay with head to head competition and forking. Additionally we expect that the less technical and relatively flat venue will allow all teams of 3 with a wide range of skill and fitness levels to participate.

Will post the plan when we have it.
Jun 16, 2021 3:41 AM # 
As an immigrated Swede with 30+ years of competitive orienteering under my belt, I was never a fan of the point system as it was used in the more recent editions of the US relay champs. My biggest problem with it was the lack of a zero-point, or "elite" category.

Requiring some of the best teams to "handicap" themselves by having at least 4 (or 3) points in the national championship never made any sense to me. Moreover, the scenario in which a small club with a strong "elite" team potentially would be unable to even participate in the national champs relay due to a lack of available "non-elite" runners, is absurd, if you ask me.

My suggestion would be to definitely have one "elite" category (with no restrictions whatsoever on who can run). However, instead of complementing that with age-based classes for men and women, I think a point system like the one used could work well to ensure an interesting relay experience for everyone who for any reason wouldn't make a team in the "elite" class. I would caution against spreading people out into too many classes, though. The fun with relays is to run head-to-head against other people, which requires many teams in each category. Assuming we want to stay with 3-person teams, it may be optimal with just three classes, say "Elite" (i.e., 0 points), 5 points and 10 points.

Finally, forking is a must in any serious orienteering relay, if anyone was actually considering skipping that.
Jun 16, 2021 7:19 AM # 
The head-to-head thing is an elite concept that has no meaning for most orienteers in my (small) country. In 45 years of orienteering the memorable moments of head-to-head pressure have come from chasing start races. A relay for me is a solo race in which there just happens to be a handover.

There would be more fun in a teams race with splits (everyone starting at once with the post-race addition of team members' times). With three times the number of runners on the course there might be the occasional sighting of someone else.

This is not to deny the excitement of relays when you can get lots of runners of similar ability. But only 2-3 clubs here can produce a team of elite men, or elite women. My club's top runners (who live here) are an M50 and a M16. Of course the US is probably much stronger than this.
Jun 16, 2021 1:06 PM # 
Nope, we're not stronger than that. NZ and the US are probably pretty similar, except that NZ isn't as spread out.
Jun 16, 2021 2:43 PM # 
I strongly disagree that the head-to-head thing would be an "elite" concept only. We recently had a local tri-state relay here in the Midwest (as some of you may have seen in the March Orienteering USA newsletter) with a lot of head-to-head action in all three classes (4 point, 8-point and 12-point) throughout the race. BTW, looking back at the number of teams in each category at that event (7, 8 and 10), I would probably revise my suggestion to have three classes according to the following: 0 points, 6 points and 12 points.
Jun 17, 2021 2:09 AM # 
One of the things I like the most about the point system is its co-ed nature. If we are going to move to something else, then I would prefer something like the WOC sprint relay where teams are still co-ed.
Jun 17, 2021 12:05 PM # 
Moreover, the scenario in which a small club with a strong "elite" team potentially would be unable to even participate in the national champs relay due to a lack of available "non-elite" runners, is absurd, if you ask me.

Aside from the fact that there probably is no such club (there was back in the day; Blue Star Komplex, a non-geographical club which kind of existed only as an artifact of the relay, and which vanished when the points system came along), this is just about the definition of an elitist attitude. The club has no non-elite runners? Cry me a river! How about recruiting some? It's not as if people who are worth points are hard to find in US orienteering.
Jun 17, 2021 1:56 PM # 
Finally, forking is a must in any serious orienteering relay, if anyone was actually considering skipping that.

How serious is this relay, really? At some point you'll want forking but no need to complicate it when we're talking so few teams with a wide range of skills and speed.
Jun 17, 2021 1:58 PM # 
I have always been surprised that there is no 0 point relay where each club just puts up their best 3 regardless of category. If a club does not want to enter the 0 point class because they qualify for another class they always have that option. One of our clubs' best teams would certainly qualify for another class but I think they would want to test their mettle against the best.
Jun 17, 2021 2:18 PM # 
How about time penalty? team with most points stars first, teams with 0 points last. Or alternatively mass start, but make teams wait before the last leg wait some minutes based on points. First in finish wins.
Jun 17, 2021 2:33 PM # 
Or penalty laps. Each team member runs X - (team points) laps before heading out on their course. First to finish wins.
Jun 17, 2021 4:35 PM # 
The original intent of the points system was to get as many people involved as possible, and to get them into the main event, rather than some backwater category. That's why it was originally all one (4-point) category. Early on there was some concern that giving 2 points to women was too much, but after some thought, the point wasn't that you were necessarily trying to level the field, but that you were trying to get everybody into the mix, and having a big incentive to include at least one woman was a good thing.

Despite some comments ot the contrary, I'll repeat that forking is unnecessary (for relays in North America). No harm in it of course, but don't sacrifice other aspects of course quality just to have forking. Some of the championship relays in the 90s did have some minimal forking. I think the 1000-Day relays never had any, and they were great.

(The real controversy was always about whether the team time should be when the anchor leg finishes, or the sum of the leg times, the difference arising when people when out in the catchup mass starts. That one tore apart friendships and households and was worse than Red Sox fans and Yankees fans duking it out!)
Jun 17, 2021 9:32 PM # 
We liked the US points system so much we stole it for the Scottish relays.

It has evolved over time, but we basically had the same problems as you with too small numbers to make age-group teams. In the forest, it works well in terms of people running together and leading teams finishing at the same time (check out the results). There's always bitching about "Fairness". We encourage "regional" teams from faraway "regions", and we celebrate them if they're competitive and boo them if the race off the front ;)
Jun 18, 2021 12:47 AM # 
+1 to smittyo
A "0 point" category would implicitly exclude women from being on competitive relay teams in the elite category. Doesn't seem right to me.

When the initial "age-based" categories were described above, I thought it would be great, as long as all teams were required to have at least one female and one male competitor. Three categories (i.e., co-ed elite, co-ed junior and co-ed masters) would probably make for good competition.

But, the point system is probably even better because it is more flexible.
Jun 18, 2021 1:16 AM # 
"...this is just about the definition of an elitist attitude. The club has no non-elite runners? Cry me a river! How about recruiting some? It's not as if people who are worth points are hard to find in US orienteering."

Come on! I put "elite" and "non-elite" in quotes for a reason. The U.S. barely has any real elite orienteers. What I was referring to was a small club (e.g., mine, ICO, which has 5 or less orienteers ready to travel across the country for competitions), which on any day very well may have three decent runners ready to travel to a national champs relay (maybe even challenge for a medal) but may not be eligible under the points system due to all, or too many of us being in the "elite"- and "near-elite" age groups which don't generate enough points. That's what I was referring to as absurd. And no, it's not easy to recruit high-point orienteers in Indiana who are ready to spend hundreds of dollars to travel across the country to a national meet (may be different where you live...). And, even if it was easy, wouldn't it be weird (and hard to explain to outsiders) if one of the original three guys/gals that would have made up the club's strongest combination and who was ready to fork out the costs of travel would have to stay home (or not compete) due to an arbitrary point system?

Again, I suggest three classes, something like 0 points, 6 points, and 12 points, but just two classes (0 points and, say, 8 points) could perhaps be another option if the number of participants are expected to be low.

Finally, regarding forking, orienteering relays without forking can be fun, but it has to be recognized that it to some degree is a different sport if you don't need to be able to read the map at all. I don't think we should devalue our national championship in orienteering by making it relatively easy for strong runners who have never held an orienteering map in their hand to win medals. I don't think a lot of forking is needed but there has to be some.
Jun 18, 2021 1:38 AM # 
This relay event is not a national championship event. It is a recreational event which happens to be held in conjunction with the Individual National Championships.
Jun 18, 2021 1:44 AM # 
I've been in the most extreme case of the "strong runner, inexperienced navigator" situation: a head-to-head single elimination forest sprint tournament, where in the second round I faced a younger and clearly stronger runner, who was told by his clubmates to not even look at his map, to just follow me and outsprint me at the end.

He got eliminated in that round. :-)
Jun 18, 2021 2:06 AM # 
Part of the beauty of this relay, though, it that it does create a place for newcomers. You can be on a team, even if you aren't great at orienteering yet. Typically a strong newcomer would be used on an early leg, when there are still enough people around to follow. If you put him as the anchor, he's likely to be alone and over his head when he gets tagged off to. Don't forget that running through the forest is also an acquired skill, and people who haven't done a lot of it will have trouble keeping up.
Jun 18, 2021 2:36 AM # 
The thing I really love about relays in the US is they motivate so much online kvetching beforehand and so little actual physical participation.
Jun 19, 2021 12:24 AM # 
Missionaries one and all. "I love it, so why dont they* love it? Only a matter of promotion." Or format. Or rules.

*They = runners, bikers, everyone who doesnt think like me.
Jun 19, 2021 1:20 AM # 
A proposal for the Chasing Goat Relay

Goal: For maximum excitement, try to get as many runners finishing around the same time as possible.

Goat? No forking or other fussing. If you can jock stuff the map and run, that just increases the excitement at the finish line.

Chasing? Use the results of the previous two days events to determine the "typical" pace of each runner. Each runner is then assigned to one of, say, 5 courses, short to long, based on their paces slowest to fastest, so that they might be predicted to finish their course in approximately 30 min.

Relay? Put your team together. One team might have runners on courses 1, 2 and 4. Another on courses 3, 3, and 5. They all run "head to head" because their predicted paces should have them all finishing in 90min.

On the first leg, a runner on course 1 might peel off toward the finish before someone on course 3. But the course 3 runner is supposedly faster and should/might make up that handicap.

Is it "fair"? I suppose not. But perhaps there is the potential to keep everyone maximally engaged for approximately same amount of time, with the most potential for an multi-runner finish, no mass starts, no worrying about age, etc.

Atypical results from the previous day's events, either due to a big boom or sandbagging, could be thrown out of the calculations by the Chasing Goat Czar. Some might complain, but the complaint would be rejected on the basis that the fundamental goal is fun and excitement and not fairness.
Jun 19, 2021 2:24 AM # 
That last line contains volumes of wisdom.
Jun 19, 2021 7:59 AM # 
Gr8 idea, I like it. The thrill of the czase.
Jun 19, 2021 3:32 PM # 
I'm the event director for the Tahoe2021 relay and the NAOC Relay. Thanks for everyone's interest and comments. I hope you all sign up for the relay. Right now we have 50 registrations for the relay. Only three clubs could field more that one team. I haven't done the math to figure out all the points, but we could give DVOA the 0-point award right now.
One of our goals is to prepare for the NAOC Relay. So we want the format to be similar.
Jun 20, 2021 1:59 AM # 
Challenge: in the next 12 months, organize a local relay with whatever format you think would maximize your desired goal (fun, competitiveness, num participants, age range)...and report back to this thread with format, what went well / what you would do differently, and two quotes from participants

Jun 20, 2021 2:45 AM # 
Yeah, but maybe a different thread... this one has a name that will be hard to find if you're looking for relay stuff.
Jun 20, 2021 2:00 PM # 
Suzanne, I've been having some discussions with some Orienteering Canada folks about doing almost that exact challenge. We would probably pick a month or two where we'd ask people to host a relay though.
Jun 21, 2021 5:26 PM # 
Hi all thanks for all the feedback. The organizing committee met to make a decision. We decided to keep the format we had for relay teams. We made a couple smaller changes.

Categories: Junior M/F 16 and under, Elite/open M/F (Whatever name feels better) 17-44, Masters M/F 45+, JEM (Includes a junior, Elite and Masters) M/F 1 from each category, Build your own- a choice of any combination of 3 runners.

Courses Technical Challenge:
Junior (White-yellow level with some Yellow/Orange route choice options) Roughly 2-2.5k, Forking No
Open/Elite: (Brown- Orange mix of controls) Roughly 4-4.5K, Forking: Yes
Masters: (Brown-Orange mix of controls) Roughly 3-3.5k, Forking: Yes
JEM and Build your own use combinations of the previous 3.

Teams: Any male team can include females. (We may shorten one leg to keep it closer) Courses are designed to maximize as much head to head competition as possible.

I realize this decision may be less than ideal to put teams together however I think either way it will be fun and a good way to end the weekend and I encourage everyone to participate regardless of how competitive you think your team may be. We will certainly collect data at the end and share it.
Jun 21, 2021 8:20 PM # 
Thanks Erin. Whatever the format, I am sure it will be fun!
Go OK ;-)
Jul 4, 2021 1:56 PM # 
I think the relay will be fun, but I also think there will be relatively little head-to-head racing (and thus it will be less fun than it could be), due to these factors:

1. Teams will be divided among different courses, so they cannot be racing head-to-head to the finish line, by definition (because the finish line is essentially at a different place/distance for the different categories.)
2. The category system encourages segregation in team ability rather than leveling of team abilities, so teams will be radically different speeds and will likely spread out quickly.
3. There is forking, which will further discourage any head-to-head packs that might form.

I hope I'm wrong, but I'm afraid I'm not.

I am trying to figure out what team I would like to participate on for my club in order to get the toughest possible competition, and I have no idea. This is sort of depressing and demotivating, which is too bad, because I usually greatly look forward to relays. It seems likely that the most competitive categories--with the most head-to-head competition and where navigating and running well or poorly will be the most consequential to the result--will not be the Elite categories but the JEM or Masters categories. This is the reason not to have an Elite category: It will likely not be the most competitive (because there might be only a few teams, which may be fast but will likely spread apart), but it will serve to make the remaining categories less competitive by splitting up the best runners.

This is a side note, but the information on the website does not make it clear that there are both women's and men's versions of the age categories. It would be better to explicitly say this, or better yet, just list all the categories and what courses they run.
Jul 4, 2021 2:03 PM # 
The point system that was in use before (e.g., for the now defunct U.S. Relay Championships) created a marketplace for runners, and this served to incentivize clubs to create teams that made a competitive field. Under the Tahoe rules, I sort of wish a committee of people would just draw up teams for all the clubs, in order to make it competitive. I have done fun relay events before where the organizers put people on teams, and it can work well to produce a competitive race.
Jul 7, 2021 4:24 PM # 
It appears that my club will have three people running the relay: a 41 year old male, a 39 year old female, and a 49 year old male. Do i read correctly that we would have to run the Elite/Open Men's category?
Jul 7, 2021 6:03 PM # 
The clever thing here would be for all teams to sign up for the Elite category, and make a real race out of it.
Jul 7, 2021 6:26 PM # 
Boris did your M35 runner not make the cut?
Jul 7, 2021 6:27 PM # 
I think the one you are thinking of is COC primary
Jul 7, 2021 6:52 PM # 
I have posted a new thread with the final Relay Format which includes a new 'seeded draw' for teams.
Jul 7, 2021 7:36 PM # 
I think what is new is that runners get points for their club regardless of their team. So 3 elite women could be in a team from 3 different clubs and each earn points for their respective club.

"The Club Championship will be a team competition based upon the relay. Runners of each relay leg will be awarded points using the Scottish system. Each Club's top 5 runners with the most points will contribute to the Club's total point count regardless of the runners' relay team. The Club with the most points wins the Club Championship.
All runners from a Club have a chance to contribute to their Club’s score, and all Clubs will receive a score, even if they have only one runner!"

This discussion thread is closed.