Results for Planning Competition 2 - Summerhouse Knott
Brown Middle Distance
The results are as below, the maps may be viewed using the links, thanks to Dick Towler for doing an excellent job of judging.
Dick's judging comments
Set out below are the criteria that I used to assess the entries:
- Course Length. Reasonable for you to assume that running speed will be similar to Haverthwaite event last year. I did belatedly tell you that there would be a Black course, so you weren’t planning a course for the fastest runners. The 3.9km length of the Brown course at Haverthwaite would therefore be appropriate for initial armchair planning. If your course was 3.9km or thereabouts, you got 1 point. Several courses were significantly longer, which, of course, must have made them harder to fit in to the available area.
- Start. In choosing your start location, I asked you to take into account that you’d be starting all the courses from that point, including the Yellow, Orange and Light Green. I didn’t tell you that I’d also be judging your start location on whether runners waiting to start would be able to see the direction that earlier runners were taking out of the start. If I was happy with your start, you got another point. Note that the start shouldn’t be positioned at a decision point, so, instead of putting it at a gateway, put it about 20m back on the path leading to the gateway.
- Continuously Technically Challenging Navigation. Because middle distance courses are shorter than long distance ones, they need to be continuously technically challenging. There is no length available for any significant amount of dead running, for instance following paths, unless those paths are offering a significantly longer alternative route choice to going straight. If I felt your course would continuously challenge the winning runners, I’ve given you 3 points.
- Middle Distance Format. Most importantly, middle distance courses should be made up of mainly short or medium length legs, with lots of changes of direction. To be able to penalise anybody who didn’t plan a middle distance course, I allocated 4 points to this one. However, don’t use too many controls. If you do, your course become a control picking, accurate compass exercise.
- Control Sites. Again, to maintain the technical challenge, control sites need to be in intricate locations wherever possible, which is why I didn’t give you the southwest part of the map. If all your control sites were in challenging locations, where you wouldn’t be able to see the flag until after you’d found the location, then you got another 3 points.
- Route Choice Opportunities. Although most legs need to be short or medium length, to give some route choice opportunities should be offered where the terrain allows the planner to include a longer leg or 2. In Summerhouse, the upper part of the southeast facing slope offers some good route choice possibilities. You’ll remember that I suggested you look for such possibilities before planning your course. There were another 3 points available here.
- You’ll also remember that I told you that climb had to be no more than 5% of course length. Particularly in middle distance courses, with lots of changes of direction, planners need to avoid sending runners directly up a steep hillside, only to bring them straight back down or vice versa. I’ve not checked the climb on all courses, but have done on those that I thought might have exceeded the 5%. There was another 2 points for getting this one right.
- Shape. Now we get a bit subjective. I allocated 3 points to those courses that I thought were a good shape, made good use of the terrain, had no doglegs and no unavoidable repetition. I don’t like courses that are just tours of the area, which is another reason why I didn’t give you the southwest bit of the map. I’ve also included in this category my assessment of your final control position, which should be at the end of the taped run in to the finish, so probably at one of the gateways into the field.
- Finally, you got 1 point if I decided I’d really like to run your course.
All entries were acceptable Middle Distance courses, but some were not sufficiently technical, particularly allowing the runner to follow line features, even a lot of path running. After you’ve planned a leg, consider how you’d run it. If you can see an obvious fast, safe route along a line feature, then think again. The other main problem that lots of people had was allowing too much descent down the south-east facing slope, and consequently too much climb overall. Middle distance courses are shorter and so meant to be run faster than long distance ones. Too much climb slows everybody down.
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