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Discussion: Forking

in: Run_Bosco; Run_Bosco > 2016-02-14

Feb 21, 2016 10:16 PM # 
Pink Socks:
To me, forking doesn't have the benefit of following much, and doesn't have the benefit of being in your own race much, and so I don't get why it's popular.

I think the appeal to a mass-start race with forking is that you get a head-to-head race that forces everyone to do their own navigation for some of it.

Most orienteers would agree that the "standard" interval start is the most fair way to test navigational skill, since following is generally viewed as either lazy or unfair. But most orienteers would also acknowledge that the interval start isn't very exciting because you don't have any gauge of how you're doing out there and the first to finish is usually not the winner. But if you have an unforked race without a mass start, then there's a lot of following, especially so in a sprint because the races are so short.

So the compromise is to have a mass start with forking: it forces people to do at least some navigating, and it has an exciting first-across-the-finish is the winner.

Also, from the organizer's perspective, having a farsta is nice because it allows you to use a small area for a race, and a mass start allows for a much smaller timeframe. And farstas are incredibly fun to spectate, as you get to see the athletes several times and see how they are doing.
Feb 21, 2016 11:27 PM # 
I think the appeal to a mass-start race with forking is that you get a head-to-head race that forces everyone to do their own navigation for some of it.

Yes, I realize that. And I don't like it. ;)

I just want one or the other.

It is mostly about my preference. But a small part of it is that I think it is ironically less fair to fork, since who you get forked with can provide an advantage-- whereas if everyone is on the same course, everyone has access to the same people to follow (so long as you keep up, which is on you).

Example: A very fast runner/good navigator and three average runners are in the same heat. The course forks and one of the average runners gets paired with the very fast runner, whereas the other average runners have just another average runner with them.

The average runner with the fast runner gets a big boost over the average runners, since the average runner is pulled along by the fast runner's pace.

But, if everyone was on the same course, all the average runners would have a chance at sticking with the fast runner.

However, I realize if the whole course was shared, that some people might attempt to stop navigating altogether (like Joel, ha.). So I understand the need for forking. I suppose my ideal would be forks that are close together, meaning that several controls would be within ~60m of each other so you had to still navigate, instead of forks that are loops that take people to an entirely different part of the map than the other runners.

Anyway. I have just been told several times that a final forking race is supposed to be extra exciting, and it never has been for me. Could be just the way those races have panned out for me, and not related to the format.

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