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Discussion: crossing the finish line in the middle of race

in: Orienteering; General

Jun 25, 2016 10:59 AM # 
IOF Foot-O rules state that

The competition ends for a competitor when crossing the finishing line.

and trail-O rules state that

The course ends for a competitor after crossing the finish line.

Do these rules mean that it is illegal to cross the finish line in the middle of the race? In particular, if the path to the finish is narrow and the whole of it is considered the entrance to the finished line, but I
a. deliberately take a route choice running on such a path between control points in foot-O because it is the shortest;
b. deliberately cross the finish line in trail-O to access some paths where all other entrances to those paths are blocked by out-of-bound lines.
Jun 25, 2016 11:56 AM # 
Are you using SI Air? If not, then it never happened until you punch :-)
Jun 25, 2016 1:51 PM # 
That misses the point. Officially, the finish isn't supposed to require punching, and for big important races, it doesn't. One operation around here has started using a non-punching system, where there's a light beam that you cross in order to finish. (And at a recent meet, we had to put a fake control just past the finish line because people weren't used it and needed a target to fixate on, and many of them panicked when they got to it and there was no box to punch at.) Basically, though, this is a place where you have to apply common sense, and if there's a plausible route choice that runs across the finish (even if it involves recovering from an error), that's not the competitor's fault, and I don't think it would make sense to use a nitpicking literal interpretation of the rule and declare somebody DNF. The spirit of the rule is that after you've crossed the finish line intending to finish, you aren't allowed to realize that you missed something and go back out.

(Actually, for that meet that I mentioned, the elite courses had a spectator leg that went right past the finish, and there was a break in the finish chute just before the finish line, so that they could cross it at right angles. Some instead ran through the parking lot just beyond the finish. Nobody crossed the finish line as far as I know, but it wouldn't have been entirely unreasonable to do so (backwards).)

(This is for regular orienteering. For Trail-O, I will offer no opinions.)
Jun 26, 2016 7:19 AM # 
I reckon about 98% of my races should be deemed unofficial then since I had to punch at them! I'm going to go back and protest all the results.

(Now is when someone (Simmo) pipes up and says you need to put in a complaint first before you can protest)
Jun 28, 2016 5:06 AM # 
you need to put in a complaint first before you can protest

[Someone had to do it]
Jun 28, 2016 6:46 AM # 
"The spirit of the rule is that after you've crossed the finish line intending to finish, you aren't allowed to realize that you missed something and go back out"
Mostly I agree except I thought the spirit of the rule was that competitors who had knowledge of the course weren't allowed back out because there would be a risk of them aiding other competitors.
The rules are their to ensure fair play i.e no unfair advantage.
Normally you are allowed to realize you stuffed up and correct; that is not gaining any advantage. The fact that you are standing on one side of the finish line or other shouldn't enter into that stuff up scenario.
Jun 28, 2016 7:31 AM # 
I concur.
Jun 28, 2016 11:00 AM # 
That's fine, although if you want to keep people out of the terrain, you need something more than just saying that their race is over. That rule just says when the clock is supposed to stop for that competitor, it doesn't say anything about going back into the competition area. If you look up the history of that rule, you'll find that it's involved with the introduction of electronic punching, and that it was accepted as a punching system, but not as a timing system. For the majority of events for the general public, that has been ignored almost from the beginning.
Jun 29, 2016 1:09 AM # 
I think there is a rule about not going back out on course once you've finished but that gets ignored too, just like many other rules out there (e.g. the use of GPS devices, following, etc).
Jun 29, 2016 5:05 AM # 
I recently went back out on course to re-do the last part after downloading and learning I had mis-punched. I had to do the last 5 controls over again (and I wasn't the only one :-). It sure didn't help my time for that event, but got me a time for the chase-start in the subsequent event. Against the rules ... yeah, probably.
Jun 29, 2016 5:12 AM # 
What kind of two-bit organisation are you running in that lets you correct a mispunch??? Our organisation is so strict we had a new entrant download the other day without punching the finish brick and she was recorded as DNF - even though the finish was only 50m away!!!

Actually I think that was more a fault of the rego operator not telling her to just go and punch the finish
Jun 29, 2016 11:59 PM # 
At the WTOC, the rule means that you can't physically cross the line until you intend to finish. this rule was changed a few years ago. Before that the rules weren't explicit about this and there was one year when a number of competitors crossed the line without finishing to get a different vantage point of the final control (including me). Apparently, that was not the course setter's intent. They changed the rule after that.
Jun 30, 2016 11:02 AM # 
They wanted a different vantage point of you and the final control? Were you the marshal?
Jun 30, 2016 2:43 PM # 
Or may be just a good looking fellow?
Jun 30, 2016 4:46 PM # 
Alas. No, I was not a part of the final control, however exciting that might have been. I was just too lazy to move my cursor to add the parenthetical where it belonged. I hate posting from my phone.
Jul 1, 2016 12:28 AM # 
I think roving controls would add to the excitement (and frustration) of orienteering, especially if there's a live video feed involved.

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