Where exactly in the pre-race info did it say that? When did it get announced? And are you sure the organisers explicitly stated that? Shane Ohly had asked the RO that very question the previous day and had been told that the crossings were 'recommended'. Duncan and I debated the issue as we ran up the road to no. 1. With no clear info on the map and no better previous info on the subject we decided that they couldn't possibly be mandatory. What's the point of planning a route choice leg like 2-3 if there is no route choice? And if there really is no route choice, why not just add a checkpoint at the summit to avoid the issue, or bend the line like the route to 1?
I agree that things needed to be clearer and that it marred an otherwise great race, but please don't accuse us and the many other folk who interpreted the lack of clarity differently of deliberately cheating.
There are two point here OJ, one about the race and one about the quality of the map/planning.
I haven't got a copy of the final info and it doesn't want to download again, but I definitely read that fences and walls were not to be climbed. Plus, when the team captains picked up the maps we were told that crossing points were marked on the map and to be used (I also saw the )( symbol somewhere implying that it should be used). The arena commentator mentioned it at some stage, but this should obviously not be the primary method of making the info available.
I can understand crossing a ruined fence and questioning it but climbing a high stone wall (well, at least at the summit the wall was over 5ft high)?
A clearer map and being checked by someone who knows what they're doing could avoid this problem. However, this is a FRA nav leg and not and O race, the standards are different, so when there no legal option but to climb to the top of the hill to avoid crossing boundaries, then we didn't question that.
I don't know who did climb the wall and fence (other than the two teams we saw doing it), but anyone who has ever organised a race knows that landowners are not happy (rightfully) if people climb their boundaries, and as competitors we all surely know that as well?
I'm with OJ on this.
It was my first RFA relay. I didn't see anything to say that the crossing point at the top of Moel Eilio was compulsory. It looked like a route choice to me. If it were otherwise why not just add the checkpoint on the summit that Leg 1 visited?
The FRA need to up their game. Get orienteers (and a Controller) involved in the planning.
Same every year...
I picked up our team envelopes and queried the crossing points, and when pushed the organiser guy wouldn't commit to crossing points being compulsory.
If the map shows accurately all the information you need to navigate (and avoid un-crossable features) then fine, but until then the information provided isn't sufficient or consistent enough to do anything but go the fastest way.
I don't know what the guidelines for the FRA relays say, but it would be good if we could use this as an opportunity to get them improved if necessary for the nav leg. It is not rocket science - in this case simply including the existing CP on the top of Moel Eilio (CP1 on leg1 ) would have avoided the biggest issue. Similarly putting CP2 actually on the crossing point just before, would have saved some teams gaining an advantage by shaving off 20 m climb.
A lot of merit in Chas's suggestion of some sort of experienced "controller" being necessary. Note, in this case the planner was an Orienteer !
Well I have stuck something the FRA forum. Will be interesting to see whether it gains any traction.
If I remember rightly, in 2015 there was a CP blatantly in the wrong place, and that didn't elicit a single comment on the forum.
Perhaps fell running should just give up with the pretence and abandon the navigation leg altogether. Otherwise they risk being pulled even further into the dark and murky underworld of orienteering rules-making, juries, appeals and committees.
Time for a cautionary tale. Twelve Hairy Men?
Personally I think it would be a shame to lose the navigational leg. One of the great things about the relay is the variety of legs / people it attracts.
Having said that, I share your nervousness re "rules-making, juries, appeals etc. " Which is why my post on the FRA forum talks about "guidelines" and not " being overly prescriptive or bureaucratic". Given some carefull planning and marking up of the maps - even dodgy OS ones - it is quite possible to significantly reduce the likelihood of this type of incident.
Ehem, steady there Ricky, how will I have my guaranteed place on a team if there's no nav ;-) Having said that, sounds like less of a bad thing to miss out this year and definitely worth some work for the future. Incidentally there's some ambiguity in a few champs rules including what to do in the event of a draw....
I was asked by a member of the FRA committee for my views on last year as quite a lot of fell runners complained at the technical nav in the clag. I personally enjoyed it last year and as me and Becca managed to worsel some well renowned carnethy runners among many others it certainly had the orienteering weighting (I'm unlikely to beat Jasmin Paris many other ways) but there were still improvements that could be made and I guess its hard to get a balance between route choice and suitable fell running nav that doesn't fringe on orienteering.
After thinking about this for a few days several things have occurred to me. Putting the poor map and indecisive promotion of crossing points aside (I certainly understood that boundaries were not to be crossed if they needed to be climbed (so ignoring the ruined walls on the way to #2), it strikes me, as would be expected, that those who climbed the mountain are the ones who are unhappy. Thinking back to the control that was in the wrong place two years ago, I wasn't bothered but I didn't lose any time either, so when you are the one who's lost out, then you're more likely to be unhappy.
I admit that calling people 'blatant cheats' was a bit strong, but I also have to question if anyone who climbed the wall, which had a crossing point marked on it, really thought that the organisers wanted several hundred people to do that (and there was no route choice argument, clearly climbing the wall was going to be a lot faster).
This discussion thread is closed.