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Discussion: Thomass style course setting

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 4, 2017 4:41 PM # 
I want to set a Thomass style course with control boxing and handicapping.

I remember there were some good AP discussions years ago the topic but I cannot find them.

Are there any good resource documents available with some course setting guidelines for Thomass/Madnaess/Box-O?
Dec 4, 2017 5:23 PM # 
Perfect timing! I'm also interested in doing this soon.
Dec 4, 2017 7:21 PM # 
This discussion, perhaps?
Dec 4, 2017 7:27 PM # 
Yeah that is good. I also found the one I was remembering!

Gotta put "thomass" in quotes on the search else Google assumes "tom", "thomas", and "thomas's".

That is a great thread. But if anyone else has any resources to offer us, please pile on.
Dec 5, 2017 2:21 PM # 
Those are old threads but there’s lots of good info, especially at the first link. A couple of updates:

1) We don’t use the THOMASS name anymore; we now call them “Ontario Cup” races. From November to March, each southern Ontario club (plus one club chapter) hosts a race as part of the Ontario Cup Series. Winner of each race gets 50 points, 2nd place gets 49 points, etc. Best 4 of 6 races determines the series winner. In recent years, the series winners have been teenagers from the ARK program who are very talented compared to their handicap.

2) The idea of the central control inside the box didn’t catch on. Some course designers enter/leave the box by visiting the same mandatory control before/after. Others ask racers to visit different mandatory controls before/after the box. The former strategy increases the distance of the box and spreads racers out more but sometimes the map dictates the latter.

3) It is not uncommon for O Cup race courses to have two boxes. Occasionally there is another trick to level the playing field, e.g. “Racers must start by running to the control number that equals their handicap number, then continue from there.” This requires a control 0. It’s only limited by the course setter’s imagination.

4) The biggest mistake is still made frequently: a box that’s too small. Total distance run by a Handicap 6 runner should be about 50% of the distance of a Handicap 0 runner. If there are big variations in average terrain difficulty, the course designer needs to use his/her judgement, i.e. sometimes a shorter distance is equivalent to a longer distance because of a major hill climb or rocky area.

5) We haven’t quite achieved a firm standard regarding the number of controls in a box but most course designers use 7, which means racers with the maximum handicap of 6 still visit one control. I think it’s helpful for the map to state something like, “Box contains 7 controls” so racers don’t need to count.
Dec 5, 2017 4:07 PM # 
I have copied the THOMASS box three times for long distance (+/- 20 k) events in Florida, the first callled the Bubba Goat but now it is called the Navi-Gator. I agree with Hammer and prefer to put the handicap box at the beginning but once for logistic reasons it had to go at the middle.
Both methods worked out well with high handicappers leading the way out of the box and the speed demons working their butts off to catch up. But when they did catch up it tended to be a group love in at one event. That is the way Florida AR folks are.
These events are the most fun to organize. Enjoy the experience. I suppose you'll call it 'the Paul Bunyan'.

This discussion thread is closed.