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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Hand-touch rule

in: Bash; Bash > 2018-04-29

Apr 30, 2018 1:21 PM # 
I agree that the hand-touch rule is largely ignored. My team was passed by another at the very end when, as we were leaving bonus control 'a' , one team pulled the "only the guy with the dibbler goes through the muck" maneuver. The other two started running to the finish in front of us, then the fast guy passed us. On the drive home, my two rookies commented that it (and the general non-observance of the rule) were the only down points of the race. [And that from one of the rookies who was thigh-deep in cold water at Matrix 'd'!]

No rule will be enforceable, but a 'five-meter modification' might have the dual benefit of increasing compliance and decreasing the penalty. For instance, at 'a', it would have saved a fence crossing and at pits would save dropping in-and-out. Mild safety gain, too!
Apr 30, 2018 2:09 PM # 
Agreed. Inside rocky, muddy pits and re-entrants, it's better not to have a crowd at a single point. It would be easy for an errant rock to hit someone in the head. As Goose said, an adventure running team is encouraged to make use of different skill sets so asking one person to have the "scramble-into-the-pit" role is similar to having another person be the main pace counter.

I was present at the birth of this rule. Hammer and I did a Snowshoe Raid together and (surprise, surprise) I spent much of the race on a short tow rope. It was eye opening for Hammer to repeatedly see people waiting on top of 25 m embankments while their teammates went down to punch the control. He's usually near the front of the pack and doesn't get to see a lot of other teams. Obviously, we didn't have the option of separating!

That's the kind of thing the rule was meant to prevent - sending one teammate up a hill or off a trail alone. That still happens now, even with the hand-touch rule, so it means the racers who follow rules are penalized more stiffly than they were before. The intent of the rule was good; in practice, it hasn't worked because it's inconsistent with human nature.

A 5 m and "within sight of flag" rule would be fair and more likely to be observed. It should be emphasized in the pre-race email and at the race briefing, and it would be good to have one check along the course. My favourite was the year when there was an in-and-out run to a waterfall that started and returned at an aid station. There was a surprise team photo shoot at the waterfall but if all three teammates weren't there, the photographer waited until someone went back to fetch them - and then they could punch the control. It was lighthearted but made the point - and provided a small time penalty.
Apr 30, 2018 2:15 PM # 
P.S. I only realized last night that your daughter is a professionally trained pastry chef! That pre-race treat was divine and now I understand why. :)
Apr 30, 2018 3:02 PM # 
Timato forcefully reminded a team that they needed to have all teammates touch. I was impressed with his "dad like tone". I however, never would have said a thing.
Apr 30, 2018 4:03 PM # 
Good for Timato!
Apr 30, 2018 4:22 PM # 
Safety concerns aside, the rule could possibly work if there were a stated penalty and if racers were willing to report infractions. But many racers are friends and nobody wants people to think they actually care whether they win a bag of oatmeal. It's understandable why so many people stop touching flags to level the playing field. No matter where people are in the pack, who doesn't want a fair race against their closest rivals?

Even though it bugs me and I volunteer with the organizing club, I've never reported a team. Once in awhile, I say something to a racer who is waiting at the bottom of a hill or out on a trail, but it feels like swatting a single mosquito in June in Muskoka - just not worth it.
Apr 30, 2018 5:22 PM # 
As a dedicated racer who is never in danger of the podium (save one time) I try to focus on "running my own race" and not allowing others' actions to affect how I judge my day. The times the infractions have hurt the most have been when we have been passed by a team at the very end when the "competitive juices" kick in. I often feel that my resentment towards others who don't observe the rule reflects more on me than on them.

I've spoke to teams twice; once in Albion when we saw a runner going for a control (in a non-sequential section) and found his teammates 300m away in a parking lot. We had seen a single runner and then saw two guys "hanging out". They called us "stupid, for not splitting up". The other time was in Dundas and we had seen to solo guy looking in the wrong stream bed, but his friends were up on the top of the ridge. They were calling his name, clearly concerned that they had blown the rendezvous point (having presumably come straight up the ridge rather than going via the control). We mentioned that their friend was way back there and lost and that they should go help him. It was actually good advice, but we felt like karma was having its way with that team.

But this year, my daughter didn't want to "make waves" when we saw folks breaking the rule. But even as a rookie, she knew they were "cheating" and commented about it on the way home.

(Separately, wasn't there a "cave" at a GRR a few years back for which it was explicitly stated that only one member should go in?)
Apr 30, 2018 6:03 PM # 
A solution to enforce the rule of everybody on a team visiting the controls is to do as has been done at the last several World Rogaining Championships, and have all team members issued an SI stick, worn attached to the wrist with a non-removable wrist band, and require all members of the team to have checked in at the control in to have it counted in the scoring. It requires some additional software, and doesn't eliminate potential problems of congestion at some of the controls near the start/finish of the race, but does prevent cases of outright cheating. I have certainly noticed that at rogaines taking this approach that I no longer see people taking a nap at the nearest trail junction to a control in the middle of the night, etc. I have never really quite understood the additional requirement of having all team members punch within a minute of one another at each control that seems to also be required, since if they are all required to do the controls in the same order it just seems to increase congestion at the first control with people hanging around by the control waiting for a teammate to catch up, but the basic concept seems to make a lot of sense, since different people seem to have widely variant attitudes about unlikely-to-be-enforced rules.
Apr 30, 2018 6:19 PM # 
We did that at the Björkliden Alpine Mountain Marathon in Sweden. 'Bent and I were required to punch within 15 seconds of one another. They didn't actually check the 15 seconds (probably only on a complaint basis) although they took downloads from both of us to ensure we each hit all the controls. It certainly kept us very close together! It is moderately impractical for Raid The Hammer where we would need 300 SI cards.

Also at BAMM, behind the finish line were long tables with labels for each piece of mandatory gear. It was a 2-day event with camping in the middle so there was a lot of stuff including "enough fuel to boil 1L of water". We had to take it all out of our packs and lay it out, and we couldn't download until an official signed off on it. I don't think I've ever done a race where fairness was taken more seriously. Leave it to the Swedes! :)
Apr 30, 2018 8:31 PM # 
Well in this case all but one team mate had come down the escarpment to find the flag and the one kid just stayed up at the top. It was definitely a case of "you guys go and I'll wait here". And the distance from him to the control was more like 50m and not 5m. I felt it was a good lesson for him. I also then took the time to ask him how his race was going and give him some encouragement.
Apr 30, 2018 9:13 PM # 
Simpy's right. You are so Dad-like! :)
Apr 30, 2018 9:26 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
doesn't eliminate potential problems of congestion at some of the controls near the start/finish

Orienteering solved that at GO controls some time ago!
Apr 30, 2018 9:45 PM # 
I am strongly leaning towards everyone should have a punch. I have seen some outrageous behavior this spring at races. Both Erin and I always touch the controls regardless of the race.

Once, even with two broken arms I still went within meters of the control even though I couldn't lower my arms to touch it.

I have watched common AP posters leave their partners at the bottom of a steep climb to punch a control and return to get them and head off. We never do this!
Apr 30, 2018 10:25 PM # 
I’m so happy to read this thread! I see the safety point but if all teammates avoid touching the flag then I think the area becomes too grey and people chose their own adventure - if you catch my drift! We were JUST TALKING about this on the way home because it makes me crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apr 30, 2018 10:29 PM # 
Bash, I pulled the jerky comment when I saw the same thing. “I’ll sleep better at night knowing we all touched the flag.”

Simply, plus one for the Dad tone from Bob. Scary.
Apr 30, 2018 11:42 PM # 
I like all those exclamation marks, Hermes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the rule stays, how do we enforce it? Obviously, the honour system isn't enough. Any insights from your kindergarten teaching experience? It might be relevant to this!

@Jerkface, wow! Racing with two broken arms makes you one of the most badass people I know. I put my neck out last week so we hiked 20+ km of the full Raid because I was in too much pain to run. But even though I can't turn my head very far or look down, I scrambled into every rocky re-entrant and so did my teammate with the shoulder pain, even though she hurt it a couple of times. (This might actually be another argument for a 5 meter rule. Injured racers, seniors and little kids might find the race more accessible.)

We can't allow the "leave the teammate down the hill" strategy but when I've seen nice, honest people - friends of mine who wouldn't break any other rule - giving up on it in some races because their nearest rivals aren't doing it, I think there must be a better way to accomplish the goal.

I think the old rule was that all teammates must be "together at the CP" or something like that - and that was too vague. But maybe it could be defined in a slightly more lenient way so that people will actually do it. Without some enforcement, even this would probably not change the worst offenders. But it would reduce the gap between them and the teams who follow the rule.
May 1, 2018 12:27 AM # 
Is it really so impossible to come up with 300 SI cards? I don't know how many people there were per team, but if it is two or three (sounds as if you had 3 on your team), you already need 100-150 (many of which are probably already owned by individuals--and you might be surprised how many of your teams that are currently supplying their own card would already be capable of supplying one for everybody on their team; I'd be surprised, for example, if both of your teammates didn't have their own cards). If you don't have more than 30 controls on the course, you could probably get some older model SI cards quite cheaply, since lots of people have opted for newer faster models and probably have an old one lying around unused for several years. Rentals cards are also available, and depending on club financial reserves, you could probably pay off the initial cost of a couple of hundred SI cards in not many years if you have many events with 300 participants. A new SI-8 card is about 1/4 the cost of one of the control boxes. You might well be able to get two or three neighboring clubs to go in together on a bunch of loaner cards, which would distribute the initial cost amongst several clubs. And you might well get a considerable discount on list price if you were buying a couple hundred cards in one batch. And from the standpoint of safety and congestion, a little forethought about control locations can help that a lot--it usually doesn't really make the course a whole lot more fun having a control at the back of a tiny cave, or at the bottom of a crumbly cliff with people most likely approaching from above. Having all of a team going all the way to a control doesn't really have to make things more dangerous.
May 1, 2018 1:06 AM # 
I'd vote to keep the rule. I don't see much of an effort to police the rule, so it is hard to say it couldn't be enforced. For the organizers sake, it would be nice if this could be handled with an honour system, but maybe one or two volunteers at strategic sites could scare most people into complying.
May 1, 2018 1:06 AM # 
Usually a lurker, but chiming in to this discussion.

Ive contemplated the idea of having paper carnival wrist bands, on each person, with certain flags as mandatory for both people to punch on their wristband in addition to the punch card. Make the mandatory 4 or so the ones most likely to want to be skipped (ie, top of the hill, bottom of the cliff). Then it can be a little looser at the majority of checkpoints where there is congestion or less incentive to leave someone to rest (ie, flat).

I dont know if I've ever actually seen this done, but I must have gotten the idea from reading something somewhere.

I can see some confusion by competitors, and complaint at the end when someone failed to do as instructed, but if its clearly in the rules there wouldnt be much grounds for complaint.

edit: hopefully when they get the wristband put on them at the start they would verify what it is for, and confusion would be circumvented, but you never know

At the same time, this would basically say that splitting up is OK the rest of the time, which clearly wouldnt be the overall intent, so I dont know.
May 1, 2018 1:56 AM # 
Random enforcement and dq’s for violations coupled with rigorous, repeated communication about the rule is probably the best way to go. There’s at least as many new points of failure and/or ways to cheat the safeguards proposed as there are solutions.

I also really think there are people who just don’t know that what they’re doing is not permitted.
May 1, 2018 2:42 AM # 
Funny story from the aid station in Firemans yesterday (the matrix check in). One team member waltzes in, shows us his punches and we wait. A couple minutes later, 'oh my team mates are here', gestures up to the parking lot, 'can I put in my SI now?'.
We can't see anyone in the parking lot, so tell him they have to come down to us so we can check they went to the checkpoints.
Gets all huffy, yells back and forth with his team mates for a full minute before they come down.

I'd argue we haven't done a good job of reminding people of the hand touch and (more importantly) the team mate proximity rule, mostly in the pre race briefing.
Though I'd also say, for once Super is right - I'd say maybe 20% read the race rules and course notes fully and maybe 50% listen fully in the briefing.
May 1, 2018 2:53 AM # 
I surprisingly and beautifully agree with Super on this. The years that we reminded people
at race briefing of the hand touch rule and also mentioned that there would be random checks as well 'photo radar' using a motion sensor animal camera were the years where (anecdotally) we had the least complaints of people not following the rule.

Looks like a cool course. Too bad I missed it.
May 1, 2018 3:01 AM # 
New summer raid concept: Raid the Rule Book. A really not fun quest for knowledge about the finer points of orienteering regulations. With a petting zoo focus for practicing group touching of things.
May 1, 2018 3:14 AM # 
What's orienteering?
May 1, 2018 4:49 AM # 
Uh oh, Anvil is here. I really wanted you to have a few days to bask in the glory of a well-run event, then I was going to write you guys with my suggestion to modify the rule. Love the aid station story!

Interestingly, it sounds like the majority want to keep the rule but find ways to enforce it - whether it's through more reminders, individual SI cards or volunteers lurking in the woods.

I used to feel that way but I've moved away from that. I don't believe enforcement is practical and the rule has inadvertently made the race less fair by increasing the gap between rule followers and rule breakers - the opposite of what we intended. I still think the best way forward is to set a rule that reduces that gap. Since I was there when the current rule was conceived, I'm not criticizing - just observing that we tried something for a number of years and it didn't address the problem we were trying to solve - not even in the days when we threatened people with fake motion sensor cameras.

If enforcement of the existing rule is preferred, the things we did in the past won’t be enough. It will require additional volunteers on race day - the type who will sit alone in the woods for hours - and they're hard to come by. If we decide instead to give out 300 SI cards and put on unremovable wristbands, that also requires more volunteer and staff time, which is why I called it "moderately impractical". But if we keep the rule, that would be my vote.

Non-compliance has increased over the years and Super is right; most new racers probably have no idea. However, there are lots of experienced racers who know and don't do it.

Even when there was some monitoring in the past, I never heard of anyone being DQed or penalized for skipping a hand touch; in fact, there is no stated penalty for breaking any Raid rule. At Wilderness Traverse, we list the penalties for each specific infraction in our Rules. If Raid teams only get random monitoring with warnings, it won't change anything but does DGL really want to DQ teams for this?

The thing is, this all sounds way too serious for our fun Raids where overall winners may go home with a bag of delicious oatmeal. There is a small group of hard working organizers, most of whom have several events and programs to manage in the same week, plus they need to sleep. It's hard to find volunteers at all, let alone hide-in-the-woods-type volunteers. Over the years, most racers haven't bothered complaining about the cheating they see in every Raid because it's just supposed to be a fun race, even though DLevine's daughter's feeling of frustration is very common.

I'd argue that if it's a fun race, a 3 or 5 meter rule is good enough. It imposes a smaller penalty on teams who follow the rules and if there are volunteers available, increased enforcement can be used to shrink that penalty even more. Our main concern has always been the teammate who never leaves the trail, stays at the bottom of the hill or just waits in the parking lot (!) - not the teammate who doesn't climb into a pit.
May 1, 2018 5:29 AM # 
Btw great discussion - nice to hear so many viewpoints.
May 1, 2018 10:50 AM # 
I would definitely like to see either the hand touch rule properly emphasized in the briefing and the pre-race emails, as well as spot checked on course with real penalties like time served before finish, or it should be removed in favour of something else like a 5m rule. 5m is proably safer and more practical, especially if you have a sprint start with hand punch, unless you have multiple flags at some early controls.

Hey, how about an SI control *and* a hand punch or “touch” control at certain points for safety or practicality? Only the teammate with SI has to beep in but all have to touch one or the other. No waiting at the bottom of the hill or parking lot, but maybe no mad scramble down a pit full of deadfall or whatever.
May 1, 2018 1:59 PM # 
Actually, I agree with Hammer's comment about adherence to the rule being somewhat correlated with both emphasis at the briefing and (the threat of?) random enforcement in the woods. Given the number of new runners each year, that's probably a good thing - and it might increase the peer pressure on more experienced folks, too.

I also think that certain control placements encourage the bad behavior, particularly short dog legs along a clear path. Control 'a' near the finish this year was just begging for violations as everyone getting it was running from there to the finish via the parking lot. That control was visible from the parking lot and a complete (and somewhat slow) dogleg. I loved the idea of the three bonus controls near the end that were worth a lot (relative to their difficulty). This made the strategy very interesting. I wonder if a course setter more clever than I could figure out how to both make the controls interesting and avoid the problem.
May 1, 2018 2:07 PM # 
I loved this year’s finish sprint too!
May 1, 2018 2:29 PM # 
Sometimes people respond to lower penalties better than to higher ones, and they’re also easier to enforce. Make the penalty for not touching some number of minutes or penalty loops to run. Have one or random checkpoints manned (or womaned) and the penalties publicized. It’s also easier to “tattle” on a team if you know you’re not completely ruining their race with a DSQ.
May 1, 2018 2:50 PM # 
Maybe if a team is seen cheating at one CP, the penalty could be based on the assumption that they cheated at every CP, then choose some number of seconds per CP and add a small slap-on-the wrist time penalty on top of that. So if a typical Raid has 25-30 CPs, maybe call it 15-20 minutes?

Unannounced staffed CPs - gender neutral :) - would help. I don't think racers will turn each other in though. I wouldn't do it unless the offending team swore at us or deliberately kicked a rock on my teammate. There is a strong culture of "we're not supposed to care; this is a fun race".
May 1, 2018 3:42 PM # 
Gotta love Attackpoint. Since I was involved in the establishment of this rule, I figured I might have written about it in the early years. I know I gave up mentioning it eventually.

FEBRUARY 2009 - SNOWSHOE RAID - with Hammer where he was forced to slow down to my pace so he saw all the separated teams. We discussed a new rule.

APRIL 2009 - RAID THE RIB "...We liked the new rule where all team members have to touch the flag. This removes the ambiguity of the old rule which stated that team members have to be "together" at CPs, even though they can be 50 m apart on the course. In recent Raids and rogaine-style races, I've seen people waiting at trail junctions or at the bottoms of big hills while their teammates went off alone to punch controls that sometimes weren't even in view. In our first year of racing [2002], we did this too because we didn't know any better and we saw other teams doing it, so I can understand how teams watch each other and become uncertain about the rule. In adventure races, we've met people who were knowingly several kilometers away from their teammates.

In rogaines, the international rule is that both teammates have to be within 20 m of the control when it is punched and always in verbal contact distance of one another. [Note: rules have become stricter since 2009.] Some rogaines include the additional requirement that both teammates must see the flag. Since we started rogaining, I've tried to stick to the "20 m, must see the flag" rule for our team for all orienteering-style events. The different interpretation of this rule by different teams in adventure and orienteering events gives some teams an advantage, and it's great that GHO has set a clear standard..."

NOVEMBER 2009 - RAID THE HAMMER "...Here [in the Dundas Valley], as in much of the race, we were disappointed to see so few teams observing the rule that all three members must touch the flag. We commiserated about this with a few of the teams who followed the rules - and met others who started that way, then gave up when they didn't see anyone else doing it. We spoke to a few teams, and noticed a couple of them starting to do it. Others said they would, but we saw that they didn't.

Since we were racing across the city, there were many occasions when it was possible for a strong member to ascend or descend from a trail to a CP then meet team members later, and we saw far too much of this. We saw one individual from a team that beat us who often travelled alone with teammates nowhere in sight. Our team could have easily saved 30-40 minutes by breaking this rule, given the difficulty of the terrain and how rotten I was feeling. But I'd rather race clean and know that our true ranking was higher. Too bad there aren't enough SI cards in Ontario to do what they did in our mountain marathon in Sweden - attach SI cards to a non-removable wristband on each team member, and make us punch within 15 seconds of one other..."

NOVEMBER 2010 - RAID THE HAMMER "...We saw less cheating this time. Most teams around us had each teammate touching the control flag. I took this photo of Crash punching a control, then Hingo and I touched the flag. Although we didn't realize it until afterward, a volunteer was quietly watching for this. I see now that his knee is sticking out from behind a tree trunk at the left of this photo!..."

NOVEMBER 2011 - RAID THE HAMMER "...It was great to see so many volunteers in the woods. For the first time, I didn't see any teams cheating by not visiting CPs together..."
May 1, 2018 3:43 PM # 
So based on contemporaneous observations, strong reminders and enforcement involving "many volunteers" did improve compliance for awhile - better than I remembered although I can only speak for teams in my part of the pack. So if there is the will to do that and enough volunteers to make it happen, that would help. When compliance started to decline, I remember giving up and not writing about it anymore so I don't have a record of when the tide turned.

I do wonder if this imposes too large a burden on a small non-profit organization that is always looking for volunteers to help at Raids. This isn't the only rule that needs monitoring in the field. There are also out-of-bounds violations that are more important to avoid safety, liability and trespassing issues.
May 1, 2018 5:13 PM # 
The Full Raid in 2012 is the only time I've ever see a team blatantly break the rule. I was one of the top 4-5 teams through the race with the lead bouncing back and forth. One of the team was having the lead runner go ahead constantly, all the other lead teams were very vocal in reminding them of the rule and it didn't effect their behaviour at all. Fortunately in the end they didn't podium as there was a 1km uphill road run to the finish with no place to shortcut so they fell off the back

I'm somewhat back and forth on how to deal with it, my personal opinion is why TF are you cheating? So you can win a bag of $15 oatmeal? Congrats.
But, if it affects the experience of other teams out in the woods and makes their event less enjoyable, then yeah, I have a big issues with it.

The Raids are meant to be a fun, social event so if overly competitive teams a ruining that, I want to deal with it somehow. But too many rules, that are unenforceable, can also make it less fun so it's a difficult situation to balance. A few other thoughts on some suggestions:

Every competitor gets an SI: No. Won't go into major detail, but the way timing works for some of our races it would create a layer of checking on race day that would mean we wouldn't have day of results.

Plan the course so teams wouldn't encouraged to cheat: Yes.

Keep the course out of narrow features, ie caves, narrow valleys. No. People love that shit. The 'caves' in this weekend's race were definitely a highlight for a lot of teams. I would say simply have a rule that we allow any team to use common sense at a crowded 'narrow' feature.

Volunteers in random places in the woods: No chance. Volunteers don't grow on trees and ones that would spend 5 hours alone in the woods whose only interaction with teams is to give out penalties don't exist.

Meghan, Cassie and I will probably discuss this next time we meet, so all opinions and ideas are welcome. If you don't want to leave your opinion here publically, feel free to email me

Hint coin for summer race (for those who read the whole thing). It will be impossible for teams to not be together at each checkpoint.
May 1, 2018 5:35 PM # 
Personally I'm leaning towards, all team members must be within verbal AND visual contact at all times (for safety as much as fairness). I know sometimes teams will drift apart unexpectedly, particularly if there is a big difference in speeds. This is an easier rule for teams to follow than an arbitrary distance apart rule.

All team members must be within 5m of the flag for every checkpoint. (Rule of thumb, should be able to touch it within 2 paces?)

Race officials like myself who are out in the woods can dole out penalties if infractions are witnessed, as can aid station volunteers if the teams are clearly breaking the rules on the run in.

It won't catch everyone and teams who want to cheat still will - but they are easier rules to understand. We just have the job now to be better at making teams aware of them and of the penalties for breaking them.
May 1, 2018 6:53 PM # 
Sounds very practical, Anvil. +1 to that.

I'm amazed you've only ever witnessed one team that skipped hand-touching!

Btw I re-read the rules to see how many I broke in the Raid. There were two:

3) Teammates must be within eyesight. Because of my neck injury, I couldn't turn my head and thus couldn't see my teammates for most of the race. It sure is lucky that I finished with the same women I started with!

6) Participants must stay on feet at all times. That would have been nice but nope!
May 1, 2018 7:09 PM # 
Anvil- Hint coin- In a particular type of watercraft possibly?!?
May 1, 2018 8:19 PM # 
Teams use "common sense" in caves and narrow features? Now that's really open to interpretation. "We felt it was common sense to leave bubba at the bottom of the escarpment as he's fat and slow".

This is where I was thinking you could put a flag or even flagging tape outside the cave/crevice/whatever and only 1 teammate needs to crawl in and punch the real control, while the others need to touch the outside flag where the organizers feel it makes common sense to put it.

Anvil, not trying to be picky- I appreciate the thought you guys are putting into it. I like the 5M/2 pace idea too.
May 1, 2018 8:37 PM # 
Less work for organizers = better.
May 2, 2018 1:30 AM # 
As I mentioned earlier, I've seen two cases of teammates separated by >300m (in about two dozen races). To be honest, the ones that have bothered me most are the ones where the advantage is clearly gained near the last control/finish.

That said, I agree with Anvil's analysis and think that 5M/2 pace is a great idea. I also like 'Bent's suggestion for a separate piece of flagging "touch me" tape for pits/caves/etc. where crowding/clambering might create (safety) problems. Putting the definition of "common sense" in the hands of the organizers instead of the teams seems like (yeah, I'll say it) common sense.

+1 to Bash's implicit suggestion to remove rule (6), my team's often seem to be crawling up/down/under things as well as face-planting. If we've ever gotten an advantage that way, I'm surprised.
May 2, 2018 2:32 AM # 
DLevine, I was just teasing about the way that rule is written - sorry!

The full text of Rule #6 is:

"6. Participants must stay on feet at all times. So don’t think about ordering a cab or jumping on a bus!"

I'm pretty sure our face plants and crawling are just fine. :)
Here are all the Rules.
May 2, 2018 2:47 AM # 
Oh, I knew you were teasing. The joke has always been that my teams should have been disqualified more often than not for face plants. We've even named the various varieties of falls for one particularly "gifted" teammate! That rule is just fine...
May 2, 2018 3:36 AM # 
May 2, 2018 9:47 AM # 
A little late to the party! If anyone is interested in the wristband punch, Adventure Enablers used it at their most recent Epic. The down side was there were 18 controls and we seriously ran out of space to punch and I am not sure how the bands were deciphered.
May 2, 2018 9:58 AM # 
I've never done one of these but 'Bent's suggestion of common sense flagging tape sounds like something I could get behind as a competitor. Make it easy for people to follow the rules, let everyone have some fun with it.
May 2, 2018 3:19 PM # 
Why not make the summer race the "Prison Raid"? Teammates will be shackled together to ensure compliance with the proximity rules. No volunteers required in the woods.
May 2, 2018 6:30 PM # 
Very practical and almost no extra work for the organizers if they buy good quality shackles.
May 2, 2018 6:47 PM # 
Prison Raid Rule 183. The key to the shackles shall be placed in a clear bag sealed by the organizers and given to the competitors for use in an emergency situation only. Competitors must show the sealed bag to a race official at the finish line in order for their time to be officially recorded. Any competitors whose bag is unsealed will be assessed a five-hour penalty. Any competitors whose key is lost will remain shackled until such time as the key is found.

Prison Raid Rule 184. No licensed locksmith shall be allowed to compete in the Prison Raid.
May 2, 2018 8:50 PM # 
Prison Raid Special Challenges include:

Cell Without a View
Slammer Sprint
Gang of Triplets
Bermuda Offshore Funds
May 5, 2018 3:21 AM # 
Tongue in cheek comment .... if one third of the participants were allowed to run as Solo at these events, fewer volunteers would be needed to do a through policing of the hand holding (or 5 m, or shackle) rule.

But I do like the story of the photographer who required the entire team present at a CP for a group photo. I think mandatory team selfies at specific points in an event has been done.....a bit of a PITA at the finish to verify, but it makes the point. One "surprise" team selfie CP per hour of racing ..... keeps it light hearted, but gets the point across that teammates need to get to the CP together.

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