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Discussion: Major Event/Canada Cup Survey

in: Orienteering; General

Apr 17, 2019 5:15 AM # 


Orienteering Canada is trying to figure out how to best organize major events and you answering this 5 minute or less survey will help.

Full Story:

Orienteering Canada has convened a working group to look at re-invigorating Canada Cup events. The working group is taking a “fresh look” at how to make Canada Cup events more attractive to host with the goals of having more higher quality events in Canada with more orienteers and organizers getting experience with these higher-level events. The Working Group’s objective is to complete this project in 2019 so the new format can be implemented for the 2020 season

What are Canada Cup Events?
Canada Cup events is the name for what were formerly called “A-meets”. Fundamentally, these are events that are the highest quality orienteering events in Canada and adhere to the complete rules of orienteering in Canada. In recent years, these have been limited to Canadian Championships, Western Canadians and a sometimes Provincial championships.

What is the issue?
Over the years there has been a general decline in clubs hosting Canada Cup events. This means there are fewer and fewer events being put on that meet the standard of quality that competitive orienteers desire to compete in. What are the reasons clubs are not hosting as many top-quality events any more? Are there barriers? Can it be made easier? We know many clubs host high quality events locally, but do not get them listed as “Canada Cup” events—why is the occurring?

The working group taking an open look at Canada Cup events. What are the objectives of Canada Cup events? Are they meeting the needs of orienteering in Canada? What can be done to reduce barriers and increase the number of top-quality orienteering events in Canada.

The current schedule for the working group is to solicit input from clubs, event organizers and Canadian orienteers in the early May. These inputs will be used to inform the development of a first proposal in time for the AGM in late July. The remainder of the year will be used for Working Group, in collaboration with Orienteering Canada and its various Committees, to refine and ultimately finalize a new and/or updated format for Canada’s high-quality orienteering events.

With the above in mind we would appreciate it if you could take a few minutes (the survey should only take about 5 minutes) to answer this survey by May 1st.

Canada Cup working group
Apr 18, 2019 5:57 PM # 
David, Im just gonna throw out some ideas in here because there is more space. The big issue with Canada Cup is that even if you have 5 races or so, not everyone is going to go. For example the places am going / went in the past 56 weeks:

-Europe/Hungary JWOC [plane]
-Yukon NAOC / COC's [2 day drive/plane]
-Revelstoke BCOC [3.5hrs drive]
-Edmonton AOC [3hr drive]
-Vancouver Sprint camp [8hr drive / plane]
-West Point [plane]

So here basically I would reserve my plane tickets for NAOC, JWOC, or WOC or qualification races for them.

Vancouver is a cheapish plane ride from Calgary so its also plausible. Otherwise it needs to be approximately 4hrs max driving distance away for me to go and race.

Also not that in the above races the only ones that had people not from BC and Alberta were NAOC and West Point. Because I think people are using the same logic that they won't buy plane tickets just like that.

I really want to have Canada Cup races but because its so far for people to get to each other im not sure how well it would work. Canada is not like Denmark where you can drive across it in 3.5hrs.

Also putting an incentive such as qualification for a WOC spot, won't be any good unless everyone can make all of them.

I think that it would be better for us to focus on regional sectors. For example, Revelstoke is about halfway between Calgary and Vancouver and so you can expect people to be able to make if from both ends.

Honestly I think the best way to go about it is to focus on Provincial Races, and creating competition in provinces that meet each other at COC's or NAOC. Each province should have a race series or multiple race series for athletes to compete against each other and then qualify for COC's / NAOC. (top 6 M/F get to go)

This way everyone would get enough racing in and have local competitions, then the best ones would have the opportunity to race the best in canada. Its more or less like this in every other sport in Canada, some allow as many people to go who want, but like in track I think you need to be at a certain level to go.

Also I think that I don't really care for the status of the race in terms of announcers and food trucks. I remember I was planning out some really good races and nobody wanted to put the status up as an A meet, even the courses were at the same level. ANd so it was called a B or C meet and thats probably how people looked at it.

On a good map even if its local, the quality of the course should be the exact same as if it was a NAOC course. At least thats what I strive for when I plan.

Good luck with it otherwise, I like the idea but remember I don't have 10 plane tickets to use during the year.
Apr 18, 2019 10:49 PM # 
Qualifying is an interesting notion. Given the numbers (and absence of sponsorship) that we have, why would an organizer want to limit the number of entrants?
Apr 19, 2019 1:44 AM # 
Basically to make sure that the competition is very high level. I'm just pointing out that every other sport has qualifications to even go to nationals. Of course its also separated in age categories so say top 6 from each province in every age category get to go. But then because at the elite level only 6 people get to go then everyone else has to train waay harder to even go to nationals if they want to. When there are only 2-3 competitive males in each province and like 0-1 females then there is no year round competition and I'd say people train less, and then the results are worse at JWOC and WOC.

In our case we don't want to turn ppl away because our main source of competition is at NAOC / COC. That's where most people will show up. But even if you allow another 50 Canadians who have never done the sport into each category, the ones who have been doing it the past 10 years will beat them every time. Qualification is good for weeding out people who don't train hard enough, because to pass the barrier they need to train.

This also doesn't apply to categories under like 10 years and over 35 years old, because those people usually are not in the peak performance time of their sport.

Qualification = more competition

Quick example - WOC spots for middle distance go from 6->1
anyone who wants the spot now needs to be better than the other 5 Canadians going for it, an if one trains x amount, everyone else needs to train better / smarter to beat them and get the spot. Net result even if 4/5 ppl don't get the spot they are much fitter than they would be if it was guaranteed

Final note: at this point in time there is no point in doing qualification to Nationals because there is clearly not enough local competition
Apr 19, 2019 6:21 PM # 
@Runner99: All good points, in particular about focus on the regional sectors. Fill out the survey, and copy/past your comments there, so the working group will hear about it.
Apr 19, 2019 6:49 PM # 
The Canada Cup working group consists of:
Jeff Teutsch, Richard Guttormson, Pam James, Forest Pearson, Don Riddle, David Bakker, Mike Waddington and Thomas Kneubhuler
Apr 20, 2019 11:18 AM # 
Canada Cup is a great concept and I hope this blue ribbon panel finds a way to get it going but I fear it may be the victim of two forces pulling in opposite directions.
Back in the day, say 30 to 40 years ago, we keen orienteers would fill up cars and drive several hours, often devote a whole weekend, to attend a Canada Cup like event where we would see orienteering friends from across several provinces and states. That is ideally what Canada Cup events should be like today. So what has changed that it is not happening?
1) the profusion of good local events. In the old days the A meet was the only choice. If you wanted to go orienteering more than 2-3 times a year you had to travel. Now members in our area can go orienteering about 20 times a year without leaving our metropolitan area. "How you going to keep them down on the farm?" It's easy.
2) the expense of travelling.
More food for thought:
3) The elite are a very small market. Designing the CC series around giving potential national team members a way to get top level competition is laudable. I hope they keep at it. However let's face it the large demographic group in orienteering is over 45 and the potential best growth demographic are families. In planning your CC event make it very attractive for the older folks and families to say yes to coming.
4) Even with a dedicated group of travelling orienteers the local market is going to be an important market for any CC event. Don't price them out of the event. Allow clubs to offer local pricing or other incentives to their members to register. The last two times my friends in Florida tried a national event they found that their members were not going to pay $15+ to go orienteering in the same forest where they are usually paying $6. So they no longer think of putting on national events.
Apr 21, 2019 11:05 PM # 
pointing out that every other sport has qualifications to even go to nationals

In Canada, I can't say. I know that in the USA there are other sports where you don't have to qualify for the nationals. But you may not be aware of them, because many of them are relatively obscure. Like orienteering. But that's not what makes them obscure.
Apr 22, 2019 4:22 AM # 
Regional qualification events have been proposed in Canada and the US for years and have never been implemented. The reasons are that both countriies are too vaste, the number of orienteers too small and the costs of travel too much. These plans will only have the result of reducing the participation and revenue of the championship events. Revenue needed for maps, club programs and other expenses. So event producers do not favor such a format.

Sorry to be negative. But we need to continue to strive to increase the participation at Natiohal events, not limit it. I have never understood why a large field somehow diminishes the competition.
Apr 22, 2019 3:02 PM # 
I think the reason for qualification events in other sports is because the field would be too big otherwise. Hardly ever a problem in North American orienteering events.
Apr 23, 2019 5:02 AM # 
@gordhun - thanks for the reminder: I remember being so impressed in Manitoba when the "Alberta Bus" showed up - they would charter a bus and everyone from AB would go. It was such a neat thing.

Anyway, I think your point #1 is an intreseting observation and might help explain the shift away from "A-meets" we see here in Canada.
Apr 30, 2019 1:25 AM # 
Just a reminder to get your survey answers in by May 1st please. We appreciate the good response so far, but would like to get even better data from more respondents.
May 1, 2019 8:05 PM # 
Phew ... Pleased to see that completing the survey "by May 1" includes "on May 1". If you are a procrastinator like me ... don't put it off too much longer!
May 2, 2019 2:26 PM # 
If regional qualification series for spots in national 18E, 20E, and 21E races was something that spurred more head-to-head competition among runners in these groups (and encouraged the almost-competitive runners to train harder), I think that Runner99's idea has merits.
High-level competition is important; high quality courses that draw top-level runners seems to be the baseline. But one of the appeals of the big overseas race series/weeks that limit participation in elite classes is that the each of these meets generally has very high participation. Even in non-elite classes, the courses are very fun/challenging and, for those with a competitive streak, there are big enough classes to remind one how (un?)skilled they are. Having the elite classes be part of a very populated event, I think adds to the caché for the E classes and provides a bit more excitement for the sport in general, so any efforts to limit the general meet attendance seems counterproductive.

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