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Discussion: Should we have an orienteering weight category? - Ideas

in: Orienteering; General

Jan 3, 2020 6:33 PM # 
Jan 3, 2020 6:35 PM # 
Yes, we should make the maps heavier for younger, fitter competitors.
Jan 3, 2020 6:45 PM # 
I've heard it suggested in the past, though I don't recall anyone ever doing it (like at some low-key meet). I suspect you'd get a bunch of grumpy people saying it's insensitive and inappropriate.
Jan 3, 2020 7:18 PM # 
Haha, yes that's a fair point. I believe that the age categories simply aren't enough to create equal competition. I know many orienteers who struggle to crack the top 10 of any local event simply because of fitter competitors.
Maybe it's just an incentive to train harder..
Jan 3, 2020 7:26 PM # 
Yeah, so, categories are not there to give everyone an equal chance of winning. They're not even there to make it purely a test of navigation skill. It's a race.
Jan 3, 2020 8:07 PM # 
Back in my previous triathlon days many events had clydesdale (for men over a certain weight) and Athena (for women over a certain weight) Most of the clydesdale limit was 200 lbs which I was just under. Then I entered a triathlon in California where the clydesdale limit was 180 lbs. I'm in. I won't have to race against those California fit 50 year olds, I thought.
Turned out there was only one age category for the clydesdales and there were some pretty fast and not so fat California clydesdales. I would have placed much better in my age class, podium finish if I recall correctly. Oh well.
With that non-sequiter of a story out of the way I agree that extra weight is a factor in orienteering performance but so are factors such as flexibility, cardio-fitness, vision, reasoning and decision making ability, the latter two probably the greatest.
My advice: get out there and enjoy the challenge even if you are way off the podium in the results. Don't worry about how you finished. No one else does.
Jan 3, 2020 8:47 PM # 
Yes, and add more age group categories in every 1/4 year increments, also add a color blind category. Awards for all...
Jan 3, 2020 10:29 PM # 
Just come to WA (Aus) where everyone is in the top ten thanks to age, short course, B course, 5 year increments (for the 65+) and our overall low competitor numbers.

We should also charge heavier competitors more due to their bigger footprint on the landscape.
Jan 4, 2020 12:11 AM # 
No, you should charge us more because we get a longer orienteering experience.

More seriously, I once ran a four 2k sprint handicap race where the aim was to give everyone an equal chance of winning. I soon discovered that handicaps based upon performance in normal races were entirely inadequate. With the rare chance of victory, it seems many of those slower runners tried a lot harder than normal. The first race in the first year, the last competitor (international representative) was still at the start to watch the normally extremely slow club president running down the finish chute like we had never seen before. I wondered if I should have had an ambulance on stand-by for the event. It took a few years but the handicaps improved such the the majority of competitors were finishing within a minute span. Not everyone loved the format, but those slower runners that did enjoy it explained that the attraction was not actually winning, but the prospect of sharing a finish chute sprint with some of the better national orienteers. So I wouldn't just dismiss the idea of equalising winning chances as merely about winning.
BTW I stopped running the event because the effort of maintaining the handicaps wore me down.
Jan 4, 2020 1:16 AM # 
And tall people should get a beneficial handicap because the oxygen is thinner up here.

This isn't actually a serious question, is it? If you want to compete, get fitter. If you don't want to compete, why would you care about categories? If your build dictates that you'll always be heavier than other people, suck it up and use your size to your advantage - I've had small people follow me through thickets because I could smash through vegetation they couldn't. :)

(for reference, 6'3" and at my fittest I was 93kg/205lb.)
Jan 4, 2020 9:32 AM # 
The local Nigh O league here in the UK has a handicap prize for the series as well as the normal over-all and age and gender prizes.

It's a personal handicap based on previous performances in the league so in theory everyone has an equal chance of winning you just need to be improving. In theory it should favor newcomers and Juniors where you expect them to be getting better quickly. In practice it's normal one of the regulars that wins it as doing all the events and being able to count the good ones and discard the bad ones helps a lot with your final score. Also being a bit inconsistent e.g. having the odd bad run to keep your handicap a bit lower also helps.

The one thing that is for sure is that it's not the same winner every year like most of the other categories tend to be.
Jan 4, 2020 11:46 AM # 
Damn you tall people. You don't need any handicap. They invented basketball and volleyball just for you. Now there are a couple of sports that heed a height category system with adjusted infrastructure. Everyone should be able to slam dunk and spike in their competitive class.
Jan 4, 2020 1:06 PM # 
Ifor, that's an interesting idea. Where would I be able to find details of how the handicapping works?
Jan 4, 2020 1:24 PM # 
Some great points here, as expected from the AttackPoint(orienteering) community :D
Jan 4, 2020 1:43 PM # 
Log - also, we can see controls hidden behind small boulders. Ner ner. :p
Jan 4, 2020 10:23 PM # 
Handicap explained at

It's far from perfect but it serves a purpose.
Jan 4, 2020 10:45 PM # 
Jan 5, 2020 12:25 AM # 
The Kapa 3-Days in Latvia has a 100+ kg category.

This discussion thread is closed.