I think descriptions for sprint events should include information if the feature the control is on is "Forbidden to Cross". This would apply to Sprint Events and could be easily accommodated by placing a large X in Column H.
Column H is designated for "other information that may be of importance to the competitor e.g. first aid, refreshments".
Sprint controls are often placed on one side of, for example, an uncrossable wall or fence - often these placements become traps as the "uncrossability" may not be easily readable from the map. The object of a sprint setting should not be to trap competitors into making a large error, or worse to tempt them to cross the uncrossable, or stick their arm through.
I agree that such controls mostly act as traps, even when the uncrossability is obvious: Instead of figuring out the best route from the map, you first have to decode the description together with the map image in order to figure out which side the control is located on. The worst example I have seen was a control on an inside corner of a free-standing zig-zag wall, i.e. there were several inside and outside corners on both sides, and the distance between them was quite short: You first had to determine from the description which direction the inside corner was open to, then rotate that to correct for the running direction and then you knew that it had to be on the SW side of the main diagonal.
Ski-O has simply gone for a small green dot at the flag location, I have very often wished for something similar on Sprints since that would remove that particular aspect of the puzzle.
I'd say if uncrossability is not easily readable from the map then the map should be fixed. I would also like to see what happens if we simply remove/ban the possibility to tell that inner/outer corner thing with descriptions when feature is uncrossable. Without that option planners would have to tell the location purely with map, it might end up clearer control ring placing.
Finnish federation allows those dots and those are commn here, example:http://doma.rastivarsat.fi/show_map.php?user=milla...
Unfortunately dot is usually a dark purple dot without a white halo, quite hard to see, often it touces a dark wall or something and gets merged there and I don't even notice it.
There was a control on the eastern side of an impassable fence junction at the NZ sprint last week and a runner was observed by Tash to go near enough for the SI Air stick to trigger it (from the wrong side). The CP description was required to determine which side it was on, i.e. not possible purely from the map.
The Finnish solution is great and helps to make sprint races fair (er).
@tRicky. And this may not be against the IOF rules as I read them, which just seem to state that a competitor must ‘visit’ the control. If a runner happens to choose the wrong side of a hedge or chain link fence and is ‘trapped’, but can still see the flag and remotely punch the control, it seems to me that one could argue they have ‘visited’ the control. In general, I think these trap controls are only fair if they can clearly only be seen or punched from the correct side.
Agree with Ursus. The Course Setter needs to avoid these issues, by placing the control on a feature far enough from an uncrossable wall/fence that an SI-Air signal cannot reach it.
tricky's story is a great example of a case where the course setters may have not have broken any specific rules but what they have done was still clearly unfair and against the spirit of the rules and 'fair play'. It is not enough to just follow the letter of the rules - you have to see the broader picture. The rules cannot cover every possible source of unfairness - you need to exercise common sense as well.
I can see the point of SI-Air for ski-O and MTBO, where there's complicated equipment involved and you're basically being asked to pass a spot on a trail anyway. But for other forms of orienteering, it seems like a reasonable requirement that you touch the control.
In most of the IOF races that I have watched from afar, the athletes tend to hit the SI box even though they don't have to. I tend to do this to, as it seems to require less mental energy then hovering my hand at some specific distance. Physically punching is certainly slower, however, and it does take a non-trivial amount of mental energy/concentration (well, for me anyway) above just touching the box. On a sprint with 20 controls, I would say that you can save at least 20 seconds with SI-Air. Even in the forest, it seems to allow better flow through a control, maybe easier to take a good direction exiting out, etc. So, I wouldn't like to see touch-less punching banned. Especially for sprints. Just more thought given to those traps by course setters.
Yes many people (especially elites) at this weekend's Sprint the Bay in NZ still 'hit' the control on the way through, which can sometimes cause issues (last weekend's relay by the time I got to the pivot control - my #4 - the SI brick was on the ground). In Poland last year they specifically told us not to hit it as it can lead to breakages but people still did. I've never touched the brick when using SI air (except when I hit one with my handlebars at a MTBO event last year and sent it flying - I did retrieve it) and have never failed to record the punch just by swiping past over the top of the control and as Ursus states, it definitely makes for better control flow without the need to even slow down on the way through. Bush events I'm not fussed but then I tend to not have great control flow through anyway.
Maybe you just don’t set traps, especially where ongoing use of the area is dependent on not crossing oob. Courses set by the mapper quite often have ‘ this beaut control site that will really catch them’.
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