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Discussion: IOF FootO Gender Equality survey

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 20, 2022 10:18 PM # 
Should winning times be the same for women and men at major events in Foot Orienteering - or remain different?
Please share your thoughts in the survey for all orienteers as described in this article:
Feb 22, 2022 10:47 PM # 
I would like to see same course for M/W and then final loop only for M. Starting list something like... Best 15 M/W start first. First best 15M, 4 min. interval, then best 15W, 10 min. brake then 3 min. interval for best 40M and 2 min. interval for all other M and then same rules for W class.

Give me the same M/W challenging course from 80-100 min for M/W. No need to change rules for winning times. Organizers need to have freedom to make the best course on a given terrain.
Feb 23, 2022 12:47 AM # 
Interestingly, that was what was done at a 2000 World Cup race in Australia (the men ran 3 loops, the women 2 of those 3). The times of Hanne Staff and Simone Niggli would have ranked in the top 20 for the men over the common part of the course.
Feb 23, 2022 1:50 PM # 
Graham, I really appreciate the excellent job you and the IOF have been doing recently with consultation and communication. It feels like there's been much more of that over the last few years so thank you!!
Feb 23, 2022 1:59 PM # 
Great - please do spread the word - we want as many responses as possible - this is not just for 'Elites' - it affects World Masters too, and also potential knock-on effects for National Federations!
Feb 26, 2022 9:24 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I entered my views the first day, my vote went for equal winning times since women are closer to men the longer the distance. In the extreme case Courtney Dauwalter beat the best man by 10+ hours in the Moab 240 (400 km!).
Mar 3, 2022 2:27 PM # 
Lots of responses for this, but still plenty of time to respond if you haven't.
Mar 3, 2022 3:26 PM # 
I find it amusing that everyone who has expressed an opinion on this thread is male.
Mar 3, 2022 4:36 PM # 
My response went; neutral, neutral, don't know, don' t know, don't know, need more information about why the current rules were framed and what the proposals for change are.
Mar 3, 2022 5:05 PM # 
Although I don't remember if I stated it in my survey response, in 1993 we (the US course setting team) pushed for equal winning times, but the IOF controllers said no. We asked them for a reason, and my recollection is that they finally admitted that they wanted to make sure that the women's race was already complete by the time the top men were finishing, since the men's race was considered to be the main event. (Our team was mostly male, with one woman. At one point the IOF controllers tried to exclude her from a conversation about course lengths in general, but our team leader refused to let that happen.)
Mar 3, 2022 5:42 PM # 
I was on the team JJ refers to, part of what I thought was a righteous cause, but I haven't been motivated to take the survey.
The reason is exactly what Mike M has noted.
In the 30 years since then I don't remember hearing one thing from a single woman about this issue, a group that is usually not shy about speaking their mind.
Do many, or any, women care?
Mar 3, 2022 5:57 PM # 
When I was filling out the survey, I thought about how such a change would affect the US color-coded structure. If we implemented something like this across all age classes, we would need to have the same winning time for all course colors (or else change the course/class structure). While in general I'm in favor of the idea that women shouldn't do something "lesser" just because of their gender, I'm also not sure that I want to be out as long as the elite men are.
Mar 3, 2022 6:20 PM # 
I don't follow your reasoning, Clare, unless you're getting into mathematical technicalities by taking things too literally. In fact, it seems possible to me that we may already have equal winning times for men and women. After age 65, in fact, the women's winning times are probably longer, since men and women are both on Brown at that point. I'd need to look at the rankings and the recommended winning times to see how close we come now, maybe I'll do that tonight.
Mar 3, 2022 6:26 PM # 
There's also nothing that says that we have to make runners in M70 and W70 have the same winning time as that of an IOF Long race.
Mar 3, 2022 6:46 PM # 
Not looking in detail. Just thinking from the point of view of how the rules look. If you want F21 to match M21 then that means Red winning time matches Blue. Now if you want F35 to match M35 then Green needs to match Red and similar reasoning leads to Brown matching Green. Ergo - all courses from Brown to Blue need to be defined as having the same winning time. Or the winning time definition could be changed to be controlled by the women's classes instead of by the overall 100 point orienteer (usually male).
Mar 3, 2022 9:01 PM # 
everyone who has expressed an opinion on this thread is male.
I haven't been motivated to take the survey.
Why is that an issue?
The question is "should times be the same for women and men".
In sports such as cross country running "equality" has meant "shorten the mens race".

The implication from jj's post is that the 1993 team wanted a longer women's course. And one might infer from mikeminium and Eric's followup that they think this is the question being asked. But it is not.

In fact, if you support the status quo, (equal winning time in sprint and middle, different in long) it is impossible to indicate this in the questionnaire .

Similarly, if you take my view - that the length of course of the women's course is up to the women and the length of the mens course is up to the men - you also can't indicate this. (I'm going to hazard a guess this is mike & Eric's view too).

Given which, one has to suspect the authors of the questionnaire aren't really interested in gathering a balanced response.
Mar 3, 2022 11:01 PM # 
Graeme is certainly close to my assumptions general opinions, apparently putting more thought into it than I have.

I'm sorry to hear about shortcomings in the survey format. This doesn't help my general IOF cynicism, although simply raising this issue gave me a little hope.

Attempting to be constructive, could somebody provide this thread with insight into the previous failed proposal (Sweden 2016), the issues/rationale for denial, and/or the personal politics involved?
I'm hoping for something better than "look at the minutes".

And, like JJ, I was also guessing that many female classes in the US, are already running slightly longer times, not projected times by course, but real times. A shorter course for women does not necessarily mean shorter winning times when the winning time is established by a male category on the same course.. I'm interested to hear what the research says.
Mar 3, 2022 11:17 PM # 
I looked at the same analysis, Clare. We'd have to do some tweaking if age groups were to have the same winning time.

Currently, we only have the same winning times for M/F-10 through M/F-16. After that, women run one color down from age-group peer men, and consequently have shorter expected winning times than the men their age.

It has always struck me as odd that my F45 Green Long course is over so much more quickly than cmpbllj's M45 Red Long course (50-65 minutes vs. 70-90 minutes). I'd probably favor aiming for the middle ground, here - it was admittedly nice in my mid-40s to step down from F-21+ Red to F40+ Green. Then again, I wasn't exactly competing with my age-group peers at the time, so I don't know that it was the shorter race so much as not being so far behind the winner.
Mar 3, 2022 11:23 PM # 
@EricW. Looking at the minutes....
In 2016 the sprint, middle, and relay races had the same winning times for men and women.
The Swedes wanted the women's long race in WOC Sweden 2016 to be the same winning time as the mens as well, and (I think) held their trial at that distance.
The proposal got turned down, but without telling anyone they planned it waaay over distance anyway (only 4 athletes inside 94...) and the Swedish athlete got into gold position after the race should have finished.

I guess its possible it was all an accident and the IOF adviser was clueless, but the men's long race was slightly shorter than the average (Lundanes won in 93).
Mar 3, 2022 11:45 PM # 
In sports such as cross country running "equality" has meant "shorten the mens race".

You mean like what happened at Beijing Olympics recently where the men's 50 km ski race was shorter than the women's 30 km ski race? Despite the objections of most of the men skiers?
Mar 4, 2022 12:17 AM # 
I seem to recall this issue came up a few years ago with some of the top women publicly advocating equal winning times for the long - ie the women running 90-100 not shortening the men's winning time. If I recall correctly the idea lacked popular support - the very top women liked the idea but below that level there was little enthusiasm for longer winning times.

I also seem to recall in the past hearing suggestions about making TioMila women's courses longer/tougher - again there was support for that among the very top levels but not among lower levels and there was a worry that making the courses longer/harder would result in lower participation.

There are other sports where men and and women play for different times - tennis is an obvious example. That is not a problem unless that difference is also perceived as the women being 'lesser' - that certainly used to be the case in tennis where lower prize money was justified on the grounds that the women only played 3 sets to the men's' 5. The tale of WOC93 controllers viewing the men's race as the 'main event' is similar. At least these days those attitudes seem to be less prominent. The fact that women run the first and last legs in a sprint relay seems to me giving the women more of the spotlight in that event - which is great!

I vaguely recall (back in the 80's or 90's?) in Australia a group of 'older' women advocating for longer winning times and being successful. I can't remember the details but it wasn't about running the same times as the men - it was more about not traveling many hours to events only to be given ridiculously short courses. It was more about value for money than gender equality per se.

Anyway Graeme has it right: " the length of the women's course is up to the women and the length of the men's course is up to the men"

If the women want a longer winning they should have it. If they don't then don't impose it on them. But beware the effect longer winning times might have on participation levels. And don't shorten the men's winning times just to satisfy some gender equity requirement - unless the men actually want a shorter winning time. Maybe shorter winning times might also improve participation levels among men?
Mar 4, 2022 12:25 AM # 
You mean like what happened at Beijing Olympics recently where the men's 50 km ski race was shorter than the women's 30 km ski race? Despite the objections of most of the men skiers?

I thought the men's race was shortened due to poor weather on the day - a simple safety issue - nothing to do with gender equity.

And still one guy got a frozen penis ( - a case of men being weaker than women.
Mar 4, 2022 12:44 AM # 
That was the reason given, but the athletes weren't told until shortly before. And they all knew the forecast and (all except 1 I guess) were prepared mentally and physically. Reports I heard were that athletes asked both before and after the race said it would have been ok to go the full distance.

The xc organizers were just stupid on this one. The forecast was known far enough in advance that biathlon moved their race scheduled for that day up a day and just avoided the weather issue entirely.

I have to call stupid on the one unlucky guy as well. Any ski racer who's been around for a few seasons knows how to easily avoid this issue.
Mar 4, 2022 3:16 AM # 
I think the sprint relay format is the best development in recent years. I've said for a long time that the best bet for getting into something like the Olympics would be to have just one event, and a mixed relay with the women in the prominent position would be ideal.
Mar 4, 2022 11:13 AM # 
" the length of the women's course is up to the women and the length of the men's course is up to the men"

This begs the question *which* women and *which men*? As we've seen above, you may get different answers depending on whether you ask the top runners or the more regular ones - this is one of the things we'll find out more about from the IOF survey.
Mar 4, 2022 6:44 PM # 
You might get a different answer depending on which top runners you ask. In fact, the list of top runners could in theory be different depending on how long the course is.
Mar 4, 2022 11:02 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
In the 30 years since then I don't remember hearing one thing from a single woman about this issue, a group that is usually not shy about speaking their mind

Some chimed in here:
Mar 5, 2022 4:31 AM # 
I have to admit, I did not remember that discussion, despite contributing to it. I guess that says something about my memory.

OTOH, by a quick count, I see less than 10% of the posts ( 8 of 84) were by women. which I think still reinforces the overall point, that my apathy is well founded.

I will gladly let other people figure out djm's logical next step.
Mar 5, 2022 5:21 AM # 
I wonder what fraction of Attackpoint users are women, and of course the other important question, how many orienteers are anything other than white men?
Mar 5, 2022 4:30 PM # 
Beyond the elite level, this seems a difficult question to me with potentially further-reaching implications than gender parity.

For example, as cmpbllj and I transitioned to M/F35, I tended to get most of the kid-shadowing duties because I finished my courses sooner, and the distance on a Long seems to be less effort for me than it is for him because there's such a disparity between Red and Green winning times (and consequently, distances). So, during the ages when a parent might need to shadow (usually age-group Red and Green courses), creating winning-time parity closer to 70-90 minutes might have a big impact on NRE family logistics when start windows are only 2-3 hours. But it might also mean more opportunity to share shadowing duties.

I don't think splitting classes to create a "short" option would be great, either. We're too small a sport as it is.

I think there is some good flexibility in OUSA's course structure that allows individuals to find the competition field they want - you can run up (including women running M21), or you can run in an open category.

I could see World Masters' incorporating the same winning times across genders for each age group, though.
Mar 5, 2022 10:52 PM # 
If women’s IOF elite courses move to a longer winning time, and OUSA wants to match that, then just have an F21E “red” course for those women. Nothing else would need to change. Bigger NREs often have multiple red courses already so it would not often be extra work.
Mar 5, 2022 11:10 PM # 

just have an F21E “red” course for those women
And, er, make it shorter?

US Champs 2021
1 Tori Borish RMOC 1:43:47 5:59 Gold
2 Tyra Christopherson COC 1:51:46 7:59 10:53 Silver
3 Kseniya Popova HVO 1:52:21 8:34 12:03 Bronze
1 Anthony Riley DVOA 1:42:13 5:29 Gold
2 Gregory Ahlswede DVOA 1:42:54 0:41 1:31 Silver
3 Joseph Barrett QOC 1:45:32 3:19 4:45 Bronze

Fun fact - I made exactly the same observation when we discussed this in 2016.
Mar 5, 2022 11:18 PM # 
Oh look at that! USA is ahead of the game!
Mar 9, 2022 8:17 PM # 
You stated the 2021 winners and winning times in 2016? I hope you bet on the outcome when it came around.
Mar 26, 2022 9:27 PM # 
For the first time, women and men will ski the same distance in the long distance race at the Canadian National Nordic Skiing Championships tomorrow
Mar 27, 2022 4:17 AM # 
Today's Worldle looks kind of Nordic. Except it's not.
Mar 27, 2022 9:21 PM # 
It will happen to everyone eventually.
Mar 28, 2022 4:13 PM # 
I never understood why the sport of orienteering designs their courses for a certain winning time. I believe we should design a course to a certain distance and let the times be what they are.

A 10K is a 10K, a Marathon 26.2 miles. We do not shorten the course if the terrain is more difficult!
Mar 28, 2022 4:27 PM # 
There's a lot more variation in terrain speed in orienteering than there is in anything else. 10 km at The Plains of Despair in Wyoming isn't much more than a middle distance course. 10 km at Nisene Marks in California would be an epic death march.

And we don't make course lengths be round numbers because that would result in pointless extra distance consisting of dead running just to round things off.

That said, the Hudson Highlander is always (nominally) 26.2 km. But it's always in the same terrain, it's kind of a running joke, and this is definitely an unusual case.
Mar 28, 2022 8:58 PM # 
I don't understand why we design courses at all. Just have a start, a 100m stretch of track (or 90m if you're a woman) and then a finish and see who can navigate there the fastest. It's bound to attract more participants.
Mar 29, 2022 12:33 AM # 
Reminds me, in the early 00's when sprint was a new discipline there was a Swedish O blogger who was unimpressed by the general lack of navigational challenge in sprint courses - in one post he showed what he thought was a 'perfect' sprint course. It looked something like this:

Mar 29, 2022 10:06 PM # 

PS. I don´t know if this was the map for M21 or W21. If it was M21 you´d have to find a smaller building for the women.
Mar 29, 2022 10:46 PM # 
That flow chart is awesome.
Mar 30, 2022 12:14 AM # 
Thanks for that Bubo - That is the W course for M just add a couple of temporary barriers on each side of the building to increase the length a bit.

That Asplöv blog post was about getting sprint orienteering into the olympics. With the modern tendency to include labyrinths in sprint courses there is no reason at all orienteering could not be become an event held in the main stadium

Mar 30, 2022 12:52 AM # 
Where's the spectator run through?
Mar 30, 2022 5:27 AM # 
Re-hijacking this thread - last couple of days to actually complete the survey!
Mar 30, 2022 2:46 PM # 
@robplow no reason at all orienteering could not be become an event held in the main stadium
Though it would be a faff to move all those fences 15% closer together for the women's race.
Mar 30, 2022 3:27 PM # 
Pink Socks:
The original question asked here, is really a design question.

Should winning times be the same for women and men at major events in Foot Orienteering - or remain different?

It reminds me of an episode of a design podcast that I listen to, 99% Invisible, which is about all sorts of design going on in the world that most people don't notice. The episode was about gendered data bias, and how that can impact design. In other words, people designing for the "average person", which is oftentimes a 50th percentile male.

Examples from the episode: the history of medical research being focused on men; how crash-test dummies are modeled on men, therefore women have a significantly higher risk of serious injury in a car crash because cars aren't designed to be as safe for them; snowplowing priorities in Sweden.

This Attackpoint discussion reminded me of that podcast episode, which got me thinking about gender and sex biases within the design of sport. How many sports were originally designed for women in mind? How many sports were originally designed by women? I really can't think of any. So basically, all of the sports out there were designed by men for men, and then later made to include women.

There seem to be some different approaches to including women.

1) Give everyone the exact same thing, no matter who it was designed for. Examples include set race distances (eg: 100m, 5k, marathon), and soccer.

2) Shorten the duration of the game. Examples include women playing best-of-three at tennis majors, softball games going 7 innings instead of baseball's 9, and the winning times of certain orienteering races (eg: WOC Long).

3) Change some of the physical dimensions of the game. Examples include a shorter net for women in volleyball, a smaller basketball, closer tees in golf.

4) Completely modify the original sport into a new sport. Examples include creating netball from basketball, softball from baseball.

What sports have accommodated women the best, design-wise? How's orienteering doing in that regard? What changes can we make to make orienteering more rewarding and fulfilling for women?

Furthermore, are there gender and sex biases in making orienteering maps? Or within the mapping specs? At what point, and for whom, are uncrossable walls deemed uncrossable? Are we thinking of M21 or F80? Are the fractions-of-full-running speeds for various vegetation symbols derived from men or women? Men are more likely to be colorblind, so are the colors biased for or against certain types of colorblindness?

And what about course design? When we design legs with choices like over vs. around, terrain vs. trail, would we find that men and women approach these choices differently? In other words, if faced with the same exact leg, would it be more interesting/impactful for the men than the women?

I don't really have any answers for these questions, but this discussion is causing me to think about them.
Mar 30, 2022 5:13 PM # 
As a pedantic aside, softball was not created as a modified form of baseball for women; it was originally an indoor version of baseball. That softball is today a popular sport for men and women (and coed leagues) and baseball is almost entirely played by men likely has a lot to do with the different designs of the games, but softball wasn't designed *for* (or by) women.
Mar 30, 2022 5:26 PM # 
I was expecting that correction. :-) (If memory serves, softball was originally played with a broomstick and a boxing glove.)
Mar 30, 2022 5:35 PM # 
Not a gender distinction, but: if you look at maps from Norway and Sweden from the 1980s, the green tends to be quite different: Norwegian maps used a yellower shade of green, while the Swedish ones used a bluer shade. I've been told (this may be apocryphal) that at one point both countries had national mapping chairmen who were colorblind, but they had different variations of colorblindness, and each mandated a shade of green that worked better for himself.
Mar 30, 2022 10:05 PM # 
At what point, and for whom, are uncrossable walls deemed uncrossable?

Interesting point regarding this. I set an event last night that showed a crossable fence around an oval. It was a street event but one of our participants regularly does the event on his bike and commented to me that the fence should have been shown as uncrossable. I asked how high it was and he measured to his hip and pointed out that he couldn't cross it on his bike and also pointed to another (very elderly) participant who gets around with help from his push roller thingy and noted that he wouldn't be able to cross it either (whether the second participant would have actually made it as far as the oval within the power walker time limit is not up for debate in this discussion). Using that logic, all fences would be uncrossable and we'd end up with many untenable areas, particularly in the bush!

I did note to him that back in the day (about a decade or so ago) that impassable fences on our street maps just meant they were somewhat high but by all means go for it (I once went over a 4m high fence that surrounded the start area because the other way in was a very major deviation and the runner in front of me had also gone over it).
Mar 31, 2022 9:55 PM # 
How many sports were originally designed for women in mind?
I reckon most major sports were designed at a time when the best male participants were not as good at them as the best women are now. People now are bigger: average height is up about 4 inches in a century.
Harder to compare in orienteering, but for endurance running the current women's marathon record is faster than any man ran before 1966.
Mar 31, 2022 11:27 PM # 
Though it would be a faff to move all those fences 15% closer together for the women's race.

Haha - is that how you do it - shrink the terrain by 15% for the women? That's actually possible for a temporary labyrinth - a bit harder if it's Edinburgh Castle.

Just move the start a few m closer to the first control for W. My courses for the WOC 2005 sprint Q race were exactly the same for M and W - except for the start location.

Back in the PWT days - didn't M and W run the same course? Seems a reasonable thing to do for sprint - it is only a couple of minutes difference. Always interesting to be able to compare directly.
Apr 1, 2022 12:00 AM # 
At what point, and for whom, are uncrossable walls deemed uncrossable?

For definitions like that you have to chose an arbitrary reference point. The obvious choices are the highest possible level (ie elite) the lowest possible (small kids or the very old) or some sort of average.

The mapping standards (ISOM) says:

That a feature is not mapped as impassable does not mean that it will be passable by all orienteers. It should, however, be passable by the average elite orienteer under normal conditions.

So the arbitrary standard for an O map is 'average elite runner' . All of us who fall short of that level just have to adjust to it.

I have always found the concept of 'uncrossable' problematic when mapping - what is an uncrossable cliff? You can easily jump down a sheer 2m cliff but not be able to climb it. Very few fences are actually uncrossable (even 4m ones - as Tricky proves).

For sprint maps the definition is effectively not 'uncrossable' but 'forbidden to cross' (you can in theory map a 1m fence as an uncrossable fence - meaning runners are not allowed to cross it even though they could easily do it . In theory at least this distinction removes the uncertainty (in practice it creates other problems). That is why there was a push to adopt the same standard for forest maps a few years ago - the Mapping Committee rewrote ISOM so that high cliffs, fences etc were 'forbidden to cross' but that idea was controversial (mainly because it was deemed to be unenforceable) and was rejected by the IOF. I think some MC members resigned because of that.
Apr 1, 2022 12:04 AM # 
> Though it would be a faff to move all those fences 15% closer together for the women's race.
I am sure this would contravene some rule about map scales.

And netball is a sport designed specifically for women, by a woman. The sport was considered more appropriate for women than basketball, and it could be played on an outdoor grassed court. These days sprung indoor floors are required.
Apr 1, 2022 12:12 AM # 
These days sprung indoor floors are required. At high levels perhaps but surely the majority of games at local level are still played on outdoor asphalt courts?

Just because it was designed by a women doesn't mean the assumptions weren't sexist - ie that women are somehow not able to play 'men's' sports.
Apr 1, 2022 12:21 AM # 
Then there is korfball (similar to netball) that was specifically designed to be unisex. 4 men and 4 women in each team.
Apr 1, 2022 12:40 AM # 
However something like fences or cliffs are mapped, there's a second line of defense: don't set courses such that the people running them are faced with that decision. Send them elsewhere.
Apr 1, 2022 2:49 AM # 
> Just because it was designed by a women doesn't mean the assumptions weren't sexist
No implication otherwise was made. Interestingly, I believe the top Melbourne team did pre-season practice against the Victorian men's team. Can't find a record of the scores anywhere.
Apr 1, 2022 3:25 AM # 
don't set courses such that the people running them are faced with that decision. Send them elsewhere.

makes it a little difficult to set courses somewhere like this (WOC last year)
Apr 1, 2022 11:56 AM # 
Good point. Do you happen to have the courses for very elderly people from last year's WOC?

This reminds me of the Swiss 6-Day from 1991, though. A woman I knew was 77 at the time (I think), and was signed up for the oldest women's category, which as I recall was D55. Kind of challenging for her. On one of the days somewhere around Gurnigelwald, the walk to the start for her course crossed a deep muddy gully that she was unable to negotiate, and she had to turn around and go back to the bus.
Jul 12, 2022 8:10 PM # 
You may have already seen this, but at the IOF Council meeting at WOC, the following was decided (this extract is from the minutes of the meeting, available on the IOF website).

11.8. Gender equality in FootO winning times
The FootO Commission had proposed changes to the winning times in the FootO Long Distance.
The working group had done a very thorough job, with a 15-month consultation and a survey with
over 1300 responses.
The proposal was to have equal winning times between men and women, with details regarding
how to implement this. Another aspect of the proposal was to change from winning times to
target times, calculated as an average of the top 3 finishers. The number would no longer be a
span (e.g. 90-100 minutes), rather it would be an absolute target (e.g. 90 minutes).

Council decided to change the terminology across the rules of all disciplines from winning time
brackets (e.g. 90-100 minutes) to be replaced with ‘target times’ (e.g. 90 minutes) at international
events, which shall be defined in the rules as being the average of the best 3 runners.
Council approved the proposed changes to the FootO Long distance target times as presented by
the FootO Commission:
• Target time for women shall be 82 minutes at WOC 2023 (men 90 mins).
• Target time for women shall be 90 minutes at WOC 2025 & beyond (men 90 mins).
IOF High-Level Event (HLE) Long distance races shall always follow the WOC format.
• IOF HLE Women’s Long distance races in 2023 shall have 82-minutes target time.
• IOF HLE Long distance races from 2024 onwards shall have 90 minutes target time.
• From 2024, also WRE Long distance races shall have 90 minutes target time.
EYOC shall have equal target times from 2023, set at the current men’s winning times.
JWOC shall have equal target times, with Long distance target times as follows:
• Target time for women shall be 62 minutes at JWOC 2023 (men 70 mins).
• Target time for women shall be 70 minutes at JWOC 2024 & beyond (men 70 mins).
WMOC shall have equal target times from 2024, with the exact target times to be considered.
Jul 13, 2022 1:09 AM # 
Good news, I think?, even if decades overdue.
My IOF skepticism is declining.
Thanks for posting.
Jul 13, 2022 3:48 PM # 
there's only One Billygoat
Jul 13, 2022 7:33 PM # 
Has there been any discussion about the issue (as I see it) about the fact that the winning time / target time leads to shorter courses in places like North American than in Europe? I find our athletes end up going to WOC and WC races and are always underprepared because they've never seen races that long outside of those high level events.

I realise its a bit of a catch 22...

Is there a reason that the tines aren't based on what a World Champ or 6000 point athlete would run?
Jul 13, 2022 7:52 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
On one hand I think it's a great question and have pondered it as well, on the other hand, reviewing the list of middle and long winners, which are supposed to be different events, there is tremendous overlap, suggesting that it's more or less the same stuff to be good at 35 minute races or 90 minute races, so does +/- 10 or 20 minutes matter much.

You sort of see the same thing in the borderline redundant 5000m and 10000m at the Olympics. If one were preparing for 8000 m or 9000 m, doing that well would have one in the box for 10000 anyway. You'd still have to run a lot either way. Nothing prevents folks for training for 10000 and racing an American 9000, they'd still win as there's no way anyone is training so specifically for a marginally shorter winning time. "Well clearly Bill was in 80 minute winning time shape, and I was precisely tuned for a 90 minute winning time, which is why he beat me on this slightly shorter course."
Jul 13, 2022 8:08 PM # 
Our regional events never prepare us for World Champs events in terms of time on course. Our national (and state) MTBO champs are designed for local athlete winning times, not world champions, so this Sunday when my long distance time blows out to 150 minutes rather than 110, well I won't be surprised. Our last state champs when I won the event in 87 minutes, I did comment on the short course to the organiser afterwards and he said 'Oh well we did it that way intentionally'. Intentionally why? It was a state championship, not some two bit local event (on the flip side, the middle distance times ended up being far too long and I was the controller for that but it did bucket down during the event and turned the course muddy).
Jul 13, 2022 8:12 PM # 
I think the question has more to do with the fact that for a WRE in North America, you probably are supposed to se the course shorter. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from setting the course to world standard for non-WRE races. And then there's the question of how you set the course when you don't know who's going to show up. You can set a course in North America so that the top three North Americans are going to average 90 minutes, but then what are you supposed to do when, just before the registration deadline, a few top Scandinavians decide that they want in? Are you supposed to make last-minute changes to lengthen the course so that they don't all finish in 60-70 minutes?

Or you can just set it to world standards in the first place, and when the top three times turn out to be too long, you just say, well, I was planning on some faster people being here...
Jul 13, 2022 8:17 PM # 
"from winning time brackets (e.g. 90-100 minutes) to be replaced with ‘target times’ (e.g. 90 minutes) at international events, which shall be defined in the rules as being the average of the best 3 runners."

If I understand this rule correctly the long course would be a slightly shorter as it is today.
Jul 13, 2022 8:22 PM # 
Yes it seems that way given the tendency for course setters to aim for the high side of the range.
Jul 13, 2022 8:43 PM # 
So winning time 90 minutes become winning time ....86 minutes. Target time as a term is somehow bad for publicity. I would understand if there would be half course target time and if you miss you are disq. As in cycling in stage events. Target time is ordinary Average time (calculated as avg. of 3 best athletes). It sound better but... winning time (calculated as avg. of 3 best athletes) sounds even better if we need to have a slightly shorter courses.
Jul 13, 2022 10:38 PM # 
I wish there was as much, or in fact more discussion about course character as there is about fine tuning winning times.
There is supposed to be a difference between Long and Middle courses that is frequently not apparent, and much more significant than a couple % difference in winning time.
Being quantifiable distorts the discussion.
Jul 13, 2022 11:01 PM # 
Eric, While this thread is about gender equity there has certainly been some discussion that because women's winning times have historically been shorter than the men's race there may have been less chance for some really ong route choice legs in the women's long race.

But to you point I think the last few WOC middle and longs have been quite different in character.




All of those years there was no butterfly loops in the long which can make some long courses more middle like.

that said the WOC Long in Scotland in 2015 despite having butterfly (phi?) loops had some spectacular long route choice legs and was one of the best courses that year internationally
Jul 14, 2022 3:16 AM # 
Agreed, the WOC courses of late have been excellent examples of the respective formats.
If it helps, my comment is intended to be broader than just this thread topic, or the IOF.
I hope examples like these and many others, filter through to more national/regional course setters.
Jul 14, 2022 8:52 AM # 
So the foot-O committee decides that the men's race should be made shorter and the women shouldn't run as far as the men currently do.

I must have missed the bit of the consultation where anyone asked for that...

In the UK, course lengths are meant to be scaled from M21, so by default it means "Long" courses will be shortened for everyone.

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