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Discussion: Double Sprint ??

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 7, 2022 6:07 AM # 
Along with Florida Orienteering, my club Suncoast Orienteering organizes a lot of events in Florida, some 17 in 2022 (with a couple cancelled by a hurricane and resulting park closures)
Almost all the events are classic point-to-point type. I typically do one Score-O event but that is it for our largely JROTC crowd.
I would like to introduce variety to the events but it is tough.
I'd like the students to experience Sprint orienteering but I know no teams would cross town let alone cross the state for a 12-15 minute race. It is also prohibitively expensive for them to go on an overnight trip so a sprint/ classic is out of the question,
So what about a double sprint? One sprint race in the morning then another in the afternoon? It would be like a multi-day but both legs would be on the same day. Has anyone here any experience in planning and staging such an event. I have as vague recollection of such an event in Syracuse back in the last century.
Can anyone point me to a manual on staging a double sprint?
Would you recommend two event-total time? A chase start for the second sprint?
Do your regulars enjoy that type of event?
What pitfalls have you experienced that you could help us avoid?
I know there are these knock out events at the World level. Not for us. I want to see the type of event where the participant pays for two events (or three) and gets two events (or three).
Dec 7, 2022 6:52 AM # 
Been done plenty of times in Aus. At a recent double header (on the same map) in Victoria, Aus, the morning event was a standard sprint then in the afternoon there was a head-to-head race run whereby you teamed up with someone of similar ability and ran a course against them, with butterfly loops to separate you.

Another example of a typical double header would be a morning qualification and afternoon final where, say, 50% of the morning field qualifies for the afternoon final - everyone gets two runs but half would be in the A final and half would be in B (or a set number of people to make the A final, say 12 out of the total field or more with bigger fields). Up to you whether the A and B is on an identical course (in which case it's bragging rights for making A final and all A finalists would be placed ahead of B regardless of their second run time) or have B on a shorter course. This would typically be on two separate maps.

The short champs that used to get run here would have everyone run in the morning event then a chase start in the afternoon where first across the line wins. Sadly in my last (and only) short champs, the afternoon winner (actually the top three) had all finished before I even started my run!

We've also run knockouts as part of National Series races (so not at world level) but you generally need a bigger field to justify it given the quarter final typically consists of 36 runners (so you have to knockout plenty from the qualifier).

I don't think there's a specific manual. Just run two events with whatever format you feel comfortable with. Our 'regular' sprinters tend to enjoy throwing in novelty style formats every once in a while. What you don't want to do is to forget to bring the start, finish, clear and check bricks with you - yes this did happen at one of our recent events!
Dec 7, 2022 8:36 AM # 
Having a prologue and then an A, B or C final is likely easiest.

If considering a KO day with 3-4 sprints (or spread it over two days of races on back to back weekends?) then consider the King’s Court format used in nordic skiing (several of the Ottawa area nordic clubs have used it). It is a head to head format where all keep racing. I think this is similar to what is used at the Seattle sprint weekend.

I’ve copied some rules in here from a race in Kanata.

The format is King's Court for all distances and all categories. Individual prologue sprints begin at 9:00 AM. Timed prologue results seed the first round of King’s Court sprint heats. Sprint heats are not timed and heat results are based solely on relative finishing position in each heat.
Each sprint heat will have up to 6 skiers. Starting order in the first round of heats is based on prologue finish order for each distance. After each sprint heat, the first two finishers advance up a level in the heats chart and the last two finishers move down a level in the heats chart.
Dec 7, 2022 10:46 AM # 
British Sprint Championships are done as qualification followed by an A/B/C final so everyone does two runs. The rules are here (note there are two versions, the old one and a draft of the new one valid from 2023).

Lower level double sprints I've done have all been the sum of times from two runs. In the more informal version (a local after-work event on my university campus), there were two courses with the same start, you choose one of them to do first, run, download, then, if you feel like running the other one, do it. The results were provided both separately for each course and the sum of the times (no splits were published) and I think it was done manually from portable SI EMIT printer printouts so no setup in advance was required. For the more formal ones, the order is specified in advance and you need to do both courses to get a result. Here is an example.

Sometimes both courses are on the same area, sometimes two adjacent areas with little or no overlap. In all cases (even British Champs), it's only an hour or two between the runs (or a few minutes to catch your breath in the informal event).
Dec 7, 2022 12:26 PM # 
The Ratlum Summer Picnic has had a sprint relay using two courses. Teams of two (though you could do more), and both people run both courses, with the order of the courses scrambled between teams, some teams do ABBA, others do BAAB. With teams of three and three courses, much more variation is possible, and if you're ambitious, you can have forking in the courses. A lot of people running every which way on a small map can provide excitement.
Dec 7, 2022 3:07 PM # 
DVOA ran a summer sprint series this year where each event had two sprint courses. They were held pretty much back to back though, so the event didn't suck up the entire day. (Same start/finish, and using the same map.) Most people ran the first course, rested for half an hour or so, and then did the second. (You could choose which course you did first, there wasn't a set order. You could also just do one or the other. Each course had separate results.) There was a scoring system used for the entire series of events, and a lucrative amount of points were also given for course setting or event directing.
Dec 7, 2022 3:30 PM # 
For QOC local events on sprint maps like university of Maryland Campus, we usually either do it as a score o, or we have multiple sprints. Multiple sprints can be done in either order. The Maryland campus is large so multiple sprints can be set without running the same area repeatedly. Smaller sprint maps won't have that option.
Dec 7, 2022 3:51 PM # 
We’ve done two-stage sprints a couple times for national events including the US Championships. Certainly nothing wrong with doing 2 or even 3 or 4 stage sprint events. It’s fun if you can do them in 2 different areas with different type of terrain.

We do a summer series, with events every couple weeks in summer. We usually offer 2 courses and most participants choose to do both. The Louisville club does a similar series and again most people choose to run both courses with only a very short break in between.
Dec 7, 2022 5:00 PM # 
The other simple solution for the specific problem you mentioned (not wanting to travel for a 12-15 min race) I'd to offer a long urban (sprint style) event. Similar interesting route choices but just more of it!
Dec 7, 2022 10:03 PM # 
Thanks for the quick supply of information and examples, folks.
I think I have some things to go on.
Perhaps I should have mentioned the event under consideration would likely have between 200-300 participants with most of them high school students on school orienteering teams with very little experience orienteering and virtually none with sprint orienteering. They will run on three levels of courses (usually 45% novice, 35% intermediate and the rest advanced. At each level they usuallysplit about male (75%) and female (25%)
I have provided almost all the schools with campus maps with which I can teach them how to set and run their own sprint training courses.
From the information gleaned from above I think I could run it this way.
Two groups of races.
Divide the schools into A group or B group
All students in the A group would run the A courses in the morning, B group the B courses
After downloading and a recovery period A group runs the B courses and B group the A courses.
Everyone's times get totalled (Is there a timing software geared to do that?) and course placings are posted.
Is there something else to look at?
I may do a small trial run this year but go full boar (bore?) sometime in 2023-24.
I have an idea for resurrecting a team score/ relay dual event for next year, as well.
Dec 7, 2022 11:00 PM # 
Could also consider a Motala format. Three or four interconnected sprints. Maybe A,B,C legs with a common D for everyone at the end to go head to head. Might be tricky with 200-300 people unless you did a couple of sessions. AM/PM?
Dec 8, 2022 3:46 AM # 
MeOS (and possibly OE?) allow you to total the times for two events. I have no experience with other programs so cannot comment.
Dec 8, 2022 5:08 AM # 
One event I remember well was two races on the same venue on the same day. For the second event barriers were strategically placed (or shifted) to radically change the route choice options. Speaking as a competitor, I found that much of what I learnt in the first race was irrelevant in the second.
Dec 8, 2022 10:53 AM # 
The most important thing is that the format is suitable for the people competing.

Most of the suggestions here are great for experienced/competitive orienteers, but it seems you mainly have novices. So I think your format is good.

It means runners are very likely to do better in the second race. In the first, they'll probably spend a lot of time standing around trying to work out what the map means. So I would suggest not adding the times together - kids will naturally look to their best result (probably the second) and go away happy.

You might even start with a really easy practice course, then two timed races.

@TheInvisibleLog - Yes, using the same area twice is fine. Once I went to an area that I'd run on before, and even though there were no barriers, I still made a mistake. (That does seem incredible, so maybe I'm misremembering ;)
Dec 8, 2022 5:26 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Has anyone here any experience in planning and staging such an event? I have as vague recollection of such an event in Syracuse back in the last century.

Yes, several, lol. My club in Seattle has organized 5 sprint weekends (4 events on Saturday, 2 on Sunday). I've participated in several in the San Francisco Bay area, with events over 3 days. There have been a few in Kamloops, BC and Boston, MA. (These are just the sprint-focused events; as others have mentioned, there have been two sprints in a day as part of other orienteering weekends.)

And then the granddaddy of them all is the Vancouver Sprint Camp, which typically has 10 events over 3 days (usually 2-5-3). Pre-pandemic, it's been held every year since 2006.

Do your regulars enjoy that type of event?

The Vancouver Sprint Camp is my favorite event weekend of all-time! And there are several regulars in Seattle who have said that our sprint tournaments are the most fun events we've ever done.

I know there are these knock out events at the World level. Not for us. I want to see the type of event where the participant pays for two events (or three) and gets two events (or three).

Just because they are "knock out" doesn't mean that you have to stop racing. Every single knock-out that I'm aware of in North America (Seattle, Bay Area, Kamloops, Vancouver) has a format where everyone keeps racing to the end. After the first race, there's essentially a winners bracket and a losers bracket, and then after two races, winner-winner chicken dinner, winner-loser, loser-winner, and loser-loser. Et cetera.

That said, with 300 kids over various skill levels, I'd advise against a tournament style: it's a lot of rounds (at least 3), a lot of heats, you kinda need a specific size range of competitors, and you need to be really on top of your results processing to avoid delays (and frustrated participants).

From what you've already posted, it looks like you'd approximately have:
35 female novice
100 male novice
135 total

25 female intermediate
80 male intermediate
105 total

15 female advanced
45 male advanced
60 total

If the males and females are sharing courses, then the 135 novices are the "tent pole" for start windows. At one-per-minute, that's over two hours of a start window per race. You could split everyone into A and B groups like you mentioned, as it sounds like you'll be using the same venue for both/all races. You could also just have everyone start with one and finish with other, giving everyone the same time of rest in between. For example, Race #1 start window could be 9:00-11:15am and Race #2 start window could be 12:00-2:15pm. If you have a 9:03am start time, you'd also have a 12:03pm start time.

For scoring, you can combine times, obviously. You could also award the winners with 1000 points and scale back proportionally; this is what they do for the multi-race competition at the Vancouver Sprint Camp. I'd probably advise against a prologue and chase format, especially with a lot of beginners. With 135 novices and a chasing start, there's going to be the middle of the bell curve where you could be starting dozens of kids within seconds of each other! That's probably something I wouldn't try on my first attempt at this event.

It sounds like you'd be using the same venue, which is pretty typical for a multi-sprint event. In Seattle, the Sunday pair of races have always been staged at the same venue, and we also try to pair up two races on Saturday. Vancouver usually does the same. If there areas of campus where the two courses overlap, it's probably more fair to have everyone do Race #1 and then Race #2, as opposed to splitting into A and B groups. It's possible that doing A-then-B could be more of an advantage than B-then-A, or vice versa.

Whatever you do, I'd probably advise to keep it as simple as you can (KISS). It's your first time doing this, you have a lot of participants (more than any of the sprint festivals mentioned earlier), and a lot of those participants are beginners.
Dec 8, 2022 8:36 PM # 
BAOC have done double sprints fairly often, usually with a chase start on the final. We also did a reverse chase, where the slower ones on the prelim start first. The advantage of this is that everyone has someone to run with in the finish chute. You don't get the slowest coming in after the award ceremony. But we didn't have that many people doing it.
Dec 8, 2022 11:23 PM # 
The corn maze champs at Mike's Make is essentially a multi-sprint format. We combine results by adding the placings for each event together, lowest total wins.
Dec 9, 2022 12:10 PM # 
I remember running in that non-knockout knockout format. My memory is that it encourages strategic running to keep energy in reserve. We also used to run a series of four by 2k handicap races in one afternoon. Two were hard and two moderate navigation. Best of three won. The handicappers aim was a blanket finish after a chasing start, but strategic runners played havoc with that as well. As runners stepped up for their time slot, those yet to run were making decisions about whether to run in that race or wait it out. Lots of fun though a challenge to organise realistic handicaps. Some very high standard orienteers claimed it produces some of the highest heart rate measures for the year.

This discussion thread is closed.