Course closure issues
Been a few of them at local events in the last fortnight.
Years ago course closure at local events was 4pm. I have less than fond memories of collecting controls in the rain and dark at Mandurang. The introduction of SI timing and stands extended the pack up time, and course closure was shifted to 3pm. We also shifted the responsibility for control collection from the day organiser to the following weeks organiser. I am not sure this latter decision was a good one. The following organiser wants just to get the controls in. The organiser of the day wants as many happy customers as possible. This has the potential for mixed messages. For many years there has been some grey area around course closure time, dependent on the expectations of the event organiser and now the following organiser, each with differing incentives.
Last week a couple of incorrect controls were collected 20 minutes before course closure time. I wasn't there (but maybe should have been) so I didn't witness the fallout. I gather there were a couple of unhappy runners. This week the control collectors went out after three. Two misunderstandings followed. First, a mother and child arrived just before three, having the misunderstanding that course closure time was the time of the last starts. I think this means we have an education problem. The other was an orienteer unhappy that the control collectors were rude in not collecting the last control until after this persons finish, despite this being at least 15 minutes after course closure time. Again, there is a communication issue here. I think the expectation is that control collection will start at 3 but will abstain from the collection of controls still unvisited by orienteers on the course. I have been guilty of such leniency in the past, but I fear such behaviour generates expectation that such consideration will always be given. Its actually up to the discretion of the next week's organiser. I think our club communication needs to be clear to both control collectors and competitors. Something like this...
1. Its the day organisers responsibility to collect controls and to authorise the time of collection.
2 Organisers instructions... do not collect controls before 3. The only exceptions are moderate and novice courses with no competitors, or if all competitors are back before 3.
3 On eventor- Very clear statements that starts are available between 12 and 1.30. Courses close at 3. At 3.00pm the finish control will be collected.
4 A sign at the registration table- The courses close at 3. This means the finish control and the last control will be collected at 3pm. If you do not think you have enough time available to finish your chosen course, choose an alternative course, expect to abandon your course at 3 or arrive earlier.
More organisers instructions. Collect the last control at 3.
5 Organiser instructions. On course closure collect the finish and last control.
This all might seem harsh, but it seems the only way to end misunderstandings and unreasonable expectations.