What start interval would you prefer for the World Orienteering Championships Long distance? Fairness and Spectator-friendliness (and Media-friendliness) are the two main aspects here – and for now it may seem like Fairness is loosing the battle, and that we are going towards shorter start intervals rather than larger (ref. NOC Middle distance 2009 with 1 minute start interval).
The report Separating runners in Orienteering discusses the start interval issue:
Due to the obvious effectiveness of increasing the start interval to reduce grouping, the method should not simply be dismissed without considering its implications in depth. For example, the approach used in other sports – defining a larger start interval for the best part of the start field (ref section 6.1) – is one option that should be considered. This must not necessarily be a big disadvantage from a TV point of view based on how the production is planned (e.g. this could be compatible with a production concept where the first part of the transmission is recorded, and only the last part of the race is broadcasted as a live production)
However, in the conclusion of the report, the following is stated:
National and International Championships with live TV coverage: These are obviously the most challenging. The overall competition should be relatively short with something happening “all the time”, thus the start interval can hardly be increased. To be easy to follow, intermediate times should be easy compare. Short phi-loops or butterflies could be positioned between camera positions. They would need to be fairly short.
(For the record: Personally I do not fully agree with this conclusion.)
- Extensive report: Separating runners in Orienteering
- Please use the comments to discuss the topic if you have further comments.
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Phi-loop type separating technique used in Ukraine. One of the best spreading methods applied in the World Orienteering Champs the last years. Unfortunately it was not spectator-friendly in its implementation due to difference in running time which spectators where not informed about.