There has been some discussion about the “forking” between the heats at EOC Long Qualification. The EOC qualification is run as three heats for men and three heats for women – where normally the courses in each heat are not forked, but rather completely different courses with a few controls in common ; the idea is that the athletes should not gain time by following others.
Update 13/4/2013 13:00: There is a rumor that the long distance qualification courses were redrawn in the night after rechecking the controls (due to the problem with the wrongly placed controls in the middle qualification courses). The controls which were in locations which could not be used, were removed from the courses. This is supposed to be the reason why the courses are that equal. The source of the rumor comments: “- I don’t blame the organizer. I rather blame the IOF controller”. This would of course explain that the courses are this equal – and is a much better solution than putting controls in areas were the map is questionable. I am trying to get the rumor either confirmed or unconfirmed.
That makes 13 of the first 14 controls equal for heat 1 and heat 3
Above you see the three men’s courses from the EOC Long qualification superimposed (large image here). Comparing heat 1 (blue) and heat 3 (green), you can see that the nine(!) first controls are exactly the same for these two heats. After “forking” at control 10, controls 11 to 14 are again the same for heat 1 and 3. That makes 13 of the first 14 controls equal for heat 1 and heat 3.
Now if we look at control 15 in heat 3, this is actually the same as control 15 in heat 2 (purple) – and so are controls 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20. Thus a lucky runner in heat 3 could get a very nice ride all the way to the 20th control.
All three heats starting together
Taking a look at the start list, runners from all three heats started together every 3 minutes! Thus for example Nicolas Simonin in heat 1 started together with Olav Lundanes in heat 3 – and Lundanes and Simonin had the nine first controls in common – starting together! Simonin only noticed the first 6, though ….
— Nicolas Simonin (@nick_simonin) April 11, 2014
“Pack running”: Lot’s of it!
So did this course layout lead to a lot of “pack running”? Yes, of course. If two runners on a relatively high level start together and are going to the same control, chances are that they’ll get to the control area together. Below are some “pack tables” and other generated data from WinSplits where the different courses have been added to one (click figures to get them bigger).
Conclusion: I have seldom seen this much pack running in a qualification race…
Other Twitter reactions
— Mårten Boström (@martenbostrom) April 11, 2014
— Janne Salmi (@jj_salmi) April 11, 2014