Course Length
10/05/2014 8:32:19 AM
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*Disclaimer: many of this is just my opinion. Feel free to agree, feel free to disagree. you won't hurt my feelings. But I hope you at least take a look at the facts I've presented and think logically about them. I'm not saying my logic is correct, but it makes sense to me. My guess is this won't get too much support as many of the coaches on here won't post that they agree with me and likely those who disagree will be the biggest responders. First, and most important, the results on this site belong to milesplit and they are free to do what they want with them. If you want a certain race listed as a different distance than what they have then make your own site and list it that way. Second, let's look at history from a logical perspective. The most important thing to point out is that the NFHS rule for cross country courses has, to my knowledge, always been: "The cross country course shall be 2,500 to 5,000 meters (1.5 to 3.1 miles) in length as determined by the meet director or games committee." This does mean the meet director has final say in the length of the course as how they list it in their results, but it does not mean milesplit has to go along with what the meet director says. (is it worth pointing out that our own state meet is sort of in violation of this rule?). The most pertinent thing to point out is that the rule was changed about how to measure a course 2-3 years ago from saying that a course must be measured along the middle of the course to "Measurement shall be along the shortest possible route a runner may take." This is why Carrollton changed their course a couple of years ago (making longer and obviously slower) and I applauded Craig Musselwhite back then for changing his course to follow the new rule. I am not 100% sure why it's a little long, but I think it had to do with safety or something. (should I also point out it doesn't say anywhere in the rulebook that we need mats to cover road crossings?). So, what happened historically to cross country courses? Well back when the sport was young courses measured along the middle. Then some coaches noticed their runners were taking the tangents, so they started measuring their courses along the tangents. Over the years more and more courses changed to measure along the tangents and as controversy/outrage grew (most notably in Florida) NFHS listened and changed their rule. However, it's a new rule and there are some obvious coaches who haven't gotten the memo yet or just don't care (most notably in Florida?). There are other courses that have so much historical significant/have permanent markers at their respective parks that they won't change even for the new rule. More on this later. Third, it is worth pointing out that this rule says nothing about measuring along the tangents. That might be confusing, but let me use Mcalpine as an example to explain. It is absolutely impossible to run that course along the tangents if you are running your fastest even if you're just doing a time trial. Think about the hill you come down right after the halfway mark. A simple look at inertia and centripetal force says that it's physically impossible to run the tangent of that curve without slowing down. There are other tight turns on that course that are impossible to run at full 5k speed. Runners like Sean McGorty certainly didn't, not at those speeds. That means the tangents are not the "shortest possible route a runner may take" which means if you measure than tangents you're actually measuring it short. The slower the runner, the easier it is to run the tangents, but as others have frequently pointed out those runners are back in the pack and can't get to every tangent. This leads to my next point. Fourth, not every runner can run the tangents. This is not an argument to make your course short. It is just a fact. However, it is just as true in distance races on the track. Unless you lead from gun to finish you are running longer than 800/1600/3200/5000/10000 meters. We do not take this into account and make tracks short, do we? However, this can be used as a selling point to your runners for a course that is considered "short." Also, since every runner goes a slightly different distance, every course is different, and every wheel/person wheeling a course is different, it would be pointless to spend ridiculous amounts of time getting multiple people out to measure a course and take the average and list a course at that length. This wonderful ranking system on this website, which many of us use but probably rely on a little too much, would not exist as we would have hundreds's of different course lengths. To me a course falls into two categories: "Close enough to 5k" and "closer to 3 miles." It seems that for the most part that's how mile split does it across the country too. However, the more historic the course, the less critical of the length I am. If a course hasn't changed in 20-30 years, you have tons of data to compare your runners to. If a course is brand new, you have nothing to compare them to, and only have the length of the course to go on. the newer the course the closer to 5k it should be. This leads me to my final point. Fifth, some notable courses and their alleged lengths: Wakemed - Let's take wheelinthesky's measurement and call it 4935m short. To me this falls into the "close enough to 5k" comparison for two reason's. The first is that it actually is closer to 5k than 3 miles, and the second because it's historic! Obviously it's a faster course. But there are some big names that have run that course, and they have a meaningful top 10/25/100 list of people who have ever run there. When a runner cracks into that list by running sub 15:20 or sub 18:00 it gives you a much better idea of their fitness level because of who you can compare them to. If somebody breaks a certain time at a brand new course, or a course that hasn't been run by enough top level runners, you get little to no comparison. Mcalpine - I've heard many different lengths for this course ranging from 10m long to 100m short. Let's call it 4940m for argument's sake. This falls into my "close enough to 5k" category. It's obviously a little short and that leads to very fast times, but it's the most historic course in the Southeast! I've already pointed out how it's impossible to run the tangents here, but that's not important. It doesn't matter how long it is, we CAN'T change it. There is too much history and very important course records. Most importantly, it's a very good predictor of a kid's fitness when you begin to train them for track season, where there are no hills. Mt. Sac - might be the most historic course in the country. The most common accepted distance is 2.93 miles. But even that course has some controversy as it was slightly altered when they wanted to host footlocker. There was an article I read a few years ago about the changes but I can't find it. The article talked about how it has been slightly lengthened but also made easier with the improvement in footing/turns. So they consider their records from the 70's the same as new runners on the course. But that's not the important thing there, the important thing is how well that very challenging course simulates what time you could run in a 5k on their state meet course. We do something like this at our team camp. We run ~2k up a mountain and call it the sungate challenge. It's very good at simulating their current 3k fitness. So it gives me an idea of what they can run at Stage races, and they usually run 30-45ish seconds slower than their sungate time. It's the same length every year for us at camp so I can compare them to previous runners I've coached. There are many historic courses across the nation, I believe both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have difficult state meets, but they're on courses that have never changed. I believe the only two Georgia historic courses are Boling Park and Clinton Farms. Correct me if I'm wrong. But let's take a look at some Georgia courses: Boling Park - I measured that course a few years ago when I was more naive about these things and got it at 4990 I think, but I honestly can't remember. That one also falls into the "close enough to 5k" course and is about as historic a course as Georgia gets. Clinton Farms - I measured this course after our region meet last year and got 4785m. This is just under 3 miles. This is consistent with what many other coaches have measured there. I did my absolute best to measure along the shortest possible path a runner could take, not necessarily the tangents as it also has some sharp turns on some hills. This course does do a great job of simulating what a runner could run at Mcalpine, but it falls into the "closer to 3 miles" category for me, and you will likely see the St. Pius school records reflect that in the near future as some of my guys have gotten a little too obsessed with times and milesplit rankings. Westover - I measured the 2010 layout as 4880m and wasn't honest with my guys about it. I consider this the biggest coaching mistake I have ever made. That course falls into the "closer to 3 miles" category for me. I heard the course this year is 4895 measured along the absolute strictest tangents, some inside the course as that's the path runners took. Though, given those times I've seen, I would personally classify this one as "close enough to 5k" as the conditions weren't great there. This is where I think I would get the most flack from CoachRaposo. Lambert - we've heard many different distances. But the more accurate ones seem to be the ones that say this course is "closer to 3 miles." that is just my opinion, but the people who look at far more data than I do seem to agree with me. Carrollton - was measured at 5050m and the meet director admitted that is in fact true. This falls into the "close enough to 5k" category for me, but I hope it doesn't change layout for a long time so the results mean something.
*Disclaimer: many of this is just my opinion. Feel free to agree, feel free to disagree. you won't hurt my feelings. But I hope you at least take a look at the facts I've presented and think logically about them. I'm not saying my logic is correct, but it makes sense to me. My guess is this won't get too much support as many of the coaches on here won't post that they agree with me and likely those who disagree will be the biggest responders.

First, and most important, the results on this site belong to milesplit and they are free to do what they want with them. If you want a certain race listed as a different distance than what they have then make your own site and list it that way.

Second, let's look at history from a logical perspective. The most important thing to point out is that the NFHS rule for cross country courses has, to my knowledge, always been: "The cross country course shall be 2,500 to 5,000 meters (1.5 to 3.1 miles) in length as determined by the meet director or games committee." This does mean the meet director has final say in the length of the course as how they list it in their results, but it does not mean milesplit has to go along with what the meet director says. (is it worth pointing out that our own state meet is sort of in violation of this rule?).

The most pertinent thing to point out is that the rule was changed about how to measure a course 2-3 years ago from saying that a course must be measured along the middle of the course to "Measurement shall be along the shortest possible route a runner may take." This is why Carrollton changed their course a couple of years ago (making longer and obviously slower) and I applauded Craig Musselwhite back then for changing his course to follow the new rule. I am not 100% sure why it's a little long, but I think it had to do with safety or something. (should I also point out it doesn't say anywhere in the rulebook that we need mats to cover road crossings?).

So, what happened historically to cross country courses? Well back when the sport was young courses measured along the middle. Then some coaches noticed their runners were taking the tangents, so they started measuring their courses along the tangents. Over the years more and more courses changed to measure along the tangents and as controversy/outrage grew (most notably in Florida) NFHS listened and changed their rule. However, it's a new rule and there are some obvious coaches who haven't gotten the memo yet or just don't care (most notably in Florida?).

There are other courses that have so much historical significant/have permanent markers at their respective parks that they won't change even for the new rule. More on this later.

Third, it is worth pointing out that this rule says nothing about measuring along the tangents. That might be confusing, but let me use Mcalpine as an example to explain. It is absolutely impossible to run that course along the tangents if you are running your fastest even if you're just doing a time trial. Think about the hill you come down right after the halfway mark. A simple look at inertia and centripetal force says that it's physically impossible to run the tangent of that curve without slowing down. There are other tight turns on that course that are impossible to run at full 5k speed. Runners like Sean McGorty certainly didn't, not at those speeds. That means the tangents are not the "shortest possible route a runner may take" which means if you measure than tangents you're actually measuring it short. The slower the runner, the easier it is to run the tangents, but as others have frequently pointed out those runners are back in the pack and can't get to every tangent. This leads to my next point.

Fourth, not every runner can run the tangents. This is not an argument to make your course short. It is just a fact. However, it is just as true in distance races on the track. Unless you lead from gun to finish you are running longer than 800/1600/3200/5000/10000 meters. We do not take this into account and make tracks short, do we? However, this can be used as a selling point to your runners for a course that is considered "short."

Also, since every runner goes a slightly different distance, every course is different, and every wheel/person wheeling a course is different, it would be pointless to spend ridiculous amounts of time getting multiple people out to measure a course and take the average and list a course at that length. This wonderful ranking system on this website, which many of us use but probably rely on a little too much, would not exist as we would have hundreds's of different course lengths.

To me a course falls into two categories: "Close enough to 5k" and "closer to 3 miles." It seems that for the most part that's how mile split does it across the country too. However, the more historic the course, the less critical of the length I am. If a course hasn't changed in 20-30 years, you have tons of data to compare your runners to. If a course is brand new, you have nothing to compare them to, and only have the length of the course to go on. the newer the course the closer to 5k it should be. This leads me to my final point.

Fifth, some notable courses and their alleged lengths:

Wakemed - Let's take wheelinthesky's measurement and call it 4935m short. To me this falls into the "close enough to 5k" comparison for two reason's. The first is that it actually is closer to 5k than 3 miles, and the second because it's historic! Obviously it's a faster course. But there are some big names that have run that course, and they have a meaningful top 10/25/100 list of people who have ever run there. When a runner cracks into that list by running sub 15:20 or sub 18:00 it gives you a much better idea of their fitness level because of who you can compare them to. If somebody breaks a certain time at a brand new course, or a course that hasn't been run by enough top level runners, you get little to no comparison.

Mcalpine - I've heard many different lengths for this course ranging from 10m long to 100m short. Let's call it 4940m for argument's sake. This falls into my "close enough to 5k" category. It's obviously a little short and that leads to very fast times, but it's the most historic course in the Southeast! I've already pointed out how it's impossible to run the tangents here, but that's not important. It doesn't matter how long it is, we CAN'T change it. There is too much history and very important course records. Most importantly, it's a very good predictor of a kid's fitness when you begin to train them for track season, where there are no hills.

Mt. Sac - might be the most historic course in the country. The most common accepted distance is 2.93 miles. But even that course has some controversy as it was slightly altered when they wanted to host footlocker. There was an article I read a few years ago about the changes but I can't find it. The article talked about how it has been slightly lengthened but also made easier with the improvement in footing/turns. So they consider their records from the 70's the same as new runners on the course. But that's not the important thing there, the important thing is how well that very challenging course simulates what time you could run in a 5k on their state meet course. We do something like this at our team camp. We run ~2k up a mountain and call it the sungate challenge. It's very good at simulating their current 3k fitness. So it gives me an idea of what they can run at Stage races, and they usually run 30-45ish seconds slower than their sungate time. It's the same length every year for us at camp so I can compare them to previous runners I've coached.

There are many historic courses across the nation, I believe both Pennsylvania and New Jersey have difficult state meets, but they're on courses that have never changed. I believe the only two Georgia historic courses are Boling Park and Clinton Farms. Correct me if I'm wrong. But let's take a look at some Georgia courses:

Boling Park - I measured that course a few years ago when I was more naive about these things and got it at 4990 I think, but I honestly can't remember. That one also falls into the "close enough to 5k" course and is about as historic a course as Georgia gets.

Clinton Farms - I measured this course after our region meet last year and got 4785m. This is just under 3 miles. This is consistent with what many other coaches have measured there. I did my absolute best to measure along the shortest possible path a runner could take, not necessarily the tangents as it also has some sharp turns on some hills. This course does do a great job of simulating what a runner could run at Mcalpine, but it falls into the "closer to 3 miles" category for me, and you will likely see the St. Pius school records reflect that in the near future as some of my guys have gotten a little too obsessed with times and milesplit rankings.

Westover - I measured the 2010 layout as 4880m and wasn't honest with my guys about it. I consider this the biggest coaching mistake I have ever made. That course falls into the "closer to 3 miles" category for me. I heard the course this year is 4895 measured along the absolute strictest tangents, some inside the course as that's the path runners took. Though, given those times I've seen, I would personally classify this one as "close enough to 5k" as the conditions weren't great there. This is where I think I would get the most flack from CoachRaposo.

Lambert - we've heard many different distances. But the more accurate ones seem to be the ones that say this course is "closer to 3 miles." that is just my opinion, but the people who look at far more data than I do seem to agree with me.

Carrollton - was measured at 5050m and the meet director admitted that is in fact true. This falls into the "close enough to 5k" category for me, but I hope it doesn't change layout for a long time so the results mean something.
10/05/2014 8:50:47 AM
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Great post. If meet directors do not want to hear flack about short courses then measure the SHORTEST PATH at least 5k( though I suppose this is not in compliance with the rule. Rule should be changed imo) Once again, nobody complains about a slightly long course. I agree 100% about the historical courses but most are not and this is an easy fix at most meets. If a short course with fast times is the only way to get teams to come to your meet then something is wrong.
Great post. If meet directors do not want to hear flack about short courses then measure the SHORTEST PATH at least 5k( though I suppose this is not in compliance with the rule. Rule should be changed imo) Once again, nobody complains about a slightly long course. I agree 100% about the historical courses but most are not and this is an easy fix at most meets. If a short course with fast times is the only way to get teams to come to your meet then something is wrong.
10/05/2014 9:21:52 AM
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@spxcoachrm This is your best post on MileSplit. I fully agree. Sometimes history is more important than distance. Great job Ryan. Sometimes it also doesn't make sense to add distance to reach 5000m if it makes the course worse. Ryan, think about that USATF course with a spiral in the middle to add distance from a few years ago that some of our guys ran together. Just be honest about the distance and have a good course. adding a 30m out and back to reach 5k sometimes doesn't make sense. Just be honest about the distance and try not to change it.
@spxcoachrm

This is your best post on MileSplit. I fully agree. Sometimes history is more important than distance. Great job Ryan.

Sometimes it also doesn't make sense to add distance to reach 5000m if it makes the course worse. Ryan, think about that USATF course with a spiral in the middle to add distance from a few years ago that some of our guys ran together. Just be honest about the distance and have a good course. adding a 30m out and back to reach 5k sometimes doesn't make sense. Just be honest about the distance and try not to change it.
10/05/2014 9:23:40 AM
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spxcoach...your point about people measuring a course differently (and with different equipment) is the reason we'll never have complete agreement on this topic. One person might be diligent about walking a relatively straight line while measuring, while another might be on the phone and paying little attention to a weaving wheel. Both people cover the same distance, but they'll get very different measurements at the end of the day. Only solution is to have something akin to the "Raposo Wheel" measuring every large venue -- with the same person and same equipment doing the measuring -- and then hoping nothing changes from year to year. But we all know that is not practical. Chiming in on the Clinton Farms layout for the Atlanta Classic, when that layout was originally established in 2010 it was measured at 5,000 meters down the middle in accordance with the rules at that time. When the tangent rule was enacted, I decided to keep the original layout for continuity's sake. On a "runner's line" I consistently get within 10 meters of 4,968, but on true tangents it is within 10 meters either way of 4,950. We disclose this in our meet info package and I don't recall getting any feedback, so presumably that means everyone is OK with it.
spxcoach...your point about people measuring a course differently (and with different equipment) is the reason we'll never have complete agreement on this topic. One person might be diligent about walking a relatively straight line while measuring, while another might be on the phone and paying little attention to a weaving wheel. Both people cover the same distance, but they'll get very different measurements at the end of the day. Only solution is to have something akin to the "Raposo Wheel" measuring every large venue -- with the same person and same equipment doing the measuring -- and then hoping nothing changes from year to year. But we all know that is not practical.

Chiming in on the Clinton Farms layout for the Atlanta Classic, when that layout was originally established in 2010 it was measured at 5,000 meters down the middle in accordance with the rules at that time. When the tangent rule was enacted, I decided to keep the original layout for continuity's sake. On a "runner's line" I consistently get within 10 meters of 4,968, but on true tangents it is within 10 meters either way of 4,950. We disclose this in our meet info package and I don't recall getting any feedback, so presumably that means everyone is OK with it.
10/05/2014 10:33:42 AM
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Outstanding post! I'm not a coach but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last weekend. Thanks for the great thoughts.
Outstanding post! I'm not a coach but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last weekend. Thanks for the great thoughts.
10/05/2014 10:44:45 AM
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Curious have you ever measured Nash Farms? God Bless Coach Owen
Curious have you ever measured Nash Farms? God Bless Coach Owen
10/05/2014 11:52:35 AM
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Just going to throw my two cents in for whatever it's worth.... Clinton Farms (Non-ATL Classic course) Short, but who cares. It's early in the season and everyone knows it's short. It's a great race to run early as most runners will eclipse their times anyway just based on being more in shape as the season progresses. Still a fun race. Nash Farms (I have personally seen it wheeled numerous times...4990-5010. 5K New Westover course: Three different wheels this weekend produced 3.15-3.17 along tangents. I cannot remember the last time I saw so many wheels on a course the day before...lol. GPS'd at 3.17 (granted, not as accurate). Still...nothing like the old Westover in terms of length. Ground was also very soggy/muddy for this weekend. If it was late October and hard ground..it should be very quick. Still flat as ever.
Just going to throw my two cents in for whatever it's worth....

Clinton Farms (Non-ATL Classic course) Short, but who cares. It's early in the season and everyone knows it's short. It's a great race to run early as most runners will eclipse their times anyway just based on being more in shape as the season progresses. Still a fun race.

Nash Farms (I have personally seen it wheeled numerous times...4990-5010. 5K

New Westover course: Three different wheels this weekend produced 3.15-3.17 along tangents. I cannot remember the last time I saw so many wheels on a course the day before...lol. GPS'd at 3.17 (granted, not as accurate). Still...nothing like the old Westover in terms of length. Ground was also very soggy/muddy for this weekend. If it was late October and hard ground..it should be very quick. Still flat as ever.
10/05/2014 12:33:46 PM
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@spxcoachrm Not sure why you bother to reference NFHS rules. It's not like they carry any weight in GA. If they did we would have a 4x800, and the 4x4 would have been a 3 turn stagger ages ago.
@spxcoachrm Not sure why you bother to reference NFHS rules. It's not like they carry any weight in GA. If they did we would have a 4x800, and the 4x4 would have been a 3 turn stagger ages ago.
10/05/2014 1:08:49 PM
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Wow, I did not expect such a positive response via posts and emails. I'm glad that so many others share similar thoughts. And I'm glad this has turned into such a productive discussion. Some responses: @Maristxccoach - I didn't go to that meet, but that does sound really pointless. The guys all had fun though so I guess it didn't matter. @pre1962 - I think you host one of the best meets ever and care more than most meet directors, that is why you don't receive and criticism. @jag1435 - I personally have not, but everybody I know has gotten it within 40m of 5k, most within 10m. I know the meet director is a great guy and very thorough as well. It definitely falls into the "close enough to 5k" category. @gulsby - I both agree and disagree with you. I absolutely agree that Clinton should remain the same. It's the only course in Georgia I can think of with a permanent start and finish line. Every state should have at least one of these. However, I think it's wrong to label it as a 5k. You're not doing any of these kids any favors by telling them their 17:49 to open the season is a new 5k pr. Call it a 3 mile and move on. As I said earlier it's a great predictor for Mcalpine. @fanoftrack110 - you're right. My bad. GHSA rules says "The distance for both boys and girls Cross Country will be approximately three (3) miles or five (5) kilometers." but it also says "All GHSA Cross Country meets will be run in accordance with the rules as published in the National Federation Track and Field and Cross Country Rule Book with any exceptions as may be found in this section." I don't know about anything in the NFHS that says you HAVE to have the 4x800, but we are officially moving to 3 turn stagger this spring on the track. @ all - I've received multiple updates about the Westover course this year. If you average out the measurements I've heard it's about 4975m, which absolutely falls into the category of "close enough to 5k" for me.
Wow, I did not expect such a positive response via posts and emails. I'm glad that so many others share similar thoughts. And I'm glad this has turned into such a productive discussion. Some responses:

@Maristxccoach - I didn't go to that meet, but that does sound really pointless. The guys all had fun though so I guess it didn't matter.

@pre1962 - I think you host one of the best meets ever and care more than most meet directors, that is why you don't receive and criticism.

@jag1435 - I personally have not, but everybody I know has gotten it within 40m of 5k, most within 10m. I know the meet director is a great guy and very thorough as well. It definitely falls into the "close enough to 5k" category.

@gulsby - I both agree and disagree with you. I absolutely agree that Clinton should remain the same. It's the only course in Georgia I can think of with a permanent start and finish line. Every state should have at least one of these. However, I think it's wrong to label it as a 5k. You're not doing any of these kids any favors by telling them their 17:49 to open the season is a new 5k pr. Call it a 3 mile and move on. As I said earlier it's a great predictor for Mcalpine.

@fanoftrack110 - you're right. My bad. GHSA rules says "The distance for both boys and girls Cross Country will be approximately three (3) miles or five (5) kilometers." but it also says "All GHSA Cross Country meets will be run in accordance with the rules as published in the National Federation Track and Field and Cross Country Rule Book with any exceptions as may be found in this section."

I don't know about anything in the NFHS that says you HAVE to have the 4x800, but we are officially moving to 3 turn stagger this spring on the track.

@ all - I've received multiple updates about the Westover course this year. If you average out the measurements I've heard it's about 4975m, which absolutely falls into the category of "close enough to 5k" for me.
10/05/2014 1:43:48 PM
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@spxcoachrm I agree with what is being said. As a coach that puts on two big races a year I get real tired of all of those that come on this board and complain. I said many years ago that the original Clinton course was measured down the middle as was in the GHSA handbook. I never changed it because of history once we went to measuring the tangents. As far as Mcintosh and Fox Hall we remeasured those courses every year. This year we used a rangefinder, a wheel, GPS watch etc, etc, etc. It won't matter we will still have the same thing happen after next week if the race times are fast . I'm sure someone will run it with their GPS watch and get 4950 or 4975. This is the kind of stuff that drives me nuts because usually it's these people who hide behind a screen name on the boards. Or they are the ones that are so obsessed with rankings and times for cross country (which is nonsense) they will have find something to say. I am also getting tired of seeing more and more people bringing wheels to races. I saw this yesterday and Friday at Westover. I have never told any coaches they couldn't measure the course, but in my opinion people should leave there wheels at home.
@spxcoachrm
I agree with what is being said. As a coach that puts on two big races a year I get real tired of all of those that come on this board and complain. I said many years ago that the original Clinton course was measured down the middle as was in the GHSA handbook. I never changed it because of history once we went to measuring the tangents. As far as Mcintosh and Fox Hall we remeasured those courses every year. This year we used a rangefinder, a wheel, GPS watch etc, etc, etc.
It won't matter we will still have the same thing happen after next week if the race times are fast . I'm sure someone will run it with their GPS watch and get 4950 or 4975. This is the kind of stuff that drives me nuts because usually it's these people who hide behind a screen name on the boards. Or they are the ones that are so obsessed with rankings and times for cross country (which is nonsense) they will have find something to say.
I am also getting tired of seeing more and more people bringing wheels to races. I saw this yesterday and Friday at Westover. I have never told any coaches they couldn't measure the course, but in my opinion people should leave there wheels at home.
10/05/2014 2:28:09 PM
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@spxcoachrm Excellent post Coach McClay. It is hard to believe, that with today's technology, we are still reliant on measurements with a manual wheel. I have a very simple solution, but I know many of you will find it expensive and unrealistic.. I am sure most of you are familiar with Garmin technology. Some of your kids probably own these expensive watches. They record time and distance using satellite technology. Why not design and utilize a chip that can tap into that satellite. At the end of a race, the timing company will have times and distances for each runner. Simply average the distances, and that will be the actual length of the coarse. Yes, I realize that this is cross country and not football. I understand that many schools struggle financially to even field a team. But, remember ten years ago when cell phones were prohibitively expensive? Now, even homeless people have them. Certainly someone can figure this technology out and make it an affordable reality.
@spxcoachrm
Excellent post Coach McClay. It is hard to believe, that with today's technology, we are still reliant on measurements with a manual wheel. I have a very simple solution, but I know many of you will find it expensive and unrealistic.. I am sure most of you are familiar with Garmin technology. Some of your kids probably own these expensive watches. They record time and distance using satellite technology. Why not design and utilize a chip that can tap into that satellite. At the end of a race, the timing company will have times and distances for each runner. Simply average the distances, and that will be the actual length of the coarse. Yes, I realize that this is cross country and not football. I understand that many schools struggle financially to even field a team. But, remember ten years ago when cell phones were prohibitively expensive? Now, even homeless people have them. Certainly someone can figure this technology out and make it an affordable reality.
10/05/2014 4:34:58 PM
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@XCXpert Because GPS watch technology is not accurate. Even in perfect conditions, with maximum # of available satellites and clear line of site (no obstructions by overhanging trees or nearby buildings, GPS technology on watches is not capable of capturing 100% accurate distance measurement results. GPS watches are fun training tools but can't be used to measure/certify course distance. If you use a GPS watch and upload your runs to mapping software, zoom in to the maximum level available and you will see why GPS can't be trusted for course measurement. This is not just my opinion. Check out the link. http://fl.milesplit.com/articles/52499#.VDGpp_ldWSo
@XCXpert Because GPS watch technology is not accurate. Even in perfect conditions, with maximum # of available satellites and clear line of site (no obstructions by overhanging trees or nearby buildings, GPS technology on watches is not capable of capturing 100% accurate distance measurement results. GPS watches are fun training tools but can't be used to measure/certify course distance.

If you use a GPS watch and upload your runs to mapping software, zoom in to the maximum level available and you will see why GPS can't be trusted for course measurement. This is not just my opinion. Check out the link.

http://fl.milesplit.com/articles/52499#.VDGpp_ldWSo
10/05/2014 6:01:08 PM
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@crossfan2861 Thank you for the article. Obviously, a GPS device is not reliable. One would think that there would be some sort of digital technology that could be incorporated into a chip that would accurately measure distance. Since every runner follows a slightly different path over the course of a race. It is impossible to account for the different tangents that are created. My point is that the runners can determine the length of a coarse if they can somehow be tracked by a device.
@crossfan2861
Thank you for the article. Obviously, a GPS device is not reliable. One would think that there would be some sort of digital technology that could be incorporated into a chip that would accurately measure distance. Since every runner follows a slightly different path over the course of a race. It is impossible to account for the different tangents that are created. My point is that the runners can determine the length of a coarse if they can somehow be tracked by a device.
10/05/2014 8:26:37 PM
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@BrianRobinson You are exactly right. Bringing wheels to courses is opening Pandora's Box and bad for the sport. Last week at the Lambert River Run, John Green ran 15:59 and his teammate ran Brian Skoglind ran 16:18. This week at the Wendy's Invitational they ran 15:52 and 16:11 respectively. Those guys are legit and they most likely improved 7 seconds from last week to this week. I'm not saying that Wendy's is a short course. But, last week Milesplit changed the Lambert River Run from a 5K to a 3M. The only real difference this week is that Lindsay Billings wasn't at Wendy's breaking 17 minutes. This is all done to protect a National or State ranking for a team that wasn't even at the race. But when they run a short course and put up good times there isn't an issue. They don't consider the impact it has on every other athlete that went out there and ran. Good luck to you at Asics next week.
@BrianRobinson You are exactly right. Bringing wheels to courses is opening Pandora's Box and bad for the sport.

Last week at the Lambert River Run, John Green ran 15:59 and his teammate ran Brian Skoglind ran 16:18. This week at the Wendy's Invitational they ran 15:52 and 16:11 respectively. Those guys are legit and they most likely improved 7 seconds from last week to this week. I'm not saying that Wendy's is a short course. But, last week Milesplit changed the Lambert River Run from a 5K to a 3M. The only real difference this week is that Lindsay Billings wasn't at Wendy's breaking 17 minutes.

This is all done to protect a National or State ranking for a team that wasn't even at the race. But when they run a short course and put up good times there isn't an issue. They don't consider the impact it has on every other athlete that went out there and ran.

Good luck to you at Asics next week.
10/05/2014 10:02:52 PM
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Ok, that's twice now that people on here have said wheels should not be brought to a meet... What in the world is wrong with a Coach wanting to know the measurement of a course according to his/her method? If a team has never measured the courses it typically attends or has a new meet for the current season, wouldn't it be helpful for them to know what the new course measures in comparison to the others they have personally measured? Don't get offended by someone measuring your course, knowledge is power. Just my two cents on the matter.:-?
Ok, that's twice now that people on here have said wheels should not be brought to a meet...

What in the world is wrong with a Coach wanting to know the measurement of a course according to his/her method? If a team has never measured the courses it typically attends or has a new meet for the current season, wouldn't it be helpful for them to know what the new course measures in comparison to the others they have personally measured? Don't get offended by someone measuring your course, knowledge is power. Just my two cents on the matter.
10/06/2014 12:14:26 AM
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Care to give any evidence this course was logged as a 3 mile to protect some team's ranking? Do these rankings even have any meaning? Nope. I can accept that in the eyes of the database owner(milesplit), the race is short enough to taint their data. I saw it happen last year. The statistical team rankings were thrown way off. Too much of that and people quit paying for access to worthless stats. Its a business decision. I personally don't feel the course was any different than some other "short" courses that are run each year. I would have probably kept it a 5k, but I can also see their point, a line must be drawn somewhere. This course was a new one as laid out and you have to expect some extra scrutiny vs a Warpath or McApline. It really doesn't diminish the performance. Green had another impressive win. No one will be happier than me to see "the Fro" bouncing down the hill in first place at Carrollton this year. One of the most amazing stories this year. And we all need to be a little careful about putting too much public pressure on kids to "back up" what we say here.
Care to give any evidence this course was logged as a 3 mile to protect some team's ranking? Do these rankings even have any meaning? Nope. I can accept that in the eyes of the database owner(milesplit), the race is short enough to taint their data. I saw it happen last year. The statistical team rankings were thrown way off. Too much of that and people quit paying for access to worthless stats. Its a business decision.

I personally don't feel the course was any different than some other "short" courses that are run each year. I would have probably kept it a 5k, but I can also see their point, a line must be drawn somewhere. This course was a new one as laid out and you have to expect some extra scrutiny vs a Warpath or McApline. It really doesn't diminish the performance. Green had another impressive win. No one will be happier than me to see "the Fro" bouncing down the hill in first place at Carrollton this year. One of the most amazing stories this year.

And we all need to be a little careful about putting too much public pressure on kids to "back up" what we say here.
10/06/2014 8:30:27 AM
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I don't think it's bad for the sport that coaches wheel courses. I would hope that the first place they would go with the results would be to the meet director. I do think it's bad for the sport that before the e-ink is dry from the results, there are people rushing here to proclaim that the course is short. Some of these people know that the program with which they are associated will run on a short course later in the year. The fact is, every team in Georgia will run races on courses that are shorter than 5k this year, and next year, and the year after that. I'd like to see more transparency regarding the process for determining whether a course is "too short". Are we using track times as a data point? That's a flawed analysis. Are we using JV runners? There is a lot of variability in performance and effort levels of young, inexperienced runners, and if we relying primarily on those results, that is probably a flawed analysis. To how many other courses are we comparing? If we are using the Carrollton or Milton courses as the baseline for a "true" 5k, that is a flawed analysis. I do think people are too quick to discount differences in air and ground temperature and their impact on race performance. In fall 2013 or 2012 (don't remember which) Regions 7 and 8 of 6A ran at River Green a few hours apart. The time differences were staggering. Coach Raposos's comment that the Lambert course was "2.9, if anyone wheeled it", troubled me greatly. Comparing to Warpath, which is 5k, it is very hard to draw a conclusion that the Lambert course was 2.9 - and that is why I question the process. Finally, if Milesplit chooses to have Coach Raposo as its spokesman for course length discussions, he needs to learn how to make a point without making an insult. Telling your customer base that they are "dumb" or "stupid" or "can't read" every single time you post...yeesh. Not bad for the sport, but definitely bad for business.
I don't think it's bad for the sport that coaches wheel courses. I would hope that the first place they would go with the results would be to the meet director.

I do think it's bad for the sport that before the e-ink is dry from the results, there are people rushing here to proclaim that the course is short. Some of these people know that the program with which they are associated will run on a short course later in the year. The fact is, every team in Georgia will run races on courses that are shorter than 5k this year, and next year, and the year after that.

I'd like to see more transparency regarding the process for determining whether a course is "too short". Are we using track times as a data point? That's a flawed analysis. Are we using JV runners? There is a lot of variability in performance and effort levels of young, inexperienced runners, and if we relying primarily on those results, that is probably a flawed analysis. To how many other courses are we comparing? If we are using the Carrollton or Milton courses as the baseline for a "true" 5k, that is a flawed analysis.

I do think people are too quick to discount differences in air and ground temperature and their impact on race performance. In fall 2013 or 2012 (don't remember which) Regions 7 and 8 of 6A ran at River Green a few hours apart. The time differences were staggering.

Coach Raposos's comment that the Lambert course was "2.9, if anyone wheeled it", troubled me greatly. Comparing to Warpath, which is 5k, it is very hard to draw a conclusion that the Lambert course was 2.9 - and that is why I question the process.

Finally, if Milesplit chooses to have Coach Raposo as its spokesman for course length discussions, he needs to learn how to make a point without making an insult. Telling your customer base that they are "dumb" or "stupid" or "can't read" every single time you post...yeesh. Not bad for the sport, but definitely bad for business.
10/06/2014 8:45:18 AM
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I personally believe that there is a range of measurements that can be considered a 5k. 172 meters is the last 0.1 of a 5k from the 3 mile. So, half is 86 meters, if your course is within 80 meters of 5000 I think it should be considered a 5k and you should not have to change it if you don't want to. If you feel that you want to have it closer, by all means I would love it. More than 80 meters I'd say it's time to look at changing something if possible, or start looking at calling it a 3 mile (if it's short). No more than 15% of runners IMO run the shortest distance possible, faster runners won't slow down to just run the shortest, and most runners have too many people around them to run it. I think the biggest thing that needs to be done is this: measure the course accurately and post the EXACT measurement. Coaches base their training off of what their runners are currently running. If Sean Parker goes and runs 15:20 at Asics this weekend, his training won't jump to that number as we know the course, although a 5k, is super fast. If you do know it is short then as a coach you would adjust the training adequately. If a runner or parent wants to know then it should be made available by the meet director of the course length. Or at least for their coach to let them know. We have already told our runners that Asics is a PR course, and although a 5k, the times may not happen again for awhile for some or most of them. The same should be said if a course is short or long. Overall, let's work as a state and start getting accurate measurements and let them be known. These discussions have happened more over the past few years because yes times and stats do mean more now, BECAUSE we have them more available than even when I was in high school.
I personally believe that there is a range of measurements that can be considered a 5k. 172 meters is the last 0.1 of a 5k from the 3 mile. So, half is 86 meters, if your course is within 80 meters of 5000 I think it should be considered a 5k and you should not have to change it if you don't want to. If you feel that you want to have it closer, by all means I would love it. More than 80 meters I'd say it's time to look at changing something if possible, or start looking at calling it a 3 mile (if it's short).

No more than 15% of runners IMO run the shortest distance possible, faster runners won't slow down to just run the shortest, and most runners have too many people around them to run it.

I think the biggest thing that needs to be done is this: measure the course accurately and post the EXACT measurement. Coaches base their training off of what their runners are currently running. If Sean Parker goes and runs 15:20 at Asics this weekend, his training won't jump to that number as we know the course, although a 5k, is super fast. If you do know it is short then as a coach you would adjust the training adequately. If a runner or parent wants to know then it should be made available by the meet director of the course length. Or at least for their coach to let them know.

We have already told our runners that Asics is a PR course, and although a 5k, the times may not happen again for awhile for some or most of them. The same should be said if a course is short or long.

Overall, let's work as a state and start getting accurate measurements and let them be known. These discussions have happened more over the past few years because yes times and stats do mean more now, BECAUSE we have them more available than even when I was in high school.
10/06/2014 9:01:00 AM
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@xcnewbee Agree on the minimum distance to call it a 5k. There needs to be some wiggle room due to discrepancies in measurement, just not too much. IF indeed the River run was slightly less than a mile, no way you call it a 5k. If its only 50m short, close enough.
@xcnewbee
Agree on the minimum distance to call it a 5k. There needs to be some wiggle room due to discrepancies in measurement, just not too much. IF indeed the River run was slightly less than a mile, no way you call it a 5k. If its only 50m short, close enough.
10/06/2014 9:15:38 AM
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I appreciate the time and effort from coaches that present information on mile split. Its helpful to the sport. Just don't see how you have the time. I read when I have the time between teaching, coaching, and time spent with my own 4 children and their activities. I'll bring a wheel to a meet, but to measure 400, 800, or 1200 from the finish. I'll ask the host, but often they don't have that information.
I appreciate the time and effort from coaches that present information on mile split. Its helpful to the sport. Just don't see how you have the time. I read when I have the time between teaching, coaching, and time spent with my own 4 children and their activities. I'll bring a wheel to a meet, but to measure 400, 800, or 1200 from the finish. I'll ask the host, but often they don't have that information.

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