Let’s not kill orienteering!

What a terrain, what a course! But, what a stupid race format?!

How many times again we have to undergo a race with any mass start or very tight chasing start to prove that this is not the right way for world-class orienteering? Sometimes the race proceeds quite well at least for the leaders, who have small lead ahead of big hunting group and it is exciting watching like on the cycling Tour de France, when few escapees defend their lead ahead of peloton. But PELOTON (I mean big group of sportsmen going together) doesn't belongs to orienteering! The idea of the sport is totaly different. If we are still not able to separate runners to force them to do own orienteering, we should avoid those experiments on the world-class competitions! Because physical difference are too low among elit runners and we surely don't look for the fastest finishman, do we?

This is my opinion of such kind of races, which top runners undergo at World Cups or national level competitions during last years.

The very latest experience was the final race of Finnish league – Huippuliiga. It was the final round (middle distance with one butterfly). In the previous races (sprint, long, middle distance) every runner got points according to his results. It caused the final startlist like this – first 10 runners starting during 2 minutes, but another 40 during 3rd minute. Look at this hunting and cross fingers for the leaders 😉

8 minutes after the start
Peloton coming to the spectator control, what an exciting battle for victory (in orienteering race???)

Final results and startlist
GPS tracking
TV broadcasting

I don't complain to you about my race. Luckily I can say I enjoy the majority of the race. First 19 control I did my own orienteering and faced to navigation difficulties. Afterwards I stayed in the front part of peloton and fought for the overal victory till second last control. It was an exciting race for me. But I just think it could be so much better in so challenging terrain to have some normal race format.
I can imagine it was exciting for TV fans, but for me when I run in "peloton" I feel like crowd-actor in a stupid movie. Orienteering has its qualities somewhere else. And I grew up as an orienteer.

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Categories: Orienteering | Tags: | 23 Comments

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23 thoughts on “Let’s not kill orienteering!

  1. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:… but it was a very good TV production and fun to watch 🙂

  2. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:you dont have to run it, if you dont like it.

  3. anonymous

    Helen writes:Wow must have been the most exciting cross country running race EVER! Cool to see a few mavericks making small diversions from the train to try to move up but then -heartbreakingly- it doesn't really work and they rejoin the express train of GPS sperms (I only watched the tracking) to prepare for the final sprint.I agree that it's not the true pure spirit of orienteering. Bit sad. Only one guarantee in life though: things change (and not always for the better).

  4. anonymous

    Jack writes:Have to agree, dislike mass starts immensely unless it's a relay. Otherwise if I want to run in a group I go fell or trail running. It's unfair to say if you don't like it don't do it, particularly for an elite orienteer when something like this is imposed at a top event.

  5. anonymous

    Tero writes:The bufferfly as it is now is not enough to separate the runners. With a quite small effort, the butterfly could have been changed to have 32 different route choices instead of two. The requirements for the change would have been:- map change (already existed, so no problem there)- removal of the last four controls (to keep the length of the race approximately same)I do not think that 32 different routes would have separated the group fully. However, 32 different routes should have reduced the number of runners within the group quite much.

  6. anonymous

    finman writes:And the best part about Huippuliiga this year is that Tranchand won the whole series by only participating and winning the last race?! Great run for him and looking very strong for vuokatti but he basically won the series and 2000euros by running, not orientering lol

  7. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:Thanks Tomáš. At least it provides yet another example of how this practice turns orienteering into a glorified cross-country race, where the athletes just happen to carry a map and compass. Perhaps eventually the powers-that-be will realise that TV (or sponsors) should never be allowed to dictate the sport's rules to such an extent that it is stripped of its very essence. Is hope all we can do …?

  8. anonymous

    hatifnatter writes:I think, the idea not to run it is the only way, which left. They do not want to listen for runners — why should they have the runners to perform for them?

  9. anonymous

    Anonym writes:The Terrain looks like WOC2004 middle

  10. anonymous

    Anonym writes:Terrain is WOC 2001 Relay (and middle). Same finish area

  11. anonymous

    tom writes:you see tomas, orienteering has become a prostitute of TV production and the stupid olympic dream.

  12. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:TV people here sure are talented to avoid making intresting TV shows. The best way to mimimize intresting TV action is making them run together without forking. Or make navigation task so fast and tiny it can't be shown on TV. And those two types of O are what they always show us: boring mass/chase starts without forking or confusing sprints. Feels like they do poor TV shows on purpose. As you know, ways to make good shows has been known for years.

  13. anonymous

    Anonym writes:It is not about what Tomas likes or not. This race format could substitute today's WOC middle distance. And more top runners should present their point of view before it is too late. If this will be a future discipline of WOC, sooner or later it can become one of disciplines of national competitions too. It means a standart discipline for everybody 😉

  14. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:Same Hippoliga final three years ago:http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/20100828hlfH/

  15. anonymous

    Anonym writes:Mass or chasing start may be nice once a year for ultra long distance with a good forking system, but NOT for WOC. That is not real orienteering! Don't prostitute the sport for TV! With GPS mass start is not needed to make exciting TV production. It is also boring to watch 50 km cross country skiing for at least the first 40 km. So why ruin our sport for a completely unrealistic olympic dream?

  16. anonymous

    Anonyme writes:so why did you run this race???

  17. dlabaja

    I ran it because it was a part of Huippuliiga series (4 races). Moreover you never know on startline what happen during the race. I also like relay races, mass starts, chasing starts, it has own special magic. But 30 orienteers running together, is it still alrigh??? I don't complain about this one race, primarily I want to point out that without robust forking method orienteering race can end like a "parody" of its origin idea. And it could not happen at World Cups or WOC, now or in future. That is main point.

  18. anonymous

    Karl writes:It is high time that all runners – not only top runners – complain about the steadily growing manipulation of orienteering to prostitute our sport for TV.We do not need – and we do not want – to produce ourselves on a TV screen!

  19. anonymous

    tom writes:in future it will be like this: most of the important races (WOC, WC etc.) will be held in totally crap race formats and as athletes rise and complain they will be asked:"why did you run this race??"we just want to do orienteering. what's so difficult to understand about that?

  20. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:Downhill skiing still gets on TV (even in the UK) without having first converted to mass-start format. Orienteering and cross-country races are not, and should not be, one and the same.

  21. anonymous

    Anonymous writes:Just you said: nice terrain, course okay, mapmaker has done lot of works.And then group of ()%)&/%¤%¤& has created format which are not usable. Most of athletics have told that over half of course they didn't look map. No need.Next year 10 points give extra 0,1 s. So we get real mass start.No need to run previous street-highway-.. parts.

  22. anonymous

    Anonym writes:maybe the map must be drawn again because of a new "street" through the forest?

  23. anonymous

    a WOC runner writes:Tomas, your points are fair about the direction that orienteering is going. But i have a few questions for you.1. Mårten started first, and was probably the fastest runner in the field, plus given his recent performances can also orienteer very well. Yet he did not win?? My point, it didnt turn out as JUST a XC running race. You dont think the winner used some clever tactics? The same tactics other place getters could have used? You knew the format, run the race accordingly…..2. While we dont want to change the sport too much, TV does matter!! There is a good chance that WOC will be on Eurosport, so it also means extra sponsorship exposure for the top runners. How many truly professional orienteers are there? you could count them on one hand. More TV time can POSSIBLY lead to more professionals.I have no issue with WOC introducing different formats, as long as they keep some of the traditional ones aswell.While the IOF is made up of a bunch of complete idiots, we as WOC runners need to keep on pushing our point, on the type of races we believe work, BUT also let them try and bring in the dollars. It needs to be a compromise from both runners and federations……………

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