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Thread: How was the Woodbridge course distance measured?

  1. #1

    How was the Woodbridge course distance measured?

    I assume the course was measured many times, but does anyone have an idea what the protocol was in regards to hitting tangents? How close to the turns would it have been wheeled?

    I understand it's a race and one's place versus their competitors is what matters most, but some of those times are a bit difficult to come to terms with.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    We run the course 5-6 times with different gps watches before we stake it and then at least one more time after we stake it (very true). Just like we were one of the first invitational to provide computerized results and have night races, we are the first invitational to put sensors on each stake and have written a computer program that interfaces the sensors with a satellite. The satellite generates a laser beam that we follow around the course (taking into account the air temperature, humidity and wind reading) to make sure we run the shortest distance possible (maybe not true).

    Seriously, we get these questions every year because of the fast time. The fast times come because there are fast runners in the meet, the weather conditions are ideal, the course ifs flat, the meet reputation has these runners so excited to want to leave their mark in the results and the night atmosphere creates the electric atmosphere you get for night racing (like Arcadia, the State 3200, etc). These athletes are practically on a full print the whole race around the course. I can assure you (as much as any one can for a cross country course) that the course was 3.0 miles. We all should acknowledge that no cross country course can ever be called accurate. It is impossible to measure a cross country course accurately since there does not exist a device (as far as I know at least) that can be used on the type of surfaces (especially grass and to some extend dirt) cross country is run on. For example, the Jones counter which is used to certify road courses for records, does not give you the same distance on grass as it does on asphalt. When I calibrate the Jones counter on the UST&F certified course and use that number of clicks on grass, it always comes up differently. When I asked the UST&F certification official for his recommendation on what device I should use for the cross country course, he said probably the best option is a gps device (over the Jones counter, wheel, etc). I think everyone knows that two gps watches will not measure a certain run to be the same distance.

    For the Woodbridge courses, In order to e consistent, I have been using the same gps watch for the past 10 or so years. It calibrates almost perfectly (about 3 feet difference)with the UST&F course. So, even though we do not call the Woodbridge courses accurate (for the reasons mentioned above) we can assure everyone that they are consistent from one year to another (whether we change the course or not). So, we have event records and not course record. If you take a look at lat year's results for the girls, Brie Oakley ran an event record 15:54 and Claudia Lane (in the same race) ran 16:27. As you know, Claudia is an outstanding runner (9:57 for the 3200) and Brie set a national 2-mile record (which converts to to a National record in the 3200 as well). So, it is not a far stretch to say that if Brie runs the 2 mile and 3200 meters faster than any other girl has in the history of our Nation, why would she not be able to run the fastest time ever on a Woodbridge course.

    All the credit goes to the runners for the fast time. It is disappointing when people hang the "course was short" cloud over their performances as some coaches did last year (they claimed it was 2.95 or 100 yds or so short). We do not do that when kids run unbelievable times at meets like Arcadia, etc and it is my position that we should not do that with the cross country runners either.

  3. #3
    You had me going for a moment with the laser beams! Thanks for the explanation, it's appreciated.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gvarvas View Post
    We run the course 5-6 times with different gps watches before we stake it and then at least one more time after we stake it (very true). Just like we were one of the first invitational to provide computerized results and have night races, we are the first invitational to put sensors on each stake and have written a computer program that interfaces the sensors with a satellite. The satellite generates a laser beam that we follow around the course (taking into account the air temperature, humidity and wind reading) to make sure we run the shortest distance possible (maybe not true).

    Seriously, we get these questions every year because of the fast time. The fast times come because there are fast runners in the meet, the weather conditions are ideal, the course ifs flat, the meet reputation has these runners so excited to want to leave their mark in the results and the night atmosphere creates the electric atmosphere you get for night racing (like Arcadia, the State 3200, etc). These athletes are practically on a full print the whole race around the course. I can assure you (as much as any one can for a cross country course) that the course was 3.0 miles. We all should acknowledge that no cross country course can ever be called accurate. It is impossible to measure a cross country course accurately since there does not exist a device (as far as I know at least) that can be used on the type of surfaces (especially grass and to some extend dirt) cross country is run on. For example, the Jones counter which is used to certify road courses for records, does not give you the same distance on grass as it does on asphalt. When I calibrate the Jones counter on the UST&F certified course and use that number of clicks on grass, it always comes up differently. When I asked the UST&F certification official for his recommendation on what device I should use for the cross country course, he said probably the best option is a gps device (over the Jones counter, wheel, etc). I think everyone knows that two gps watches will not measure a certain run to be the same distance.

    For the Woodbridge courses, In order to e consistent, I have been using the same gps watch for the past 10 or so years. It calibrates almost perfectly (about 3 feet difference)with the UST&F course. So, even though we do not call the Woodbridge courses accurate (for the reasons mentioned above) we can assure everyone that they are consistent from one year to another (whether we change the course or not). So, we have event records and not course record. If you take a look at lat year's results for the girls, Brie Oakley ran an event record 15:54 and Claudia Lane (in the same race) ran 16:27. As you know, Claudia is an outstanding runner (9:57 for the 3200) and Brie set a national 2-mile record (which converts to to a National record in the 3200 as well). So, it is not a far stretch to say that if Brie runs the 2 mile and 3200 meters faster than any other girl has in the history of our Nation, why would she not be able to run the fastest time ever on a Woodbridge course.

    All the credit goes to the runners for the fast time. It is disappointing when people hang the "course was short" cloud over their performances as some coaches did last year (they claimed it was 2.95 or 100 yds or so short). We do not do that when kids run unbelievable times at meets like Arcadia, etc and it is my position that we should not do that with the cross country runners either.
    George, do you run the course frontwards and backwards with the GPS watches? Maybe an average of the two is most accurate? I know that excessive left turns will cause a course to run long (and read shorter than it actually is), and excessive right turns will cause a course to run short (and read longer than it actually is).

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Don't forget that most people have only run one race prior to this so the kids legs are not destroyed by racing twice a week for three weeks...It's fast...it's fun...kids love it. Keep em coming baby.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by yesstiles View Post
    George, do you run the course frontwards and backwards with the GPS watches? Maybe an average of the two is most accurate? I know that excessive left turns will cause a course to run long (and read shorter than it actually is), and excessive right turns will cause a course to run short (and read longer than it actually is).
    pretty sure that's only true in the southern hemisphere. in the northern hemisphere, it would be the opposite...

    that's my story and i'm sticking to it,
    cush

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