Friday, 7 November 2014

Metrogaine planning

I enjoy the challenge of planning Metrogaine events - looking at control placement, points allocation...

In planning courses, I wonder how to really challenge my fastest and most experienced Metrogainers (they run 17-20km in 90-minutes) as well as providing options for newcomers and walkers.

There's an orienteering format that is taking Australia by storm. It's called ScatterO. Here there are a set number of controls out there - say 25 (this is what I'm using). 'Courses' specify how many controls participants MUST collect. There may or may not be a time limit and there may or may not be a points allocation to each control.

My Metrogaine will have both a time limit (90-minutes) plus a score allocation. It's a rogaining-scatter-score event style.

The fastest pair with the highest score wins.

What I like about this format is that I can create a number of different courses to cater for walkers and speedy and experienced running navigators. And every team has a decent amount of time to play.

The BIG challenge for me is in the control placements. As I'm specifying how many of the available controls the participants must get, I need to make sure that they're within an accessible distance.

For fun, I took the map from the last Metrogaine (June), which started from the Cliffview Primary school. I randomly removed controls to leave only 25. Then I tried two routes; one of them aiming for the shortest distance between controls. It came out at around 17 kilometres. Now that's way too far for a minimum distance! I'm aiming at around 12km for the shortest distance on the longest course.

Here are two courses that I drew. Note that the points allocation etc is as it was for the past Metrogaine. My points considerations will be different for this new format.

The Cliffview event was a good one in that there were many controls that the fastest competitors did not get (that's my goal in course planning). I always include a couple of carrots that I doubt the runners will get; they're in there to catch their attention.

What I learned from playing around with this map for a ScatterO format is that I need to close down my event area - not as large.

A good strategy for competitors is probably to first identify those controls that they are unlikely to be able to get... and then to reassess their options at halfway (45-mins).

I'm still in the process of drawing the map. Over the weekend I'll start planning control placements - and of course next week I need to check for road closures, which seriously affect what I can do in reality out there.

Without doubt this will be my most challenging Metrogaine course to plan.

Entries are open - on orienteeringonline (for registered orienteers) and EntryTickets (for everyone else).

All info for this Metrogaine event is on

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