Competition Guidelines

Christchurch Runners

Page maintained by George R. McConnell Last updated on : 12/04/05

Pace Judgement

There are a number of variations on a theme within this type of event. The basic idea is to try to gauge your pace and to measure changes in pace. Usually, this requires the runner to repeat a course with varying targets in terms of pace. The ideal is to be exact in estimation rather than fast. For these events the participants do NOT wear watches.

This, obviously, is the easiest to handicap since everyone is running against the clock rather than each other and, as long as the target is not too exacting, everyone is equally likely to achieve it. It is usually worthwhile to allocate times randomly and to avoid the possibility of everyone knowing what the others are attempting to do, since that has the effect of pace judgement by judging the differential to someone else rather than judging your own pace in isolation.

The variations used so far include :

Out and Back - here the runner must run to a fixed point by whatever route he chooses in a predefined time and then return by the same route in a different time. This exercises the judgement of relative pace since, if you must run back 10% faster then it is the ability to judge what constitutes a 10% increase in pace which will decide who wins such an event. The times chosen can either be as illustrated already (out in x minutes; back y% faster) or less related times can be chosen (out in q minutes; back in z minutes, where z may be faster or slower than q). The results should include a factor which awards those who get the ratio right even if they get the absolute pace wrong and penalises those who get the ratio wrong, for instance running the second leg slower when it should have been faster.

Typically, the penalty points can be calculated using the number of seconds away from the target time. On the way out it can be assumed that getting there too early means that you are not going far enough - it is therefore counted as twice as much. Coming back, if you are too slow you could be deemed to be not trying hard enough so that can count for twice as much. Finally, as coming back is a better judge of your pace judgement, the outward run is only counted as one third of the total and the inward run as two thirds (rather than 50-50).

Circuits - here a shortish circuit is run several times with a base lap to set the pace and then other laps at multiples of that pace, say 5%, 10% and 15% faster. In these events a percentage of greater than 20% will almost certainly result in the base lap not being run at a realistic pace. Much better to have a lower percentage which will encourage a faster base time. It is possible to 'punish' runners who choose a particularly easy base target by using the 'fudge factor' to determine who ran faster than they needed to and who ran slower. This can then be used to adjust the points awarded.

Race course at even pace - this requires someone quite fast to police it, or, alternatively, several marshals round the course (although I have done it myself). The idea is that you have to complete the race course in, say, 110% of your most recent time but with no variation in pace. Split times are collected round the course and points awarded accordingly. To make it easy for the time keeper setting the runners off at a reduced handicap will enable the timekeeper to get to the one mile point before any runners. The time can be recorded here and at the finish to compare pace.

Teams - any of these can be done as a team event. This makes for interesting arguments as to whch of the team has got the better judgement!

These events are scored based on the number of seconds away from the target which is achieved. The closer the better. It is marginally fairer to work the difference out as a percentage, but in practice this rarely makes any difference. No handicap needs to be applied except where the runners are choosing their own pace by running a base lap and there is a desire to ensure that the pace chosen is a realistic one. By applying the fudge factor to the base lap it is possible to determine which runners were slacking most (relatively) during the event. The fudge factor to be used will depend on the distance involved.