- Trail Running SA needs a course closure time that trades off the following:
- Drink station volunteers ending at an appropriate time.
- Packup volunteers ending at an appropriate time, some of whom have started as early as 6:00AM.
- Providing a volunteer experience that enables us to retain and recruit new volunteers.
- Time the award presentations such that the fast runners (place getters) will hang around to collect their medal.
- Time the award presentations such that the overall majority of runners are happy with the wait before presentations.
- Slow runners still having a sufficient range of distances to choose from.
Analysis – course cutoff time
Because the overall course cutoff time is generally dictated by longest event on a given day, it is the slower runners in the longest event who are likely to be negatively impacted by the course closure time. Slower runners in the short and medium distance events would not be impacted.
Looking at the 24.66KM results from Cleland, which has a typical difficulty profile for TRSA events, it was determined that a 8:45min/km cutoff pace, which gives a finishing time of 3 hours 35 minutes 50 seconds, would be sufficient for 193 of 204 finishers (94.4%) in the 25KM event, which equates to 97.8% of the 504 finishers across the entire event.
There were no runners in the 12.3km or 6km runs that were slower than 3:35:50 and would be negatively impacted by the course closure time set this way.
It was concluded that catering for almost 98% of entrants made for a good tradeoff between the considerations outlined above. Slower runners are also welcome to do the short and intermediate distances in order to practically guarantee that they will not miss the cutoff.
We also need to set a reasonable cutoff time for walkers. Some internet research has indicated that a typical walking pace is 3 to 4 miles per hour, ie between 12:25min/km and 9:19min/km, so for walking events we should aim to ensure that the pace is not higher than this.
In response to the analysis above, the policy is to:
- Target a fixed course closure time, based on 8:45min/km for the longest course, for events with a similar difficulty profile than cleland. This will provide very generous course closure times for the short and intermediate course, and cater for around 95% of runners in the longest course.
- Check that the walking events do not have an unreasonable pace for walking.
- The closure pace can be tailored if necessary for flatter/easier or hillier/longer events.
- Clearly advertise this on the website.
- Set generous cutoff paces for the short and medium distance events, ensuring that runners of all abilities (and not just the top 95%) are catered for in these events.