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<< trail running less damaging, more effect... Anyone racing this weekend? >>
 official scoring of races
Runworks 2005 5M Racer
San Francisco, CA
Joined: 26 Nov 2004
Posts: 1157

official scoring of races Posted: Fri Jun 02, 2006 6:17 pm 

Has anyone ever been a scorer for team races? I just discovered that there's quite a bit of discretion required on the part of each team's scorer, and his decisions may affect the results of the race as much as the speed of the runners. That's because the scorer has to decide which of his team's runners to assign to each of the different age groups. An older runner can be assigned to a younger age group if it's to the team's advantage to do so. The result is that the scorer often has to decide to improve the overall score of one age group at the expense of another. I had no idea that happened, but I found the strategy interesting.

An example would probably make this clearer. Say your team enters a few dozen men in a race. Afterwards, the scorer must assign five men to each 10-year age group (Open, 40+, 50+, 60+ etc) so that the combined time of the five-man subteams will be competitive with other club's subteams, to determine who "won" each age group. Let's say your fastest runner is 44. If you assign him to the 40+ age group, it'll hurt the Open group, because they'll end up with a higher combined time. But if you assign him to the Open group, it hurts the 40+ group. In practice, scorers appear to try to optomize the assignments to get the best results in the age groups where they think they'll be most competitive, and then fill up the other age group subteams as best they can. So depending on the decisions of the scorers, you may not find out who won each age group until well after the race.

My new team has very few under-40 runners, and appears to optimize for the 40+ and 50+ age groups. After filling those sub-teams with five men each, they then take the fastest of the remaining runners and put them in the Open group. The result is that our Open group is less competitive than it could be. But even if they put all our fastest men in the Open group, it still wouldn't be very competitive, and doing it that way would hurt the competitiveness of the other groups. So it's a bit of a strategic balancing act.

OK, sorry for all this rambling... I just thought it was interesting to discover this hidden side of the sport.

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