Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Looking at some first leg splits


I looked at how the top ten finishers in all of the individual races at the last two world champs did on the first control. Here are a few observations:

There are 24 individual races in each WOC. That is a lot. For each discipline (sprint, middle and long) there are three qualifying races and a final for the men and women. I hadn’t really thought about how many races that added up to.

In 48 races, the winners had the best split to the first control 19 times (40 percent). 37 of the 48 winners had one of the top 4 split times. With a few noteworthy exceptions, a winner is going to be showing their class by the first control.

Having the fastest split to the first control does not guarantee a top 3 finish, but it bodes well. 63 percent of the first leg winners in my data finished in the top 3.

Being out of the top 10 by the first control does not bode well, but does not spell doom either. Only 6 of the 48 winners were out of the top 10 at the first control. And 3 of those 6 were in sprint races, with splits at the first control putting them in 11, 13 and 16 places (which is very close to the top ten given how tight sprint races are).

35 percent of the orienteers who ended up in the top 10 were not in the top 10 at the first control.

One of the strangest looking races (i.e. the race where the split times to the first control look most different from the final results) was the sprint final for the men in 2004. Here are the places of the top ten men at the first control:

1 at finish: 10 at the first control
2 at finish; 3 at the first control
3 at finish; 10 at the first control
4 at finish; 13 at the first control
5 at finish; 4 at the first control
6 at finish; 6 at the first control
7 at finish; 20 at the first control
8 at finish; 6 at the first control
9 at finish; 20 at the first control
10 at finish; 18 at the first control

In general, the results I looked at showed more consistency in long races than in middle or sprint races.

posted by Michael | 5:16 PM


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