/ Cut-off times

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BusyLizzie on 11 Apr 2019

I am feeling a bit ruffled.

I like running distances of 15-20 miles, am doing my second marathon in May, did a half in 2hrs 6m last month - so I'm slow, but not embarrassingly so.

I have entered the Surrey Hills race on 9 June, doing the 18m course. I have recce'd it and can do the navigation, checked last year's results and found some folk finished in just over 4 hours so I reckon I won't come last.

Then I notice that there is a cut-off at 9 miles after 90 mins.

Is it just me or is that a bit fierce? Other races with cut-offs seem to do it on the basis of 15 minute miles, which is reasonable and would not worry me. But I won't manage 10m per mile when off road (race pace on roads is about 9m 45s)... and I don't want a long run spoiled by being chased on to the bus of shame. 

Is this usual? It seems a bit excluding. 

Lizzie

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wbo - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:. Is that the same as it's always been?

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summo on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

It seems harsh to have any cut off on an 18m race in June. People could walk and finish before darkness. 

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Roadrunner6 - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to summo:

Pretty normal in fell races to have cut offs, even summer ones. Volunteers can't be expected to stay out forever, if its a 60 quid race that's maybe a bit different to a fell race for 12 quid.

But 90 mins for 9 miles seems optimistic. Especially on trails/hills. 

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mountain.martin - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to summo:

Guessing there will be quite a few volunteers involved in this who obviously can't wait all day, but 9 miles in 90 mins does seem a little elitist. If that is the strict cut off I would just find another event to enter, there are plenty to go at 

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bouldery bits - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Contact them and ask, it might be an error!

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SouthernSteve on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

sounds a bit harsh to me based on previous finishing times you state. The problem will be, if they are not careful, is that whole lot of slow runners will go too quick at the beginning and then be very slow thereafter, so they may have shot themselves in the foot. I am a bit faster on the road, but I can see if it is steep and/or muddy or in June very hot quite a few people including me being timed out. I agree that this seems elitist. Is it part of a national race series or similar?

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summo on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to Roadrunner6:

> Pretty normal in fell races to have cut offs, even summer ones. Volunteers can't be expected to stay out forever, if its a 60 quid race that's maybe a bit different to a fell race for 12 quid.

> But 90 mins for 9 miles seems optimistic. Especially on trails/hills. 

I'd agree with comparing to a fell race where you don't want marshals out 12hours in bad weather. But this is down south in June! 

You get a more generous cut off running langdale in October. 

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summo on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Guessing there will be quite a few volunteers involved in this who obviously can't wait all day,

A good planner would place marshals who can't spare the whole day on the early check points. Realistically 2 hours would cover it. It's only 30mins longer. 

It's not that 90mins is elitist, if a person did 95. They might finished the whole event in just over 3hours. Which hardly takes up the whole day with a 9 or 10am start. 

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The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to summo:

It won’t be about light, it will be about the length of time marshals spend on the course. 

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The New NickB - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Seems odd if some are finishing in 4 hours plus.

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bouldery bits - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

It's not one of those where it means you have to be within 90 mins of the first person through is it?

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Eric9Points - on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Sounds tight even if it were a road race. How much ascent is there?

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BusyLizzie on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Thank you all. Various answers:

- I don't know if this was the case last year.

- As I say I have no problems with cut-offs, but as some of you say it seems a bit fierce/elitist.

- I have asked, doesn't seem to be a mistake but it is said there is flexibility. But I have the sense they just aren't expecting slow people! 

So, a bit off-putting. I certainly wouldn't have entered if I'd spotted how tight (for me) the cut-off is and as it's not expensive I may just not run it rather than fluster the marshalls...

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Moley on 11 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

So a 90 minute cut-off, with flexibility? That is pretty meaningless as that  isn't a 90 minute cut-off! Marshalls shouldn't leave their post till everyone has gone through anyway, however long you take.

Seems a tight time to me especially if there's some ascent included, presumably off road and weather unpredictable. If you have already paid to enter I would turn up and run and not be rushed into going too fast.

Worst that can happen is you get a 9 mile run and a lift back in a marshalls car, better than paying entry and no run at all.

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mountain.martin - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to summo:

> A good planner would place marshals who can't spare the whole day on the early check points. Realistically 2 hours would cover it. It's only 30mins longer. 

I agree with you summo, my reply was in regards to the part of you first post where you talked about people walking round and finishing before it got dark.

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steveriley - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

We have a cut off in our half... to be frank I’m not sure we’ve ever pulled anyone out. In our case it means the roads might start reopening. There’s a 12h limit on our ultra... I've cheered people in on the last hill at 12h plus. I’d put it out of your mind and go and do your thing at your best pace.

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Tom Briggs on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

That's a really harsh cut off. I can think of plenty of fell races over some of the highest summits in the UK, run at times of year when the weather might be grim with way, way more generous cut offs. 

Maybe that's why they've only got 17 entries!

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timjones - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

I think the first thing to say is remove all thoughts of a "bus of shame". Why feel ashamed of running 9 miles?

Beyond that it seems quite tight as a cut off. Race organisers can of course set cut offs wherever they choose but if they are tight they ought to be publicised before runners part with their entry fees.

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fred99 - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

If you look carefully you will see that; "there is a limit of 100 runners in each race".

Limited places most probably means some sort of restriction placed upon them by the landowners of at least some part of the course - being an organisation they have stricter obligations than an individual for walking/running, even on footpaths.

It could therefore be that they do not want more serious runners prevented from taking part due to a number of (pretty well) walkers taking up the limited places.

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timjones - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

> Limited places most probably means some sort of restriction placed upon them by the landowners of at least some part of the course - being an organisation they have stricter obligations than an individual for walking/running, even on footpaths.

As a landowner I would say that whilst it is common sense and good manners to consult on the use of footpaths for  events there is no greater obligation placed on event owners than individuals in this respect.

If they are negotiating access off paths then it is obviously a different matter.

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deepsoup - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

> It could therefore be that they do not want more serious runners prevented from taking part due to a number of (pretty well) walkers taking up the limited places.

Well that's just insulting.  The OP's pace is not 'pretty well walking'.  Might not be the fastest but it's a perfectly respectable pace.

If they wanted the tight cut-off to deter slower entrants from entering the race in the first place, that's hardly likely to work if they don't tell people about it before they enter is it.

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Jim Hamilton - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

> It could therefore be that they do not want more serious runners prevented from taking part due to a number of (pretty well) walkers taking up the limited places.

It doesn't look oversubscribed (unlike the Box Hill fell race). I think it's more that runners will get lost in all that woodland with multiple track options, and the organisers want to try and reduce the time spent waiting for everyone to eventually turn up. 

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Ava Adore - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to steveriley:

> We have a cut off in our half... to be frank I’m not sure we’ve ever pulled anyone out. In our case it means the roads might start reopening. There’s a 12h limit on our ultra... I've cheered people in on the last hill at 12h plus. I’d put it out of your mind and go and do your thing at your best pace.


I was recently marshalling at the cut off point of a road race.  My view was that if someone were close, I'd turn a blind eye.  Until the head marshal pointed out that we have a scrutineer to satisfy; we HAVE to stick to the cut off.

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Ava Adore - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

>

> It could therefore be that they do not want more serious runners prevented from taking part due to a number of (pretty well) walkers taking up the limited places.

Wow.  Why isn't a slower paced runner serious?  And how on earth is that pace "pretty well walking"?

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The New NickB - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to timjones:

> As a landowner I would say that whilst it is common sense and good manners to consult on the use of footpaths for  events there is no greater obligation placed on event owners than individuals in this respect.

You are wrong on this Tim. Racing requires landowner consent, even on public footpaths.

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BusyLizzie on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

> Well that's just insulting.  The OP's pace is not 'pretty well walking'.  Might not be the fastest but it's a perfectly respectable pace.

Thank you deepsoup xxx

> If they wanted the tight cut-off to deter slower entrants from entering the race in the first place, that's hardly likely to work if they don't tell people about it before they enter is it.

In fairness, I haven't suggested it wasn't on the website before I entered - it may well have been, but if so I didn't notice it. What I did do was to check previous years' results, which are not consistent with a half-way cut-off at 90 mins.

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BusyLizzie on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Ava Adore:

Thank you! Xxx

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Simon Caldwell - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

I had a look at their website, and for last year's event, and the same cut-off was there last year too, so presumably either it wasn't rigorously enforced, or those taking a bit over 4 hours to finish still made the cut-off in time. It makes sense to me that if you had to really push yourself to get there in 90 minutes you'd have less left in the tank and so slow down significantly for the rest of the route. Plus of course there's less incentive to rush once you've made the cut!

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timjones - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

Ah well,  I'm obviously getting too soft in my old age ;)

Is that a legal requirement or a rule from the sports governing body?

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summo on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

> It could therefore be that they do not want more serious runners prevented from taking part due to a number of (pretty well) walkers taking up the limited places.

Bruce Tulloh once said there isn't such a thing as jogging and running. We are all runners, just at a different pace.

Many of your walkers might be beginners, moving up a distance, using it as a slow run in training before a marathon, recovering from injury, illness etc..  

As we age there will come a time in all our lives when we have to just let those going well fly off and enjoy being active regardless of the pace. The best runner, climber etc.. is the one having the most fun!! 

Post edited at 15:07
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deepsoup - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to Simon Caldwell:

> It makes sense to me that if you had to really push yourself to get there in 90 minutes you'd have less left in the tank and so slow down significantly for the rest of the route.

That also strikes me as a great way to spoil the experience of taking part in the race (because you're stressed for the first 9 miles, and knackered the rest of the way), whilst also increasing the risk of injury.

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Moley on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to summo:

Quite.

Was just looking at the results for the Sugar Loaf fell race last week, winner was 52 minutes and then noticed the last guy was 3hr 46m. That's a bit slow I thought - then noticed he was V80

It's all relative.

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The New NickB - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to timjones:

It’s a licensing requirement for local authorities, insurers and governing bodies.

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Simon Caldwell - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

> That also strikes me as a great way to spoil the experience of taking part in the race 

Agreed, and I tend to avoid anything with a tough cut-off for that reason.

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BusyLizzie on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Thank you all. I agree busting a gut in the first half is a bad idea! I am also not minded to take time to drive to an 18-mile race away from home and then be told I have to get on a bus at 9m, when I can run 18m in the Chilterns unmolested from my own front door.

I have emailed the RO again to say: is 90 mins *really* the time you intend to require,  and if not please amend your website. If it is, I will withdraw as the race is clearly not intended for people who run at my pace.

I will report back here with the outcome. I haven't asked for my money back as it was my mistake in not spotting the cut-off. 

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deepsoup - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

>  I haven't asked for my money back as it was my mistake in not spotting the cut-off. 

Well, yes and no.  It really does seem unusually harsh and I think they owe it to people to make it a bit more obvious than just leaving it buried in the small print.  You might not have grounds to insist, but I don't think it would be at all unreasonable of you to ask for a refund.

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Irk the Purist - on 12 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

SLOW is a pretty serious orienteering club and have a lot of very good runners but they are also very friendly and welcoming to beginners. I can't imagine they will pull someone out running a decent race aiming for four hours. They might not want to say that though.

They can't kidnap you and you can always run on and as they have water at the cut off you could top up with enough to see you through.

I've not done this race but my experience of the area of the course it's not that bad for hills, as apart from a couple, it's long ups and downs not steep. And the downs tend to be pretty quick as it's soft and sandy underfoot. Mostly. You'll be quicker than you think.

I feel a bit guilty as I think I commented on a post where you asked whether to enter or not. 

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timjones - on 13 Apr 2019
In reply to The New NickB:

Thanks for the info, it's an intriguing list. It's obvious that governing bodies should protect the reputation of their sports, slightly surprising local authorities need to licence off road races and a bit concerning that insurers should require something that surely has no significant impact on the level of risk.

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BusyLizzie on 14 Apr 2019
In reply to Irk the Purist:

> I feel a bit guilty as I think I commented on a post where you asked whether to enter or not. 

No need to worry about that at all! I made my own decision, and your encouragement was welcome.

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fred99 - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to :

One group of people that everyone who wants an unlimited race seems to forget - the marshals.

For races such as these the marshals are all unpaid volunteers. They find their own transport to the race start, get given their marshalling point, then have to get there either before the race starts, or at least not long after. They then stand around for - in some cases - many hours, in whatever the weather has to throw at them, with no respite until the final runner has gone past them. Then they have to return to the start/finish (again under their own steam) to report all is OK, or if necessary deliver any walking wounded. In the event medical assistance is required by any runners then they have to call for it, and stay until the casualty is evacuated, and then give a report to the Meeting Manager. Then they can finally go home and shower/change/eat.

Finding volunteers in todays world is becoming increasingly difficult, particularly for longer events, and the attitude that it doesn't matter how long people take over any particular course will only make it more difficult to get volunteers to turn up year after year, or for new ones to replace those that have retired (or indeed died due to old age - just check the age of some of these marshals).

I'm all for encouraging more people into any and all forms of sport, but there has to be some realism when you look at the practical running of events and sourcing the manpower to put them on.

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DancingOnRock - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Is this the South London Orienteering Race? It says cut off is 1km before the second water station at Duke of Kent School. If they’re measuring in km are you sure it’s 10miles and not 10km which would make a lot more sense. The route is 30k. 

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deepsoup - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to fred99:

> One group of people that everyone who wants an unlimited race seems to forget - the marshals.

A group of people who are neither forgotten nor unappreciated as far as this thread goes, which makes the rest of your post somewhat irrelevant.

> I'm all for encouraging more people into any and all forms of sport

Clearly not that all for it if you regard 10min/mile as a reasonable minimum pace to set by default over 18 off-road miles and exclude everyone who isn't at least as quick as that. 

In a great many fell races around here that would exclude a significant portion of the field and change the whole atmosphere of the event.  (Events where marshals endure significantly harsher conditions than you would reasonably expect in Surrey in June, by the way.)

Some of those excluded, incidentally, would be club runners who invariably volunteer as marshals when their own club's event rolls around.  Pushing them out of the sport in an attempt to alleviate a shortage of marshals might prove entirely counterproductive.

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summo on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Is this the South London Orienteering Race? It says cut off is 1km before the second water station at Duke of Kent School. If they’re measuring in km are you sure it’s 10miles and not 10km which would make a lot more sense. The route is 30k. 

Possible. As you never measure miles in orienteering. 

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summo on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to deepsoup:

Would agree, our club has many senior folk, who aren't the quickest on their feet. But when we organise our own events happily stand in the cold marshalling in car parks, or sit out at a drink station. That's the whole point of clubs, they really need everyone of all abilities to function. 

I'll admit that for many years in the 90s I wasn't in a club and in hindsight or with age I see that it was perhaps a little selfish. I gained all the perks, but put nothing back in time wise. 

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Simon Caldwell - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Their website seems a little short on detail, but looking at the route gadget for last year's race I'd say it's about half way which would make it 10 miles.

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wbo - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie: ok, I did this race , but about 20 years ago.  As I recall, no marshall's, nor is the course marked, but I'd say we're talking 10km to get to the checkpoint rather than 10 miles as I think you run 'clockwise'.

I enjoyed it even though it's bumpier than you'd think - I was with Andy Weir , who set the course record till just before halfway, but got massively lost and finished in about 4 hours as I recall

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Jim Hamilton - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to wbo:

> ok, I did this race , but about 20 years ago.  As I recall, no marshall's, nor is the course marked, but I'd say we're talking 10km to get to the checkpoint rather than 10 miles as I think you run 'clockwise'.

It's about 10k to get to the cut off point as the crow flies (it's almost the furthest point away from the start). However if you plan to visit the check points in some sort of logical order it will be longer (9-10 miles). You could get to the cut off quicker by ignoring some of the check points on the way out, but the overall distance covered/time would be more if visiting them on the return.  

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DancingOnRock - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

So, this is an orienteering challenge, not a flat out race on a pre set route? 

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Jim Hamilton - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to DancingOnRock:

I had assumed you could visit the check points in any order, but maybe not. The check point locations don't appear to vary from year to year, so you can race it flat out with prior knowledge of the best route (which looks as though it generally goes in checkpoint number order).

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wbo - on 15 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie :. We'd practiced the course a few times before going round. 

Still got lost at 2/3rds......

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BusyLizzie on 17 Apr 2019
In reply to BusyLizzie:

Result. They have changed the cut-off time to 105 minutes on the website.

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