Article Comment: There's Trouble Coming to Town!
09/16/2009 10:25:19 AM
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Are you degrading the validity of your website by arbitrarily changing the distance of a race?

A quick comparison of times at the 2008 Liberty Bell and State meets shows Joseph Manilafasha at 14:56 and 15:08, Evan Appel at 15:20 and 15:20 and Walter Schafer at 15:21 and 15:30, these are not significant time differences. If you get into adjusting each race why not make the Arapahoe race, run before labor day, to a 3.5 mile course? Everyone knows the times are slow, course maybe long, more water etc. Should you take a wheel to each course and then rate the various courses on degree of difficulty? As shown above the Liberty Bell times are very indicative of time that will be run at state.

Each race has different conditions, mud, wind, heat, and as we have seen races run within one hour of each other can have very different conditions.

I recommend the Liberty Bell organizers withhold times if the course is adjusted.
Are you degrading the validity of your website by arbitrarily changing the distance of a race?

A quick comparison of times at the 2008 Liberty Bell and State meets shows Joseph Manilafasha at 14:56 and 15:08, Evan Appel at 15:20 and 15:20 and Walter Schafer at 15:21 and 15:30, these are not significant time differences. If you get into adjusting each race why not make the Arapahoe race, run before labor day, to a 3.5 mile course? Everyone knows the times are slow, course maybe long, more water etc. Should you take a wheel to each course and then rate the various courses on degree of difficulty? As shown above the Liberty Bell times are very indicative of time that will be run at state.

Each race has different conditions, mud, wind, heat, and as we have seen races run within one hour of each other can have very different conditions.

I recommend the Liberty Bell organizers withhold times if the course is adjusted.
09/16/2009 11:43:17 AM
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49 runner I agree with Alan here for several reasons 1) The course is in fact short. I wheeled it last year at 4925 while going around corners liberaly, another 25 meters or more could be cut by running perfect tangents. 2) It is not a XC course, it is 50% road and 50% hard trails 3) It is negative elevation The comparisons you give are flawed. First it is early season and the LB times would likely drop if run at State meet time. Second, for the individuals you mention, I know for a fact that Evan and Walter were sick at LB last year and not up to top form. Our team consistently runs faster at LB across all ability levels, for the reasons listed above. That is a far more scientific evaluation of the course than to select just 3 runners and their performances. All that said, it is a great meet to attend with the huge amount of races and spectators, so we run it and are grateful to the host school for having us. Then we go back to training and preparing and wipe the times from the meet out of our mind, but not the competition or great fun of the meet. Hence, for comparision purposes, I agree with Alan. Alan does not bring his team to the meet for various reasons that I do not agree with, but it is his team and he runs it as he sees fit. Clearly he has great success with his program and it is his judgement to run his team the way he sees it. Respectfully, bn
49 runner

I agree with Alan here for several reasons 1) The course is in fact short. I wheeled it last year at 4925 while going around corners liberaly, another 25 meters or more could be cut by running perfect tangents. 2) It is not a XC course, it is 50% road and 50% hard trails 3) It is negative elevation The comparisons you give are flawed. First it is early season and the LB times would likely drop if run at State meet time. Second, for the individuals you mention, I know for a fact that Evan and Walter were sick at LB last year and not up to top form.

Our team consistently runs faster at LB across all ability levels, for the reasons listed above. That is a far more scientific evaluation of the course than to select just 3 runners and their performances.

All that said, it is a great meet to attend with the huge amount of races and spectators, so we run it and are grateful to the host school for having us. Then we go back to training and preparing and wipe the times from the meet out of our mind, but not the competition or great fun of the meet.

Hence, for comparision purposes, I agree with Alan. Alan does not bring his team to the meet for various reasons that I do not agree with, but it is his team and he runs it as he sees fit. Clearly he has great success with his program and it is his judgement to run his team the way he sees it.

Respectfully, bn
09/16/2009 12:47:04 PM
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We really don't care about rankings, we want to compete on the course with whoever is there. However, if Liberty Bell is more than 3 miles, is it fair to enter the results as 3 miles. I also wonder if some of the other very fast courses are indeed a true 5K? St. Vrain times will mirror Liberty Bell pretty nicely and since we haven't raced there we don't know but it would seem that that race course has "something" going for it. Since Liberty Bell is such a tradition and large race, I sure wish the results were treated as such. Also, I would have liked to know ahead of time so we could have decided if we wanted to race there or not. I don't think if is a good precedent to start examining each course to see if it is exactly 5K as I bet most have some discrepency some where. Lets not do this this year so the course might be changed a bit which could easliy be done, or we all can schedule a "certified" race.
We really don't care about rankings, we want to compete on the course with whoever is there. However, if Liberty Bell is more than 3 miles, is it fair to enter the results as 3 miles. I also wonder if some of the other very fast courses are indeed a true 5K? St. Vrain times will mirror Liberty Bell pretty nicely and since we haven't raced there we don't know but it would seem that that race course has "something" going for it. Since Liberty Bell is such a tradition and large race, I sure wish the results were treated as such. Also, I would have liked to know ahead of time so we could have decided if we wanted to race there or not. I don't think if is a good precedent to start examining each course to see if it is exactly 5K as I bet most have some discrepency some where. Lets not do this this year so the course might be changed a bit which could easliy be done, or we all can schedule a "certified" race.
09/16/2009 1:09:34 PM
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If any of the coaches would like, I could map the course tonight using GPS and get an official distance. I live close enough that it wouldn't be an issue.
If any of the coaches would like, I could map the course tonight using GPS and get an official distance. I live close enough that it wouldn't be an issue.
09/16/2009 2:18:57 PM
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[quote=49runner]A quick comparison of times at the 2008 Liberty Bell and State meets shows Joseph Manilafasha at 14:56 and 15:08, Evan Appel at 15:20 and 15:20 and Walter Schafer at 15:21 and 15:30, these are not significant time differences.[/quote] Are you saying that time changes of +12, 0, and +9 seconds over the six most important weeks of the season are acceptable for elite distance runners? Fossil Ridge is a fast course. If I was coaching these kids and they increased 5K times like that over the six weeks leading to state I would be very concerned.
49runner wrote:
A quick comparison of times at the 2008 Liberty Bell and State meets shows Joseph Manilafasha at 14:56 and 15:08, Evan Appel at 15:20 and 15:20 and Walter Schafer at 15:21 and 15:30, these are not significant time differences.


Are you saying that time changes of +12, 0, and +9 seconds over the six most important weeks of the season are acceptable for elite distance runners? Fossil Ridge is a fast course. If I was coaching these kids and they increased 5K times like that over the six weeks leading to state I would be very concerned.
09/16/2009 2:55:34 PM
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Alan, boy were you right about trouble coming. And maybe the worst kind, upset parents. I already commented and said what I wanted to, but a parent sent me her comments to include this; USATF lists Liberty Bell course as 5K and St. Vrain course as 4.98K. Her point is who is correct? If Liberty Bell is believed to be short and St. Vrain is verified by USATF to be short, which race courses should be excluded and which should be included in rankings? I would counsel again that since rankings are a little bit like comparing apples and oranges that we don't get into figuring out if every course is short, just right or long, or difficult or hilly or fast etc.
Alan, boy were you right about trouble coming. And maybe the worst kind, upset parents. I already commented and said what I wanted to, but a parent sent me her comments to include this; USATF lists Liberty Bell course as 5K and St. Vrain course as 4.98K. Her point is who is correct? If Liberty Bell is believed to be short and St. Vrain is verified by USATF to be short, which race courses should be excluded and which should be included in rankings? I would counsel again that since rankings are a little bit like comparing apples and oranges that we don't get into figuring out if every course is short, just right or long, or difficult or hilly or fast etc.
09/16/2009 4:10:58 PM
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I think what Alan's doing with the LB times is a service to us coaches. The rankings, from my perspective, give us a quick starting reference point to strategically compare teams. If there's any coach in the state who's telling his/her kids they're a shoo-in to win state (or any other trumped-up accolade) b/c they have the "fastest" 5k mark, made at LB, then that coach is not doing a very good job. Obviously, I'm exaggerating somewhat. Conversely, it's very nice to have LB results pulled out of the equation when I look at teams in mid-October. It saves me a ton of time. No one is saying that the winner/top 10 at LB hasn't done an outstanding job. But the course is so much different (and as many have said, in terms of length as well as composition), that it makes sense to adjust the times for the database. But, maybe Alan shouldn't waste his time trying to help the rest of us coaches. Again, anyone using the rankings database in XC for anything other than getting a [i]general [/i]picture of the playing field is being foolish.
I think what Alan's doing with the LB times is a service to us coaches. The rankings, from my perspective, give us a quick starting reference point to strategically compare teams. If there's any coach in the state who's telling his/her kids they're a shoo-in to win state (or any other trumped-up accolade) b/c they have the "fastest" 5k mark, made at LB, then that coach is not doing a very good job. Obviously, I'm exaggerating somewhat.

Conversely, it's very nice to have LB results pulled out of the equation when I look at teams in mid-October. It saves me a ton of time.

No one is saying that the winner/top 10 at LB hasn't done an outstanding job. But the course is so much different (and as many have said, in terms of length as well as composition), that it makes sense to adjust the times for the database. But, maybe Alan shouldn't waste his time trying to help the rest of us coaches.

Again, anyone using the rankings database in XC for anything other than getting a general picture of the playing field is being foolish.
09/16/2009 6:27:49 PM
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Interesting discussion but most of the comments are focused on coaches being able to do armchair analysis and miss the one true advantage of the Liberty Bell; the kids love it! For the ones who want to continue racing in college, it might just be the time they need for a coach to take notice. Let's not forget, our Colorado CC runners are constantly running at 5,000 to 8,000 ft elevation and are being compared to others who couldn't make it up the first hill if they raced here. In fact, several college coaches I have spoken to avoid racing at this altitude because of the lousy times their athletes experience. Having a race that's fairly flat and possibly a tad short (I'd love to see a distance comparison of all of the courses our kids run) would indeed produce a faster time. But let's not forget the congested start and (I believe) seven 90 degree turns that have a tendency to slow racers down. Maybe the fact that it's later in the afternoon, has phenominal competition (rabbits) and in the shade for the most part also has something to do with the times (temperature at the pre-state meet surely caused the times to go the other way). If we're going to downgrade this race let's first measure every course that PR's are run in across the nation to make sure our kids aren't being handed just one more disadvantage when compared nationally. Meanwhile, the kids get to mark down possibly a season PR, feel good about themselves, and maybe get some national recognition. After all, the Colorado vs Colorado racer comparisons will come out in the league, regional, and state races.
Interesting discussion but most of the comments are focused on coaches being able to do armchair analysis and miss the one true advantage of the Liberty Bell; the kids love it! For the ones who want to continue racing in college, it might just be the time they need for a coach to take notice. Let's not forget, our Colorado CC runners are constantly running at 5,000 to 8,000 ft elevation and are being compared to others who couldn't make it up the first hill if they raced here. In fact, several college coaches I have spoken to avoid racing at this altitude because of the lousy times their athletes experience. Having a race that's fairly flat and possibly a tad short (I'd love to see a distance comparison of all of the courses our kids run) would indeed produce a faster time. But let's not forget the congested start and (I believe) seven 90 degree turns that have a tendency to slow racers down. Maybe the fact that it's later in the afternoon, has phenominal competition (rabbits) and in the shade for the most part also has something to do with the times (temperature at the pre-state meet surely caused the times to go the other way). If we're going to downgrade this race let's first measure every course that PR's are run in across the nation to make sure our kids aren't being handed just one more disadvantage when compared nationally. Meanwhile, the kids get to mark down possibly a season PR, feel good about themselves, and maybe get some national recognition. After all, the Colorado vs Colorado racer comparisons will come out in the league, regional, and state races.
09/16/2009 8:19:27 PM
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I agree with evergreenfans. This meet may be extremely fast for a colorado meet but if you comapre it to just a normal flat course at sea level it is probably slower so when someone would try to compare their times nationally liberty bell would be a good basis on how fast that person would run at sea level. Also just because Liberty Bell is a very fast meet in colorado doesnt mean there are other meets that aren't as close to as fast centaurus for example is very fast and people who run that get and advantage over people who dont with their PR and thats how liberty bell is. It should be viewed as a 5k because it is indeed a 5k. It may be a little short but who says other courses arent also a little short? If a team chooses not to run the fastest meet in the state thats their choice but the teams that do shouldnt have to not have their rankings count across the state and across the nation. People who run out of state like the lobo meet get an advantage in rankings because they ran out of state so why should that meet be counted and people that run centauras have an advantage on people thats fastest time is at pre-state so why should that be counted. If you really dont like people that run Liberty Bell to be ahead of the your team who doesnt run it then sign up for the race because its totally your call to run it and shouldnt be counted as a 3 mile race.
I agree with evergreenfans. This meet may be extremely fast for a colorado meet but if you comapre it to just a normal flat course at sea level it is probably slower so when someone would try to compare their times nationally liberty bell would be a good basis on how fast that person would run at sea level. Also just because Liberty Bell is a very fast meet in colorado doesnt mean there are other meets that aren't as close to as fast centaurus for example is very fast and people who run that get and advantage over people who dont with their PR and thats how liberty bell is. It should be viewed as a 5k because it is indeed a 5k. It may be a little short but who says other courses arent also a little short? If a team chooses not to run the fastest meet in the state thats their choice but the teams that do shouldnt have to not have their rankings count across the state and across the nation. People who run out of state like the lobo meet get an advantage in rankings because they ran out of state so why should that meet be counted and people that run centauras have an advantage on people thats fastest time is at pre-state so why should that be counted. If you really dont like people that run Liberty Bell to be ahead of the your team who doesnt run it then sign up for the race because its totally your call to run it and shouldnt be counted as a 3 mile race.
09/16/2009 9:18:24 PM
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Thanks for the conversation thus far. There's a certain amount of satisfaction that attaches to the fact that several of you, at least, are comfortable expressing some measure of disagreement with me on this forum. That's healthy. Parts of this discussion prompted me to do something I should have done long ago--a time comparison for Liberty Bell and State. Since St. Vrain came up, I included St. Vrain as well. What I did was take everyone who finished in the top ten at state last year (either gender, any classification) and compare state vs. St. Vrain and state vs. Liberty Bell times for all who had Liberty Bell and/or St. Vrain times. I've appended the spreadsheet to the end of the article. For those who prefer the executive summary, in 2008 the average time at St. Vrain for those who ran St. Vrain and were in the top ten at state was about 30.4 seconds higher than their time at state. In 2008, the average time at Liberty Bell for those who ran both Liberty Bell and were in the top 10 at state was about 10.4 seconds faster at Liberty Bell. That is why Liberty Bell times create inequities in the rankings. Even at state, on a fast course with six additional weeks of training, athletes typically can't match their Liberty Bell times. Nowhere have I said Liberty Bell is a bad meet. It's a great meet, and the fact that I devoted an entire article to previewing Liberty Bell should seem to support that. The only thing I've said is that Liberty Bell times create inequities in the 5K rankings. Apparently, a lot of you agree with me, too. The three days last fall that I had Liberty Bell times pulled off the rankings were three of the four peak days for traffic on this site throughout the entire cross country season. People wanted to be able to compare without using Liberty Bell times. I hope that helps. Please feel welcome to disagree with me, but please also understand why I wrestle with this issue. Thanks for taking the time to discuss.
Thanks for the conversation thus far. There's a certain amount of satisfaction that attaches to the fact that several of you, at least, are comfortable expressing some measure of disagreement with me on this forum. That's healthy.

Parts of this discussion prompted me to do something I should have done long ago--a time comparison for Liberty Bell and State. Since St. Vrain came up, I included St. Vrain as well. What I did was take everyone who finished in the top ten at state last year (either gender, any classification) and compare state vs. St. Vrain and state vs. Liberty Bell times for all who had Liberty Bell and/or St. Vrain times. I've appended the spreadsheet to the end of the article.

For those who prefer the executive summary, in 2008 the average time at St. Vrain for those who ran St. Vrain and were in the top ten at state was about 30.4 seconds higher than their time at state. In 2008, the average time at Liberty Bell for those who ran both Liberty Bell and were in the top 10 at state was about 10.4 seconds faster at Liberty Bell.

That is why Liberty Bell times create inequities in the rankings. Even at state, on a fast course with six additional weeks of training, athletes typically can't match their Liberty Bell times. Nowhere have I said Liberty Bell is a bad meet. It's a great meet, and the fact that I devoted an entire article to previewing Liberty Bell should seem to support that. The only thing I've said is that Liberty Bell times create inequities in the 5K rankings.

Apparently, a lot of you agree with me, too. The three days last fall that I had Liberty Bell times pulled off the rankings were three of the four peak days for traffic on this site throughout the entire cross country season. People wanted to be able to compare without using Liberty Bell times.

I hope that helps. Please feel welcome to disagree with me, but please also understand why I wrestle with this issue. Thanks for taking the time to discuss.
09/16/2009 10:19:34 PM
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My comment was meant for the web host and I think most have missed the point.

If the data input into the system is manipulated then all the information will be suspect and it will lead to the end of the very website that we are using. Put the information into the system and let the reader select what he/she wants to rely on. My view is it would be better to exclude the race or note with an asterisk, like Barry Bonds, before making up a distance. I appreciate the work you do on the webpage and hate to see your work discredited.

The Liberty Bell organizers also have a lot put into their race. There are decades of records and stats with the course records, many teams, runners, volunteers and hours going into the race each year and it should not be lower in standard due to a speculative difference.

Each race course has it pluses and minuses and we could harshly review them all. The coaches decided most of the race their teams run and if you do not like the coarse stay home. But don
My comment was meant for the web host and I think most have missed the point.

If the data input into the system is manipulated then all the information will be suspect and it will lead to the end of the very website that we are using. Put the information into the system and let the reader select what he/she wants to rely on. My view is it would be better to exclude the race or note with an asterisk, like Barry Bonds, before making up a distance. I appreciate the work you do on the webpage and hate to see your work discredited.

The Liberty Bell organizers also have a lot put into their race. There are decades of records and stats with the course records, many teams, runners, volunteers and hours going into the race each year and it should not be lower in standard due to a speculative difference.

Each race course has it pluses and minuses and we could harshly review them all. The coaches decided most of the race their teams run and if you do not like the coarse stay home. But don
09/16/2009 10:55:57 PM
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If Liberty Bell is thrown into question, then all the courses should be examined with an established criteria for comparison. If they
If Liberty Bell is thrown into question, then all the courses should be examined with an established criteria for comparison. If they
09/16/2009 11:01:10 PM
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[quote=evergreenfans]Interesting discussion but most of the comments are focused on coaches being able to do armchair analysis and miss the one true advantage of the Liberty Bell; the kids love it! For the ones who want to continue racing in college, it might just be the time they need for a coach to take notice. Let's not forget, our Colorado CC runners are constantly running at 5,000 to 8,000 ft elevation and are being compared to others who couldn't make it up the first hill if they raced here. In fact, several college coaches I have spoken to avoid racing at this altitude because of the lousy times their athletes experience. Having a race that's fairly flat and possibly a tad short (I'd love to see a distance comparison of all of the courses our kids run) would indeed produce a faster time. But let's not forget the congested start and (I believe) seven 90 degree turns that have a tendency to slow racers down. Maybe the fact that it's later in the afternoon, has phenominal competition (rabbits) and in the shade for the most part also has something to do with the times (temperature at the pre-state meet surely caused the times to go the other way). If we're going to downgrade this race let's first measure every course that PR's are run in across the nation to make sure our kids aren't being handed just one more disadvantage when compared nationally. Meanwhile, the kids get to mark down possibly a season PR, feel good about themselves, and maybe get some national recognition. After all, the Colorado vs Colorado racer comparisons will come out in the league, regional, and state races.[/quote] Again, no one has said that LB is not a premier meet or that it's not a major accomplishment to win or do well there. All that is being said is that the times recorded there have to be evaluated with a considerable asterisk, for the many reasons noted above. I don't think there has been a lack of attention given to LB results or accoloades to its winners over the six years I've now coached in Colorado. Mt. Sac, in California, has similar issues regarding race distance, etc. http://events.mtsac.edu/ccinvite/coursemisconceptions.htm Yet, everyone around the country recognizes that those who do well at Mt Sac are great runners. And, the California milesplit site lists Mt. Sac times as 3 miles: http://ca.milesplit.us/rankings/2008/cc/hs/f/3Mile So to everyone running at LB Friday: good luck. Most of those "in the know" around the country will be watching and taking note. Your performances will be duly credited, regardless of whether they're considered 5k or 3 miles.
vergreenfans wrote:
Interesting discussion but most of the comments are focused on coaches being able to do armchair analysis and miss the one true advantage of the Liberty Bell; the kids love it! For the ones who want to continue racing in college, it might just be the time they need for a coach to take notice. Let's not forget, our Colorado CC runners are constantly running at 5,000 to 8,000 ft elevation and are being compared to others who couldn't make it up the first hill if they raced here. In fact, several college coaches I have spoken to avoid racing at this altitude because of the lousy times their athletes experience. Having a race that's fairly flat and possibly a tad short (I'd love to see a distance comparison of all of the courses our kids run) would indeed produce a faster time. But let's not forget the congested start and (I believe) seven 90 degree turns that have a tendency to slow racers down. Maybe the fact that it's later in the afternoon, has phenominal competition (rabbits) and in the shade for the most part also has something to do with the times (temperature at the pre-state meet surely caused the times to go the other way). If we're going to downgrade this race let's first measure every course that PR's are run in across the nation to make sure our kids aren't being handed just one more disadvantage when compared nationally. Meanwhile, the kids get to mark down possibly a season PR, feel good about themselves, and maybe get some national recognition. After all, the Colorado vs Colorado racer comparisons will come out in the league, regional, and state races.


Again, no one has said that LB is not a premier meet or that it's not a major accomplishment to win or do well there. All that is being said is that the times recorded there have to be evaluated with a considerable asterisk, for the many reasons noted above. I don't think there has been a lack of attention given to LB results or accoloades to its winners over the six years I've now coached in Colorado.

Mt. Sac, in California, has similar issues regarding race distance, etc.
http://events.mtsac.edu/ccinvite/coursemisconceptions.htm
Yet, everyone around the country recognizes that those who do well at Mt Sac are great runners. And, the California milesplit site lists Mt. Sac times as 3 miles:
http://ca.milesplit.us/rankings/2008/cc/hs/f/3Mile

So to everyone running at LB Friday: good luck. Most of those "in the know" around the country will be watching and taking note. Your performances will be duly credited, regardless of whether they're considered 5k or 3 miles.
09/16/2009 11:09:27 PM
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Why doesn't somebody ask USATF to certify the course and settle the argument once and for all.
Why doesn't somebody ask USATF to certify the course and settle the argument once and for all.
09/16/2009 11:36:53 PM
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One last thing. As I tried to make clear in the note at the end of the article, I'm not trying to suggest the race is 3 miles by putting results into the three-mile bucket. You can't have a thousand different buckets; three miles is the closest bucket I have to 5K. The alternative is to not archive the results at all--just post them as results without entering them into the database. If you're running the race on Friday and don't want your results entered into the database as three-mile results, please let me know and I will honor that request. That will take a certain amount of time, but less time than debating the merits of whether it's better to enter them as 3 mile or 5K results.
One last thing. As I tried to make clear in the note at the end of the article, I'm not trying to suggest the race is 3 miles by putting results into the three-mile bucket. You can't have a thousand different buckets; three miles is the closest bucket I have to 5K. The alternative is to not archive the results at all--just post them as results without entering them into the database. If you're running the race on Friday and don't want your results entered into the database as three-mile results, please let me know and I will honor that request. That will take a certain amount of time, but less time than debating the merits of whether it's better to enter them as 3 mile or 5K results.
09/17/2009 1:54:37 AM
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Posts: 107
I'm curious about moliver's post that says USATF lists the St. Vrain course at 4.98 and LB at 5K. How are they arriving at those numbers? Are they using GPS? Our course for the St. Vrain meet would be virtually impossible to measure unless someone was on the ground and knew exactly where each turn of the trail was. There are a couple of corners that no one but me would know without the course being set up, and my experience with GPS is that it tends to be accurate up to a point, but certainly can have discrepancies of +/- 50 to 150 meters over the course of a 5K. I've measured the St. Vrain course more times than I care to count, and it is, based on my wheel, the longest course we run all year (and I've measured every single one we've run for the last few years including the state course in Colorado Springs when the vast majority of the times were 25 to 40 seconds faster than kids had run all year, and I knew that course was almost 200 meters short of anything we'd run that year before the race started, so I wasn't really surprised at the results that day). After that race, I did quite a bit of research on USATF course certifying (including ordering a counter with the intention of setting up a bike) and even found some folks who would have been willing to do that for the state course, but the offer was refused. What I've realized over the years of measuring, is that my wheel is very accurate relative to itself and it doesn't really matter how fast I go around a course, the distances are always remarkably close to previous checks (I have a foot wheel and I'm never off by more than 10 clicks when I measure our course against previous checks). My assistant used his metric wheel the other day and was coming up with distances that were suggesting my wheel was measuring short, so we went to the track and discovered that his wheel was measuring just over 99 meters on a 100 meter stretch of track. (This works out to a discrepancy of almost 50 meters over a 5K distance.) One other issue in measuring high school courses vs. USATF certified courses is tangents vs. the center of the path. USATF takes the shortest distance around a course while the National High School Federation measures the center of the path. I like the new state course at Fossil Ridge, and (surprise!) I've measured it a few times. It was within 40 meters of 5K the first time I checked it before they put in the third creek crossing east of the first two. Based on my wheel, it's now about 90 meters short of our course for the St. Vrain Inv. I'm not claiming perfect 5K accuracy for the St. Vrain course, but the times this year in the girls' race had to do with great athletes running under perfect weather conditions (and they started very intelligently). The real message from the St. Vrain meet is that Kelsey and Kaitlin are on pace to have some amazing results by the end of the year. For the majority of the athletes, St. Vrain was a good day (with perfect weather, 55 degrees, no wind) but 99% will run faster later in the season. As I've watched Liberty Bell times over the years, it seems that for a majority of the athletes, this is their top time of the year. I personally appreciate not having to go through and check numerous other races to get a feel for how athletes from other teams are going to compete at the end of the season. I echo Matt Norton and wish good luck to all of you running on Friday. At least Liberty Bell runs the same course every year so there is a basis of comparison within the race itself from season to season, but I do cast my vote with the those who appreciate not having to wade through LB times when assessing our competition.
I'm curious about moliver's post that says USATF lists the St. Vrain course at 4.98 and LB at 5K. How are they arriving at those numbers? Are they using GPS? Our course for the St. Vrain meet would be virtually impossible to measure unless someone was on the ground and knew exactly where each turn of the trail was. There are a couple of corners that no one but me would know without the course being set up, and my experience with GPS is that it tends to be accurate up to a point, but certainly can have discrepancies of +/- 50 to 150 meters over the course of a 5K. I've measured the St. Vrain course more times than I care to count, and it is, based on my wheel, the longest course we run all year (and I've measured every single one we've run for the last few years including the state course in Colorado Springs when the vast majority of the times were 25 to 40 seconds faster than kids had run all year, and I knew that course was almost 200 meters short of anything we'd run that year before the race started, so I wasn't really surprised at the results that day). After that race, I did quite a bit of research on USATF course certifying (including ordering a counter with the intention of setting up a bike) and even found some folks who would have been willing to do that for the state course, but the offer was refused. What I've realized over the years of measuring, is that my wheel is very accurate relative to itself and it doesn't really matter how fast I go around a course, the distances are always remarkably close to previous checks (I have a foot wheel and I'm never off by more than 10 clicks when I measure our course against previous checks). My assistant used his metric wheel the other day and was coming up with distances that were suggesting my wheel was measuring short, so we went to the track and discovered that his wheel was measuring just over 99 meters on a 100 meter stretch of track. (This works out to a discrepancy of almost 50 meters over a 5K distance.) One other issue in measuring high school courses vs. USATF certified courses is tangents vs. the center of the path. USATF takes the shortest distance around a course while the National High School Federation measures the center of the path. I like the new state course at Fossil Ridge, and (surprise!) I've measured it a few times. It was within 40 meters of 5K the first time I checked it before they put in the third creek crossing east of the first two. Based on my wheel, it's now about 90 meters short of our course for the St. Vrain Inv. I'm not claiming perfect 5K accuracy for the St. Vrain course, but the times this year in the girls' race had to do with great athletes running under perfect weather conditions (and they started very intelligently). The real message from the St. Vrain meet is that Kelsey and Kaitlin are on pace to have some amazing results by the end of the year. For the majority of the athletes, St. Vrain was a good day (with perfect weather, 55 degrees, no wind) but 99% will run faster later in the season. As I've watched Liberty Bell times over the years, it seems that for a majority of the athletes, this is their top time of the year. I personally appreciate not having to go through and check numerous other races to get a feel for how athletes from other teams are going to compete at the end of the season. I echo Matt Norton and wish good luck to all of you running on Friday. At least Liberty Bell runs the same course every year so there is a basis of comparison within the race itself from season to season, but I do cast my vote with the those who appreciate not having to wade through LB times when assessing our competition.
09/17/2009 2:00:46 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 107
By the way, moliver, we'd be happy to let you come and run at St. Vrain next year if you're interested :-)
By the way, moliver, we'd be happy to let you come and run at St. Vrain next year if you're interested
09/17/2009 12:06:36 PM
Coach
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 33
Alan, What sets this web site apart from any other similar websites is the well spring of information that I get on any particular athlete that runs or has run in Colorado. Not only do I get times I get a complete progression of times in an event by event order and also in chronological order as well. If that weren
Alan,

What sets this web site apart from any other similar websites is the well spring of information that I get on any particular athlete that runs or has run in Colorado. Not only do I get times I get a complete progression of times in an event by event order and also in chronological order as well. If that weren
09/17/2009 12:10:37 PM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 130
Boy, forums can be so hard sometimes, you think you said something that makes sense and somtimes it doesn't happen the way you wanted it to. I apologize if anyone thought I was being critical of St. Vrain, or any other race. I reread my comments and can see how that happened. What I wanted to get across was that a group of parents went to the USATF site saw St. Vrain at something less than 5K and Liberty Bell as 5K. I certainly don't know how USATF came to these distances, but try to explain to a layman that the Olympic Governing Body of our sport could be wrong is not easy to do. They just have the advantage of automatic legitimacy, right or wrong. When I look at the times from that meet and see who ran them, they certainly don't seem out of line (girls only). They may be a bit scary to the rest of us, but certainly believable. Again, I don't think it is right to start looking at courses for acceptable stuff for inclusion here, just sets a bad precedent. However, I would not want to in any way infer that this issue would change my opinion of this site, which is it is outstanding in its service to our community. Mcroberts, thanks for the invite, I accept, please add Pine Creek to your list for next year!
Boy, forums can be so hard sometimes, you think you said something that makes sense and somtimes it doesn't happen the way you wanted it to. I apologize if anyone thought I was being critical of St. Vrain, or any other race. I reread my comments and can see how that happened. What I wanted to get across was that a group of parents went to the USATF site saw St. Vrain at something less than 5K and Liberty Bell as 5K. I certainly don't know how USATF came to these distances, but try to explain to a layman that the Olympic Governing Body of our sport could be wrong is not easy to do. They just have the advantage of automatic legitimacy, right or wrong. When I look at the times from that meet and see who ran them, they certainly don't seem out of line (girls only). They may be a bit scary to the rest of us, but certainly believable. Again, I don't think it is right to start looking at courses for acceptable stuff for inclusion here, just sets a bad precedent. However, I would not want to in any way infer that this issue would change my opinion of this site, which is it is outstanding in its service to our community. Mcroberts, thanks for the invite, I accept, please add Pine Creek to your list for next year!
09/17/2009 1:10:30 PM
Admin
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3131
Okay, I'm trying to listen and I think I'm getting some of the picture. Allow me to explain a thing or two about how and why I do things. I started this Colorado Track XC webmaster thing in large part because it gave me some tools to do things that I was already doing as a coach, but allowed me to do them much more efficiently. So, I view the rankings from a coach's perspective, not an athlete's, and not a parent's. The three perspectives are not always fully compatible. I want the rankings to be useful for what other sports call scouting. That is my number one priority with rankings. My priorities are quite a bit different with articles, photos, and the other things you will find on Colorado Track XC. I'm delighted as I can be that others take interest in the rankings, but the work I do with them is, first and foremost, work to make the job of high school and college coaches easier. Not that Liberty Bell has asked me for any advice, but I wouldn't change a thing if I were Lori Lee, or anyone else involved with the meet. If Mt. SAC can be the most prestigious race in CA at 2.93 miles (thanks for the reference, mnort), then Liberty Bell can be the most prestigious race in Colorado at 3.something with an overall negative elevation change. If anyone is pondering leaving Liberty Bell because it doesn't fit well in the 5K rankings, dare I suggest that person is going to Liberty Bell for all the wrong reasons? Go for the competition, and let the times take care of themselves. Absolutely all the best to everyone running at Liberty Bell this weekend and for years to come! Make great memories there. Run hard, pass somebody you never thought you could beat on the final stretch. Send me photos--I'll put some of them up!
Okay, I'm trying to listen and I think I'm getting some of the picture. Allow me to explain a thing or two about how and why I do things. I started this Colorado Track XC webmaster thing in large part because it gave me some tools to do things that I was already doing as a coach, but allowed me to do them much more efficiently. So, I view the rankings from a coach's perspective, not an athlete's, and not a parent's. The three perspectives are not always fully compatible. I want the rankings to be useful for what other sports call scouting. That is my number one priority with rankings. My priorities are quite a bit different with articles, photos, and the other things you will find on Colorado Track XC. I'm delighted as I can be that others take interest in the rankings, but the work I do with them is, first and foremost, work to make the job of high school and college coaches easier.

Not that Liberty Bell has asked me for any advice, but I wouldn't change a thing if I were Lori Lee, or anyone else involved with the meet. If Mt. SAC can be the most prestigious race in CA at 2.93 miles (thanks for the reference, mnort), then Liberty Bell can be the most prestigious race in Colorado at 3.something with an overall negative elevation change. If anyone is pondering leaving Liberty Bell because it doesn't fit well in the 5K rankings, dare I suggest that person is going to Liberty Bell for all the wrong reasons? Go for the competition, and let the times take care of themselves.

Absolutely all the best to everyone running at Liberty Bell this weekend and for years to come! Make great memories there. Run hard, pass somebody you never thought you could beat on the final stretch. Send me photos--I'll put some of them up!

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