Saturday, January 02, 2010

Trans Iowa V6: Thoughts Part IX

<====Situation Room- T.I.V2- Time running out....
Rules: Most competitive events have rules. Boundaries, if you will, that dictate how an event will unfold to some degree, but really, they are there so the people inside an event know what to expect. If these parameters are effectively communicated, the participants know what to expect if they find themselves outside said boundaries.
Usually these types of rules, or boundaries, are best if they are simple, and unwavering. Look at it this way: It is like a line drawn in the sand, Cross it and face the consequences. I think we all "get that". Easy to understand. Easy to see that a consequence will occur if your actions cause you to "cross that line". You don't have to agree with it, and in the case of these ultra-endurance events, you don't have to show up if you don't like the way the event is run, or more specifically, the rules.
My intentions in writing this post are to draw attention to time cut offs. We use them in Trans Iowa. The reason we use them is to help us keep track of you, the event participants, and also to add another element to the event. An urgency to keep moving, to continue to test yourself. To add a mental/logistical component to the event.
I think my time limits for the event have been very fair in light of my intentions. It is simple. Cover 10 miles every hour and you'll be a finisher. Not "10mph" mind you- no, I said you must cover at least 10 miles every hour to complete a Trans Iowa. This means that in reality, you've got to go slightly faster than 10mph because you'll have to stop for things. Mechanicals, flat tires, nutrition, rest, and maybe even figuring in waiting for traffic to safely cross roads. Going 10mph means you'd never get to stop for the entire 320-ish miles. Not likely is it?
Added to this, I have relaxed the mileage per hour needed to cover the miles of Trans Iowa in recent years. Last year it averaged in the 9 plus miles covered per hour to complete the course. Still, some folks were not on pace. It is tough. It is meant to be.
Checkpoints are closed in relation to the slowest average time needed to reach them. So, if you are late getting to one, even by a minute, you are done. Disqualified. Your efforts resulted in a falling short of the measure by which everyone in a T.I. is being measured. Even if you are late by one minute.
I have been on the recieving end of some heated discussion of how the time cut off wasn't fair. But if I don't stick to my guns. If I do not enforce the rules, then why even have them? How does that reflect on folks that do live by the expectations of the time cut offs? Doesn't that cheapen their accomplisments. I think it does.
Recently I have gotten wind of other event directors that don't enforce checkpoint cut off times. Well, they are free to run their events as they see fit. But I ask, "Why even bother having time cut offs if you don't enforce them?" Just let anybody roll in when they can. I mean, either you do it, or you don't. Playing the "gray area" is just goofy. My opinion.
Whatever- Trans Iowa will not be run that way. You can expect that as long as I am at the helm, and as much as I am able to, the cut off times will be enforced in a black and white manner. You either make it, or you don't.
And now you know where you stand as a event participant. No wondering if there is someone getting a ten minute grace on a checkpoint. You either get there on time, or not. Folks can read a watch. It shouldn't be hard to figure this out.

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