Monday, 30 November 2015

Cross country nationals and other unrelated things

My last race of the year, the Canadian XC championships, is complete. Hosted atop Kingston's Fort Henry on a cold but windless day, it felt a suitable end to the season. A very minimalist race, as XC tends to be, but well organized. My only suggestion for next year: buy some Drones to get a fresh race perspective. AC: I guarantee this will boost your numbers.

I placed 45th overall (out of 120 finishers) with a time of 31:40. The course was muddy (7 races had gone before ours), and included some sharp U-turns and rolling hills. Certainly a competitive race, perhaps the most competitive I've ever encountered. There were 20 runners who ran 31:00 or faster, and 50 who ran under 32. On paper, more than half the field had distance PBs better than mine.

Despite the *apparently* low placing, I was pleased with the result given how rarely I dip under 32 minutes for 10k, even on flat roads. Guys running within 10 seconds of me have dipped below 14:30 for 5000m. Good company, if a little crowded!

Factoring in the tricky conditions, the afternoon start, my low 1:09 half PB in October, I really ought to run both a 30:xx 10k and sub-15 road 5k sometime very soon. Or am I getting too old? (I turn 34 in a few weeks). No, not yet given Colin Fewer beat me by 9 seconds and he's 5 years my senior. There is time to be had.

As for personal stuff, that's all to say.


I had an entire morning before the 2:30pm start to rest and wait. So I wrote a piece on gun violence in the USA based on fresh stats. Here is the most striking "discovery" I made for myself (I'm sure it's not an actual novel find):

You can view the rest of the article here on my rarely-used other blog. It obviously has nothing to do with running, but now that the off-season has begun it'd be silly to write about 2016 races or spend time on more open-diary stuff (my least-favourite type of running article). I also may have another brief Canadian Running article coming out for next month's issue based outlining the recent avalanche of Canadian records set in distance events.

Perhaps as an upcoming project I will include development on an Elo Ranking system for cross country running. It already has been shown to be effective in Basketball. Should I use a K-factor of 20, or something smaller?? Tune in sometime, eventually, to find out.


  1. "Perhaps as an upcoming project I will include development on an Elo Ranking system for cross country running."

    Yes. This is sorely needed. I think that performances in xc are usually pretty static, so you can give a high K factor. It may be different from collegiate to open as open runners tend to race less, university runners more. So maybe a university runner who races every weekend will have more ups and downs and you'll want a lower K factor to not have everything go out of whack because of one big workout a couple days before a race. On the club side, is there enough data to make it useful?

    1. One must also decide how much weight absolute times receive. Does simply winning matter, or winning by a wide margin. As a default I'm thinking a 50/50 split could work well for xc. For track, times would have a huge weight and rank would be worth almost nothing.