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2019 Elementary Super Meet
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  • ahutch User since:
    Feb 21st, 2011
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    Report    REPLY #101 

    ahutch said 1 month ago

    Fun as it is to take potshots at Oldster, maybe it's worth considering the point he's trying to make without making it personal. Pretend for a moment that Canada didn't send any team at all this year, and that we can therefore discuss selection policies without all comments being interpreted as implicit jabs at the people who were there doing their best.

    In that hypothetical world, what did the Aarhus experience suggest? If you watched the races (and they were amazing to watch!), it was hard not to come away with the feeling that XC is different. That's not always the case -- there have certainly been WXC courses that ran like manicured golf courses. (And, conversely, there have been some serious mudbaths that emphasized different skills.) If this is the direction the IAAF wants to take WXC (and it sounds like it is), you'd be crazy not to at least consider that trend in formulating your selection principles.

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Report    REPLY #102 

    Oldster said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "I respectively disagree with you Oldster. I think having the ability of AC being able to make selective additions to the team will ensure the we send our best team to World XC.
    There are athletes that should have been selected that couldn't make it to our nationals based on financial reasons, timing, or extended competition season that would have been a good selection for the team. We are not blessed with hundreds of equally qualified runners such as other power house countries where a selection from a trial wouldn't change much in terms of the quality of the team.
    Another reason, is that our nationals course is quite a bit different (or could be different) from what is being run at Worlds. It would be the selectors decision to pick the best athlete to perform well at that course. Fort Henry was a tame course compared to Denmark this year, Or if it goes the other way, Fort Henry could be very different from a historical course, ie Uganda? Flat, hard and fast.

    Who would you have had on the team that should have qualified from Fort Henry?"


    I don't think you're necessarily disagreeing with me. I'm not saying that AC shouldn't be able to make selections based on other criteria than the trials. I'm saying, as you seem to be, that it's perhaps not a bad idea to consider championship course layouts when picking a team, particularly when the course promises to have some extreme elements. Along those lines, I'm also saying that, if the options are using the trials-- on ANY course-- versus using track times, the bias should be strongly in favour of the using the trials. But, there are other conceivable options, such as taking other XC results into consideration. For example, if someone takes the initiative to get him/herself to a European race on a course that's similar to what we're expecting at WXC, but can't make it to our trial-- or when our trial is being held on a course that doesn't mimic the expected WXC layout-- we should consider selecting him/her based on that result. Similarly, if someone really crushes a mountain race, and WXC is once again happening on a course like that in Denmark, why not give some weight to that? My general bias would be toward someone who has shown some kind of commitment to, and special ability at, the actual discipline. As things stand, the best indication of commitment to XC is, if healthy, simply competing in the trial race for the championship in question. Having competed often over a period of years is also a good indication of commitment. But, again, there's no reason why things have to stand as they exactly as they are. The only thing I think the apparent new reality of WXC championship course design would seem to rule out is selecting athletes strictly based on track times. This year's edition made it pretty clear that there are very few examples of people who are SO good on the track that they are guaranteed to perform well on any XC course, particularly without any clear commitment to the discipline.

    P.S. Thanks for contributing to the discussion. At least we're moving beyond the absurd suggestion that I bumped this thread in order to pick on Jessica OConnell.

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Report    REPLY #103 

    Oldster said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Oldster
    "Is it just me, or is it always the anonymous contributors who want to construe everything as a personal attack-- and then, ironically, make an (anonymous) personal attack themselves?"



    Take a look at the below quotes (emphasis points are mine) - and tell me how someone would reach any conclusion other than you criticizing O'Connell.

    Quoting: Oldster
    Can we revisit this question (track-based selections for WXC) in light of the WXC results?


    Quoting: Oldster
    I think this edition of WXC makes it clear that you want your fastest track and road athletes on your team, but only if they have a demonstrated interest in running XC.


    Quoting: Oldster
    AC needs to end its experiment in trying to parachute athletes onto XC teams based on track times, and not just in the interest of fairness.


    Quoting: Oldster
    Unfortunately, I think our selection policy this time around was narrowly focused on inducing these two senior men (and possible also Matt Hughes) to run. While understandable, this is bad policy for the future (particularly wrt to the senior women's team), I would submit.

    Look, just give it up already. I said that this was a bad policy wrt to our senior women in particular because, as I argued earlier in the thread, there are no equivalents of Mo Ahmed and Cam Levins on the women's side in Canada-- i.e. athletes you could reasonably argue are so much better than everyone else on the track that they should be parachuted into WXC, regardless of their level of commitment to the discipline. And I said that this year's WXC course and results-- not Jessica O'Connell's performance-- indicate that, in the future, this may be a very dubious way to select teams.

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Report    REPLY #104 

    Oldster said 1 month ago

    P.S. The one conceivable exception to the rule here, based on this year's results, would be for steeplechasers. It's reasonable to argue that a high level steepler with any proven XC ability at all should be considered for selection without participation in a trial when the course promises to be extremely technical and hilly.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #105 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Oldster
    "P.S. The one conceivable exception to the rule here, based on this year's results, would be for steeplechasers. It's reasonable to argue that a high level steepler with any proven XC ability at all should be considered for selection without participation in a trial when the course promises to be extremely technical and hilly."


    How did the steeple chase hypothesis work out for the US? Exhibit A: Courtney Frerichs has run 30s faster than the Canadian NR in the event. She finished behind all 6 Canadian women.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #106 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Call me narrow minded and naļve but if an athlete can't even make an effort to compete in our National XC Championships or the designated Qualifying race then they should NOT be considered to represent our country in the International competition.

    If you want to run for your country then you need to run in the qualifying race.

    If you are injured the "tough sh-t rule" applies and you still can't compete. because we all know how easy it is to get a doctor to write a note that says..."Billy was injured and he couldn't run".

    This allowing free passes to our supposed elite athletes just confirms little depth we have in the field of athletics, and this current generation of athletes want to have the Canadian jersey handed to them as officials plead and cajole them for them to represent their country.

    We want athletes on the team that want to represent their country and wear the Maple Leaf with pride.


    Sign me...

    A Loyal Canadian

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  • oldster User since:
    Sep 25th, 2013
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    Report    REPLY #107 

    Oldster said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "How did the steeple chase hypothesis work out for the US? Exhibit A: Courtney Frerichs has run 30s faster than the Canadian NR in the event. She finished behind all 6 Canadian women."


    The three highly successful non-American outliers in the women's race cancel her out. Then there's Chematai in the men's race-- 12th, with a very modest 8:17 steeple PB. (Good road 10k though-- 27:53). Talk about over-performing!

    I would definitely go with a steepler with any sign of XC commitment/ability on a course like this one.

    This post was edited by Oldster 1 month ago . 
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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #108 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Oldster
    "The three highly successful non-American outliers in the women's race cancel her out. Then there's Chematai in the men's race-- 12th, with a very modest 8:17 steeple PB. (Good road 10k though-- 27:53). Talk about over-performing!

    I would definitely go with a steepler with any sign of XC commitment/ability on a course like this one."



    You’re cherry picking stats

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #109 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #110 

    Andrew Jones said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America."


    The much discussed Aarhus course difficulty is relative to the demands of a world-class XC race: sprinting off the line at anaerobic-inducing speeds and then "settling" into a push-and-pull with said "anaerobicness". Trail running and MTN running have very different dynamics.

    But I take your point that some of the XC events in North America run on well-manicured golf courses (especially the flat ones...thinking of Notre Dame, etc.) are rather tepid and seem to go against the literal of "cross country".

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #111 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America."


    Totally agree, I loved the Fort race in Kingston but it is relatively flat and fast on most days. Just have been lucky that its been muddy for the last 4 years during nationals. We have to make cross a cross country race. Take a lesson from Denmark, lets through in some hay bails, or fence or even a technical section through some single track.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America."



    Not really. Mountain running is a different sport. If you try to make XC especially 'extreme' (let me guess - you run spartan races and tough mudders), you end up with a hiking contest.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #113 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America."


    You are so correct. You see it here. People talk about XC times and how great certain runners are based on XC times.


    News Release......TIME AND DISTANCE ARE IRRELEVENT IN XC. IT'S ALL ABOUT PLACEMENT NOT TIME.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #114 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "The trail running and mtn running communities must be laughing at how cute it is that this WXC course has been described as extreme. Just shows how lame XC has become in North America."


    Trail and mountain running are different disciplines than XC. Just like track and road are different from XC.

    Laughing because XC is not the same challenges as trail or mountain running is really no different than marathoners laughing at indoor track because they don't have to deal with windy or rainy conditions and just makes the laugher look silly and uninformed about the sport.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #115 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Andrew Jones
    "The much discussed Aarhus course difficulty is relative to the demands of a world-class XC race: sprinting off the line at anaerobic-inducing speeds and then "settling" into a push-and-pull with said "anaerobicness". Trail running and MTN running have very different dynamics.

    But I take your point that some of the XC events in North America run on well-manicured golf courses (especially the flat ones...thinking of Notre Dame, etc.) are rather tepid and seem to go against the literal of "cross country"."


    yeah these are great points! Trail and mtn running are different dynamics - absolutely. but XC vs. track should also be different dynamics too. A flat and well manicured golf course isn’t going to go far in creating those different dynamics. But when hills and uneven ground and mud, and hairpin turns and side hills are added then XC specificity becomes a factor and makes for exciting spectating. So what are Canada’s best XC courses for that?

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #116 

    Anonymous said 1 month ago

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "yeah these are great points! Trail and mtn running are different dynamics - absolutely. but XC vs. track should also be different dynamics too. A flat and well manicured golf course isn’t going to go far in creating those different dynamics. But when hills and uneven ground and mud, and hairpin turns and side hills are added then XC specificity becomes a factor and makes for exciting spectating. So what are Canada’s best XC courses for that?"


    Ummmm, I can't think of any that meet those requirements. Trouble is race organizers get stuck in a rut and redo the same layout over and over.

    Victoria has the ability to raise the bar although I don't think running through a golf course sand trap is all that difficult. There is the ability to put a nasty hill on the layout.

    It will take years for AC to adjust and improve our Championship. 2019 and 2020 are on a joke of a course in Abbotsford with one moderately steep hill that's short other than that it's flat as a pancake.

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  • buddy User since:
    Jun 8th, 2015
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    Report    REPLY #117 

    Buddy said 1 month ago

    You want to exclude all our amazing NCAA athletes? :)

    Quoting: Anonymous
    "Totally agree, I loved the Fort race in Kingston but it is relatively flat and fast on most days. Just have been lucky that its been muddy for the last 4 years during nationals. We have to make cross a cross country race. Take a lesson from Denmark, lets through in some hay bails, or fence or even a technical section through some single track."

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #118 

    Another Idiot Abroad said 1 month ago

    I was pretty excited with some of the performances the Canadian women's team put on, as a mountain runner I'll agree it's not an easy course. Circa 10% incline is kinda the norm for uphill championship races. Downhills take a lot out of your quads.

    However, I do still believe that you can run well on all surfaces (individual - some are stronger in different areas regardless), but you do need to be prepared.
    A fast track runner does not make a great mountain or xc runner (but it does help a lot).
    XC needs hills IMHO, I fully agree that there is an unfortunate tendency to flatten out xc courses in North America to make them faster.
    Another point for prep - as XC is now 10km you need to be prepared to race longer than a 10,000m or 10km road, as it is a slightly longer effort (time wise). You have to adjust your training to deal with that. Instead of 32 minutes you're racing 40.

    In terms of selection, the main factor should still be xc performance (ie. Nationals), with a bit of wiggle room as there are 3-4 months in between.

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  • anonymous Anonymous
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    Report    REPLY #119 

    CPT said 1 month ago

    So I just came across this. I find it interesting to see this discussion pop up after WXC. As a true fan I woke up early to watch the races and cheer on our Canadians, and was delighted to see Gen run to a 20th place finish! Looks like the organizing committee did a great job hosting, and hopefully the next editions can keep the ball rolling to generate global interest in XC.

    And now, to get back to the subject of team criteria, I do not think it is possible to draw an «all white or black» conclusion after seeing the results. On a local aspect, Jess was dominant at NACAC while having a bad day in Aarhus; and like Oldster pointed in earlier posts, results in Denmark were just all over the place, suggesting specific preparation might have been the deal breaker for most runners out there. Now, if you do not run XC nationals, does it mean you cannot prepare well for the circumstances? It is up to coaches and athletes to figure that out, and I know great XC runners who prepare mainly by running on the track, whereas others will actually get out there and grind in the grass and hills. But that does not have anything to do with racing at XC nationals.

    I will not lie that some members of the AC National team Committee and myself were catalyzers for this year's new criteria (as well as making sure we could send a relay team). Motivation to do so came after:
    1. Numerous conversations with people in the running scene about how we could actually do good on the world stage with a team that assembles our best runners
    2. Some athletes showed interest in running WXC (and have shown skills and performance level to do so over the years) but have however IMO very good reasons to not to want to rush things for a race held in November, after going full throttle from March to September
    3. Trying to find the tools to enhance the best XC team we can, and generate interest and excitement in the event

    After the publication of the criteria, I have had numerous talks and arguments with coaches and athletes (including the real life Oldster himself), and some agreed with it, some were against it. It the end, I will say that I am happy we went forward with this criteria, as we were able to try something new without putting to risk the quality of the team. Now, it is time for us to access, and see how we can make things better going forward. I believe stagnant or status quo mentality does more harm than good in most situations in life, but change isn’t better if it isn’t monitored closely to make sure it is in everyone’s interest.

    I do think the criteria can be crafted in order to be better, without necessarily go back to the 100% trial form. What I have gathered from most coaches that are against the new criteria, which is also an issue that I agree with, is: the importance of showing up and making nationals relevant. Having that I mind, I think it would be more fitting to choose the top 6 at Nationals for an official spot, and reward those that showed up (instead of limiting it to the top 4).

    However, if we really want to build the best team (which is also, bear in mind, one of AC’s mandate), it HAS to be open to our outliers. This year, we used top 32 in the world in 3k steeple, 5k and 10k to fill up spots 5-6. Instead, we could use a much stronger world ranking to identify extreme outliers. (and I have had this conversation before, if anyone thinks a Justyn Knight, Mo Ahmed, or any men or women for that matter in the top 12 to 20 in the world could not beat finisher 6th at ACXC, they are mad). And, instead of them bumping finishers 5-6, they are used as alternates descending down the list.

    In this situation, you reward the top 6 that actually showed up, but as we know and was the case this year, some decide to skip WXC or get injured, and we need to go down the list to fill up the spots. Maybe introducing our extreme outliers before finishers 7-8-9 would be a good way to ensure we have the best team possible - if those athletes show serious interest in WXC - without completely discrediting the value of our national championships, something that is a valid concern to the people I have talked to and which I agree with.

    Disclaimer: what is written above is my own opinion and I do not speak for the whole NTC itself, but I am happy to discuss this matter with anyone who has comments or concerns; this is how we will make the next criteria, and hopefully next team, to do better.

    XC is a part of our sport that is truly special but it is hard for our top world class athletes to put importance into it when you take into account: personal prep for track or roads, the fact that dozens of unknown Africans will likely destroy you and prevent you from getting any prize money, and that it could be a factor of risk for injury prone athletes of high risk and very low reward, if you finish outside the top 15. However, it is up to organisations like the IAAF and IOC to make place for XC, in order to generate interest and make it more appealing to these top athletes. The day XC becomes an Olympic Sports, the «Sport Canada and OTP like» programs of this world will have their floodgates open and money will come in to invest in XC. At the moment, in terms of cost to benefit ratio for NSO’s like Athletics Canada, it isn’t worth nothing to invest in XC when all your revenue comes from Olympic results. And maybe, just maybe, the IAAF could do some sort of «distance medley circuit» as part of the Diamond league, where runners contest over roads, track and XC between 3 and 10k in distance in the course of the summer, rather than scratching altogether the 5k from the programme. But that’s a whole another subject.

    CPT

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  • new-post-last-visitsteveweiler User since:
    Mar 28th, 2012
    Posts: 739
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    Report    REPLY #120 

    SteveWeiler said 1 month ago

    Some athletes have reasons for choosing not to compete at Canadian XC, just as some athletes have reasons for racing Canadian XC and declining a spot on the NACAC XC team. The former was clearly taken into account in making the 2018-2019 XC Team criteria, but it's unclear the latter was fully considered, given the wording used.

    Quoting: CPT
    "This year, we used top 32 in the world in 3k steeple, 5k and 10k to fill up spots 5-6."


    While that was a possible outcome, the criteria did not secure 4 spots for trials participants before moving on "to fill up spots 5-6" from Top-32 athletes.

    A change in wording is required if the intention is to secure 4 spots for trials participants in step 1.

    If the intention is to secure 4 spots for trials participants between steps 1 and 3, then a change in wording is required in step 2 of the selection process, setting a cap at 2 non-participants selected.

    Quoting: CPT
    "Instead, we could use a much stronger world ranking to identify extreme outliers...top 12 to 20 in the world could not beat finisher 6th at ACXC, they are mad)."


    Agree with a "much stronger" world ranking being more indicative of an extreme outlier (who would very likely perform well at ACXC). An additional way to ensure any non-participant considered for the team would, hypothetically, beat the 6th place finisher at ACXC no matter who shows up is to limit the number of people that can be on the non-participant list to <6.

    Edit to add: and AC needs to release the criteria much, much sooner so that athletes are informed when planning out their season. It's not just about the travel to ACXC, but the training leading up to the event. If we want our top athletes to take XC seriously, then Athletics Canada needs to lead the way by releasing timely selection criteria for the Canadian XC team.

    This post was edited by SteveWeiler 1 month ago . 
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