Is the course really 10km, my GPS said it was 9.8km / 10.3km / 9.9km?
Yes, the course is 10.0km long when measured with a bicycle wheel (this is the reason for some of the quirks of the course, such as going the 'wrong way' around the Temple monument). This assumes using the full width of the track, but not cutting across any verge corners.
The topic of course length and measuring multi-terrain courses is a common one for many races.
As is common for multi-terrain races, we do not have a Certificate of Course Accuracy - this is due to the recognised difficulties in accurately measuring a rough, undulating and sometimes muddy surface.
A bicycle wheel is regarded as the best option for such courses, as surveyors wheels suffer more from deflection and undulation - albeit arguably a bicycle wheel will slightly over-read because of rough terrain and associated undulations.
GPS measurements suffer from the limitations of GPS accuracy, and/or the devices' attempts to correct for these limitations. Many GPS devices apply smoothing to the GPS position results to compensate for the 'noise' in the positions, but this has the affect of smoothing tracks around corners, and hence on a course such as ours with many corners, will report a shorter distance. It is also worth noting that GPS works best with a clear line of sight to the satellites, which can be located anywhere between the horizon and directly overhead. In areas of woodland line of sight to the satellites is obstructed by trees limiting the accuracy.
If your GPS has shown a short course, have a close look at your recorded tracks through the woods and see how many times it shows you cutting a corner. Also, you may often see false terrain undulations in the woods - a typical symptom of the GPS not being able to get an accuate signal from multiple satellites.
There was a discussion on our facebook page after the 2015 race, and people reported GPS course lengths ranging from 9.85km - 10.3km - with a bias towards shorter lengths.
We will of course measure the course after we lay it out - but we are as confident as we can be from the various measurements over the years that it is 10.0km long.
The most recent measurement was made on Tuesday 26th July 2016. We used a bike with a digital odometer. Firstly we did an approximate calibration of the odometer by measuring the distance of 10 rotations of the bike wheel along a section of flat tarmac road. We then identified a 1.80km length section of the route 65 cycle path along the former railway line between Escrick and Naburn. We chose this as it is straight, level, tarmac and we can measure a known distance on a map with a good level of precision. We rode it there and back (i.e. 3.6km) and this allowed us to make a further 0.7% calibration to the odometer. We then cycled the course, keeping as close as possible to the racing line. At the same time (for curiosity purposes) we also tracked the performance of a GPS device. The odometer and GPS were extremely consistent for the first 3km of the race - within about 10m of each other at each 1km point. However, once we got into the woods the GPS started to lag behind the odometer - losing nearly 300m by the 6km stage. Coming back out of the woods, from 7km back to 10km the GPS once again was consistent with the odometer readings. The final result on the odometer was 10km and 90m - which after allowing for riding around the occasional pot hole is going to be very close to an exact 10km.
What is the timing mechanism?
New for 2017 - we are now using chip timing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transponder_timing
Is water provided?
There is a water station at approximately 5km mark, and bottled water at the finishing line.
Do I get a T-shirt?
We know many runners like something to remember a race by. We have considered including T-shirts in the entry fee - but many runners have said that they have little interest in receiving a low cost T-shirt. Equally we do not think we could justify substantially increasing the entry fee to include a high quality T-shirt. As such we have decided to not include T-shirts in the entry fee.
What does the price include?
The price includes:
- car parking
- entry to the race
- chip timing
- water at 5km and finish line
- a race memento