fast times
10/24/2014 10:17:03 PM
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Wispering pines 1931/19:51/1952 Land o lakes Ocala 1903/Mitchell 1916/lecanto 1927 nature coast 1959 Weeki wachee 1911 Hernando classic 1839/1853/1931 Two of the same girls were in three of these races going from 1952and 1930 to 1853/1839 in four weeks But yet Hillsborough cty runners go 10sec to 40 sec faster and it is short! When Maggie Parrish had run 1917 only six seconds off of fastest time above and Maggie goes 1840 just as above runner went 1839! And yet know question what so ever! Playing field needs to be judged evenly!
Wispering pines
1931/19:51/1952
Land o lakes
Ocala 1903/Mitchell 1916/lecanto 1927 nature coast 1959
Weeki wachee 1911
Hernando classic
1839/1853/1931
Two of the same girls were in three of these races going from
1952and 1930 to 1853/1839 in four weeks
But yet Hillsborough cty runners go 10sec to 40 sec faster and it is short!
When Maggie Parrish had run 1917 only six seconds off of fastest time above and Maggie goes 1840 just as above runner went 1839! And yet know question what so ever! Playing field needs to be judged evenly!
10/25/2014 12:10:45 AM
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@bing28 So I think the most productive thing to do would be to write Todd a note (since he runs the site now) about your concern over that course. Or tag me and ask me if I can do analysis on Hernando-Citrus Classic like I did on Hillsborough. So I'll take that as a request. SURE I'LL DO IT FOR YOU. McKeathan Lake, the course that meet was run on, is known as notoriously one of the fastest courses in the state. But supposedly legit -- possibly not by a Raposo wheel -- but historically it's considered one of the fastest courses that we consider a 5K. It runs about 20-30 seconds faster than an average course typically because it is all on pavement and 100% flat. So all that is more "historical knowledge" than fact. So here are what the facts say... Luckily Whispring Pines Classic, Weeki Wachee, and Land O Lakes provide good a decent set of comparison data since a lot of athletes ran multiple of those meets.... I will be using "middle 80%" (throwing out the 10% on either side) with boys then girls, showing the # who are in our sample set in parenthesis. Negative number is how much faster at Hernando-Citrus. Land O' Lakes 2014 -1:22.94 (50), -2:02.69 (40) Whispering Pines 2014 -52.38 (49), -1:18.90 (42) Weeki Wachee 2014 -35.38 (47), -43.17 (42) WOW! Those are some huge differences. The thing is that, while McKeathan is always fast, I do not remember it being that much of an outlier. So let's look at 2013... Land O Lakes 2013 -37.11 (41) , -32.50 (32) Whispering Pines 2013 -15.33 (54), -8.23 (37) Weeki Wachee was not run in 2013. And frankly it's not a known historical course like Crews Lake or Whispering Pines Park. So without the context of history it is more shaky to compare anyway. So you see a massive difference also between the two years. That tells me something was likely different about 2014 versus historically. Looked at a few previous years and it was around 15-30 seconds difference. There are some difficulty variations between these coureses, however none of them are known for being especially tough. And I am not aware of any weather factors or otherwise that could explain the major variation. So I would tend to agree with you and this should be investigated further and potentially reclassified as 3 miles as well. But my days of running the site are now passed and I'm just the godfather behind the scenes. So that is up to Todd.
@bing28 So I think the most productive thing to do would be to write Todd a note (since he runs the site now) about your concern over that course. Or tag me and ask me if I can do analysis on Hernando-Citrus Classic like I did on Hillsborough. So I'll take that as a request.

SURE I'LL DO IT FOR YOU.

McKeathan Lake, the course that meet was run on, is known as notoriously one of the fastest courses in the state. But supposedly legit -- possibly not by a Raposo wheel -- but historically it's considered one of the fastest courses that we consider a 5K. It runs about 20-30 seconds faster than an average course typically because it is all on pavement and 100% flat. So all that is more "historical knowledge" than fact. So here are what the facts say...

Luckily Whispring Pines Classic, Weeki Wachee, and Land O Lakes provide good a decent set of comparison data since a lot of athletes ran multiple of those meets....

I will be using "middle 80%" (throwing out the 10% on either side) with boys then girls, showing the # who are in our sample set in parenthesis. Negative number is how much faster at Hernando-Citrus.

Land O' Lakes 2014
-1:22.94 (50), -2:02.69 (40)

Whispering Pines 2014
-52.38 (49), -1:18.90 (42)

Weeki Wachee 2014
-35.38 (47), -43.17 (42)

WOW! Those are some huge differences. The thing is that, while McKeathan is always fast, I do not remember it being that much of an outlier. So let's look at 2013...

Land O Lakes 2013
-37.11 (41) , -32.50 (32)

Whispering Pines 2013
-15.33 (54), -8.23 (37)

Weeki Wachee was not run in 2013. And frankly it's not a known historical course like Crews Lake or Whispering Pines Park. So without the context of history it is more shaky to compare anyway.

So you see a massive difference also between the two years. That tells me something was likely different about 2014 versus historically. Looked at a few previous years and it was around 15-30 seconds difference. There are some difficulty variations between these coureses, however none of them are known for being especially tough. And I am not aware of any weather factors or otherwise that could explain the major variation.

So I would tend to agree with you and this should be investigated further and potentially reclassified as 3 miles as well. But my days of running the site are now passed and I'm just the godfather behind the scenes. So that is up to Todd.
10/25/2014 12:41:39 AM
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Jason - McKethan Lake is completely flat - no uphill or downhill, two loops. We ran both years - the course is the same as last year. It's my understanding that the course has been surveyed - I know there are survey pins at the 1 and 2 mile points. As I recall, it was in the mid-80s at last year's Citrus/Hernando Classic, this year it was in the mid-70s. We had similar cool weather at the District 3A-7 meet a week later at the same course in 2013. I think if you do a 2013 comparison with the 2013 District Race, you'll see a similar pattern to the 2014 results. My stats from last year show that our girls ran an average of about one minute better from the C/H Classic to the district meet a week later. I agree that in general, you have to add 20 to 30 seconds to the McKethan Lake times to make then comparable to the average XC course, but I haven't seen any indication that it's a short course.
Jason -

McKethan Lake is completely flat - no uphill or downhill, two loops. We ran both years - the course is the same as last year. It's my understanding that the course has been surveyed - I know there are survey pins at the 1 and 2 mile points. As I recall, it was in the mid-80s at last year's Citrus/Hernando Classic, this year it was in the mid-70s. We had similar cool weather at the District 3A-7 meet a week later at the same course in 2013. I think if you do a 2013 comparison with the 2013 District Race, you'll see a similar pattern to the 2014 results. My stats from last year show that our girls ran an average of about one minute better from the C/H Classic to the district meet a week later. I agree that in general, you have to add 20 to 30 seconds to the McKethan Lake times to make then comparable to the average XC course, but I haven't seen any indication that it's a short course.
10/25/2014 12:56:51 AM
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I also have some fancy-schmancy software that I wrote that is behind the scenes in our admin section that even our admins don't know about. :-) I wrote it years ago to apply the course ratings that you may have seen on a number of courses. Since courses do change over time, I really need to update it. So let's run it on these courses. This software compares a number of factors: season best time (not including the venue in question), second best time of the season (not including the venue in question), average time this season (not including the venue in question), AND it factors in an adjustment factor for WHEN during the season the meet took place. Once upon a time I ran numbers to determine the average week to week improvement (as a factor) to account for fitness improvement as the season goes on. It also throws out the outliers. McKeathan Lake 2014 looks like this... -61.73 for boys, -55.366613384683 for girls McKeathan Lake 2013 looks like this... -32.702624593665 for boys, -38.379598462211 for girls It was also in the negative 28-37 range every year 2011 and beyond. Something odd happened in 2010 and it was slow that year. So what about Al Lopez the other day??? -68.324355970115 for boys, -105.04518636685 for girls In 2013 (over the course of 3 meets) Al Lopez scored... 1.4269474678889 for boys and -11.538908114688 for girls In 2012 it scored a -40 for both, in 2011 it was around -12, in 2010 and 2009 it was also around a -10 to -15. So seems to me something was off this year and in 2012 on that course. I'd have to dig more to be sure. For these scores 0 is a neutral/average course. Many courses have a + number like any of Raposo's or difficult ones like Mount Dora have a substantially high number. Appalachee Park rates somewhere between a +3 and a -10 depending on the year. Chain of Lakes has rated anywhere from +7 to a -17 depending on the year. This year Chain of Lakes was about a +32 because of weather (FLR15 Friday and Astro Invite also factored into that, so FLR15 on Saturday was even more +). So that gives you reference of how fast Al Lopez and McKeathan are this year relatively. I'm not saying this software is the perfect course compare. That's why i never fully released it and called it "beta" but it is pretty darn good and consistent on a high level. One reason I slightly hesitate to use the above numbers is because I really designed it with a full season of data in mind to rate a course and give it a differential score. I didn't really make it for this purpose with only part season data, but even so it does seem to be pretty effective here with 3/4 a season of data.
I also have some fancy-schmancy software that I wrote that is behind the scenes in our admin section that even our admins don't know about. I wrote it years ago to apply the course ratings that you may have seen on a number of courses. Since courses do change over time, I really need to update it. So let's run it on these courses.

This software compares a number of factors: season best time (not including the venue in question), second best time of the season (not including the venue in question), average time this season (not including the venue in question), AND it factors in an adjustment factor for WHEN during the season the meet took place. Once upon a time I ran numbers to determine the average week to week improvement (as a factor) to account for fitness improvement as the season goes on. It also throws out the outliers.

McKeathan Lake 2014 looks like this...

-61.73 for boys, -55.366613384683 for girls

McKeathan Lake 2013 looks like this...

-32.702624593665 for boys, -38.379598462211 for girls

It was also in the negative 28-37 range every year 2011 and beyond. Something odd happened in 2010 and it was slow that year.

So what about Al Lopez the other day???

-68.324355970115 for boys, -105.04518636685 for girls

In 2013 (over the course of 3 meets) Al Lopez scored...

1.4269474678889 for boys and -11.538908114688 for girls

In 2012 it scored a -40 for both, in 2011 it was around -12, in 2010 and 2009 it was also around a -10 to -15. So seems to me something was off this year and in 2012 on that course. I'd have to dig more to be sure.

For these scores 0 is a neutral/average course. Many courses have a + number like any of Raposo's or difficult ones like Mount Dora have a substantially high number. Appalachee Park rates somewhere between a +3 and a -10 depending on the year. Chain of Lakes has rated anywhere from +7 to a -17 depending on the year. This year Chain of Lakes was about a +32 because of weather (FLR15 Friday and Astro Invite also factored into that, so FLR15 on Saturday was even more +). So that gives you reference of how fast Al Lopez and McKeathan are this year relatively.

I'm not saying this software is the perfect course compare. That's why i never fully released it and called it "beta" but it is pretty darn good and consistent on a high level.

One reason I slightly hesitate to use the above numbers is because I really designed it with a full season of data in mind to rate a course and give it a differential score. I didn't really make it for this purpose with only part season data, but even so it does seem to be pretty effective here with 3/4 a season of data.
10/25/2014 1:15:41 AM
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@Stevefarn I used to often harass Milton Lyons (former college teammate, Citrus HS alum and Citrus Summer Showdown meet director) about McKeathan Lake. And he always assured me it was dead on accurate but just lightning fast. All I know is that it is alawys good for a PR. I mean even looking at Red Mule 5K. It's always super-fast even though it is preseason. Always made me wonder about it, frankly. But again historically that is about the fastest course that I considered "legit" and anything faster than McKeathan I pretty much consider bogus. It's just that this year H/C Classic times seem faster than the historic 20-30 second adder. So I dunno.
@Stevefarn I used to often harass Milton Lyons (former college teammate, Citrus HS alum and Citrus Summer Showdown meet director) about McKeathan Lake. And he always assured me it was dead on accurate but just lightning fast. All I know is that it is alawys good for a PR. I mean even looking at Red Mule 5K. It's always super-fast even though it is preseason. Always made me wonder about it, frankly. But again historically that is about the fastest course that I considered "legit" and anything faster than McKeathan I pretty much consider bogus.

It's just that this year H/C Classic times seem faster than the historic 20-30 second adder. So I dunno.
10/25/2014 7:13:21 AM
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We went up to McKethan Lake from Land O Lakes my last two years of high school. I typically ran about 30 seconds faster than other accurate courses at highly competitive races. Mathematically you would need to add more than that for slower runners. As mentioned above, it is an asphalt paved double loop around the lake, with a packed dirt finish of about 150m at the end. In addition, the road is surrounded by dense forest on the outside and is basically in a bowl, all of which eliminate almost all wind. It's like the FSU track on steroids. The only thing I can think of that would make it even faster is if the asphalt road was replaced with synthetic rubber so you could wear spikes and get extra traction. It's great for fast times, but there were many runners I noticed would do well there and struggle at the state meet, which rarely has more than a few feet of paved surfaces (as it should be).
We went up to McKethan Lake from Land O Lakes my last two years of high school. I typically ran about 30 seconds faster than other accurate courses at highly competitive races. Mathematically you would need to add more than that for slower runners. As mentioned above, it is an asphalt paved double loop around the lake, with a packed dirt finish of about 150m at the end. In addition, the road is surrounded by dense forest on the outside and is basically in a bowl, all of which eliminate almost all wind. It's like the FSU track on steroids. The only thing I can think of that would make it even faster is if the asphalt road was replaced with synthetic rubber so you could wear spikes and get extra traction. It's great for fast times, but there were many runners I noticed would do well there and struggle at the state meet, which rarely has more than a few feet of paved surfaces (as it should be).
10/25/2014 9:33:31 AM
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@jason Besides the weather, there was also a difference in the competition level. In 2013, everyone knew that the Nature Coast girls and Lecanto boys were going to win and quit competing when the lead packs emerged. This year, three girls teams (Crystal River, Springstead, and Lecanto) and two boys (Nature Coast and Lecanto) thought they could win if they ran their best race. Add in a competitive race, good running weather, and a bunch of kids pumped up at running a PR on the fastest course they'll see all year (the coaches tell them that) and some strange things can happen. You're also missing a meet from the database that was not reported (Citrus County Championships - 10/15) that would make some of the progressions in times more linear. I'm not going to claim that Lake McKethan is absolutely 3.11 miles without wheeling it correctly myself, but I can tell you that the 2013 and 2014 starting and finishing lines were in the same spots, and the asphalt road didn't get up and move itself.
@jason

Besides the weather, there was also a difference in the competition level. In 2013, everyone knew that the Nature Coast girls and Lecanto boys were going to win and quit competing when the lead packs emerged. This year, three girls teams (Crystal River, Springstead, and Lecanto) and two boys (Nature Coast and Lecanto) thought they could win if they ran their best race. Add in a competitive race, good running weather, and a bunch of kids pumped up at running a PR on the fastest course they'll see all year (the coaches tell them that) and some strange things can happen. You're also missing a meet from the database that was not reported (Citrus County Championships - 10/15) that would make some of the progressions in times more linear.

I'm not going to claim that Lake McKethan is absolutely 3.11 miles without wheeling it correctly myself, but I can tell you that the 2013 and 2014 starting and finishing lines were in the same spots, and the asphalt road didn't get up and move itself.
10/25/2014 10:05:24 AM
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@jason Something else to consider fresh/soph meet at Al Lopez a few weeks earlier... For hillsborough...No one said course was off then... Only difference was pavement at County Champs vs. Fresh/Soph... any difference was made up at the end as the finish line was further away at County Championships.
@jason

Something else to consider fresh/soph meet at Al Lopez a few weeks earlier... For hillsborough...No one said course was off then... Only difference was pavement at County Champs vs. Fresh/Soph... any difference was made up at the end as the finish line was further away at County Championships.
10/25/2014 1:59:01 PM
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@jason To help with variables of the course difference at Al Lopez park over the years 2009-2011 was a 3 small loop course. 2012 the course was changed but brought over the wrong bridge and marked incorrect. (Not a good year) end of 2012 course adjusted again. 2013 (my year) it was my course that was used with the 2 big loop 1.5 miles each loop then the addition finish. This year 2014 was same course as 2013 just addition pavement opened up to fit teams with also a different finish line by the meet host Chamberlain (Freshman/sophomore) and Steinbrenner (Hills. County championship). Today I went out and measured my course again compared to the County meet course and it was 42m off of a 5k while my course we used for districts last year was 3.128 miles. Now originally compared to the other post saying it was 94m short is a big difference.
@jason

To help with variables of the course difference at Al Lopez park over the years 2009-2011 was a 3 small loop course. 2012 the course was changed but brought over the wrong bridge and marked incorrect. (Not a good year) end of 2012 course adjusted again. 2013 (my year) it was my course that was used with the 2 big loop 1.5 miles each loop then the addition finish. This year 2014 was same course as 2013 just addition pavement opened up to fit teams with also a different finish line by the meet host Chamberlain (Freshman/sophomore) and Steinbrenner (Hills. County championship).

Today I went out and measured my course again compared to the County meet course and it was 42m off of a 5k while my course we used for districts last year was 3.128 miles. Now originally compared to the other post saying it was 94m short is a big difference.
10/25/2014 2:38:23 PM
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Thanks for the reply back and finally something productive! In comparison to meet prior to cry meet you could argue the same facts fastest teams and individuals head to head in the beat of conditions. In a fast and dry course! KiD's are ewady to race!
Thanks for the reply back and finally something productive!
In comparison to meet prior to cry meet you could argue the same facts fastest teams and individuals head to head in the beat of conditions. In a fast and dry course! KiD's are ewady to race!
10/25/2014 3:50:25 PM
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@CoachAnthony Thanks for the clarifictions on the course variations and changes there over the years. I must say it kind of helps to validate the experimental rating system since it clearly showed the years where there were changes. It doesn't show what caused the differences (such as Chain of Lakes this year with the mud) it just indicates they were there. Competition can certainly play a factor and that is not (yet) accounted for in the formula. I think Appalachee Park is our prototype 0 course or possibly a +7. But I believe it is the competition drives it down to be a -10. But I do not believe competition can take a course that is normally a -10 (around where Al Lopez has rated most years) and make it a -68 and still be legit! Even with more competition, more pavement, and better weather it shouldn't effect it more than making it into a -30 at best and the competition there is not really anything exceptional relative to something like Prestate obviously. I still contend there was something different... perhaps there was a place where the course was cut. Who knows. I say the same with with McKeathan. It doesn't add up to me that a -30 course (all shaded and pavement) can be made a -60 course without some variation occuring.
@CoachAnthony Thanks for the clarifictions on the course variations and changes there over the years. I must say it kind of helps to validate the experimental rating system since it clearly showed the years where there were changes. It doesn't show what caused the differences (such as Chain of Lakes this year with the mud) it just indicates they were there.

Competition can certainly play a factor and that is not (yet) accounted for in the formula. I think Appalachee Park is our prototype 0 course or possibly a +7. But I believe it is the competition drives it down to be a -10.

But I do not believe competition can take a course that is normally a -10 (around where Al Lopez has rated most years) and make it a -68 and still be legit! Even with more competition, more pavement, and better weather it shouldn't effect it more than making it into a -30 at best and the competition there is not really anything exceptional relative to something like Prestate obviously.

I still contend there was something different... perhaps there was a place where the course was cut. Who knows. I say the same with with McKeathan. It doesn't add up to me that a -30 course (all shaded and pavement) can be made a -60 course without some variation occuring.
10/25/2014 4:01:43 PM
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@jason well there was something different. The Finishline was not in the same spot this year as it was last year plus the start line was about 20m further up than it should of been. I said that earlier but everything will be adjusted for the 30th which will host 4A District 6 with about 8 teams from County Championships in it so maybe that will help the database compare better. Also I'm just going to Fly Ryan up here to measure every possible course in the County for a week just so there will be no more debates! #RyanWheel2015 lol
@jason well there was something different. The Finishline was not in the same spot this year as it was last year plus the start line was about 20m further up than it should of been. I said that earlier but everything will be adjusted for the 30th which will host 4A District 6 with about 8 teams from County Championships in it so maybe that will help the database compare better.

Also I'm just going to Fly Ryan up here to measure every possible course in the County for a week just so there will be no more debates! #RyanWheel2015 lol
10/25/2014 4:22:37 PM
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And from 2001-2008 the Al Lopez course (or courses) was different too. There have been so many, I don't remember them all. Be forewarned, the 2A Dist 10 course will likely be different too!
And from 2001-2008 the Al Lopez course (or courses) was different too. There have been so many, I don't remember them all.

Be forewarned, the 2A Dist 10 course will likely be different too!
10/25/2014 4:38:57 PM
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Jason - There were no changes to the McKethan Lake course that would make a 30-second difference in the times 2013 vs 2014. There is no place on the course to make an adjustment of 400-plus feet to make that time difference. The course will be set up again this Thursday for the District 3A-7 meet. Any one can come and wheel the course before the race around 3-ish or after the race around 5:45. Please come and we can settle which is more accurate - the wheel or your software.
Jason -

There were no changes to the McKethan Lake course that would make a 30-second difference in the times 2013 vs 2014. There is no place on the course to make an adjustment of 400-plus feet to make that time difference. The course will be set up again this Thursday for the District 3A-7 meet. Any one can come and wheel the course before the race around 3-ish or after the race around 5:45. Please come and we can settle which is more accurate - the wheel or your software.
10/27/2014 3:26:11 PM
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A few observations about the times posted at McKethan Lake this past week. Counting this year I have hosted Districts there for 3 years in a row and 4 out of the last 5 years. My team runs there twice a year and sometimes more depending if we run at the Red Mule Runners Labor Day race and if the Red Mule Runners host a summer series. So I know this course. 1. This course is accurate. It has been checked several times and has not changed in 10 years or more. It was set up by Ernie Chatman who most would agree is about as good as they come. 2. Yes this is a very fast course, maybe the fastest in the state under the right conditions. I will tell you, however, that the weather conditions play a huge factor on how fast it is. Maybe more than any other course I have seen. Yes there are trees that shade a good part of the course and this keeps out the wind. Ideal for running great times. In hot and humid weather however, those same trees keep in the heat and humidity. Anybody who has run there will tell you on very hot and humid days it is oppressive to run there and very difficult to breathe under those trees. When they had the summer series there I have seen people put up great times under cooler conditions then those same runners run 1-2 minutes slower two weeks later when the weather was hot and humid. Not unusual on this course. Last week and really for the last two years the weather has been ideal. Last week cool temperatures, little wind and very low humidity. Thus faster times. I saw 2010 mentioned in a post and if memory serves (and it does) it was in the mid 90's and very humid. Thus slower times. When we use to run the Zak Lucas there in late Sept. the times were slower than what was run later in the year at the Hernando/Citrus and/or District. Earlier in the year and usually much higher temperatures and humidity in Sept. (usually lol) 3. The kids know and are very confident running this course. This is the third year in a row for districts there so the vast majority of the kids have run this course. Again it has not changed for 10 or more years. In the case of the Hernando and Citrus county schools this will be the second week in a row running on the same course. This helps a lot. Last year my girl ran in the very low 19's at the Hernando/Citrus Classic. Great weather conditions. First time on the course. She came back the next week and ran an 18:31. Great weather conditions, knew the course. Before anybody says anything two weeks later she ran and 18:49 on a much tougher state course. So I would say the distance and times are pretty legit and as someone said in an earlier post, the slower you are the more chance for improvement, sometimes dramatic improvement. 4. Competition does make a difference. This year at the Hernando/Citrus the weather conditions were ideal and both the boys and girls races were very competitive. If you think the times were fast last week, brace yourself. In the 3A-7 girls race 10 points separate 2nd-5th in the virtual meet. Great competition at the top and all throughout the race. One place or two in this race will be the difference in going to regionals or not. My kids know this and I am sure the other teams know this as well. If the weather holds I expect some blazing times top to bottom. Competition brings out the best in kids. Should be a heck of a competition. 5.Lastly, nobody cut the course. Those who know me and have been out to McKethan Lake when I have hosted Districts know I am fanatical about taping and/or roping off anyplace where you could possibly cut the course. There are really only about 2-3 places where cutting the course could give you an advantage. These places along with other places are well roped off, taped off and I have people there making sure this does not happen. Did not and will not happen. Hope this clears some things up. If anybody wants to come out and wheel this course have at it. This is not a course that is very challanging and everybody knows it is a fast course. Again the course itself has not changed for 10 or more years. It is just that under the right conditions it can be blazing fast. Last week most of my girls ran a PR but not all. Some PR'ed by a few seconds some by much more. My number one did not PR. On any given day. I guess it just aggravates me that people go on a public forum and say something was wrong with the course without knowing the course, the runners, the weather conditions and other things.It takes away from the accomplishments of the athletes on that day.
A few observations about the times posted at McKethan Lake this past week. Counting this year I have hosted Districts there for 3 years in a row and 4 out of the last 5 years. My team runs there twice a year and sometimes more depending if we run at the Red Mule Runners Labor Day race and if the Red Mule Runners host a summer series. So I know this course.
1. This course is accurate. It has been checked several times and has not changed in 10 years or more. It was set up by Ernie Chatman who most would agree is about as good as they come.
2. Yes this is a very fast course, maybe the fastest in the state under the right conditions. I will tell you, however, that the weather conditions play a huge factor on how fast it is. Maybe more than any other course I have seen. Yes there are trees that shade a good part of the course and this keeps out the wind. Ideal for running great times. In hot and humid weather however, those same trees keep in the heat and humidity. Anybody who has run there will tell you on very hot and humid days it is oppressive to run there and very difficult to breathe under those trees. When they had the summer series there I have seen people put up great times under cooler conditions then those same runners run 1-2 minutes slower two weeks later when the weather was hot and humid. Not unusual on this course. Last week and really for the last two years the weather has been ideal. Last week cool temperatures, little wind and very low humidity. Thus faster times. I saw 2010 mentioned in a post and if memory serves (and it does) it was in the mid 90's and very humid. Thus slower times. When we use to run the Zak Lucas there in late Sept. the times were slower than what was run later in the year at the Hernando/Citrus and/or District. Earlier in the year and usually much higher temperatures and humidity in Sept. (usually lol)
3. The kids know and are very confident running this course. This is the third year in a row for districts there so the vast majority of the kids have run this course. Again it has not changed for 10 or more years. In the case of the Hernando and Citrus county schools this will be the second week in a row running on the same course. This helps a lot. Last year my girl ran in the very low 19's at the Hernando/Citrus Classic. Great weather conditions. First time on the course. She came back the next week and ran an 18:31. Great weather conditions, knew the course. Before anybody says anything two weeks later she ran and 18:49 on a much tougher state course. So I would say the distance and times are pretty legit and as someone said in an earlier post, the slower you are the more chance for improvement, sometimes dramatic improvement.
4. Competition does make a difference. This year at the Hernando/Citrus the weather conditions were ideal and both the boys and girls races were very competitive. If you think the times were fast last week, brace yourself. In the 3A-7 girls race 10 points separate 2nd-5th in the virtual meet. Great competition at the top and all throughout the race. One place or two in this race will be the difference in going to regionals or not. My kids know this and I am sure the other teams know this as well. If the weather holds I expect some blazing times top to bottom. Competition brings out the best in kids. Should be a heck of a competition.
5.Lastly, nobody cut the course. Those who know me and have been out to McKethan Lake when I have hosted Districts know I am fanatical about taping and/or roping off anyplace where you could possibly cut the course. There are really only about 2-3 places where cutting the course could give you an advantage. These places along with other places are well roped off, taped off and I have people there making sure this does not happen. Did not and will not happen.
Hope this clears some things up. If anybody wants to come out and wheel this course have at it. This is not a course that is very challanging and everybody knows it is a fast course. Again the course itself has not changed for 10 or more years. It is just that under the right conditions it can be blazing fast. Last week most of my girls ran a PR but not all. Some PR'ed by a few seconds some by much more. My number one did not PR. On any given day. I guess it just aggravates me that people go on a public forum and say something was wrong with the course without knowing the course, the runners, the weather conditions and other things.It takes away from the accomplishments of the athletes on that day.
10/27/2014 5:11:16 PM
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@jmyers1919 Thanks for the insight, coach. I haven't been to McKeathan but know the course well just from it being around (and known as fast) for so long. And my buddies like Milton from that region have told me that it is a fixed course and does not change. A lot of other courses in the state seem to vary from year to year. Just wanted to add one more thing. It is always a lot better to have as many data points as possible. If there's not enough data points then one team "training through" a meet (or some other variable) can skew one meet to relatively look slower and thus another one faster. So it kind of sucks when there is less than 50 runners in common between two meets because it's much easier for it to get skewed than if it is 150. I must say... I am very glad that I'm no longer the Florida editor/webmaster! These kind of decisions in past years always sucked and caused a lot of drama. It comes up every year and is always good to get people fired up on both sides. But it is stressful to be caught in the middle and just trying to do the right thing. I know that's where Todd Grasley is right now. And he doesn't have quite the background I did and I never minded pissing people off, while he likes everyone to be happy! So I know our boy Todd is stressling out and losing hair over this one!!! He is starting to hate stats with all the hate mail he is getting! I think next year he's going to count even two mile courses as 5K just to avoid the fights. Then again... then Raposo will be on his back. hahahaha Sucks to be you, Todd. Signed, Retired Webmaster Jason
@jmyers1919 Thanks for the insight, coach. I haven't been to McKeathan but know the course well just from it being around (and known as fast) for so long. And my buddies like Milton from that region have told me that it is a fixed course and does not change. A lot of other courses in the state seem to vary from year to year.

Just wanted to add one more thing. It is always a lot better to have as many data points as possible. If there's not enough data points then one team "training through" a meet (or some other variable) can skew one meet to relatively look slower and thus another one faster. So it kind of sucks when there is less than 50 runners in common between two meets because it's much easier for it to get skewed than if it is 150.

I must say... I am very glad that I'm no longer the Florida editor/webmaster! These kind of decisions in past years always sucked and caused a lot of drama. It comes up every year and is always good to get people fired up on both sides. But it is stressful to be caught in the middle and just trying to do the right thing. I know that's where Todd Grasley is right now. And he doesn't have quite the background I did and I never minded pissing people off, while he likes everyone to be happy! So I know our boy Todd is stressling out and losing hair over this one!!! He is starting to hate stats with all the hate mail he is getting! I think next year he's going to count even two mile courses as 5K just to avoid the fights. Then again... then Raposo will be on his back. hahahaha Sucks to be you, Todd.

Signed,
Retired Webmaster Jason
10/27/2014 8:55:09 PM
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@jason - If you didn't have enough data points, then why were you so quick to pronounce the course altered, changed, or short?
@jason - If you didn't have enough data points, then why were you so quick to pronounce the course altered, changed, or short?
10/27/2014 9:51:32 PM
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To everyone defending McKethan Lake as a legitimate cross country course (e.g. Red Mule Run), you are wrong. It is not a cross country race course. It is a road race course. That's why times are fast. It's an asphalt course. Isn't it amazing how common sense cures all issues for the intelligent people around here, even before statistical evidence backing them?!
To everyone defending McKethan Lake as a legitimate cross country course (e.g. Red Mule Run), you are wrong. It is not a cross country race course. It is a road race course. That's why times are fast. It's an asphalt course.

Isn't it amazing how common sense cures all issues for the intelligent people around here, even before statistical evidence backing them?!
10/27/2014 9:54:29 PM
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@jason The problem is that Todd actually cares about the opinions of people who don't know what they are talking about. [img]http://i.imgur.com/Qewho.jpg[/img]
@jason The problem is that Todd actually cares about the opinions of people who don't know what they are talking about.

10/27/2014 9:59:29 PM
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@Stevefarn I was asked for the time analysis and I gave it. Someone else emailed me and asked for the same. I am no longer the decision maker on such matters (thank God). I still have a hard time figuring where it would go from 30 seconds fast to 60 seconds fast, but that's what the numbers say. You don't normally see that much variance based on minor weather variations and possibly slightly better competition.
@Stevefarn I was asked for the time analysis and I gave it. Someone else emailed me and asked for the same. I am no longer the decision maker on such matters (thank God). I still have a hard time figuring where it would go from 30 seconds fast to 60 seconds fast, but that's what the numbers say. You don't normally see that much variance based on minor weather variations and possibly slightly better competition.

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