Celtic Clash

mathking

Well-known member
I did measure the Jerome course. With a laser rangefinder. (We didn't run there since we like Lancaster and it was our homecoming. But we knew our kids, many of whom ran MS XC as teammates of the Jerome kids, would want to know. And I was at Coffman already on Sunday morning so I drove over.) It was short by more than the 3.07-3.1 expressed above, which by the way would be within 50 meters, so within 1%. This is better than the accuracy of a wheel so it would be fine for course measurement. Remember courses are allowed to be shorter but not longer than 5000 meter, so making it long is not supposed to be an option. It would be better categorized as a 3 mile race.

I have measured the COI course at Three Creeks, the Darby course and some others with the same method. None have been off by more than 60 meters when I measured them. I have also measured an earlier iteration of the Jerome course and it was not this short.
 
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Love Lancaster…great course, great people, well run and a true test of Cross Country. However, the course is very difficult so the times aren’t particularly fast.
Agreed. I simply noted it because some want to attribute ridiculously fast times at the Clash to the weather and electricity, not the course. Bagpipes are fine, but that doesn't explain 50 second PRs for all.
 

Runner22

New member
Can we all just agree that the course is 2.9? To a runner, kids are dropping a full minute plus off their season and career bests. Once those times hit Milesplit, it'll look lIke the Olentangy Orange boys are ready to tangle with Newbury Park.

(Just one of many examples... the Olentangy boys who ran 16:30ish to go 1-2 in the open race had PRs of 17:52 and 18:17).

What would Ackley have run, 14:40? 14:30? Riley Hough from Michigan would probably break 14 there, to be honest.

Milesplit rankings, virtual meets, fast times obsession (however false or fabricated)... in full effect here. Unfortunately, at least in Central OH, it's killing meets with challenging courses (Zane Trace, Lancaster, etc.) and tempting race directors to ensure kids PR on their course to keep registrations high. Thus... we end up with courses that are short too.

Sigh.
No, we can’t. I run for Jerome. This course has been the same for four years. There has never been a question in the past about the length of this course. It has been measured several times in the past as well as several times this year in several different ways and I promise you it is legit. As for why the times were faster this year, it is because the meet was run in the afternoon last year. It was 85 degrees during the open race and this year it was in the 50s. The atmosphere this year was totally different and unreal. As further evidence, many of the runners on our team had much faster times on other courses last season. You also must remember that the legal range for a 5k course is at least 3.07 miles. The orange boys that you are talking about ran the course as their cooldown to check the length and came up with 3.07 or 3.08. You, on the other hand, have stated no measured evidence as to why the course is short.
 
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runs4funs

Active member
Well in a post above MathKing says he did measure it and said it's short.

As I said in an earlier post MileSplit changed the results from 5K to 2.x miles. I assume they based that on more than a Yappi message board.
 

CC Track Fan

Well-known member
I was not a math major but 3.07 is shorter than a 3.107. But more importantly was there corners that could be "cut" that make the distance most runners ran even shorter than the 3.07. So the offical white line maybe 3.07 but runners path they traveled was less than 3.0. With that many turns is is possible to take the tangents in a way to save .1.
 

Runner22

New member
I was not a math major but 3.07 is shorter than a 3.107. But more importantly was there corners that could be "cut" that make the distance most runners ran even shorter than the 3.07. So the offical white line maybe 3.07 but runners path they traveled was less than 3.0. With that many turns is is possible to take the tangents in a way to save .1.
There is a legal range for these courses and 3.07 is within that range. Also nowhere did I say that it was measured based on the white line. I have run this course many times and it is very difficult to cut a lot of distance on this course, so there is no possible way anyone ran 3.0
 

Runner22

New member
They changed it because coaches from schools who weren’t there complained
Well in a post above MathKing says he did measure it and said it's short.

As I said in an earlier post MileSplit changed the results from 5K to 2.x miles. I assume they based that on more than a Yappi message board.
 
I did measure the Jerome course. With a laser rangefinder. (We didn't run there since we like Lancaster and it was our homecoming. But we knew our kids, many of whom ran MS XC as teammates of the Jerome kids, would want to know. And I was at Coffman already on Sunday morning so I drove over.) It was short by more than the 3.07-3.1 expressed above, which by the way would be within 50 meters, so within 1%. This is better than the accuracy of a wheel so it would be fine for course measurement. Remember courses are allowed to be shorter but not longer than 5000 meter, so making it long is not supposed to be an option. It would be better categorized as a 3 mile race.

I have measured the COI course at Three Creeks, the Darby course and some others with the same method. None have been off by more than 60 meters when I measured them. I have also measured an earlier iteration of the Jerome course and it was not this short.
Can you tell is what you measured the Jerome course at?
 

crahsrunna

New member
Let's get real. Every runner in central Ohio going back the last 3 or 4 years has taken the Celtic Clash results with a hefty grain of salt. Celtic has, among other things, perfect conditions for racing when it cools off at night for the varsity races, a trimmed and manicured course that provides an unmatched level of energy return for running hard, and is likely at least 50 meters short (note that that is well within the margin of error.) The bagpipes also help I'm not gonna lie. Celtic Clash is basically a carbon copy of the grass track course that you get at the Darby Dash, and the midwest meet of champions back when it was held on the same course. I'm sure some here remember the MMOC in 2017, when Dustin Horter and Zach Kreft threw down the two fastest times in Ohio XC history. We attributed those times to some of the best racing conditions you can find in the country. Is celtic a "real" course? sure. but it's one of a kind. not in a good way, but not necessarily in a bad way either.
 

runs4funs

Active member
Let's get real. Every runner in central Ohio going back the last 3 or 4 years has taken the Celtic Clash results with a hefty grain of salt.
I don't have a dog in this fight but I find it fascinating, so here's a look back at the last four years:

2018: Winning time 15:26 (Elliot Cook), 2 boys under 16:00
2019: Winning time 15:52 (Elliot Cook again), only boy under 16:00
2020: Winning time 14:59 (Connor Ackley), 9 boys under 16:00
2021: Winning time 15:11, 21 boys under 16:00

I have no idea if those prior years were run in 50 degree weather, 90 degree weather, or a monsoon. But just looking at the numbers it appears something changed.
 

gatornation

Active member
Massillion Jackson ran a night race at Painesville Riverside on Aug 28 and the Celtic Clash night race on Sept 25.
#1 16:02 to 15:23
#2 16:28 to 15:43
#3 16:34 to 16:09
#4 16:41 to 16:14
#5 16:42 to 16:11
#6 17:13 to 16:16
#7 17:22 to 16:28
That is quite a bit of improvement over 1 month if they are both a 5k!!
 

Runner22

New member
I don't have a dog in this fight but I find it fascinating, so here's a look back at the last four years:

2018: Winning time 15:26 (Elliot Cook), 2 boys under 16:00
2019: Winning time 15:52 (Elliot Cook again), only boy under 16:00
2020: Winning time 14:59 (Connor Ackley), 9 boys under 16:00
2021: Winning time 15:11, 21 boys under 16:00

I have no idea if those prior years were run in 50 degree weather, 90 degree weather, or a monsoon. But just looking at the numbers it appears something changed.
What changed drastically was the number and the quality of the teams. The meet is only 5 years old I think so it has grown significantly over the past few years as more teams around the state have discovered it. 2018 was only the second year of existence for the Clash and it started out fairly small.
 
The nice part of our sport is that these teams will have to toe the line in late Oct./early november against the Hilliard Davidsons, St. Xaviers, and Masons of the world. The proof will be in the pudding then. These teams that ran crazy fast (doesn't pass the sniff test for me, but who knows?) will either beat those teams and prove their legitimacy, or all these 15:45 kids will get beat by the 16:20 kids from St. Xavier and Mason, and they'll prove the flukiness of this course.

All that matters is what happens at the Fortress.
 

sub9er9er

New member
No, we can’t. I run for Jerome. This course has been the same for four years. There has never been a question in the past about the length of this course. It has been measured several times in the past as well as several times this year in several different ways and I promise you it is legit. As for why the times were faster this year, it is because the meet was run in the afternoon last year. It was 85 degrees during the open race and this year it was in the 50s. The atmosphere this year was totally different and unreal. As further evidence, many of the runners on our team had much faster times on other courses last season. You also must remember that the legal range for a 5k course is at least 3.07 miles. The orange boys that you are talking about ran the course as their cooldown to check the length and came up with 3.07 or 3.08. You, on the other hand, have stated no measured evidence as to why the course is short.
I am perplexed as to why you still feel this course is of acceptable length if milesplit changed the results and dubbed it a 2.xx mile course.
 

Finishtiming

Active member
One of the reasons milesplit changed it to that was due to the shear number of prs set. They had over 85% of the people that raced at this race set either lifetime or season pr. They have NEVER had that happen before without the course not being legit. There is a lot of years worth of data that they can go back to and they looked thru to see if this has ever happened before (nationwide not just ohio) and it had not.

Lets just say they would have allowed the times as legit and all rankings are set and all of a sudden ohio athletes jump into the national rankings as the top few and then we find out the course is short or a turn was missed during the race that no one noticed. How does that make milesplit look as to validity of rankings?
 

mathking

Well-known member
One of the reasons milesplit changed it to that was due to the shear number of prs set. They had over 85% of the people that raced at this race set either lifetime or season pr. They have NEVER had that happen before without the course not being legit. There is a lot of years worth of data that they can go back to and they looked thru to see if this has ever happened before (nationwide not just ohio) and it had not.

Lets just say they would have allowed the times as legit and all rankings are set and all of a sudden ohio athletes jump into the national rankings as the top few and then we find out the course is short or a turn was missed during the race that no one noticed. How does that make milesplit look as to validity of rankings?
At the risk of receiving more text messages accusing me of maligning Dublin Jerome (honestly folks, I teach several of their athletes, I like their coaches, I do not dislike the school) I am going to weigh in again.

I usually don't worry overly much about course length. I have a regression model I use to compare one course on a particular day to another course on a particular day. Essentially it computes a course adjustment, so that you can compare, say the Celtic Clash in 2020 to the 2018 Midwest Meet of Champions or the 2018 Lancaster Bob Reall Invitational. One of the things it does is to toss out outliers. Like the kid who was sick for the first meet and ran 20:15 then runs 17:25 the next meet on a similar course. The model drops that athlete as an outlier, at least until they have run more races and we can figure out which time should be dropped as the outlier. As a coach, I know that sometimes an athlete can have a huge breakthrough, so it very lenient in terms of allowing times. Even still, that model tossed out over a third of all the results from the Celtic Clash because they were so extreme. After I forced it to consider all of the results I could tell that no matter the length of the course, a lot of athletes ran really fast times. Team spreads were remarkably low and the number of athletes with unusually slow times was really low. Some teams, like the Olentangy Orange boys and Olentangy Liberty girls, clearly ran great races. They are effectively being penalized because no one is talking about their races, just about the times.

For what it's worth, since I was asked, when I measured the course I did not use the line at all (it was a single line down the middle of the course), I followed the (very clear on Sunday morning because of trampled grass) path the runners actually used, using straight lines point to point. I got it to be just a hair under 3 miles, well inside the accuracy for a 3 mile course. For reference, most courses I have measured with a laser rangefinder come up 40-50 meters short of 5000 m. Which is fine because it is within the acceptable margin of error and because athletes never actually run that straight. If a course is that close using the straight lines most of the athletes will run close to or over 5000 meters. So I think the 2.x miles on Milesplit is incorrect, but as Finishtiming pointed out, all they have to go on is the extreme improbability of over 80% of the athletes running PRs and having the PRs be by such large amounts.

A retired coach I know asked this question, if the course is an official length 5K, are we prepared to say that Orange and Jackson are two of the best teams in the history of Ohio? And for what it's worth, Mileslpit's decision will have absolutely no bearing on whether any kid who ran there gets a scholarship or not. Unless you have multiple performances of similar quality you are not going to get a scholarship based off one high school cross country performance. Yes, some schools do have XC time standards for walking on. But they are going to offer scholarships without more evidence of talent. If you have a best time of 15:48 and a second best career time of 16:35, and your best 1600 is 4:34, you are not going to get a scholarship that you wouldn't have also gotten for just the 16:35 and the 4:34.

Instead of arguing about length, how about this? The model I use suggests that to compare a time from 2021 Celtic Clash and 2021 Lancaster Bob Reall Invitational, take a boy whose "baseline" time is 16:30. At the Clash he would run 15:47 and at Lancaster he would run 16:41.

[Technical note: My model is based on my team's races and the races of other athletes who have run against us. So baseline is weighted toward the relatively flatter courses prevalent in Central Ohio. We have run at Pick North, the DeWine meet, Watkins, Michigan State and Lancaster this season.]
 
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runs4funs

Active member
The nice part of our sport is that these teams will have to toe the line in late Oct./early november against the Hilliard Davidsons, St. Xaviers, and Masons of the world. The proof will be in the pudding then. These teams that ran crazy fast (doesn't pass the sniff test for me, but who knows?) will either beat those teams and prove their legitimacy, or all these 15:45 kids will get beat by the 16:20 kids from St. Xavier and Mason, and they'll prove the flukiness of this course.

All that matters is what happens at the Fortress.
Olen. Orange won the Celtic Clash over Mas. Jackson. That's not insignificant regardless of if the course was short, it will be interesting to see where they're ranked when the polls come out today.

Let's also remember they ran against St. X and HD at the Hot Summer Bash 3 weeks ago and came in 5th. St. X had 6 runners come in ahead of their #2. Anyone who follows XC even a little bit knows the teams at the Celtic Clash aren't going to seriously challenge for the podium at the state meet. They're good teams but nowhere near as good as those times would indicate.
 

Rohbino

Well-known member
Ten schools run the league championship at Hellish Hills Park. Little Johnny, a junior, runs a time of 17:42, is the 5th runner on his team, and finishes 30th overall. By finishing 30th, Little Johnny's school won the league championship title. In order to finish 30th, Little Johnny had to pass several competitors on an uphill finish and had to stave off several hard-charging competitors from rival schools. Little Johnny's school won the league title by a single point so the fact that he passed runners in the home stretch and was able to fend off other runners, proved to be the key to his school winning its first-ever league title. Little Johnny and his parents weren't particularly thrilled about his time because it was the slowest time since his freshman year. It doesn't matter that nobody runs a particularly fast time on the course due to its difficulty. 17:42?? That's a terrible time.

After hearing a lot of complaints about the championship course and the resulting slow times, the league commissioner moved the meet to Flat Pancake Park the following year. The course was measured multiple times and shown to be within 1 meter of the Hellish Hills course. The same 10 schools towed the starting line. Little Johnny runs a time of 16:07 - a lifetime best. He and his parents are ecstatic. This year, though, some of the competitors that Little Johnny beat the previous year, got the better of him this time around. Two of those guys passed Johnny in the last 30 meters and Little Johnny's school missed being repeat champions by only 2 points. All of the scoring runners on Little Johnny's team ran times that were in the top 25 times in school history.

Little Johnny ran a better race at Hellish Hills Park than he did the following year at Pancake park yet it is the race that he runs at Pancake park that gets the plaudits and his name on the record board that is displayed in the school gymnasium.

The name of the sport is cross country. Courses are not supposed to be easy and times really don't matter. That concept is not being grasped by some of the people in this thread that have their panties in a twist about the questions being raised regarding the validity of the Jerome course.
 

Finishtiming

Active member
I got it to be just a hair under 3 miles, well inside the accuracy for a 3 mile course. For reference, most courses I have measured with a laser rangefinder come up 40-50 meters short of 5000 m. Which is fine because it is within the acceptable margin of error and because athletes never actually run that straight. If a course is that close using the straight lines most of the athletes will run close to or over 5000 meters. So I think the 2.x miles on Milesplit is incorrect, but as Finishtiming pointed out, all they have to go on is the extreme improbability of over 80% of the athletes running PRs and having the PRs be by such large amounts.
Isn't a hair under 3 miles still 2.x, since x could be anything between .01 and .99?
 

mathking

Well-known member
Isn't a hair under 3 miles still 2.x, since x could be anything between .01 and .99?A
It was far closer to 3.0 than 2.9, so if I were having my engineering students measure it (something I have done in the past) I would mark a 2.9 as not as good an answer as 3.0 because 3.0 is much more accurate. As I said, it was well within the variance allowed for an official 3 mile course.
 

Altor

Well-known member
But the expected distance isn't 3 miles. It's 5000 meters. 2.99 miles is only 96% of the expected distance. If your engineering students were off by 4%...let's just say I don't want to cross a bridge that they designed.

There's nothing wrong with a 3 mile course, or a 4800 meter course. It just needs to be labeled as such.
 

mathking

Well-known member
OMG how is this a freaking argument? I wasn't arguing that it was a 5000 meter course. I literally said that the course should be listed as a 3 mile course. Because list it as 3.0 miles is more accurate than list it as 2.9 miles. Even 2.99 is not as close as 3.00 miles to what I measured. And for what it is worth, no one should ever list a course measurement to .01 miles (about 16 meters) of accuracy unless they are using professional surveying equipment.

I completely agree that the simplest thing is just to label courses accurately. There is a reason that standards for how close course measurements need to be in order to be considered official.

(And since it is apparently let's be ridiculously pedantic about numbers while we miss the forest for the trees day... it's a difference of 3.8% from the full distance I was actually not comparing it to, not 4%.)
 
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Mathking, you are correct. there is no way my 8th or 10th runner who ran 19:00 at MSU and has gone mid 18S all the way down to 16:30 and my 8th guy ran 16:40 and was 17:55 just before. There is something just not right with the times but the places are right for the meet. I saw kids run down some and get beat by others at the finish. The score of the meet is real but the times are just off.
 

Running Man 101

Well-known member
OMG how is this a freaking argument? I wasn't arguing that it was a 5000 meter course. I literally said that the course should be listed as a 3 mile course. Because list it as 3.0 miles is more accurate than list it as 2.9 miles. Even 2.99 is not as close as 3.00 miles to what I measured. And for what it is worth, no one should ever list a course measurement to .01 miles (about 16 meters) of accuracy unless they are using professional surveying equipment.

I completely agree that the simplest thing is just to label courses accurately. There is a reason that standards for how close course measurements need to be in order to be considered official.

(And since it is apparently let's be ridiculously pedantic about numbers while we miss the forest for the trees day... it's a difference of 3.8% from the full distance I was actually not comparing it to, not 4%.)
4% short for a typical 16:00 runner is 38s.
 
Well, not many believers based on the new rankings. Orange and Jackson appear to be being penalized for running on a fast/short course. They are both really solid teams. Surprised that Jackson slipped 5 spots and Orange only moved up one.

Side note, Woodridge is this weekend. I doubt there will be any discussion regarding the length of that course, even though it's going to produce times that are 2 to 3 minutes slower than normal.
 

EuclidandViren

Well-known member
All of this leads up to the real question. Validity of measuring courses.

Which method is best? Bike ticker, GPS, wheel?

And then how and where do you measure the course? I know many coaches that measure from the middle of the course line. And I know many coaches that measure the tangents. I know some courses with only 6 turns and I know some courses with 40 turns. 40 turns x 4 meters each turn is a lot of distance.

The amount of human error along with technological errors that occur in measuring courses varies greatly.
 

Altor

Well-known member
Can't say I have an answer about the best method. But, by rule, the course should be measured on the shortest distance. This was a rule change a couple of years ago. Used to be the middle of the course.
 
I'm not sure the measurement is that important. Cross Country might be better served by making interesting/challenging courses instead of worrying about fast but accurate courses. Why make it about fast times? Leave the fast running for the track? Let Cross Country have its own identity.
 

runs4funs

Active member
Well, not many believers based on the new rankings. Orange and Jackson appear to be being penalized for running on a fast/short course. They are both really solid teams. Surprised that Jackson slipped 5 spots and Orange only moved up one.
Agreed, although I think you can throw all the teams between 5-9 in any order and make a case for each. I would rank them Louisville, Loveland, Orange, Mas. Jackson and St. Ed's, the good thing is those should all be state meet teams.
 
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