What courses are offered?
How do Poacher points work?
So why are the points calculated this way?
How do the Poacher league tables work?
How are the Trophy winners decided?
Why are there only three courses?
Why are the courses so much shorter than a normal orienteering event?
Why don't you charge more for Poacher?
Do Poacher rules ever change?

What courses are offered?

Each Poacher event has a Long course, a Short course and a Newcomers course (where the planner is able to offer one).

How do Poacher points work?

The winner on each course scores the maximum 50 points with second receiving 49 points, third 48 points and so forth. A competitor who does not complete the course receives 0 points (this is better than not running at all as is described later).

If a place is tied by two or more people having the same time then the total points of the tied competitors are shared between them all. So if two people are tied in first place, they receive (50 plus 49) divided by 2 = 49.5 points each. If it were four people then it would be (50 plus 49 plus 48 plus 47) divided by 4 = 48.5 points each.

If there are ever more than 50 people on a course, then the maximum points will be increased to 100. When Poacher started it was 25 points for a win.

So why are the points calculated this way?

There are two reasons:

1 It's simple and you don't need a calculator or Mathematics Degree to work out how many points you scored.

2 It encourages people to compete in the less well attended events as if there are less people at an event, you are likely to score more points.

How do the Poacher league tables work?

Again the league tables are simple. Just add up all of your points and that gets your total. But only take your best 8 scores.

If competitors are tied, it gets a little more complicated and to confuse things, the software that prints the league table doesn't do the complicated bit yet. To separate two competitors who are tied on points you should firstly look at their highest scores. The one with the most 50 points will lead; failing that the one with the most 49 point scores and so on. This analysis continues into their 'non counting' scores right down to 0 points. So in the extreme case that they are tied after considering ten scores, a competitor who had mispunched in the eleventh event would lead one who had only started ten events. After that, it really is a tie.

Best 8 out of 11 is quite a high proportion, but it is intentionally that way to encourage people to come to most events. So you can miss a few (or make a hash of them!) and still be competitive.

How are the Trophy winners decided?

There are currently (2010) seven trophy categories:

Long Course Champion (The Lincolnshire Poacher Trophy)
Short Course Champion
Junior Champion (M/W 16-)
Lady Champion (W 18+)
Masters Champion (M/W 45+)
Super Vets Champion (M/W 60+)
Ultra Vets Champion (M/W 70+)

Both the Long Course and Short Course trophies are Open to all. Come top of the Long course league table and you are the Long Course Champion. Same for the Short Course.

No one is allowed to win two trophies so for example if a junior were to be top of the Short Course league table, they would be Short Course Champion and not Junior Champion. The second placed Junior would become Junior Champion. The order of precedence is roughly as shown above.

Why are there only three courses?

Just to keep things simple.  Originally Poacher events were run by just one person.  The courses are enough to cater for 90% of people with a sustainable amount of effort.  If we had more courses things would be less competitive and some courses might only have 2 or 3 entrants.  If each event organiser had to plan and put on a full spread of colour-coded courses, we would pretty quickly burn out our short supply of volunteers. 

Why are the courses so much shorter than a normal orienteering event?

Well they are not shorter for everyone and it is in the middle of the working week. In addition to having to cater for a wide range of abilities, Poacher events are run in the evening where both daylight and peoples time is at a premium. It is these reasons that determines the course lengths.

Why don't you charge more for Poacher?

The objective of Poacher was just to provide regular sustainable high quality orienteering in the summer with the least amount of effort. It was not intended to make a profit. The event series covers its own costs and has returned a small amount most years into HALO club funds. This amount is needed to maintain equipment and sometimes supports the mapping of areas.

Charging more can have undesirable side effects. Currently Poacher is run in a very basic and informal way. For example, one person acts as planner with no controller to double check things. Occasionally things go wrong and controls are misplaced or other mistakes made. Although frustrating, this is easily forgiven in a non-profit making environment where entries cost very little. Were people paying 3-4 for a run, they may not be so forgiving.

Charging more may make the cost prohibitive for families - the cost of travel is already high. We could introduce a junior rate, but that would just complicate things.

Poacher events rely on peoples honesty to pay and to recycle their map bags. Having to 'waste' another volunteer, whose supply is scarce, on the task of collecting money and bags would not be desirable.

Events benefit in the most part from land owners allowing free use of the areas we use.  Were the series to make a profit, they may not be so generous. 

Members of other orienteering clubs have and do organise Poacher events. Would they begrudge helping out if their efforts made HALO a profit?

Do Poacher rules ever change?

Not often but the organiser reserves the right to change things. This is mostly done to keep things competitive. A good example is that from time to time the age ranges for the trophy categories change. At the beginning of each season the organiser makes an assessment of who is likely to be competing for each trophy and where possible adjusts the age groups to ensure that the outcome is not a foregone conclusion.

Is this fair?

Probably not, but it does keep things interesting!