Types of Mistakes

As you’ve probably noticed from the last two event entries, I’ve started to list categorise the mistakes I make during each race, in the hope that I can identify and work on the worst ones. I’ll endeavor to keep the “poor mapping” excuse to a minimum – bad workmen like to blame their tools, so I’ll try and stay balanced. Note, the reasons all need to be ones that could cause a multi-minute mistake – almost everyone makes sub-minute mistakes on courses for a wide variety of reasons – it’s not those I’m tracking here.

So far, I have the following – if you know any more please add them to a comment and I’ll add them on here.

  • Navigational error
    (e.g. bad compass bearing, bad orientation of the map, natural “drift”.)
  • Map-reading error
    (e.g. simply looking at the wrong bit of the map, not spotting a point feature or vegetation change.)
  • Poor route choice
    (e.g. it looked great when you glanced at it, but you somehow missed the plainly more obvious route.)
  • Parallel error
    (e.g. two similar valleys, went up the wrong one…)
  • Poor pacing/scale awareness
    (e.g. running on 1:10000 map for the first time in a while, tending to overshoot the control, or under-run to it.)
  • Inverted contours
    (e.g. mistaking a hill for a depression, or vice versa.)
  • Contouring error
    (e.g. accidently drifting down (or, more rarely, up) a slope you are trying to cross level.)
  • 180 degree/90 degree error
    (e.g. temporarily getting N and S mixed up, running in completely the wrong direction.)
  • Distraction
    (e.g. inadvertent following of other competitors or bad bias when choosing route.)
  • Hesitation
    (e.g. other competitors causing focus to wander, or tiredness after a hard leg.)
  • Fatigue
    (e.g. significantly slower running due to exhaustion. Perhaps not really a “mistake”.)
  • Unanticipated hazard
    (e.g. marsh actually uncrossable, thicket really is impassable, needing a lengthly diversion.)
  • Poor attack point
    (e.g. forgetting to pick one that allows you to aim-off, one that is itself hard to fine.)
  • Poor mapping
    (e.g. missing vegetation patch or vegetation boundary, misplaced point feature.)
  • Bingo control
    (e.g. control hidden, or control on point feature in middle of featureless, low visibility terrain.)

The last two are not the fault of the runner!

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2 Comments

  1. Would say losing contact with the map, and contouring errors – too far up/down a slope are a couple of others you could add if they’re not covered by what you’ve already written…

  2. Both good points – I’d include losing contact as a “Map-reading error”, but I’ll put contouring errors in their own section.

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