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!

Categorized as Notes


  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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