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Why do we keep calling this a 5k?
Joined: May 2010
Either the other courses are long or the training is wearing kids down but history has shown the results from this meet are outliers to other performances. The finish order is what's still relevant as a win is a win, but times that need 2 tablespoons of salt to digest only make observers then question other results unnecessarily. Not trying to rehash the old conversation on the legitimacy of this course, but the blind eye can see something isn't right here. Time will tell as it has every year so far I suspect. Hats off to all the great efforts and congratulations to all athletes and coaches. I hope I'll be proven wrong with future better or consistent performances.
Joined: Aug 2006
I think if you look at times from last night and last week it does become obvious that the Jungle Run skews rankings and PRs. This has been an ongoing conversation since the site began. It’s difficult to regulate XC courses. Some, like United Way, have been looked at more like a 3-mile. A quick look has times 40ish sec slower on average at Ivey vs Jungle from just last week.
Joined: Sep 2016
I figured it was best to wait til some more results come in to see how it was comparing year over year. I knew it was fast last week, but was hoping to see how it compares to WakeMed or other fast courses in the state. In my four years as editor this is the first year I've considered change it to 3 Mile for the sake of our database accuracy. It's been measured at 5000m by the previous editor Jeff George. It's also been changed to a 3 mile in terms of out state rankings showing a little more accuracy. This year was maybe 20 meters shorter due to the track not being in use, so running the final lap inside the track versus lane 1. A course being 4980 isn't a significant distance to normally make me take something out of our 5K rankings. I think the course is legit in distance, but the atmosphere, flat course, night time meet certainly make it run as fast as it possibly can. Jason
Joined: Mar 2014
@jcreasy111 I've never been to the South View course, so take what you want from any of this. Curious if it was measured as 5k under the old rules (center of the path) or the current rules (shortest path)? This makes a much bigger difference than you would think. The United Way course was 5000 meters under the old rules. But that course is 90-100 meters shorter measured by the shortest path, because it is three times around a loop with the equivalent of about 10 90-degree turns in each loop. (As a separate issue, the last two years have been slightly different and I can't say if the modifications originally due to wet conditions also affected the length.) The only major courses in the state to make changes in the past five years that account for the new (and to me, more accurate and intuitively correct) rules on measurement are McAlpine and Ivey Redmon. I think you should assume until proven otherwise that every other legacy course in the state is short by at least 50 meters, usually more. I'd guess WakeMed falls on the high side because a wider path means a bigger difference if you measure down the center, and also because there are some places where it appears to have gotten wider to the inside without any changes in course markings (i.e, it is now even shorter than it was when measured.) I think this same effect was seen at McAlpine before they updated the course four years ago. I'll add two other things: First, logically there is almost no way an accurately measured course can be faster than McAlpine. It is almost perfectly flat except for an 80m hill, has the hardest surface you will find anywhere, wide paths and minimal amounts of turns, and hosts so many major races that high-level runners generally know how to race the course. Given equivalent weather, I cannot square with physics and physiology someone running faster on a course that has two 500-meter climbs. Second, I find the nighttime atmosphere and weather explanations of fast times at Jungle Run completely bogus. That is a good explanation of why people might run faster than at other South View meets, or generally faster than at other early-season meets in southeast NC. But Labor Day weekend in Fayetteville is still hot and humid no matter how late you run, compared to most October mornings in other parts of the state. And (again, acknowledging I've never been there) I don't buy the argument that a good runner is going to be more fired up by that atmosphere than by being around the 100+ tents and 5000 runners and spectators to go against the elite of the Southeastern US at Adidas, Great American, or Wendy's.
Joined: Jan 2018
To all the naysayers and course-doubters, I just want to say this: I don't care what you think. If you want to be critical, then feel free to approach me at any meet you see me at and I will be happy to have the conversation. If you are more comfortable criticizing behind a keyboard and computer screen, then have at it. But know this: The Jungle Run was never designed to be anything but an inclusive and fun way to kick off the XC season for teams and athletes of all abilities. We know it is different. We are not going to apologize for geography. And we made it spectator-friendly/spectator- intense, intentionally. Running it at night was just a cool idea that we knew would create a Friday-night football atmosphere for cross country kids. So, when you become critical, but start by saying, "I've never been there, but..." it is hard to take your opinion very seriously. Nonetheless, I respect your right to say what you want. I don't take it personal. Jeff George measured the course on the inside when the rule was first changed. He can discuss that if he wants. But he did not drive a cart, he got in his steps that day. He did not use a GPS watch, he used a meter-wheel. When he was done, I asked how we looked and he said we were legit - just a hair off. Which, I knew we usually are. I have acknowledged that the Jungle Run course has been a little long and a little short at different times because the course is a little different each year. Because it is not a permanent course, we have to work around different things in different years. Heck, the year Blake Williams set the record it was 5012 meters - in fairness, that was measured the old way. But in regard to that night, what you do not know is that the temperature that night was around 68 and there was a light drizzle all night. Couple this with the fact that the crowd is literally in your face for the whole first 2,800 meters. Then it thins out for about 800 meters, then you are right back in the middle of the crowd for another Quarter mile or so. Finally, you enter no man's land as everyone runs into the stadium for the last 430 meters or so. Then with the lights on, the music blasting, the crowd roaring (a little over 3000 people in the stadium at its highest point this past year) and a flat oval to run around... Yeah, that usual high school kick of 100 meters gets a lot longer. But if you think atmosphere and adrenaline do not play a role in performance, then you sound like someone who has never been there... But you have already admitted that. But I will make you a deal, I invite you to come. I won't even charge your team. Walk it. Measure it. But above all enjoy it. Then we can hug one out (after the social-distancing scare is over) and still be friends. I wish you well and hope only the best for you and your families in these uncertain times. Jesse L. Autry, Grand Poo Bah South View Track and Field & Cross Country
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