Milestat vs Third Battle
10/14/2018 5:23:56 PM
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Have never seen the Third Battle course but was amazed by the times run on it this weekend. Can someone who has seen both courses comment on likes/differences and which runs faster? It is hard to believe any course can run faster than Milestat, but those times on Third Battle were fast!
Have never seen the Third Battle course but was amazed by the times run on it this weekend. Can someone who has seen both courses comment on likes/differences and which runs faster? It is hard to believe any course can run faster than Milestat, but those times on Third Battle were fast!
10/14/2018 7:35:38 PM
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Haven't seen the milestat course, but Third Battle is always a good course to run fast on. This year it was slower than years past due to soft areas thanks to all the rain, but still pretty fast. A lot of packed gravel, some grass, mostly flat. Kevin Shirk has measured it meticulously and it is a full 5K.
Haven't seen the milestat course, but Third Battle is always a good course to run fast on. This year it was slower than years past due to soft areas thanks to all the rain, but still pretty fast. A lot of packed gravel, some grass, mostly flat. Kevin Shirk has measured it meticulously and it is a full 5K.
10/14/2018 10:17:00 PM
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So not positive on Third Battle since I have never been up there either but I know the course is very fast. It also helps to have some of the nation's best athletes racing on it. I would say it has the two fastest course records in the entire country! Only one that could have come close was McAlpine (NC) where Foot Locker South is... but as we all know it wasn't a full 5K for some of those years... MileStat course is lucky because Pole Green drains so well and has grass that doesn't wear out late in the year after so many meets. A little behind the MileStat course, when it was made for A10's/USATF/UofR awhile back it was actually steamrolled to make it flatter in some parts. The course itself, especially on the other side loop, is thus super flat, compact ground. I was in charge of setting the course up for the other side - putting stakes in and making sure it was the right distance - and can say without a doubt how long the course was. We go by USATF's Rule 240 (for those that are as nerdy as I am) and make sure the distance is at minimum 5005m long. This was measured by wheel twice, days apart, walking the tangents and hugging the absolute inside of every turn. Both measurements came within 4 inches of each other. As for the meets. I think since Third Battle has Valley there every year it is a meet where you're more likely to have company in that low 15 range while MileStat is much larger and thus better for a PR outside of that 15-15:30 range. Girls wise MileStat had a little more depth upfront thanks to local talent. Honestly, if you want a PR both are great venues to do it. I've heard nothing but great things about Third Battle. - Nolan
So not positive on Third Battle since I have never been up there either but I know the course is very fast. It also helps to have some of the nation's best athletes racing on it. I would say it has the two fastest course records in the entire country!

Only one that could have come close was McAlpine (NC) where Foot Locker South is... but as we all know it wasn't a full 5K for some of those years...

MileStat course is lucky because Pole Green drains so well and has grass that doesn't wear out late in the year after so many meets.

A little behind the MileStat course, when it was made for A10's/USATF/UofR awhile back it was actually steamrolled to make it flatter in some parts. The course itself, especially on the other side loop, is thus super flat, compact ground.

I was in charge of setting the course up for the other side - putting stakes in and making sure it was the right distance - and can say without a doubt how long the course was. We go by USATF's Rule 240 (for those that are as nerdy as I am) and make sure the distance is at minimum 5005m long. This was measured by wheel twice, days apart, walking the tangents and hugging the absolute inside of every turn. Both measurements came within 4 inches of each other.

As for the meets. I think since Third Battle has Valley there every year it is a meet where you're more likely to have company in that low 15 range while MileStat is much larger and thus better for a PR outside of that 15-15:30 range.

Girls wise MileStat had a little more depth upfront thanks to local talent.

Honestly, if you want a PR both are great venues to do it. I've heard nothing but great things about Third Battle.

* Nolan
10/15/2018 10:32:15 AM
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Full disclosure- I'm the meet director for Third Battle. I've run more miles on the Third Battle course than I could possibly count- literally over ten thousands of miles over the past decade. I know it well. This year, I also ran part of the Milestat course when my team attended the RVA Relays. The courses are very different, but both very fast....for different reasons. In my opinion, the Milestat course is just plain fast- very flat, nicely cut and smooth, well marked, gentle turns. The only thing I can think of that would slow it down would be rain and mud, which they had this year. Third Battle is roughly a total of 1000m of grass and 4000m of paths (crushed stone, small gravel, and dirt). The course starts with 300m of open grass straightaway, followed by about 1.35 miles of path. There are only 2 turns in the first half of the race, with the first one coming about 1100m into the race. A good and bad aspect of our course is that it narrows very quickly at 300m. This is good because kids tend to get out faster than normal to get a decent position before the narrow portion. It also tends to lead to a few fast kids pulling everyone along, like having a rabbit for the first mile. The bad part is that if a kid gets out slow or trips, they will be stuck behind where they'd like to be and unable to move up easily for a while. At halfway, our course hits grass again for ~500m. This is generally flat with one hard, but fun, U-turn in it. If there's a slow part, it's here because it can get a little soft after rain. The course then returns to paths until the final 200m. Third Battle isn't nearly as flat as Milestat, but makes up for it with the fast surface. Since our course is on preserved land, the grass sections of the course entirely disappear for months at a time when they get overgrown. Each year we get the course cut and marked, then I re-wheel the grass sections and mark the start/finish accordingly to get the full 5000m. So, even if there are minor changes in the bends/turns as it gets cut, we ensure that it's still correct. With all of that said, I think the biggest factor for making both courses fast is that they take place at the end of the regular season. We've seen plenty of kids run PRs at Third Battle and then later PR at the state meet as well. The majority of kids never get a chance to run anything beyond these two meets, leaving them as their PRs until the next season when the cycle repeats.
Full disclosure- I'm the meet director for Third Battle.

I've run more miles on the Third Battle course than I could possibly count- literally over ten thousands of miles over the past decade. I know it well.

This year, I also ran part of the Milestat course when my team attended the RVA Relays.

The courses are very different, but both very fast....for different reasons.

In my opinion, the Milestat course is just plain fast- very flat, nicely cut and smooth, well marked, gentle turns. The only thing I can think of that would slow it down would be rain and mud, which they had this year.

Third Battle is roughly a total of 1000m of grass and 4000m of paths (crushed stone, small gravel, and dirt). The course starts with 300m of open grass straightaway, followed by about 1.35 miles of path. There are only 2 turns in the first half of the race, with the first one coming about 1100m into the race.
A good and bad aspect of our course is that it narrows very quickly at 300m. This is good because kids tend to get out faster than normal to get a decent position before the narrow portion. It also tends to lead to a few fast kids pulling everyone along, like having a rabbit for the first mile. The bad part is that if a kid gets out slow or trips, they will be stuck behind where they'd like to be and unable to move up easily for a while.

At halfway, our course hits grass again for ~500m. This is generally flat with one hard, but fun, U-turn in it. If there's a slow part, it's here because it can get a little soft after rain. The course then returns to paths until the final 200m.

Third Battle isn't nearly as flat as Milestat, but makes up for it with the fast surface.

Since our course is on preserved land, the grass sections of the course entirely disappear for months at a time when they get overgrown. Each year we get the course cut and marked, then I re-wheel the grass sections and mark the start/finish accordingly to get the full 5000m. So, even if there are minor changes in the bends/turns as it gets cut, we ensure that it's still correct.

With all of that said, I think the biggest factor for making both courses fast is that they take place at the end of the regular season. We've seen plenty of kids run PRs at Third Battle and then later PR at the state meet as well. The majority of kids never get a chance to run anything beyond these two meets, leaving them as their PRs until the next season when the cycle repeats.
10/15/2018 7:52:47 PM
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Shirk, thanks for that very detailed description and great comparison of the courses. I particularly like your remark "one hard, but fun, u-turn". I am curious how a u-turn can be both hard AND fun! Again thanks for all the responses and expert analysis given in this thread.
Shirk, thanks for that very detailed description and great comparison of the courses. I particularly like your remark "one hard, but fun, u-turn". I am curious how a u-turn can be both hard AND fun! Again thanks for all the responses and expert analysis given in this thread.
10/16/2018 10:26:40 AM
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@cawitt I have taken my kids to both courses. For whatever reason we never ran that many PR's at MileStat.com (maybe because we ran BigCat before that when Big Cat was lightning fast). We used to run MileStat, but stopped and switched to Third Battle last year. I personally believe Third Battle is faster than MileStat, but with a couple of caveats. If you don't get a good start off the line, you are going to be in traffic. I feel like that has happened to my top runner each of the last two years. I don't know how much time it has cost him, but probably a few seconds. Still he busted a 30 second PR on Saturday. My girl's team is pretty average this year and almost the entire squad dropped 2 to 3 minutes on their PRs. I will admit to trying to get these girls to peak for this race, but I'm not THAT good of a coach. These are fast times! It has been muddy each of the last two years and I'd love to hit it when it's dry and the temperatures are around 50 degrees like Saturday. We might need fire extinguishers at the finish lines to put out the fires on the soles of everyone's spikes. It's the only fast course my kids run all year. It works out great, everyone gets a big PR in the last regular season race and everyone thinks I'm a great coach because of it. So, not taking anything away from the kids and there is INCREDIBLE talent in the area up there, but the place is a speedway.
@cawitt

I have taken my kids to both courses. For whatever reason we never ran that many PR's at MileStat.com (maybe because we ran BigCat before that when Big Cat was lightning fast).

We used to run MileStat, but stopped and switched to Third Battle last year. I personally believe Third Battle is faster than MileStat, but with a couple of caveats.

If you don't get a good start off the line, you are going to be in traffic. I feel like that has happened to my top runner each of the last two years. I don't know how much time it has cost him, but probably a few seconds. Still he busted a 30 second PR on Saturday. My girl's team is pretty average this year and almost the entire squad dropped 2 to 3 minutes on their PRs. I will admit to trying to get these girls to peak for this race, but I'm not THAT good of a coach. These are fast times!

It has been muddy each of the last two years and I'd love to hit it when it's dry and the temperatures are around 50 degrees like Saturday. We might need fire extinguishers at the finish lines to put out the fires on the soles of everyone's spikes.

It's the only fast course my kids run all year. It works out great, everyone gets a big PR in the last regular season race and everyone thinks I'm a great coach because of it.

So, not taking anything away from the kids and there is INCREDIBLE talent in the area up there, but the place is a speedway.
10/18/2018 7:35:18 PM
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Mattymath has to be correct in saying this course is a speedway! I was a bit disappointed our JV team was as low as they were in Milestat's rankings. After doing some research I realized why. We didn't run Third Battle! In looking at several of the JV girls listed on the highest ranking teams I continually sas HUGH PR's!!! And I mean HUGH! We're talking 1 to 2 minute PR's! That is apparently the fastest course in the state hands down. I did not think a course could be faster than Milestat, but I was wrong.
Mattymath has to be correct in saying this course is a speedway! I was a bit disappointed our JV team was as low as they were in Milestat's rankings. After doing some research I realized why. We didn't run Third Battle! In looking at several of the JV girls listed on the highest ranking teams I continually sas HUGH PR's!!! And I mean HUGH! We're talking 1 to 2 minute PR's! That is apparently the fastest course in the state hands down. I did not think a course could be faster than Milestat, but I was wrong.
10/19/2018 9:34:28 AM
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@cawitt I honestly have no explanation for the crazy (1:00-2:00) time drops, but we see them pretty often at our meet. I think it will be interesting to see how 3rd Battle compares to our district meet which is on the 3rd Battle course next week. There will be a lot less kids, with the top entrants about a minute behind the 3rd Battle winners' times. I'm curious to see how much competition played a role. Almost every team in our district (13 schools, split into two races- 3A and 4A) raced at 3rd Battle, so it will be a good comparison. We haven't had a district meet there since 2011, but we didn't have enough teams (9) at 3rd Battle that year for competition to really make a difference in results.
@cawitt

I honestly have no explanation for the crazy (1:00-2:00) time drops, but we see them pretty often at our meet.

I think it will be interesting to see how 3rd Battle compares to our district meet which is on the 3rd Battle course next week. There will be a lot less kids, with the top entrants about a minute behind the 3rd Battle winners' times. I'm curious to see how much competition played a role. Almost every team in our district (13 schools, split into two races- 3A and 4A) raced at 3rd Battle, so it will be a good comparison.

We haven't had a district meet there since 2011, but we didn't have enough teams (9) at 3rd Battle that year for competition to really make a difference in results.
10/22/2018 8:24:18 AM
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While I was coaching at PH-Roanoke we started going to 3rd Battle because we heard it was a fast course and a well run meet. Both facts are very true. We also went to Milestat and ran our Region meet at Pole Green. So from my observations on why I think 3rd Battle is faster is due to the start of the race. When the start funnels in on the path surface that is very similar to the Cary course, kids that don't like to start really fast would get pulled along with pack and often would result in faster times. It also seemed REALLY hard not to run fast at the start of the race once you hit the woods so faster times often happened for my teams. It really helped/forced younger less experienced racers push the beginning of the race. We had runners that were top varsity to the brand new JV's run their PR's there and never touch it at another course that same season.
While I was coaching at PH-Roanoke we started going to 3rd Battle because we heard it was a fast course and a well run meet. Both facts are very true.
We also went to Milestat and ran our Region meet at Pole Green.
So from my observations on why I think 3rd Battle is faster is due to the start of the race. When the start funnels in on the path surface that is very similar to the Cary course, kids that don't like to start really fast would get pulled along with pack and often would result in faster times. It also seemed REALLY hard not to run fast at the start of the race once you hit the woods so faster times often happened for my teams. It really helped/forced younger less experienced racers push the beginning of the race.
We had runners that were top varsity to the brand new JV's run their PR's there and never touch it at another course that same season.
10/23/2018 12:33:31 PM
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It is indeed a well run meet. I can think of none I've attended that is run any better, equal maybe, but none better. It's really a fun day for us.
It is indeed a well run meet. I can think of none I've attended that is run any better, equal maybe, but none better. It's really a fun day for us.
10/25/2018 1:27:55 PM
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We hosted our district championship yesterday at the Third Battle course. Interestingly, about half of those who competed at the Third Battle Invitational then PRed again at our district meet. Of those who PRed, there were a couple of kids who knocked a minute off of their Third Battle times, while most PRs ranged from 5-30 seconds, on the exact same course with almost the exact same weather. The only difference would be that the course was a little more firm.
We hosted our district championship yesterday at the Third Battle course. Interestingly, about half of those who competed at the Third Battle Invitational then PRed again at our district meet.
Of those who PRed, there were a couple of kids who knocked a minute off of their Third Battle times, while most PRs ranged from 5-30 seconds, on the exact same course with almost the exact same weather. The only difference would be that the course was a little more firm.
10/26/2018 6:42:56 AM
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Just saw some results from a meet on the Norfolk Academy course. That must be another blazing fast course! Some major PR's set and looks like that has been the case over the past several years. Anyone care to comment on that course and how it compares.
Just saw some results from a meet on the Norfolk Academy course. That must be another blazing fast course! Some major PR's set and looks like that has been the case over the past several years. Anyone care to comment on that course and how it compares.
10/26/2018 9:19:47 AM
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@cawitt I have always wondered about that course...
@cawitt I have always wondered about that course...
10/26/2018 3:38:49 PM
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I was just shocked to see the New Kent girl jump from a previous best this season of 20:19 to 18:49 and 2nd in the 3A rankings. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone or lessen her great performance, but that is quite a jump! Does anyone have a reason this course runs so fast?
I was just shocked to see the New Kent girl jump from a previous best this season of 20:19 to 18:49 and 2nd in the 3A rankings. I certainly don't mean to offend anyone or lessen her great performance, but that is quite a jump! Does anyone have a reason this course runs so fast?
10/26/2018 10:17:37 PM
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@cawitt We've run on this course a few times. I've always wondered about the true distance as well. I keep detailed splits and there are some anomalies that I don't see on other courses. I will state these facts about it: 1) It is pancake flat. No elevation changes at all. 2) The surface is fast and approximately 1k of the 5k is on the track (300+ meters of each of the 3 loops). This is not a knock on the course in any way _ it is fun to run there. Ken Lampert and company have done so much for track and xc in the 757 and never charge entry fees to any of their home meets.
@cawitt

We've run on this course a few times. I've always wondered about the true distance as well. I keep detailed splits and there are some anomalies that I don't see on other courses. I will state these facts about it:

1) It is pancake flat. No elevation changes at all.

2) The surface is fast and approximately 1k of the 5k is on the track (300+ meters of each of the 3 loops).

This is not a knock on the course in any way _ it is fun to run there. Ken Lampert and company have done so much for track and xc in the 757 and never charge entry fees to any of their home meets.
10/28/2018 9:34:03 PM
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I saw Pole Green course for the first time yesterday at the Atlantic 10 Championships. It rained heavily all night and continued to rain up until about an hour before the women's race. Light rain continued on and off throughout both races. Ground was very soft; saw one team bus get stuck and required a massive tow truck. So, we'd expect slow times, right? Not the case at all: 22 girls under 18:00 as compared to 4 last year on a perfect day at Oatlands. Five men under 25:00 compared to none last year; a dozen men faster than last year's winner. A lot of PRs set. It would be foolish to compare almost any course to Oatlands, but when you have that large an improvement on a soggy day, you have to suspect the Pole Green course is actually a rubberized track painted green.
I saw Pole Green course for the first time yesterday at the Atlantic 10 Championships. It rained heavily all night and continued to rain up until about an hour before the women's race. Light rain continued on and off throughout both races. Ground was very soft; saw one team bus get stuck and required a massive tow truck.

So, we'd expect slow times, right?
Not the case at all: 22 girls under 18:00 as compared to 4 last year on a perfect day at Oatlands. Five men under 25:00 compared to none last year; a dozen men faster than last year's winner.

A lot of PRs set.

It would be foolish to compare almost any course to Oatlands, but when you have that large an improvement on a soggy day, you have to suspect the Pole Green course is actually a rubberized track painted green.

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