Third Battle vs. Milestat XC Invitational
09/27/2017 3:56:54 PM
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Which course is faster? Looking to race at either one, and was hoping to run a fast time. Which course allows for faster times?
Which course is faster? Looking to race at either one, and was hoping to run a fast time. Which course allows for faster times?
09/28/2017 1:47:59 AM
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@tristan.forsythe MileStat is faster... I know I may be bias but its just a plain fact. Third Battle though actually has a little more history recently since Drew and Weini opted to run their fast times here. So by the numbers the fastest times ever run in VA are at Third Battle but the speed and depth of competition year in and year out are at MileStat - Nolan
@tristan.forsythe MileStat is faster... I know I may be bias but its just a plain fact.

Third Battle though actually has a little more history recently since Drew and Weini opted to run their fast times here. So by the numbers the fastest times ever run in VA are at Third Battle but the speed and depth of competition year in and year out are at MileStat

* Nolan
09/28/2017 4:37:37 AM
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I'll attempt to be slightly less biased, I guess. I think you'll see more 'depth' at milestat, naturally, because they have about twice as many teams. Nolan has posted all-time lists comparing the two meets, but milestat's list will outshine Third Battle because it has existed for longer and has more teams. Until about 4 years ago, Third Battle was a fairly small meet with ~20 or fewer teams. The meet didn't even exist until 2010, when we hosted 10 or so teams for our first two years. So, it's comparing apples and oranges when using a compiled list of results for comparison's sake. A better comparison would be a virtual meet for this year, but I can't seem to get it to work! The two courses are fairly different. Milestat is all grass and very open and spectator friendly. Third Battle is predominantly trail (crushed stone) and spends the first half of the race in the woods with no crowd support (our 1/2 way crowd support is pretty deafening, though, to make up for it). I like to say our race is more runner-friendly than spectator-friendly, but I love the trails. If you like running in Schenley Park, you'll probably enjoy the first half of our race. For someone of your ability, which looks to be roughly the 16:00 area, you probably can't go wrong with either meet. I know we'll have 15-20 guys coming in with times between 15:00-16:00 already this season. One thing to consider for you is that Third Battle is roughly 3 hours from you and Milestat's closer to 5.5 hours. Hopefully some kids chime in with their opinions of the meets, but I really don't think you'll hear any negatives about either.
I'll attempt to be slightly less biased, I guess.

I think you'll see more 'depth' at milestat, naturally, because they have about twice as many teams. Nolan has posted all-time lists comparing the two meets, but milestat's list will outshine Third Battle because it has existed for longer and has more teams. Until about 4 years ago, Third Battle was a fairly small meet with ~20 or fewer teams. The meet didn't even exist until 2010, when we hosted 10 or so teams for our first two years. So, it's comparing apples and oranges when using a compiled list of results for comparison's sake. A better comparison would be a virtual meet for this year, but I can't seem to get it to work!

The two courses are fairly different. Milestat is all grass and very open and spectator friendly. Third Battle is predominantly trail (crushed stone) and spends the first half of the race in the woods with no crowd support (our 1/2 way crowd support is pretty deafening, though, to make up for it). I like to say our race is more runner-friendly than spectator-friendly, but I love the trails. If you like running in Schenley Park, you'll probably enjoy the first half of our race.

For someone of your ability, which looks to be roughly the 16:00 area, you probably can't go wrong with either meet. I know we'll have 15-20 guys coming in with times between 15:00-16:00 already this season.

One thing to consider for you is that Third Battle is roughly 3 hours from you and Milestat's closer to 5.5 hours.

Hopefully some kids chime in with their opinions of the meets, but I really don't think you'll hear any negatives about either.
09/28/2017 3:25:42 PM
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@kshirk Agreed! Both meets are run very well and it is not by chance that both meets are now the defacto "fast" meets of the year. Almost every team in VA is in action that weekend and really use it as a great chance to get a fast time heading into the post-season. The real question is will both meets have multiple sub 15s!? I think we could have six guys in total under 15 (more to come in article form) on that single day! - Nolan
@kshirk Agreed! Both meets are run very well and it is not by chance that both meets are now the defacto "fast" meets of the year.

Almost every team in VA is in action that weekend and really use it as a great chance to get a fast time heading into the post-season.

The real question is will both meets have multiple sub 15s!? I think we could have six guys in total under 15 (more to come in article form) on that single day!

* Nolan
09/28/2017 7:29:46 PM
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Why do people even compare courses in XC? Every course is different, measured differently, set up differently each year. How about we just run the meet and be happy about the time that the kids run on THAT course and not try to compare meets? We are so fixated on times for a sport that has so many different variables that it is laughable why times are so important. I get comparing course times, from the same meet, year after year, but comparing different meets in totally different parts of the state is assine.
Why do people even compare courses in XC? Every course is different, measured differently, set up differently each year. How about we just run the meet and be happy about the time that the kids run on THAT course and not try to compare meets?

We are so fixated on times for a sport that has so many different variables that it is laughable why times are so important.

I get comparing course times, from the same meet, year after year, but comparing different meets in totally different parts of the state is assine.
09/29/2017 1:55:24 AM
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@frankrizzo I agree and disagree at the same time. Agree especially on the sentiment of basing times off of athletes on the same course year over year or even over all-time. This is especially the case with States. Though it has been at three locations that I know of, for the past 20 or so years it has been at Great Meadow and that is truly the measure of how fast or good you are. Now weather and actually grass length and course conditions do play into this but thats part of the sport and some years aren't as fast as others but it does give the best reference by far for how great an athlete is or how solid a team is or how much one athlete improved their high school career. Honestly, its an honor to even run at states in high school! Now to the disagree part. I think the sport is definitely moving towards times as the true measure of greatness. Now VA is lucky that we have terrain in our state and teams interested in running on different courses every weekend but for the most part states seem to be moving to faster courses, what I basically call "time-trial courses" which aren't "true XC" courses but merely flat tracks of land called an XC course. I don't think this is bad for the sport per se but it is definitely the direction it is going. NCAA is also seemingly taking that path and featuring more and more speedy courses in the post-season. I'm fine with people chasing faster and faster times but XC is about a lot of things and that is why it is arguably the best running season of them all. Just one distance but sooooo many variables at play. - Nolan 1:55am because you can't sleep during XC season! It's too exciting
@frankrizzo I agree and disagree at the same time.

Agree especially on the sentiment of basing times off of athletes on the same course year over year or even over all-time. This is especially the case with States. Though it has been at three locations that I know of, for the past 20 or so years it has been at Great Meadow and that is truly the measure of how fast or good you are.

Now weather and actually grass length and course conditions do play into this but thats part of the sport and some years aren't as fast as others but it does give the best reference by far for how great an athlete is or how solid a team is or how much one athlete improved their high school career. Honestly, its an honor to even run at states in high school!

Now to the disagree part. I think the sport is definitely moving towards times as the true measure of greatness. Now VA is lucky that we have terrain in our state and teams interested in running on different courses every weekend but for the most part states seem to be moving to faster courses, what I basically call "time-trial courses" which aren't "true XC" courses but merely flat tracks of land called an XC course.

I don't think this is bad for the sport per se but it is definitely the direction it is going. NCAA is also seemingly taking that path and featuring more and more speedy courses in the post-season.

I'm fine with people chasing faster and faster times but XC is about a lot of things and that is why it is arguably the best running season of them all. Just one distance but sooooo many variables at play.

* Nolan


1:55am because you can't sleep during XC season! It's too exciting
09/29/2017 4:03:55 AM
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@vamilesplit Ha.....I also agree and disagree as well. The fact that the state meet course has been at the same location for years is a great measure on how the state is doing speed wise. It is great that teams are seeking out faster or "flatter" courses (finding true flat, track like courses in VA is not easy, save a few) to race on. With that being said, my argument is equating or comparing courses time wise that are very different. Of course when you have a Hunter or Weini type runner on the start line, any course will be fast. You have to look at how the course is groomed, how it is set up (did the person who measured the course and then line it, do it properly), weather (it very well could be 60 and windless in Winchester and 85 and breezy in Richmond the same day), and on and on. I, for one am a purest when it comes to XC. I grew up running hilly, rough courses and running fast.....the year I graduated my state started running their state meet at a race track, they might as well just run on a track, it is that fast.
@vamilesplit Ha.....I also agree and disagree as well. The fact that the state meet course has been at the same location for years is a great measure on how the state is doing speed wise.

It is great that teams are seeking out faster or "flatter" courses (finding true flat, track like courses in VA is not easy, save a few) to race on. With that being said, my argument is equating or comparing courses time wise that are very different. Of course when you have a Hunter or Weini type runner on the start line, any course will be fast. You have to look at how the course is groomed, how it is set up (did the person who measured the course and then line it, do it properly), weather (it very well could be 60 and windless in Winchester and 85 and breezy in Richmond the same day), and on and on.

I, for one am a purest when it comes to XC. I grew up running hilly, rough courses and running fast.....the year I graduated my state started running their state meet at a race track, they might as well just run on a track, it is that fast.
09/29/2017 8:30:23 AM
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I love the fact that the State Meet has been at Great Meadow since 1994. It's one of my favorite venues. However, one thing I think that gets consistently overlooked is the fact that the state course was altered in ~2005, which I strongly believe made the course play significantly faster. The 2nd mile had more switchbacks that, in my opinion, slowed the course down by 20+ seconds, and required athletes to run a far more cautious 1st mile in order to survive. So even in this case, although the State meet has been in the same location for over 20 years, I don't think it's accurate to compare times pre-2005 to those run more recently.
I love the fact that the State Meet has been at Great Meadow since 1994. It's one of my favorite venues. However, one thing I think that gets consistently overlooked is the fact that the state course was altered in ~2005, which I strongly believe made the course play significantly faster. The 2nd mile had more switchbacks that, in my opinion, slowed the course down by 20+ seconds, and required athletes to run a far more cautious 1st mile in order to survive. So even in this case, although the State meet has been in the same location for over 20 years, I don't think it's accurate to compare times pre-2005 to those run more recently.
09/29/2017 8:52:28 AM
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@CoachPelle I'm going to agree with Chris and frankrizzo. It's important to acknowledge that the state course really has only been used for a dozen years or so, and to be fair, I can remember a few of those days being fairly sloppy, windy, and not conducive to running fast times. Which brings me to Frank's point....I'm not sure I remember when it became so important to have a fast time on cross country course in September. For all the DCXC or Woodgrove meets, which boast some impressive times, do they necessarily prepare you well for the state meet, when there are hills and other elements to test you? I always thought that cross country was about beating the competition. I guess it makes you look good on paper, or perhaps in a virtual meet, where team scores are skewed by teams who ran in Cary, NC vs. those who ran at Oatlands, but it doesn't reveal who is necessarily the best team. I think it is why I value the course at Burke Lake. It may not be the best course, but since it hasn't changed substantially in 43 years, we can make some comparisons, and still have to account for weather or course conditions, but at least it is the same course from one year to the next. I would also offer this....if you're worried about having a fast time to your name on a cross country course, go down to FLS in Charlotte, and drop a fast time there, where it is 95% pancake flat.
@CoachPelle

I'm going to agree with Chris and frankrizzo. It's important to acknowledge that the state course really has only been used for a dozen years or so, and to be fair, I can remember a few of those days being fairly sloppy, windy, and not conducive to running fast times.

Which brings me to Frank's point....I'm not sure I remember when it became so important to have a fast time on cross country course in September. For all the DCXC or Woodgrove meets, which boast some impressive times, do they necessarily prepare you well for the state meet, when there are hills and other elements to test you? I always thought that cross country was about beating the competition. I guess it makes you look good on paper, or perhaps in a virtual meet, where team scores are skewed by teams who ran in Cary, NC vs. those who ran at Oatlands, but it doesn't reveal who is necessarily the best team.

I think it is why I value the course at Burke Lake. It may not be the best course, but since it hasn't changed substantially in 43 years, we can make some comparisons, and still have to account for weather or course conditions, but at least it is the same course from one year to the next.

I would also offer this....if you're worried about having a fast time to your name on a cross country course, go down to FLS in Charlotte, and drop a fast time there, where it is 95% pancake flat.
09/29/2017 2:07:34 PM
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As a parent of a runner I will chime in. While I can't comment on Third Battle because my daughter has never run it, her favorite course that she has run is Milestat. She prefers the all grass course to running on crushed stone, but that is just personal preference. She set her PR on the Milestat course even though she has run FLS in Charlotte a couple of times. As a result, I would highly recommend the Milestat meet if you are trying to run a fast time.
As a parent of a runner I will chime in. While I can't comment on Third Battle because my daughter has never run it, her favorite course that she has run is Milestat. She prefers the all grass course to running on crushed stone, but that is just personal preference. She set her PR on the Milestat course even though she has run FLS in Charlotte a couple of times. As a result, I would highly recommend the Milestat meet if you are trying to run a fast time.
09/29/2017 6:13:53 PM
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@CoachDSM I think Burke Lake has to be the most historic course in the entire state. That is partially why I always refer to it as "Historic Burke Lake Park" since it is a 2.98 mile course and we know its not adding that extra distance! Its one of my favorite parts about it because against all the winds of change it has stayed the same and is a great measure of how great runners are year or even decade over decade! Only if Weini and Drew had run on it would we know how they stacked up against some of the greats of the olden days (sorry if that makes anyone feel old!) when Keogh and others ran the course.
@CoachDSM I think Burke Lake has to be the most historic course in the entire state. That is partially why I always refer to it as "Historic Burke Lake Park" since it is a 2.98 mile course and we know its not adding that extra distance! Its one of my favorite parts about it because against all the winds of change it has stayed the same and is a great measure of how great runners are year or even decade over decade!

Only if Weini and Drew had run on it would we know how they stacked up against some of the greats of the olden days (sorry if that makes anyone feel old!) when Keogh and others ran the course.
10/03/2017 1:09:49 PM
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@frankrizzo I like fast courses. I try to get my kids on one every year, but I never thought the sport was supposed to necessarily be about fast courses. Heck, we can race on a track for a real fast course I suppose. I like the kids facing the challenge of a monstrously hard course a time or two per year. Learning to work up hills and downhills and turns is all a part of it. I don't think we've raced a particularly fast course this year, but we are heading to third battle hoping for cool temps and some big PR action. Can't wait!
@frankrizzo

I like fast courses. I try to get my kids on one every year, but I never thought the sport was supposed to necessarily be about fast courses. Heck, we can race on a track for a real fast course I suppose.

I like the kids facing the challenge of a monstrously hard course a time or two per year. Learning to work up hills and downhills and turns is all a part of it.

I don't think we've raced a particularly fast course this year, but we are heading to third battle hoping for cool temps and some big PR action.

Can't wait!
10/03/2017 1:11:32 PM
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@Runnerhheaj My kids rarely seem to do well at MileStat for some reason. Probably bad coaching on my part.
@Runnerhheaj

My kids rarely seem to do well at MileStat for some reason. Probably bad coaching on my part.

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