Knock-out Sprint Details

Knock-out competition Details

The knock-out sprint is a relatively new sprint format in which athletes race several shorter than normal sprints in the same day. Since this is a format that most of you won’t have run before I’ll describe the entire process in detail.

The first part of the knock-out sprint is a qualifier sprint which is run like a typical orienteering race: individual starts with pre-assigned start times. This qualifier sprint has a winning time of around 10 minutes. 

In this case the qualifier is the Sprint #3 at Kinsmen Park.

Based on the results of the qualifier, the top athletes are seeded into heats (typically 6 athletes per heat) for a quarter final. Each heat has a mass start and all heats run the same course. This course has a winning time of 6-8 minutes.

The next round, the semi-final round also has heats of 6 athletes with the top athletes from the quarter final moving on (in this case everyone will have a chance to run a semi-final). The semi-final courses have a butterfly loop so you need to pay attention to which order you are doing the butterfly loop in. This course also has a winning time of 6-8 minutes.

All athletes that run in the 2 official semi-final heats will run in either the A-final or the B-final. The top three athletes from each semi-final heat will run in the A-final and the remaining athletes will run in the B-final.

The Finals use a forking system called the runner’s choice. Part of the course (typically the at the start) has three forking options.  Before the start the athletes all have 20 seconds to look at a set of maps containing the forked part of the course and choose which forking option they want to race. The athletes will then be given a course map with the forking they chose. All athlete may end up choosing the same forking or they may end up being split evenly. This course has a winning time of 6-8 minutes. 

Here is the information specific to this weekend:

The quarter-final, semi-final, and final rounds all take place at the university – a typical university campus with a mix of paved areas, fields, out-of bounds gardens, buildings, and pathways. No studs are allowed. There is minimal vehicle traffic but you should keep an eye out for vehicles on campus. There is lots of construction on going but the map was checked this past week and out of bounds areas are up to date.

The finish area is the same for all three rounds – the field West of the Van Vliet athletics complex and north of the parking lot at the corner of 87 Ave and 116 St.  Competitors are not allowed to walk about the campus between the Qualifier at Kinsmen Park in the morning and the end of the Final. Athletes will be provided with a small warm-up map for a section of the campus around the athletics complex which they are allowed to use between rounds.

The start for the quarter-final and semi-finals are the same will be accessed by going through the athletic complex. It will be clearly marked from the arena.

The final has a separate start. It too will be clearly marked from the arena.

The start procedure will involve a one minute 1 minute call-up for all athletes in the heat.  There will be no start punch and there is a marked route to the start flag which all athletes must follow.

For the final there will be a 2 minute call up and then at 1 minute athletes will be provided 20 seconds to look at the forkings and then 40 seconds before the start.

There are no separate control descriptions. Control descriptions will be printed on the map.


Scale: 1:4000

Distance: 1.6km (straight line)

Climb: negligible

First heat starts at 3:00 pm. Heats start every 10 minutes.

The top 4 from each heat move on to the semi-finals in heat A and B. Everyone who does not qualify in the top four in their heat will get to run the semi-final in heat C.


Scale: 1:4000

Distance: 1.6km (straight line)

Climb: negligible

First heat starts at 4:00pm. Heats start every 10 minutes.

These courses have a butterfly loop. Half of the athletes in each heat will run loop A then B and the other half will run loop B and then A. Maps will be handed out randomly so athletes don’t know who is running the loops in the same order.

The top 3 from each of semi-final heat A and B will run in the A final. The remaining athletes from semi-final heat A and B will run in the B-final.


Scale: 1:4000

Distance: 1.5km (straight line)

Climb: negligible

The B-final starts at 5:00. The A-final starts at 5:15.

These courses include the ‘Runner’s Choice’ component.

18 athletes are entered for the knock-out sprint: Here is how the qualifications work:

Athletes will be assigned to quarter final heats as follows based on results from the qualifier:

Heat 1 Heat 2 Heat 3
Q1 Q2 Q3
Q6 Q5 Q4
Q7 Q8 Q9
Q12 Q11 Q10
Q13 Q14 Q15
Q18 Q17 Q16

The heats for the semi-finals will be assigned as follows:

Semi-final A Semi-final B Semi-final C
H1-1 H2-1 H1-5
H2-2 H3-1 H2-5
H3-2 H1-2 H3-5
H1-3 H2-3 H1-6
H3-3 H1-4 H2-6
H2-4 H3-4 H3-6

The heats for the finals will be assigned as follows:

A final B final
HA-1 HA-4
HB-1 HB-4
HA-2 HA-5
HB-2 HB-5
HA-3 HA-6
HB-3 HB-6

Comments are closed.