When the Head Of The Charles announced that the 2020 regatta would be a 'global remote event,' many onlookers wondered about the 'official' distance of 4702 meters.
How do you record your time for 4702 meters; send in a 4700 meter piece and add a fraction of a second? Something else? And is the Charles course really 4702 meters?
It turns out it checks out pretty well; the HOCR Web site notes that "We evaluated the distance of several different lines ranging from conservative to aggressive, and 4,702 meters was the most representative distance.
Using the measure distance function on mapping apps to trace a typical run down the course from the BU dock to the finish line, the results line up with the HOCR assessment; if you want to do it yourself, the finish line post for the Charles is right here.
As the September 1 registration opening for the virtual event approaches, HOCR folks and their tech providers have come up with what should be a very easy way for participants to submit a time for 4702 using nearly any device that records distance and time.
To make it possible for participants to record a 4702m piece without doing a ton of math as they collapse over their oars, the HOCR worked with TimeTeam to be able to extract the 'fastest 4702 meters' from any submitted time over any distance (of at least 4702 meters, of course).
Time and distance can be recorded with any NK GPS product with NK LiNK, or any GPS tracking device (smartphone + app, smart watch, etc.) that can export a .GPX file.
"Because it's a unique distance, we wanted to make it really simple so that anyone could do it using a SpeedCoach, their watch, a free app on their phone, really anything that can generate a .GPX file we can read," Head Of The Charles Assistant Director Mason Cox said. "So if you go out and row 4800 meters, or even 6000 meters, when you upload that file, it'll take your best continuous stretch of 4702.
"Of course people can very precisely map out a 4702 course, but if at the end of their row they stop their clock at 4703 or 4708, it's going to take the best 4702 meter slice of that."
After you upload your file, your time will be displayed in the official results.
Multiple Ways to Participate and Compete
The event will include three distinct ways to compete - "participatory on water" and "participatory on erg" phases that will accept submissions from Friday October 9 to Friday October 16, and a "Competitive Live Racing" event on the erg on Saturday October 17. There will be a live YouTube Broadcast on Saturday as well, tentatively scheduled for 10 am-2pm.
On-water participants are encouraged to do the row on any body of water of their choice that permits social distancing and safe rowing per local, national, and USRowing/governing body rules. The system will likely allow display of a map of the row so that viewers can see where and when other participants rowed.
"It will be part of the fun for people to find a body of water for the event," Cox said. "They're going to find a stretch of water where they are going downstream in a big current and tailwind, and we want that to be part of the fun of it."
HOCR Director of Operations Priscilla Livingston noted that there are no restrictions on which event you can participate in.
"With a week to send in times, if anyone wants to do all three - on-water, erg, and the live racing - they can do that," Livingston said.
The live racing will take place on C2 ergs, but the participatory events can be done "on any device that counts distance with a that can be converted to a time for the event."
The live Saturday broadcast is slated to broadcast on Youtube, showing boats moving across the screen, announcers doing video interviews and race calls, and more.
Registration and Eligibility
Registration for the live racing will run from September 1 to September 30, while registration for the participatory events doesn't officially close until the day is out on October 16.
The event list will include both age and weight class opportunities, as well as para-rowing events.
There is no lottery for or restrictions on participation; further, the event is not a USRowing-registered event this year, so no outside membership is required.
The regatta and tech folks are still working out some details to allow maximum participation, such as how to allow people in the same household to compete in events on Saturday that might occur at the same time ("some sort of bullpen approach," Cox said), time zone conflicts, and more; more information will be available as details are worked out.
One note: college-eligible athletes will need to ensure compliance when competing, which could be tricky given the greatly varying status of enrollment and eligibility this fall. Athletes and their coaches are encouraged to check with their specific compliance offices for guidance.
All Entry Fees Will Go Into the HOCR x Gold Cup Fund
The fee for the participatory on-water and erg events are $15 per entry per event, and the fee for the live erg event on Saturday will be $25.
All entry fees (less the couple percent fees for RegattaCentral registration) will go directly into the new HOCR x Gold Cup fund, for which applications have been extended to September 4.
"We're really excited to broaden the pool of money we can give out to programs that need it," Livingston said. "We won't collect any revenue, and it will go one hundred percent into the fund."
See more information on Registration for the Global Remote Event here.