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Future Track & Field Coverage by TullyRunners.com - No More

Bill Meylan (June 8, 2013)


This article discusses a cut-back of Track & Field coverage by TullyRunners.com ... This is separate from coverage of Cross Country by TullyRunners which will continue to cover XC in the fall of 2013.

Quick Background

TullyRunners.com began posting to the Internet in 2000 ... The intent was to cover certain aspects of cross country with an emphasis on "speed ratings" to compare performances on different race courses and on different days ... There was no intent to cover track & field at that time.

Back in 2000, getting results of New York cross country or track meets in electronic form from the Internet (or other places) was in it early stages ... The original ArmoryTrack website (maintained by George Feebles Sr) was a wonderful start in making state-wide results available where possible ... Jim Vermeulen (West Genesee HS coach) was posting available results to the original Section 3 site on AngelFire.

It's hard to comprehend the difference between 2000 and 2013 ... But back in "the early times", the vast majority of results only existed in hard-copy form, either hand-written or typed-on-paper or physical newspaper newsprint ... For posting to the Internet in a usable form, those results had to be manually transcribed which is a time-consuming process, so it was rarely being done.

The scientist  in me wanted as much data as possible (in a usable form), so I began transcribing results from faxes, hard-copy and newspapers for Internet posting ... I began posting track & field results because I wanted the data myself and I knew many Internet viewers would be interested in seeing results ... Content in the form of Results is a staple in providing XC and track information that people want.

One example ... The NY State Indoor Track Meet was formerly held at the Carrier Dome at Syracuse University ... at several meets, the announcer would announce the results and then give me the hard-copy of the results ... I would hand-type the results for posting on the Internet because I knew many newspapers wanted the results in a timely fashion for inclusion in the next day's edition ... at that time, you never knew when the electronic version of the results would be available (obviously, pre-LeoneTiming at States).

Fast-Forward to Present Day

The background above points out both a desire and a need when I started covering track & field ... But currently, the desire is gone and the need has quickly eroded.

A Need No Longer Exists

A sizeable fraction of all NY State results is currently handled by timing companies such as LeoneTiming, YenTiming, Just-in-Time-Racing, and FinishRight ... and some of it is available in Real-Time ... various "sectional" websites (such as section2harrier) post results and info.

MileSplit NY ... Kyle Brazeil & company at NY MileSplit are doing a great job of covering the entire State ... MileSplit NY posts results, calendar schedules (cross-linked with results), and a huge database of stats for each individual athlete ... Much of what I do in track is duplicated by MileSplit, so there is really no need for me to do it anymore.

Photos ... early on, I enjoyed taking photos and posting them with relevant track events ... few photos were available on the Internet with that purpose, so I was serving a specific need ... But photo processing and posting is time-consuming, so I have limited the number of photos taken in recent years ... And currently - photos are available from multiple sources ... people take great photos with smart phones and new cameras ... websites and newspaper sites are posting galleries of photos from track meets ... again, no need exists on my part.

Indoor Track in Section 3 ... All indoor meets in Section 3 are handled by LeoneTiming, so there is no need for coverage other than photos and newspaper (and that's not me) ... I don't enjoy attending track meets much anymore, and the only indoor meets I attended all indoor season were the Section 3 State Qualifier and the State Meet (and I left both early).

The Desire to Cover Track & Field is Gone

The desire to cover track and field for my website has waned in recent years ... Part is due to time requirements ... Early on, I would stay for most of a track meet, and then go home and spend another few hours processing photos, formulating results, and making web-pages .. It grows tedious after a while.

As noted above, I don't enjoy attending track meets much anymore ... It's usually different when I go a meet with the Tully girls' team because I know them and want to see how they perform from a simple spectator viewpoint ... The only outdoor meet I went to all season without the Tully girls' team was the Section 3 State Qualifier (and some Tully girls were there) ... But once again, the State Qualifier was a reminder of all the "little things" that annoy me about track & field.

Pet Peeves Concerning Track Meets

I like meets that run quickly and efficiently ... Meets that run slowly annoy me ... A few years back it was brought to my attention that a number of coaches and officials don't mind if meets run slowly because "they would rather be at the track meet than somewhere else" ... No need to respond to that because that can't be fixed.

Some meets run slow by intent to "give athletes doing multiple events a chance to rest" ... Why?? ... Why does an athlete doing multiple events deserve more consideration than an athlete doing a single event??  The multi-event athlete and coach chose to do extra events knowing the schedule, and I have always thought it should be their responsibility to hustle back-and-forth and not slow the meet down ... But the rules protect them in high school ... and high school track is mostly team-oriented which demands multi-event effort.

I was going to discuss simple things like runners and teams not showing-up at the starting lines on time, or runners taking off jewelry at the starting-line, or coaches and athletes using their cell phones in competition areas (cell phone use is so common that nobody notices) ... No need.

Quick digression ... Track was my favorite sport in high school ... I did the pole vault, high jump, long jump and triple jump ... I learned that field events can get "second-class status" compared to running events when some of us waited .. and waited .. and waited while competitors did running events and didn't return for long periods of time ... I learned that some coaches of competitors did it intentionally to disrupt competition "because they could", and it still happens in high school today ... I learned to really enjoy track & field competition as an unattached athlete post-high school because that kind of crap didn't happen at that level.

At this year's Section 3 State Qualifier, the girls in the long jump were given only 4 jumps ... in the past, it's been 3 preliminary jumps plus 3 jumps in the finals (same as the State Meet) ... Seems like a minor difference, but the Division 2 girls were divided into two flights and the first flight was required to finish all jumps before the second flight started ... so the second flight (which included girls from a running event who were allowed even additional time to rest and then warm-up) had an advantage of knowing what the first flight did ... It would not matter if there were finals because the girls would compete head-to-head at the same time which I think is a necessity in a qualifying meet ... and eliminating two jumps removes two opportunities for all jumpers to set school records, hit the qualifying standard and set PRs ... I'm sure most people don't care, but to me, it brings back the specter of "second-class treatment" to field event competitors (and I knew about this only because a Tully girl was jumping) ... Next year will have a different annoyance ...Hopefully it won't involve opportunities being taken away from the athletes.

I had a whole list of annoyances ... No longer important ... These types of annoyances, which make me want to stay away from track meets, rarely happen in cross country.


TullyRunners will continue to cover Cross Country ... My initial intent was "Speed Ratings" and it still is ... some scale-backs in XC postings will occur (to be discussed later).

The outdoor track season is almost over, so most viewers will not notice any changes in TullyRunners coverage of track & field until next year.

TullyRunners - Immediate Track & Field Changes:
(1) the on-line Track Databases will no longer be maintained
(2) the Record Lists will no longer be maintained
(3) no additional track results from this season will be posted
(4) track results posted elsewhere on the Internet will not be posted

 ... the above is mostly meaningless since the track season is nearly over.

This needs to be stressed ... If somebody else is willing to post the track results sent to me for posting and maintain an outdoor track schedule, there is no reason for TullyRunners to continue covering track & field ... Section 4 has been very good at sending me track results, and virtually all of those end up on NY-MileSplit ... I don't mind posting those results or posting results from other meets that can't be accessed elsewhere.

But should a guy who doesn't like going to high school track meets and complains about the annoyances of high school track be doing it?

I skipped this year's outdoor State Meet ... first State Meet I've missed since starting TullyRunners.