Modern Biathlon – Running and Shooting
Not sure about the start. Either mass start, or some seconds apart based on seeding. Problem with mass starts is that after a certain size, the race is totally unmanageable, and even as is, may well be unmanageable. (When you read about the shooting stages, you’ll see why.)
However timed starts may make it impossible for the people in the very back to ever win, and that seems like a bad system, too. If you go seeded, you use shooting averages as your seed. That way the best shooters go first.
However I like the way the shooting stages are planned, so I’m going to try to think of a way to make the start work in light of that.
- Everyone has to carry a rifle and their own ammo.
- No specific design criteria on guns. Just need to be able to knock down the plates, and the plates would require something beefier then a .22 LR. This is a vaguely manly sport! Likely a (super-lightweight) AR with a low-power optic would be fine.
- Rifles are carried unloaded and safed.
- Three shooting stages – 100, 50, and 10 yards, each stage has two 25 plate racks (5 x 5).
- First person to a stage waits for next person. When the second person arrives at the stage, that automatically starts a 10 second clock.
- When the 10 seconds are up, the two competitors shoot the stage.
- Shoot in any position you want.
- The winner goes on, the loser stays at the stage to take on the next person. If someone loses 3 consecutive tries at a single stage, both competitors move on, however even stage losers have to shoot out all their plates. No standing there.
- If you are ever out of ammo, it’s a DNF.
- Failure to unload and safe your rifle before exiting a shooting stage is a DNF.
- Winner is first person across the finish line. No time penalties, no clock gaming.
If there are lots of people bunched up at a stage, they just take the stage in order. First in, first out. Anyone in last merely shoots the stage and moves on.
This would have the effect of forcing "bunching", which would make the event more fun to watch, and it would also add a direct competitive effect that would be cool. Big plate racks = more shooting, which is always cool, and you have to carry more ammo (if you want insurance, you’ll likely need to be carrying 10 full mags). Two people shooting at 25 plates would be fun.
Lastly, it would mean that an olympic-class runner with no shooting experience at all would be handicapped, as they’d have to wait at every stage for the next people, and if those people outshoot them, they just wait around some more… but perfect shooters who get winded reloading would be in just as bad shape.
This is my genius sporting event idea. Just you wait!