Thanks to Paul Couldridge for this event, and to Don McKerrow for coordination of the whole series of five events this winter.
Routegadget – always particularly interesting with a mass start race!
(Thanks to Mark Howell for use of the pictures. In the top picture, in SLOW colours waiting to start, is Keith Davies. David Dawson, who controlled our recent event at Holmwood Common, is the start official.)
On Sunday 11th SLOW were second in the Regional CompassSport Cup Match. So we qualified for the Autumn Final. We have missed out on the final the last two years but very much enjoyed the trip in 2015, so we can now look forward to the West Midlands on the weekend of October 21st.
The Cup racing was on the Balcombe Estate, an area south of London of mixed woodland and fields, with many steep slopes. The event was hosted by Dartford (DFOK), with additional help from Southdowns. The ground was heavy and quite wet, so there was a lot of mud, although the weather on the day was lovely.
A club scores its best 25 “counting” runners – they must be spread across the age/sex classes – but there is no limit to the number of runners in a team. (Please see the end of this post if you want more details.)
We fielded a team of 49. Our counting 25 were 14 men and 11 women. A big difference this year for SLOW was the presence of 4 juniors in the counting 25 – thankyou, and very well done to them.
There were seven clubs at the tie. Two were to qualify for the final. Three of the seven did not field a full team, which has a big impact. (Happy Herts had three runners in the England team running in the Netherlands.) The winners were Southdowns (SO) led by 3 scores of the maximum 100:
We were 22 points behind, and were reasonably comfortably ahead of 3rd placed Southern Navigators and 4th placed Berkshire. For various reasons we are optimistic we will overhaul SO come the final, although expect the above Southdowns runners to again do well!
All four full teams scored at least 10 women in the 25.
Pictured: Rebecca and Fiona, counting on the Open Women’s course, Karen and Di, counting in veteran classes. Di won her course, scoring the maximum100. (The other maximum was from Karen’s husband Andy.)
This is orienteering: it is fairly complex. Even this summary is not quite right. External link to the full rules.
There are eleven different races, categorised by sex and age. A runner gains points based on their position in their race, first gets 100, second gets 99 (or 98 in junior races), etc. A club’s best 25 individual scores totalled make the club score. At most 4 runners per race can be counted (2 in each junior one) – so it is best 25 from 36 maximum, although there is no limit to the total numbers in a team, the more the better.
The different races reflect the demographics of the whole UK sport: they have changed over the years, reducing the relative significance of younger adults and increasing that of older ones. But I can’t tell you why a contest between two juniors is twice as important as one between two seniors, although it must be to do with the tighter cap on counters.
There are four women’s races, six men’s, and one mixed (for the top age groups of W60+ and M70+.)
Four of the races, two women’s and two men’s, are juniors: W14-, W16/18, M14-, M16/18.
The other two women’s are:
W20/W21/W35/W40 (a 26 year range), and
W45/W50/W55 (a 15 year range).
The other four men’s are:
M21/M35 (19 years),
M20/M40/M45 (12 years),
M50/M55 (10 years), and
M60/M65 (10 years).
Women can run as men. And runners can run up, so clubs with extra older adults can spread some to the younger adult races, or those with extra juniors can move some to senior races. The races are matched with similar or easier courses compared to regular National and Regional events.
(Photo: A British Assembly Field, by Valérie Suter.)
Our membership secretary Gail received good wishes from Valérie Suter, and the message that she wanted to let us know she very much enjoyed being a member of SLOW.
Valérie ran with SLOW 2014-2016, and was a member of a silver-medal winning team at the JK in 2016.
She is now back in Switzerland, and as well as competing is a top volunteer official in the sport. Last year she controlled the final race in the main international series “World Cup”: the Sprint Relay in Grindelwald, which saw the town centre closed to vehicles for the time of the racing.
(Thanks to Robert Lines of Southdowns for use of the photo.)
By number of participants, the JK Relays, held on Easter Monday, is the biggest relay day of the year. Many SLOW teams will take part. We set a tent for the whole morning, cheer on our runners, show off our club kit, and enjoy the crowds more than is usual for orienteering. Courses are not long, but can be tricky.
It is the final day of the 4-day JK Easter Festival (Sprint/Middle/Long/Relays) this year near Stafford in the West Midlands. The relays are on Cannock Chase at Beaudesert.
Full details on the JK Pages at http://www.thejk.org.uk/
Please contact the captain if you can make the date!
(Closing date for relay entries is 4th March.)
The fourth race of South London Orienteers’ five event 2017-18 Night-O Series takes place on Putney Heath and Wimbledon Common, south-west London, on Tuesday 28 November 2018. The race centre will be The Telegraph Pub on Putney Heath.
|This event is on Facebook. Say you are coming here!|
|This event is on Attackpoint. Say you are coming here!|
The Night-O series is a public race – all are welcome. Please RSVP to the event via Facebook (link above) to let us know you are coming – you can also see who else is coming and post questions.
Letting us know you are coming helps us to have the correct number of the unique maps for this event printed.
The race will be based at The Telegraph on Telegraph Road, London SW15 3TU. The pub serves great food and drink, and there will be the usual opportunity to revisit route choices with other runners.
|Address||The Telegraph, SW15 3TU|
|OS grid reference||TQ234737|
|Maps||Google Maps, OpenStreetMap|
The Telegraph is in the middle of Putney Heath and there is plenty of parking available on nearby roads. Several bus routes go to “Putney Heath Green Man” which is about 500m from The Telegraph.
The entry fee is £3 for SLOW members, students and juniors; £5 for others. The race will use SIAC contactless punching with SIAC cards available for free for those who do not have their own. A small number of headlamps are also available to borrow free of charge but you need to e-mail the organiser in advance to reserve one.
|Registration||Between 1815 and 1930|
|Start Times||Between 1830 and 1930|
Wimbledon Common was fully re-mapped this year. The following courses will be available:
All competitors take part at their own risk.
Results will be available on the SLOW website shortly after the event.
Organiser: Dmitry Adamskiy
OK Nuts Trophy: Ben Windsor
Heather Monro Trophy: Sue Carter
Margaret Loveless Trophy: Angus Harrington
(Although these races took place in January 2018, this was the 2017 OK Nuts rescheduled. The same happened in 1997/8, and in line with that precedent the list of previous winners will show this running as 2018 (1).)
There should have been just one Routegadget for all the courses, but I erred in the setup with the result that the blood races did not work correctly. Some runners had uploaded before I realised the problem.
So I have re-named this first setup “for colour-coded courses” and runners on those individual start courses please use that setup.
And I have created a second one “for blood races”, and runners on those mass-start courses please use that setup.
I apologise to those on the blood races who tried to use the incorrect setup.
Now it is setup right, I think watching a rerun of the blood races is a lovely way to occupy a few minutes. Do try it, and remember what the weather was like!
Richmond Park features regularly in SLOW’s winter night series, however the chance to run full length courses in the daylight is a much rarer opportunity. I hope you enjoyed your runs despite the extremely testing conditions.
Andy Robinson originally had the vision of holding the blood races in Richmond Park and he provided a wealth of knowledge and experience in the weeks and months leading up to the event. In particular, his plan for the extremely compact layout of registration, start, map exchange and finish, helped to simplify organisation.
As well as Paul and Duncan, controller and planner respectively, I can’t thank my fellow members of SLOW enough for their help on the day, especially the registration team who coped admirably in the early rush. It was my fault that this was not arranged better, particularly on the bib collection for blood races, which lead to the delay on the start. Congratulations to our champions, due to the weather most people headed off before we had a chance to collate the results. We will endeavour to get trophies and coasters to winners as soon as possible.
Thanks to everyone who came to Richmond Park despite the wintry conditions. As a relatively novice planner it was encouraging to see so many people speaking positively of the looped format of the blood races since it was fun but challenging to plan. Controller Paul was able to come up with an algorithm for allocating correct maps to each competitor and creating the variation and with Andy and Steve managed to come up with the assembly field layout so I am indebted to them for making the courses work.
As well as thanking all the volunteers who helped put out and take in controls, I would like to single out Andy Robinson who has been a stalwart of SLOW and who we relied on heavily for the planning and delivery of this event.
Also a considerable amount of publicity for the event was created through a promotional video. It was made by Katherine Bett of Southern Navigators and features SLOW member Ralph Street and GB team colleague Alasdair McLeod. This hopefully provides a benchmark for future events! From my point of view it was great to see the wide range of competitors on the blood courses – from university students giving it a try for the first time to English and British Internationalists Ben Windsor and Tessa Strain respectively topping the male and female results.
Today’s races in Richmond Park saw testing distances, and testing conditions for competitors and officials alike. The forecast was for it to start raining at 9am, and carry on throughout the event. And it did just that, with the rain turning to sleet at times. We’ve got quite a lot of kit drying at the moment – you too? We hope you all had a good time, especially our many newcomers – thanks for coming, and you do know every event is different don’t you – it’s not always like this.
Illness kept some away, and the weather no doubt induced some to think “you know what, I think I’ll give it a miss today.” Still, you that came experienced pretty good running conditions, if pretty unpleasant conditions for doing most everything else. And of course you ran in Richmond Park, always lovely, and many of you enjoyed a bit of special “buzz” from the mass-start format.
Congratulations to all finishers, and commiserations to others.
On behalf of South London Orienteers’ I extend particular thanks to the three main event officials.
We were very lucky to have Paul Todd of London OK as an extremely hard-working and skilled controller. He was a full member of the team that designed and prepared the event. Then on the day he arrived with the first helpers, he checked things, he put out controls, he checked all the controls, he collected controls, he did plenty of things in between, and then he was there until the end helping to check the SI boxes and hire dibbers were ready for a future event.
The planner was Duncan Grassie, of South London Orienteers and Auld Reekie Orienteering Society. Most of his work was beforehand: the course design, selecting, checking and tagging control sites, and preparing the maps. The park is not the most complex terrain but I understand all courses included a good range of challenges, and the clever “gaffling” system that Duncan and Paul chose seemed to work very well from the comments of finshers. And as our Chairman said, some might have baulked at spending the day before they fly to Dubai for work, out all day in the Park, managing the controls and courses, but someone not only did all that, mostly in pouring rain, but then was offering to do plenty of other things that evening to sort things out for the next races – the first of which is Tuesday evening incidentally.
The guy that bore the heaviest load, holding it all together, was the organiser Steve Clelland. He made it happen, with help from our longtime fixtures secretary Andy Robinson. So he looked after (using words from the BOF manual):
It was Steve who, towards the end of the day, as he contemplated loading his car with a whole load of wet equipment (and his flat is on the 3rd floor) suggested the conditions might well justify the above phrase “you know what, I think I’ll give it a miss today.” Thanks for only thinking that Steve.