All posts by Paul Street


Waterloo Parks Results

Thanks to Don McKerrow for creating last night’s great event in the part of London where our chairman Alan Leakey was born and brought up. And for putting out 29 controls in the afternoon thunderstorms, which cleared nicely for the first starters. And in the delightful pub The Tankard after the racing Alan was delighted to present Don with a framed map as a token of the club’s appreciation for so much hard work for SLOW as Chairman, mapping officer, and winter night series co-ordinator, not to mention individual events such as this.

SLOW’s London Park Series continues next Tuesday, and all Tuesdays afterwards until 24th July.


Photo of Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park courtesy of Alan Stanton on Flickr.

British Champs Weekend

On the 19th May, the day of a Royal Wedding in Windsor, the British Long Distance Championship races were held far away, at another Royal Castle, that of Balmoral, on Deeside in the Highlands of Scotland.

The weather was glorious and Deeside was wonderful in the sunshine. The Balmoral Estate forest was hilly and rough with few tracks, and there were some extended running times.

The next day, a little along the valley in the somewhat easier forest at Torphantrick the British Relay Championships took place.

In the individual there were new champions in the open classes, Jo Shepherd of Inverness OC (and Halden SK, Norway) and Peter Hodkinson of Nottinghamshire OC (and Lillomarka OL, Norway.) Short report on the open classes (at On The Red Line website.)

There were 20 SLOW members running the individual (and fixtures secretary Duncan Grassie, not 100% fit, was there too under his AROS designation – seventh on M35L, and helping it all happen.)

Long Distance Results (pdf, on Scottish orienteering website.)

Ed Catmur
Ed Catmur

Ian Webb was the only SLOW member tackling M/W21E – he finished in three and a quarter hours.

Sarah-Jane Barrable was third on W21S.

SLOW’s top class (arguably, just shading M65L) was M35L, with Ed Catmur second and Steve Clelland fifth.

Steph Moss was fifth on W40L, and Karen Jones 13th on W55L, with Heather Walton 37th.

Captain Peter Huzan was 32nd in M50L,  with Andy Jones 33rd and eight seconds behind him  (a small margin in an hour and a half), and  Simon Moss was 47th in that class.

Kathy Haynes was 15th on W60L, 6 seconds ahead of 16th placed Diane Leakey. Chris Robinson was third on W60S. Sarah Brown was equal fifth on W65L, with Anne May 16th. Paul Street was 31st in M60L, with an injured Andy Robinson missing a few controls. Alan Leakey was fifth and Don McKerrow eleventh on M65L. David May was sixth on M70L.

Kathy Haynes
Kathy Haynes

The next day was the British Relay Championships. SLOW fielded teams in both the top class races.  In the Men’s Premier, Ed Catmur, Peter Huzan and Ian Webb were 19th. In the Women’s Premier Karen Jones, Sarah-Jane Barrable and Christine Robinson were 12th.

In the veteran classes SLOW got two bronze medals, in the men’s and women’s 60+ races. The women’s team was Sarah Brown, Kathy Haynes and Diane Leakey. The men’s (seen below – with Andy Robinson’s SLOW jacket in background, helping at the prizegiving in his capacity as a BOF Director) was David May, Alan Leakey and Andy Jones.

Alan leakey, Andy JOnes, David May collect the bronze medals
Men’s 60+ Relay Prizegiving
Andy Jones
Andy Jones
Andy Robinson
Andy Robinson

JK Relays, Monday 2nd April

(thanks to Mark Howell for the top photo of the JK Trophy start)

Fifteen SLOW teams took part in the JK Relays on Cannock Chase on Monday.

For old-timers it was a traditional JK Relays – bad weather coming in on Sunday night /Monday morning causing really tough conditions for both the organisation team and the runners.

Full results can be found on the SIEntries website.

The women’s trophy team (Heather Findlay, Fiona Tam, Sarah-Jane Barrable) were 16th. The men’s trophy team (Tom Cochrane, Yordan Kolev, Ed Stott) were 20th.

And one of the SLOW vet teams made the podium: congratulations to Sarah, Karen and Dorte.

W165+ Podium: Happy Herts, Lakeland, South London Orienteers

In the individual competition in the forest on the Saturday and Sunday Ed Catmur won M35L, and Sarah Brown was second in W65L. Ed also won the sprint at MOD Stafford on the Friday.

In the top classes:
W21E – Abi Weeds was 16th and Sue Carter was 41st.
M21E – Tom Cochrane was 34th.

SLOW Wins Through to CompassSport Cup Final

(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:

Stanley Heap 8A 100
Tommy Heap 9A 100
Scarlet Heap 8B 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.)


More Details of the Scoring

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.

Good Wishes to SLOW

(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.

Katrin, Valérie, Diane, silver medallists at JK 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.

World Cup Sprint Relay Start, Grindelwald 2017