South London at the Harvester Night & Day Relays

Ashdown Forest

The Harvester relays were near Ashdown Forest this year & it was good to see that SLOW had quite a few teams. These relays are more team-focused than the other orienteering relays during the year – there is no individual race, & you are in a team of seven or five, with half the people running in the dark. Fortunately no-one mispunched! The event was very well organised by Mole Valley including having several radio controls, a spectator control & great weather.

Our age-handicapped teams were looking to get into the prizes this year and they all came away with tall shot glasses to savour the event. Our first team back was the B Handicap. In fact they won the B course overall with Charlie T just managing to hold off the other teams on last leg.

B handicap team – Mike, Don, Charlie, Jim and Chris Fry

Our Women’s Handicap team were second women’s team overall, but given a team could win only one prize, our team picked up the Women’s Handicap Trophy & more valuable UK relay league points. SLOW’s women have done really well in the league this year.

Women’s B handicap team – Kate, Diane, Chris R, Rachel (and Caroline)

Our final team on the B course was a team out to enjoy themselves & totally succeeded. Well done to Sarah C & Dick for getting round in the dark, & Tony C & Gordon brought the team home in the daylight.

Our A Handicap team had some serious competition in the handicap class from Bristol, the Army & Southdowns. Eventually Bristol pulled away & we ended up 3rd, 25 minutes behind (8th overall).

A Handicap team – Ed, David, Alan, Paul, Stephan, Pete, Andy

Our youthful A Open team (Mike G, Gavin, Simon E, Mark V-R, Phil, Paul N, Charlie W) all performed very respectably & probably will end up 12th once the final dibber has been downloaded!

Thank you to the Catmurs & Chris Fry for lending spare headtorches – I’m sure they were well appreciated by those using them. I only once had to get up in the middle of the night during the week to swap batteries while recharging! Thanks to all of you for making things reasonably straightforward on the weekend by camping early or letting me know when you were going to arrive. Next year the relays are near York on 4th June – I hope this year has generated a lot of enthusiasm so that we will have some teams going up (by coach?) next year. See you at the South-East Relays on 23rd May at Wimbledon Common, or at an evening training event soon.

All the SLOW teams

Relay News

We had 14 teams competing at the British Relay Championships in the Forest of Dean last bank holiday Monday. And came away with two 1sts, two 2nds, one 3rd, & four other top ten positions. Firstly, we had teams in both the Men’s & Women’s Premier Class. Both teams gained UK cup points, & the women are doing particularly well at the moment. The men (Charlie W, Mal L, Simon E) came 18th – Charlie was up with the lead pack for about 20 minutes on his first ever first leg. Simon had a good run on last leg. The women (Rachael H, Nicky K, Anja S) came 9th – Rachael was 2nd on the first leg!

Rachel (on right) was 2nd on the 1st leg of the Women’s Premier

Our veterans always have a good chance of podium positions at the British Championships partly because there are so many classes. The number of classes may get reduced in the future. The W40 team (Karen J, Jackie C, Christine R) got a silver medal. The W45 team (Kathy H, Sarah B, Diane L) won yet again – with extremely fast runs from Sarah & Diane; Kathy has been running well all year & now has a relay trophy to put on the mantelpiece. The M45 team (Peter Ha, Andy J, John D) came 3rd. John had a great run on last leg to get in the places but we ended up 5 minutes behind Guildford followed by Hertfordshire.

Left: W40 – Karen / Chris (+Jackie). Right: W45 – Diane / Cathy / Sarah

The M50 team (Paul S, Charlie T, Andy R) put in a very solid performance to come 2nd, just 3 minutes behind Thames Valley who had the youthful Neville Baker on last leg. Our 2nd M50 team (Don M, Alan L, Jim M) came a good 6th & were in 3rd palce after 2 legs before other clubs’ 1st teams hauled them in.

The last veteran’s performance was in MW55 (David M, Teresa T, Mike M) where we came 1st by 15 seconds. This was an excellent team performance in a very competitive class. Mike was amazing on last leg & looked as though he was trying very hard on the run-in! Especially well done to Teresa running with two of our most in-form men.

Left: M50 team – Andy / Paul / Charlie. Right: MW55 – David / Theresa / Mike

The junior classes were harder than at the JK, especially the yellow which was gaffled (ie had variations) as well. Everyone successfully finished their course & our younger juniors have gained a lot more relay experience that will be good to build on next year. Our Junior Ad Hoc teams came 4th & 7th, with especially good runs from Ralph S, James M & Michael M. Our Mini Relay team came 11th, with a great run from Robert J on 1st leg coming back in 3rd place.

The Short & Ad Hoc classes had the most teams! Our Ad Hoc team came 13th including a good run from Chris W. In the seniors, the Women’s Short team was 7th. Heather M was in the team & brought the team back 1st after 2 legs. Sarah C wasn’t overawed by this & brought the team back in a very respectable position. The Men’s Short team came a solid 22nd.

Overall the weekend was very enjoyable. The new SLOW red fleeces made their first appearance (thanks Simon), & many of us stayed in ‘luxury’ group accommodation very conveniently located for all the weekend’s events. We had carbo-loading feasts in the evenings, & were able to use up any excess energy playing table tennis, and table football. That was one part I was able to take a more active part in & allowed myself & Don to show Charlie & Simon how to play the beautiful game – roll on the re-match.

Best wishes Pete

Juniors

Other Relays – May 6th

Wednesday 6th May saw some less important relays.

During the day at the Army Relays at Long Valley, the SLOW team of Chris Robinson, Kate Thomas and Don McKerrow won the Ad Hoc class having led all the way.

In the evening in Richmond Park, the SLOW team came 12th in the Thames Parkland Relays. Those who have run this before might like to know the split times:
Andy Robinson 19.48
Karen Jones 20.21
Andy Jones 19.28
Owen Lindsell 18.30
The first 3 were all slower than last year (blame wet underfoot conditions and the British Relays 2 days earlier). it was Owen’s first run in this and he gained 2 places on last leg.

Coaching Day Sunday 9th May 2004

As trailed in SLOWPRINT, the date for the next coaching day is Sunday 9th May from 10 am to 2 pm. This will be on Puttenham Common near Guildford. Pete Nicholls from Guildford is kindly planning the exercises.

The coaching day is designed for juniors and beginners but there may be limited exercises for experienced orienteers as well. You can be shadowed by more experienced orienteers or just talk to a coach after each exercise. This is a good chance to talk to people about the areas you want to improve.

Please let me know by 28th April whether you will be coming so that I can ensure that there are enough people to come along and help. Please copy your e-mail to Chris Fry as I may only be checking my e-mail in the office intermittently. Let us know if there are any particular techniques you want to practice.

Experienced orienteers ? I would really appreciate your help passing on your skills and enthusiasm by shadowing less experienced orienteers. It is a good way of reminding yourself what you should be doing as well! Please let me know if you can help on the day, preferably also by 28th April.

Happy to answer any queries.

JK 2004 Results

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Seventy South London orienteers made the long trip to the contoured lands of the Lake District for the annual JK International Festival of Orienteering. The format is a training day, two individual days (with times added together), & finishing with a relay day.

On the individual days, there were very good performances from: Rachael Holmes (W21L 2nd), Diane Leakey (W45 1st on day 1), Monika Bonafini (W50 2nd), Sarah Brown (W50 3rd), Jackie Chapman (W45S 3rd), Ralph Street (M14 7th, 3rd GB), John Dowty (M45 4th on day 2), David May (M55 2nd), Mike Murray (M60 3rd).

The relays were well organised & SLOW had a front row view of the action. The forest seemed a lot faster than the other days as we cheered on our 17 teams. This included some running a relay for the first time, & some running a relay for SLOW for the first time. Particular highlights include: 3rd in the Mini Relay (Robert J, Thomas J, James H) 6th in MW40- (James McM, Matthew H, Ralph S) 7th in Women’s Premier (Anja Stratford, Caroline Catmur, Rachael Holmes) 3rd in W120+ (Monika Bonafini, Sarah Brown, Diane Leakey) 5th in M120+ (Peter Haynes, Andy Jones, John Dowty) 1st in M165+ (Alan Leakey, David May, Mike Murray).

Also: Ed Catmur 11th on 1st leg of Men’s Premier (2.5 minutes off the lead); the team finished 28th.

I hope you all enjoyed one of the best events this year, and have gained inspiration for the rest of the season. Next stop is the British Relay weekend in the Forest of Dean at the beginning of May. See you there!

Peter Huzan

SLOW Captain

Above: The prize winners

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Coaching Day Sunday 28th March

SLOW and GO are organising a coaching day on Sunday 28th March. Subject to land permission, this will be on Esher Common. We have not been able to use Esher for some time as it has been out of bounds prior to the Compass Sport cup but this has now happened. We will not necessarily be on the same bit of Esher as the short courses at the Compass Sport cup.

The coaching day is designed for a range of standards from young juniors just starting to exercises to stretch developing juniors and adult inexperienced orienteers (approximately yellow to light green standard and a bit beyond) The exercises can be tailored to match the people who want to come. You can be shadowed by more experienced orienteers or just talk to a coach after each exercise. We will finish by early afternoon with a fun relay. This is a good chance to talk to people about the areas you want to improve.

Please let me know if you would like to come by 19th March so that we have time to find experienced orienteers to help. Let us know if there are any particular skills you would like to practice.

More Experienced Orienteers

Please let me know if you would be willing to come along to help. A small group of sea scouts have expressed an interest so we might have greater numbers than usual. You need to know the basics of orienteering technique but do not need to be an orienteering star yourself. Teaching others is a good way of reminding yourself of good technique before the JK.

Success for SLOW at the Interland 2004

This is an annual orienteering competition between England, the Flanders region of Belgium and the Netherlands. This year’s competition was held on Blackheath, Guildford on 1st Feb.

Ralph Street (SLOW & England) – 1st M14

Mike Murray (SLOW & England) – 1st M60

Sarah Brown (SLOW & England) – 2nd W50

Well done to all three and the rest of the England team who had a very sucessful day.

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