Thanks to Don McKerrow for the series, and for speedy results.
(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.)
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.
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).)
- Blood Races Summary Results
- All Courses – Full Results & Splits
- OKNuts_Class Winners
- British Orienteering Ranking Points
- Routegadget for Blood Races
- Routegadget for Colour-Coded Courses
Explanation for 2x Routegadgets and Apology
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!
Organiser’s Comments (Steve Clelland)
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.
Planner’s Comments (Duncan Grassie)
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.
General Commentary (Paul Street)
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):
- Everything prior to, during, and after the actual races; not just between the start and finish.
- The safety & welfare of participants and members of the public in the event area including the completion of a risk assessment, risk management and contingency plans.
- Land permission, event registration, access, car parking, assembly area, volunteer helpers, publicity timescales.
- The equipment used including electronic punching, clocks etc.
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.
[update: Sunday 5:30pm] Revised results are now available.
[update:Monday 10am] And further minor revisions have been made.
Three runners accidentally ran a slightly shorter route; they are shown by an asterisk (*). They are in the full results but are excluded from team results, which changed from the provisional results as a consequence.
Even better results: Box Hill Fell Race 2018 Results
The second race of SLOW’s 2017-18 Night-O series was held on Wimbledon Common on Tuesday 28 November.
The next race in the series is on Barnes Common on Tuesday 23 January 2018.
Thanks for coming along and making it worthwhile to put on the event. I aimed for the short course to have medium difficulty checkpoints, with the extra checkpoints on the long course quite tricky in places. It is more important at night to have very good attack points before the final approach to each checkpoint as mistakes are so much more costly than in the day time. Thank you to the helpers: Don McKerrow, Sue Carter, Paul Couldridge, Steven Clelland, Rob Patterson & Geraint Lee. Look out for other events on the SLOW or British Orienteering websites.
Lost property: hat, waist belt, blue Silva compass.