What a horrible wet day! Thanks to everyone for coming and braving the weather - I hope you all had an enjoyable run despite the conditions. We had 288 competitors starting (after 301 pre-entries), so the drop out rate wasn’t as high as it might have been, although there were very few entries on the day.
It was great to be able to offer an area brand new to orienteering - a very rare occurrence these days in the south-east! We have Charlie Turner to thank for ‘discovering’ the area some years ago and for persevering over an extended period to try and track down the various landowners, which didn't prove to be an easy task. Such a small area was never going to be able to host a regular regional or district event, but we thought the quality was such that a good standard race could be held here, so the idea of running the inaugural South East middle distance championships was born. We hope you enjoyed doing something a little different from the ‘bog standard’ regional event.
As you will have noted from the final details, the courses were carefully planned to minimise the number of stream crossings and offer reasonable crossing point opportunities where possible – partly because of the sensitivity of the stream to environmental concerns, and partly because in the event of bad weather we realised that the stream could prove quite difficult to cross in places – as many of you will have found out! This clearly proved to be the correct decision given how conditions turned out on the day, so thanks to Keith for insisting on this (my original draft courses had quite a few more stream crossings involved). The stream doubled in size in places during the day between me putting out controls and collecting them in afterwards, and there were certainly plenty of very wet and muddy people arriving at the finish!
All courses finished with a fairly boring last leg north along the path to the last control – this was the only option available to avoid going into the light green triangular block south-west of the start (which was definitely best avoided), whilst allowing for a start close to assembly and keeping the run-in in the finish field, which I think is always the best option to create a bit of atmosphere – although spectators were in short supply given the weather!
I hope that everyone enjoyed the race despite the weather, and hopefully another club will take on the baton of hosting the SE middle distance championships next year.
Apologies to those who had downloading difficulties on the day. This was a very unusual situation as the results software we used has had many years of successful use with SI Cards version 5, 6 and 6*. On the day I could not fathom the issue but after extensive post-event investigation this was traced to the use of a SportIdent USB Master Control running at fast speed (38400) but using the legacy 0x61 read-out instructions. It seems that when running at high speed and in legacy mode there are issues with readout; specifically the behaviour when a 0x61 instruction is requested to read block 0; actually reads blocks 0, 6 and 7 which then went on to confuse the software. This will be fixed for future events, probably by moving to the more modern read mechanism and adding support for SI Cards version 8 and 9. All splits have been recovered from the backup memory of the Master Station so the results should now be complete.
On a positive note, I am glad that the experimental Orienteering Hotspot was found by a happy Apple iPhone user who was able to surf the results in the realtime from the comfort of their 'phone. Way cool!