The 32nd Surrey Hills Races, 25 May 2009

Race Report

In this my 5th year as Organiser I would have thought that there would be nothing new to report - but no, human unpredictability never ceases to amaze!

On the day we began to get somewhat concerned about a runner on the 'B' course (16k) when 3 hours passed without him returning, but all became clear when he returned after 4 hours, having run the 'A' course (30k). (The controls for all three races are on the same map, but - as we thought - clearly marked as to which controls you need to visit for which course!) The runner did say that he thought he was taking rather a long time to get round the course, but put this down to the climb and his own lack of fitness!

Perhaps less unpredictable was that some runners failed to listen to the race briefing, so didn't realise that the race closed at 3 pm. They got back at 5 pm, rather surprised that the later controls were missing. (In their defence, they had somehow failed to pick up a new map at Registration; the map they were running on was an old one, sent to them in advance of the race, which didn't give the race closing time printed on it. I have now destroyed all such old maps!)

I was delighted that a runner from the USA, over in the UK for a business trip, found our race on the web before leaving, and rang me for a chat about it. As a result of this he came and ran on the day, and had a great time, particularly enjoying the lovely scenery and terrain.

This year, for the third time, we organised 'Recce' runs a month before the race - 6 attended. One runner, unaccountably, thought the Recce runs were the week beforehand: fortunately he rang me to confirm, so I was able to save him a wasted journey. 99 started the actual races, 88 finished.

Finally, thanks as ever to all the helpers from SLOW, to the landowners (Surrey Wildlife Trust, Wotton Estate, The Hurtwood, Alex Brodie of Squires Farm), to the staff of Priory School and to the very public-spirited Guildford Orienteer Jeremy Wilde, who picked up the water bottles discarded by runners ahead of him.
Ginny Catmur
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Page updated 9 June 2009