Venit, Vidit, Vicit – Helen Gardner wins in Rome

Congratulations to Helen Gardner who won the Women’s Open competition in the ROMe Orienteering Meet earlier this month, holding off BAOC’s Sarah Rollins who came second. Helen was among eight members of South London Orienteers who travelled to Italy for the three day event.

Helen Gardner at the top of the winners' podium at the ROMe Orienteering Meet 2013

Helen Gardner at the top of the winners’ podium at the ROMe Orienteering Meet 2013

Each day presented a different middle distance race in Rome.

Day 1 was a mass start night race in Villa Borghese, a park in the heart of the city centre, home to many statues and other monuments. The orienteering was fast over the half hour run. A rather weak headtorch held Helen and she came home fourth, just over a minute behind Sarah.

The second day’s event was a park race at Villa Ada, racing along complicated little paths through dark green vegetation and navigating through holes in a ten foot high wall. Helen was first here, eight seconds ahead of Sarah and so entered the final day with a 53 second deficit.

The final race was a city race around the historic centre of Rome, taking in the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and the Pantheon among other sites. This was a beautiful race with a few technical sections and – as would be expected – tourists to avoid. Helen took first place by 37 seconds, but crucially was 1’24” ahead of Sarah to secure victory overall.

The results presentation was more flamboyant than we have come to expect, with Helen spraying champagne over the crowd from the top of the podium! She left with a substantial amount of Italian food to cart home, after a social at the end of the meet with predictably large helpings of pizza, pasta, ice cream and wine. Helen’s verdict on the meet: “very efficient sightseeing”!

With thanks to Helen Gardner for commentary