SLOWprint 144

JUNE 2003





Andy Jones winning the M45 British relay



Club Officers 2002–2003


Chair: Chris Robinson,



Secretary: Don McKerrow,  


Ladies’ Captain: Karen Jones,



Treasurer: Liz Armitage,



Mapping Officer, SEOA Rep. and Fixtures Secretary: Andy Robinson,  


Club Kit: Teresa Turner,



Men’s Captain: Peter Huzan,



Publicity Officer: Paul Canham,



Social Secretary: Vicky Robb,



Membership Secretary: Ginny Catmur,  


Beginners’ Rep. and Training Officer: Heather Walton,



Equipment Officer: 


Archivist: Sue Lumas,



SLOWprint Editor: Sarah Brown,



Webmaster: Andrew Trimble,  



Copy date for Issue 145 will be  early  September 2003. Letters, event reports, articles, cartoons, gossip, scandal, notices, small ads, court circulars, births, deaths and marriages should be posted to Sarah Brown (address above); electronic copies via e-mail are particularly welcome.


New Members: If you are new to SLOW, you might not know about ... Training:


            … and Transport: we can organise lifts to events: ring any of the club’s officers, as listed above, and one of us will sort this out for you.





The big events have now been and gone and SLOW has had some great performances at the JK, British and Harvester relay.  Particular noteworthy is Amy Willis's first place in W21L at the British, keeping up a fine SLOW tradition in winning the trophy previously won by several SLOW members: Mary Armitage, Lindsay Elliott, Chris Sloan/McLeod and Kate Thomas.


As a result of his good performances this year, James McMillan has been selected to go on the GB Junior Squad tour to Lagganlia in August.  Congratulations, James.  He will be joined on the tour by Chris Fry and Caroline Catmur who will be attending as coaches.


Several SLOW juniors have benefited from the opportunity to attend these GB camps in the past, including the UK's current number one, Heather Monro.  I'm delighted that Heather has now rejoined SLOW.  On page 6 is a message I received a while ago from Heather which I thought SLOW members would like to read.  For those who don't know, Heather was a member of SLOW from a very early age, living near Hammersmith Bridge and attending St Paul's Girls School.  She was a great club member, winning valuable points for us in CompassSport Cup matches and helped SLOW ladies win British and Harvester relay titles.  Now one of the top orienteers in the world, it's lovely that she wishes to keep in touch with us.  Good luck in the World Champs, Heather.


Closer to home the club has been involved in staging the Surrey Hills Races and O courses and we are now into our summer programme of Tuesday evening events and training.  The Trail Challenge on Wimbledon Common attracted 50 participants, most of whom were new to orienteering.  The aim of the Trail Challenge series is to have some fun head to head racing, with simple route choice, rather than complex navigation,  and  giving runners a taste of easy orienteering.  Paul Canham has been spearheading the promotion of these events to running clubs in the vicinity of Wimbledon/Richmond.  The next two will be goodies not to be missed, using a new map of Ham Riverside and the rare opportunity to orienteer in Richmond Park.


We have also been given permission to hold the Yvette Baker Trophy in Richmond Park in October, when we will provide courses suitable for university students who are beginner orienteers, as well as the usual courses for juniors competing in the YBT.


Also on the home front, Andy Robinson planned an event on Wimbledon Common in April for Wandsworth schools, at the request of  Southfields Community College.  Over 50 children had their first taste of orienteering and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.


Our emphasis on providing for juniors was continued by another well-attended coaching day on 22 June on Reigate Priory.  Adults as well as juniors could choose from seven different exercises in the morning followed by a cunning team event in the afternoon.  Many thanks to Chris Fry for planning and Heather Walton for organising - and for the jelly babies!


Chris Robinson (Chair)




COACHING CORNER                                             from Heather Walton




This will probably reach you after the next coaching day on Sunday 22nd June on Reigate Priory.  Many thanks to Chris Fry and Linda Pakuls (GO) for planning the exercises.  Thanks also to the coaches that have offered to help on the day.


Congratulations to Jon and Angela Darley on the birth of a baby daughter Aimee.  Many of you will know Angela and Jon from previous coaching days.  I am sure Aimee will be joining us on coaching days in the twinkling of an eye!


There has not been much coaching activity since the last SLOWPRINT – it has been a time for applying the skills you have learnt and you seem to have been doing this very effectively.  I summarise some highlights of junior performances below but that does not mean I have not been following with interest the progress of adults who have attended previous coaching weekends.


Firstly, congratulations to James McMillan who has been selected to join the BOF M14 training week at Lagganlia in Scotland in July.  Congratulations also to both James and Ralph Street for gaining Championship standard at both the JK and the British. At the JK James was 4th on Day 1 and Ralph was 5th overall.  And congratulations to Michael May, who along with James and Ralph achieved 3rd place in the M14 relay at the British Championships.  Charles McMillan teamed up with James and Ralph to win the junior South East relays and ran twice at the British mini-relays.  Robert Jones was 2nd on M12B at both JK Day 2 and the British and came 3rd in the M40- relay with James and Ralph at the JK.  And the future is in good hands with Greg Street (3rd in the SE junior relays with Michael May and Ali McKerrow) and James Haynes regularly competing in the mini-relays.  Anna and Jenny Steinitz starred in our dominating team turnout at the SE relays with SLOW providing 3 out of 5 of the junior teams.  And finally, good to see Matthew Jones out on M10B at the JK.


I look forward to seeing you all at the coaching day and to watching your results in the weeks ahead.  Have a good summer,




Heather Walton




                           SLOW CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS AND BBQ

                                                      Sunday 31 August 

                                 Holmwood Common,   South of Dorking,


followed by the club BBQ nearby at the home of the Turners.

The orienteering will bear a remarkable resemblance to the Trail Challenge courses run on Holmwood in March.   Food and drink will be good and plentiful.

£5 for adults, £1 for juniors to cover cost of food, payable on the day.  


Please let Chris Robinson know if you are coming




















Saturday 6 September Sport Ident training, venue likely to be St Paul's School, near Hammersmith Bridge.  The Marsden family from Happy Herts, the acknowledged experts in Sport Ident training will be running a course exclusively for members of SLOW and Mole Valley.  The course is suitable for planners and those involved in results processing.


Please let Chris Robinson know if you wish to attend


















SLOW members’ news,  April-June 2003  

from Ginny Catmur, Membership Secretary




With this issue of SLOWprint you will receive a new members’ list, accurate as of 14 June 2003. Please check it and let me know of any errors and omissions.


Ginny Catmur

SLOW members’ news, April – 2003

Welcome to the following new members

Juliette Wiles (W40)

Andrew Cook (M40)

Elliot Norton (M21)

*********************************************************************************************************************Jane and Gavin are happy to announce the successful arrival of…

Miss. Isabel Andrews  At 10:24am on Sunday 1st June 2003   Weighing in at 7lb 8oz.

A sister for Rachel (5yrs) and William (4yrs)

***************************************************************************News from Heather Monro


Life here is hectic as always. I was pretty pleased with the 2002 season (6th in the World Cup) and have had a quiet autumn at home. We have finished doing up downstairs in our house and have embarked on a new project...upstairs! We are building a bathroom at the moment so I'm learning all about plumbing! I've also just started in a new job; the World Masters O Champs is in Halden next July and I am working part-time as secretary. Mostly registering entries, accommodation and answering enquiries. I hope you will encourage lots of SLOW members to come. I can guarantee fantastic terrain and maybe even a barbecue in our garden! (But the spare rooms were booked up months ago!).
You may remember that I mentioned rejoining SLOW, possibly as a local member. Well, I've had a think and have decided to join as a fully blown first claim member. (If you'll have me that is!). As an ex-pat I need to have a British club and I feel that I have less and less connection to WAROC, having only spent the one year in the Lakes 10 years ago! Looking back I really appreciate the support and encouragement I got from SLOW as a junior and growing old is obviously turning me nostalgic as I feel that it would be nice to keep up to date with the club's development.  I only run a few British races a year and the last time I ran a relay for a British club was 3 years ago, so don't go pencilling me in for all the relays!

Looking forward to hearing more from SLOW in the future! Love Heather

‘The Vancouver Chronicles’, vol. 2

Dear all,

It is nearly 3 months since my last newsletter back to the UK for which I apologise. We have been pretty active in that time though, so that will have to do for an excuse.

Elisabeth was accepted on probation for Elektra; a very professional women’s choir. She then had only a few weeks to learn her parts in the Russian language concert they were giving in a Cathedral downtown. They performed the concert twice, in front of 700 people each time, and it was also recorded by CBC for radio broadcast next Easter.

Elisabeth and Nicholas both took part in the Vancouver Sun Run 10km road race on the second Sunday in April. Nicholas obviously didn’t do 10km, there was a children’s 1.5km which he did in a very creditable 9.39. Elisabeth’s 60.49 placed her 12341st of 49734 entrants.

We all went to Kamloops for the British Columbia Orienteering Championships. To get to Kamloops you would drive most of the way to Kelowna, then take a left turn and continue for another hour. We took our tents, and camped for two nights in a little place at the top of the hills just south of Kamloops. It was cold, but dry, except for the hail when we were out on our courses on the Sunday. It was the (Queen) Victoria long weekend and instead of relays which would be normal for a third day of orienteering in the UK, we had short races, having said that, it was a very hot day so we still took nearly as long as the previous day! 

Having missed training on the Monday evening I took up the PwC office challenge and attempted the ‘Grouse Grind’ on the following Wednesday evening. This is a gentle trail to the top of the cable car on Grouse; one of the ‘North-shore mountains’, about 3km with 993 metres of climb! It is a bit of a cult thing here, people will buy a season-pass for the cable car and climb ‘The Grind’ weekly, timing themselves of course. They then download on the cable car. Of course some mad souls run back down as well (mad because it is bad for the knees, hips, back etc.). The record for the climb is something like 27.5 minutes; I was delighted to post the best PwC time so far with 49.02. !

We have a busy summer ahead of us with family visits extending from early August to the end of September. We have done quite a bit of research, so if you are going to come to BC let us know and we may be able to help with your plans. I have also put a page of useful links on our website - keep going back to it, because we keep discovering new and exciting places to visit!

Finally, I have just discovered a way of satisfying our craving for British radio (BBC 4 and Five Live in particular). Most BBC radio is broadcast over the Internet, to which we have an always-on, broadband connection. There are these excellent gadgets available which plug into any headphone socket and broadcast the sound on a selected wavelength (between 88.1 and 88.7 FM). The range is just good enough for us to set the computer playing ‘The Today Program’ and listen to it in the kitchen or basement.

David, Elisabeth, Nicholas, Andrew and Jackson


FUTURE TEAM EVENTS                                                                   from Captain Pete


The main team events for adults for the year have now finished, and 2004 feels a long way off. There are still some junior competitions & I would like to know soon of people's availability for the Peter Palmer Junior Team Relay.

Forthcoming Junior Competitions
First up is the Peter Palmer Junior Team Relay on 20/21st September at Sutton Park, Birmingham. This is an 8 person relay for ages up to M/W18. There are courses from yellow through to green standard. There is an additional trophy for individual clubs with combined age groups <= 120, which fits in with our current junior age profiles. SLOW will pay for your
entry so this is a free weekend away! The weekend will consist of an optional fun event on the Saturday afternoon, a 5-a-side football competition, a trip nearby for an evening meal, before some sleep, breakfast, then a 4:30am start for the first leg!
The legs are: 1. Red 5k, 2. Red 5k, 3. Light Green 4k, 4. Yellow 2.5k, 5. Orange 3k, 6. Orange 3k, 7. Light Green 4k, 8. Green 5k. The first and maybe the second legs will be in the dark - the club will arrange headlamps  some training for this if necessary. This should be a really enjoyable weekend away, so it would be great if we were able to enter a team. We need to have 8+ keen juniors (at least two girls) for this. We can have three runners on leg 5 - the first back to count!
Also the juniors should put a date in the diary of 12th October for the Yvette Baker Trophy Regional Round at Richmond Park - that's quite local! Juniors of ALL standards from yellow upwards are welcome at this team event. More details later.

Harvester Night&Day Relay (14/15th June, Longshaw, Derbyshire)
Our A Handicap team came 10th out of 20 teams & were 2nd handicap team out of 10 (509 mins), not far behind a very strong Bristol team (483 mins). The whole team ran very well (Andy Robinson, Jim Mallinson, Ed Catmur, Richard Catmur, Charlie Turner, David May, Alan Leakey). Our B Women's team (Ruth King, Chris Robinson, Heather Walton, Nicky King, Diane Leakey) ran steadily to come 19th out of 28 & were 7th Women's team (372 mins), behind Sheffield University (286 mins). Happy Herts won the Women's Handicap in 317 mins; we were one point over the handicap limit. I hear the event will be remembered
for some tough vegetation & midges! Congratulations to both teams for picking up points in the UK Relay League - at the final reckoning, the Men were 22nd (11 points) & the Women were 18th (14 points). Next year the event is in Sussex in May - I hope we shall have a few more teams. About half the people need to be able to orienteer at night. Remember that there are several low-key night events in the south-east in the winter to practice.

CompassSport Cup
We came 2nd to Southdowns in the Regional Round in March. Then Southdowns went on to come a close 2nd (251 points) to Nottingham (266 points) in the National Final in May. Well done to Southdowns for an excellent result. That means the south-east club in the final has achieved: 1999 SLOW 2nd=, 2000 SLOW 3rd, 2001 no race, 2002 SO 4th, 2003 SO 2nd. We are still capable of beating Southdowns & doing well in the final *IF* we have a full strength
team, so let's try for that next year. You may not remember the dates: 14th March 2004 - Regional Round at Esher. 9th May 2004 - National Final in East Yorkshire!

British Relays (18th May, Greno Woods, Sheffield)
We had eleven teams competing, and there were some fantastic results. There were victories in W45 (Chris Robinson, Diane Leakey, Sarah Brown), M45 (Paul Street, Andy Robinson, Andy Jones), & M50 (Alan Leakey, Charlie Turner, Mike Murray). There were also mug-winning performances in W40 (2nd: Karen Jones, Kate Thomas, Kathy Haynes), & M14 (3rd: Michael May, James McMillan, Ralph Street). Our Women's Short team came 5th (Nicky King, Ruth King, Amy Willis).

M14 3rd:James McMillan, Ralph Street. Michael May




Britsh Relays 1st W45

Diane Leakey, Chris Robinson, Sarah Brown








British Relays: 1st M45 Andy Jones, Andy Robinson, Paul Street


South-East Relays (11th May, Shorne Country Park)
Congratulations to SLOW Club Juniors (James McMillan, Charles McMillan, Ralph Street) for winning the junior relays. We had three junior teams running. Our second junior team (Michael May, Greg Street, Ali McKerrow) came third. Our top handicap team (Paul Canham, Paul Street, Mike Murray) came 3rd behind Mole Valley & Southdowns. And our ladies team (Sarah Brown, Jackie Steinitz, Chris Robinson) were 3rd in the ladies competition.

JK Relays (12th April, Hambleden)
There were podium placings in W120 (2nd: Monika Bonafini, Sarah Brown, Diane Leakey), M120 (3rd: Stephan Rudolf, Mike Murray, Urs Zinniker), and MW40- (3rd: James McMillan, Robert Jones, Ralph Street). We also had top 10 positions in W Short (10th: Nicky King, Ruth King, Amy Willis), M120 (5th: Peter Haynes, Alan Leakey, John Dowty), & W120 (6th:
Karen Jones, Kathy Haynes, Chris Robinson) In addition there were good runs by Michael May (MW40-), Mark Vyvyan-Robinson (M Short), David Catmur (in M120 taking over from Oli Buholzer, ex-World Champs runner in 3rd place!), & Kathy Haynes (W120).




JK2003 MW40- 3rd: James McMillan, Ralph Street. Robert Jones


British Individual Champs (17th May, Wharncliffe, Sheffield)
There were placings for Amy Willis (W21 1st), Mike Murray (M55 1st), Chris Robinson (W45 2nd), Sarah Brown (W50 2nd), & Robert Jones (M12B 2nd). Championship Standards (9 people): Mike M, Chris R, Sarah B, Kathy Haynes (W45 21st), James McMillan (M14 7th), Ralph Street (M14 9th), Andy Robinson (M45 20th), Charlie Turner (M50 4th), Alan Leakey (M50 6th). To get hampionship standard you must finish within 25% of the winner on the A/L
course. Ed Catmur also performed very well on the UK Cup course to come 4th.

JK Individual Champs (10-11th April, Hambleden & Star Posts)
Congratulations to winners Heather Monro (W21E), Alan Leakey (M50L), Mike Murray (M55L), and Monika Bonafini (W50L). Ed Catmur was 8th on M21E. Championship Standards: The above, Ralph Street (M14 5th), James McMillan (M14 8th), Stephan Rudolf (M40 12th), Urs Zinniker (M40 15th), Peter Haynes (M45 15th), Andy Jones (M45 28th), Andy Robinson (M45 29th), Charlie Turner M50 8th), Karen Jones (W40 18th.), Diane Leakey (W45 7th), Chris Robinson (W45 11th), Sarah Brown (W50 4th), Teresa Turner (W55 12th.).


North Downs Way Relay                    from Dick Clark


Mid-summer’s day saw this year’s North Downs Way Relay run, and there were 6 teams competing, which augurs well for the continuing of the event for future years. There may have been seven teams but CROC and LOK combined their resources when it became clear neither could raise a full team. In many ways the event followed the usual process whereby SLOW put in a number of solid but unremarkable performances, whilst other teams put out numbers of good runners and we suffer in the placings as a consequence. However we never lose touch with the leaders and this means our later runners can pull us into the lead where we tend to stay until the end of the run.


But “unremarkable” is not exactly fair. Both Andy and I ran our best times for a few years and Jeremy was called in at the last moment still suffering from a tough run in The Welsh Castles race the week before. And the determined runs by Chris, Mike and Vicky should also not be written off so readily.


Matthew ran a fine leg and I’ve noted his time as a record as the new route is about 500m longer than the old one. The Medway-Vigo leg also saw a new record from Tom Mendum of GO, beating the previous time by other 3 minutes, a terrific performance. It was at this stage the class of our faster runners kicked in soon putting us in first place, a position we never then relinquished. LOK/CROC had been in the lead before then, but their failure to field any runner at all on leg 10 scotched their chances once and for all.


Encouragingly we had 4 new runners in the team, Mark, Karen W, Jon and Charlie all of whom ran very well. If Charlie had found the time to recce his route he would probably have broken the record for the leg.


The new format of having fixed start times was controversial but seemed to work well and was welcomed by many on the day. We finished in good time and a good few of the runners and friends visited The Good Intent in Puttenham for refreshments making a very pleasant conclusion to a long day,


My thanks to the ineffable Andy for his help throughout the day and for keeping accurate track of the times, correcting the several errors in my spreadsheet along the way.


So well done to all in the SLOW team, and congratulations to the leg winners. It was once again a proper team performance where our strength in depth won the day.










Start place




Act Time

Win Time


Cum Pos



Dick Clark








Castle Hill path & road jn.

Andy Robinson








Stowting (The Tiger)

Chris Owen








Wye (Level Crossing)

Jeremy Denny








Charing (A252 Jn)

Mike Garvin








Hollingbourne (X-roads)

Matthew Lynas








Bluebell Hill (Picnic site)

Vicky Robb








Medway Bridge W (Car Park)

Mark Vyvyan-Robinson








Vigo Inn (X-roads by pub)

Mike Murray








Dunton Green (Rose & Crown)

Karen Watson








Betsom Hill Farm (road X-ing)

Jon O'Donnell








A22 (footbridge East Side)

Karen Jones








Reigate Hill (Car Park)

Mike Farmery








Stepping Stones (West side)

John Dowty








Newlands Corner (road X-ing)

Charlie Whetham








Puttenham ( by Car Park)

Jeff Armitage








Farnham (A31)







* new record









1. SLOW  16:12:31









2. CROC/LOK  17:06:18









3. GO 17:07:02









4. SAX/SN 17:21:22









5. Loose Valley/Tadworth 17:46:06








6. Canterbury Harriers 17:57:46











Why it’s good to be SLOW.               by Paul Street


Of the lightning strikes at the British Champs this year perhaps the least expected was the M45 relay win by a SLOW team. Not so much that a SLOW team won, because SLOW does consistently win veteran relays, more that this particular SLOW team won. They, well actually we, were a considerable surprise to most, us included.


I‘ve always enjoyed relay days because of the atmosphere created by the crowds, the competitors, the colour and the commentary. It’s the main chance I have to spectate my sport. Whilst the children were young, because of the way assembly areas were designed, it was a time you could give them free rein. I take the chance to catch up with friends. With the help of the commentaries I get to put faces and running styles to names. And there’s often drama in spectator controls, good and bad runs, sprint finishes, and disqualifications. This year it rated to be particularly good as the whole family were running, and we would have the big new SLOW tunnel as a base. I wasn’t taking any interest in a competitive run myself. I can’t read maps on the run like I used to, I’ve done little training around the commuting I’m doing and a few things are getting wonky. 95th in the individual the day before was a fair reflection of my performance. But Sarah and Ralph were part of strong SLOW teams in W45 and M14 respectively which would be interesting, and Greg always feels strongly about his run.


I had said to Peter I didn’t mind what I ran, and I was surprised to find myself first leg for “License to SLOW”, running with Andy Robinson and Andy Jones. It turned out that Peter Haynes, the obvious choice, was injured. There’d been a team reshuffle and I’d been promoted. It’s true that I have had some good runs in relays in the past. I do tend to find other runners helpful rather than off-putting, but it’s more because courses are shorter and the areas used often have maps that I find easier to read. Newcomers to the sport might find the same. Nevertheless this was not an obvious selection based on form. Actually I think it might be Greg’s fault I got in that team. He was giving Peter a hard time about where he would be running, and that may have caused the captain to take his eye off the ball.


The start pen was surprisingly crowded with 6 classes were starting together, including M50 and M18 running the same courses as us. It gives runners more company and adds to the sense of excitement. The runout was 50m, to a gap where a stonewall was broken down, and entry thence to the wood. I put myself at the back, so I didn’t have to try and look at the map at the same time as competing for a safe crossing of the wall. Apparently the crowd in front of the SLOW tent murmured disapprovingly. Countdown and go - shortly afterwards a large swathe of deeply breathing runners began climbing the side of a long slope, shuffling into strings as the easiest routes were chosen. I fell into one of these, wondering how far along the hillside we were and guessing there must be a lot of first controls, not just the 3 on M45/50/18. Fortunately my control was quite high up, and there was a big catching feature I should see beforehand. Then ahead the string of runners was changing direction on what was probably a vegetation boundary; rather disappointing I thought, as that wasn’t what I was going to do. I carried on and it was one of those times when what had looked a pretty crowded forest suddenly went very empty. My confidence in the catching feature wobbled but I reckoned I had not gone nearly far enough – a hill this big normally sees me walking well before the level I needed to get to (bet you don't find that tip in a coaching book.) Besides I had no alternative so I carried on upwards. With my heart beating even stronger than from the climb, I did recognize where I was, found my point feature in a bit of dark wood from what looked a unique direction, and I punched it alone. I picked a safe roundabout route to the next, runners reappeared and several overtook me on a path, and it continued like this for the rest of the course.


I made one mistake, being dragged too far to one side on a contouring leg, but engaged brain just before it was too late and recognised another feature. The results would reveal that I did no leg better than 6th for my course combination, but seemed to avoid expensive errors that were hitting others, and that I came back 7th in the M45 relay. Alan Leakey had already brought the SLOW M50 team back in the lead, and handed over to Charlie Turner.


Andy Robinson took our second leg. Amongst the fancied teams in our class was Bristol, who would later have the extremely fast and fit veteran international Gavin Clegg running the same control combination as Andy. Gavin did a whole minute quicker than Andy on the leg 1 climb. But by the end Robbo had done the fastest combination of all of M45 and M50, and had pulled the team up to 4th, creating the chance of a top three finish if “AJ” had a good one. When Robbo got to the tent he said how he often seemed to hit a control just before his own, and he hoped AJ would find the same and the first control would be his.


The teams ahead were Bristol, South Ribble and the Army. And SLOW’s M50 team of course, as Charlie had had a good run. Bristol had Gavin Clegg. The army had Colin Dickson, also a veteran international. Colin and Gavin had been first and second in last year’s British. Guildford had Al Doyle waiting in the changeover pen; they have won many times and Al has won a British relay in every age-group from M21 upwards. Just over half an hour later there was a cheer round the SLOW tent as the commentary announced Mike Murray, running last leg for SLOW’s M50 team, was on his way in. He had done the same control combination as me, four minutes quicker. The distinctive electric blue suit came into view in the woods. A few then noticed a second similar suit a little bit behind but heading to the finish at the same speed, could it be?


Indeed it was, just after Mike entered the finish field AJ followed. He wasn’t announced as I was still disqualified at the time! A clenched fist salute to the SLOW tent suggested AJ knew what was up. Gavin did not have a good run by his standards, as noted above. AJ caught and passed Colin Dickson in the final loop, running the leg two and a half minutes quicker. He was half a minute quicker than Al Doyle. He was over five minutes quicker than me. It is incidentally a very good job that teams can only enter one relay for which they are eligible, otherwise the SLOW M50 team would also be M45 champions too.


Was our win a surprise? Well indeed, except perhaps to AJ. Andy Robbo, who had been second in a British relay five times previously and never won, was in his final year of M45, and as a fanatical student of form had seen even a slim chance go once Peter Haynes got injured. And for me, well I am very pleased but also very very surprised – I haven’t ever run as slowly in a relay (although I have got more lost - it was a good map to be slow?) The possibility of competitive success this year never entered my mind. It was the others what done it – thanks guys.


And so to the answer, especially for Greg, to the question of  “Why is it good to be SLOW?” – “because they provide ‘andy teammates!”


....And here is the story from Andy Robbo’s point of view. Good job the stories seem to tally m’lud.



I WANT MORE OF THIS  (The British Relay Champs – SLOW cleans up in Yorkshire)


Since first turning M35 in 1989, I’d never really got on with the British Relay Champs. I’d always fancied a win, but it had never worked out. I’m now in my last year as an M45 which makes it my 15th year in veteran classes. Of the previous 14, injury, failure to be selected for the first team or foot and mouth had nobbled 5 of them. At the other 9, I had seriously fancied our chances and achieved one 5th, one 4th, two 3rds, and no less than five second places. Frustration isn’t the word.


2003 didn’t look promising. Andy Jones, Pete Haynes and John Dowty all turned M45 and looked to be a ready-made team, having won M40 in 2000. But then I started beating Andy in some early season races, and so the British Relays were beginning to look attractive.


Right up to the weekend it looked a tight run thing between AJ and myself for the 3rd spot, until I picked up a niggle in my calf and had decided not to contest for a place in the team.  But John went and knackered himself doing something long and ridiculous in the Lakes (bring back the loofa column!), and Pete turned up lame from a recent injury that was worse than mine. So instead of vying for one place Andy and I were left to decide who would run with us in a team left with no hope of a good placing. Paul Street on first leg looked to be a sporting punt. OK, so he’d finished 40 minutes behind AJ and myself on Saturday’s individual, but he wouldn’t run that badly again.


Nor did he. When he arrived in the finish field in a fairly close 7th place, I knew “the boy had done good” as I moved up to the changeover line. I had one of those really painful runs. The calf was actually less bother than the day before; it was the lungs and leg muscles that hurt. The course consisted mostly of small point features a long way from the attack point. But I was hitting them all, or, what often happened was, I’d hit a control, realise immediately where it was and move on to get mine. I saw the Army and South Ribble runners overtake me at a common control, and Bristol were still out in front. But I’d made no errors, overtaken six teams and handed over in a close 4th place.


Of those ahead, one had a weak runner, but the other two were class acts ranked well ahead of Andy. I decided that 3rd place would be really pleasing given the team’s ‘selection problem’. I was also starting to ponder about all those controls where mine was the one beyond and wondering if Andy might have the nearer one, when suddenly he arrived back in the finish field waving his arms wildly and grinning like a maniac. Why? Disbelief! Had we won??


The split times tell the story. The Bristol runner had my course and blew No 4 in a big enough way to be out of contention. The Army man had the same course as AJ and should have cruised to victory, but he lost time on a long leg approaching the end, and Andy got a sight of him. That sighting promptly disappeared, as the Army man then somehow missed the 3rd last. We’d hit the front only 2.5 minutes from the end of a two hour race and AJ took his opportunity to milk the crowd for applause. I’m afraid that didn’t work on me - I was speechless in confusion - but I made up for that later at the prize-giving!


Congratulations to our W45s and M50s on also winning. Their position was very different as they were both carrying big labels that not only said “expected to win” but added “and it won’t even be close”. Now that’s pressure - something us M45s knew nothing about; perhaps we’d better ask the Army or Bristol. The W40s made 2nd and the M14s 3rd which all made it a long and noisy prize-giving.


The penultimate word goes to first leg runner Paul, who like me had never won a British Relay. He said “that’s a once in a lifetime experience”. No, Paul, I don’t see it that way at all.




Paul Street with M45 relay trophy






(the Harvester Trophy - Andy Robinson’s personal view - and sometimes lack of it)


I like the Harvester - a 7 leg relay starting at midnight is right up my street. Also its uniqueness makes it an event of championship standing and anyone taking home a trophy is entitled to consider themselves the best. This year it was near Sheffield and it was one of the best for years. Great weather, great assembly area and a great standard of competition. OK, there were a few moans about the terrain in the later stages, the midges and the walk from the car park, but someone recently told me he’d gone off orienteering because orienteers whinge too much. So we’re only into positives here and I’m spoiled for choice.


Our men’s team were old enough for the Handicap competition, the second oldest and most prestigious trophy available. It’s like a separate race within the main 7 leg class.  SLOW has such a great standard of veteran orienteer that we have won this six times in the past 12 years, and have got used to thinking of it as personal property. However with a mid-June timing and a mid-England venue good competition could be expected and with several of our best runners not making the trip, we knew we could have our work cut out. This was confirmed as soon as I arrived, when I saw the Bristol team sheet - definitely stronger than us on paper. But as we’d seen in the British Relays, paper means nothing.


I had first leg and was really looking forward to it. You can’t win a relay on first leg but you can lose it. I’d done that in 2000 - missed the first control and the pack then disappeared into the cloud - not a happy time. But this time it started well. An easy hack into the first. Then saw the Bristol man punch at the other control, so I knew not to look for him. After a couple of common controls, No 5 was my chance to show some initiative. I veered off to be the first of our group to collect it and this set up some of the best pack running I’ve done for a long while.


Good pack running is tremendous fun. It’s a co-operative business - if you all work together you gain on others not in your pack. The thinking is shared out and that allows you to get on more with the serious business of running fast.  For example, controls are ‘pincered’ - if another runs left of the line, you go to the right but in sight and one of you will spot it.

This pack was going well. I was near the front, concentrating well, having no trouble keeping up and thinking better than the rest of them. The splits show we were shedding people off the back but there were 3-4 of us going well together at the front. Then on the short leg to 13…….…..the title came into play. I didn’t realise at first; I knew the lighting was different but with so many headlights around, it took a while to realise it was mine that had gone. Leaving 13 with the others I had a feel round and found the detached connection. Jamming it back in briefly I could see that if I could somehow busk the next 2 controls, I’d then be going past the assembly area where I could pick up another light. This plan worked, as the runners behind “helped” me find those two controls wasting limited time and then it was a hack over the moor towards the lights of the assembly area.


I’m afraid I woke up a few surprised club-mates in the SLOW encampment, but I was

quickly out of their way and on to the final loop. I soon caught a slower runner which helped, and near the end picked up a few others, including one of my original pack (thank you, Mole Valley!). Finishing 16th out of 20 overall was poor, but only just behind the next few places and about 11 minutes behind Bristol who were already leading the Handicap. The most frustrating part was that my pack broke up shortly after the lights went out, but one of them went on to hand over in 5th overall - one minute and one place ahead of Bristol. What might have been!


The rest of the team all ran really well, and Ed even managed to get us ahead of Bristol after 3 legs. But we didn’t have enough fire-power to hold that and eventually finished 25 minutes down, 10th overall, but only 11 seconds ahead of 3rd Handicap. So my carelessness with protecting my connections didn’t cost us a trophy, and all the team should be pleased with their runs. I would just have fancied beating Bristol with a full-strength team.


Our ladies team all ran steadily for a mid-field position on the 5-leg B class. They were also missing some of our best runners, and so could neither field a Handicap class team nor realistically aim for a higher place. Next year’s Harvester is at Pippingford Park in Ashdown Forest - just down the road and really convenient.        Andy



This week we’ve just had the first of this summer’s Trail Challenge Series, and it went really well. We had 50 runners, and although that was only a bit up on last year’s 41, we had none from Thames Hare & Hounds (being a Tuesday) and no NOW week this year. So this represents a significant improvement and shows the benefit of the Runner’s World listing and the contacts that have been made with local running clubs.


Pretty nearly everyone who ran came and told me how much they enjoyed it. This came both from the running clubs who kept with their club-mates and navigated by committee and the regular orienteers at the sharp end. Now included amongst their number a certain Sarah Rollins -she no doubt found it useful preparation for the World Champs in Switzerland!

The other two in the series are:

2 July - from the Hawker Centre off the Richmond Road

29 July - Thames clubhouse again but running in Richmond Park.

These races are more fun the more people take part. So if you know anyone who runs or have been asked by Paul to chase up a local running club, please try and get them along. You can also have a run yourself if I get enough helpers.

Also coming up is:

Some orienteering  every Tuesday until mid-August. This is in conjunction with Croydon and Mole Valley. SLOW’s contributions are a score event in Nonsuch Park and a medium race from Sheen car park in Richmond Park. Also Peter is planning something weird and wonderful from the clubhouse to finish the summer series. See the training listing.


20 July. Frolic (2 colour-coded courses and an extra loop) on Ham Riverside from the Hawker Centre - with 2 new maps (OK, actually two bits of the same new map) Planner - Frank Lyness. SportIdent - Gavin Andrews. Organiser - Nigel Saker. Bar and food available afterwards. Also changing and showers


12 October Yvette Baker Trophy regional qualifier. Richmond Park, from Broomfield Hill car park. Organiser - Ginny Catmur. Planner - John Dowty. Controller - David May. The YBT is becoming a very prestigious event for juniors and the Park should prove an excellent venue for it. All courses will be open to other orienteers and should prove very suitable for newcomers.


13/14 December. Hankley Common. Southern Night Champs followed on the Sunday by the OK Nuts Trophy mass start races (and some shorter colour coded courses). Richard Catmur is planning both but I’m still looking for an organiser.


Since the last Slowprint we’ve put on two races on the Nower.

12 April. Southern Express. Organiser Diane Leakey. Planner Mike Murray. Controller and on-the-day planner - Charlie Turner. SportIdent - Andrew Trimble.

31 May. 3 colour-coded courses.  Planner - Nicky  King. SportIdent - Gordon Parker. Organiser - Kate Thomas. Controller - Mike Murray.


Thank you to all those involved.  Both events were well planned, had attractive courses and wonderful weather, but very low attendances - lower than the Trail Challenge race in fact. Is there a message for us here?                                                                        Andy Robinson



You are strongly urged to confirm these events using the following answerphone services. The SEOA website has links to SE clubs and other regions.

 SEOA (020-8948-6056):

(SCOA (0118-946-4354)            (Army (01256-883265)               (SO (01903-239186)

(SAX (01303-813344)                (MV (01372-279295)



LOK FROLICS; Hampstead Heath. Org: Graham Williams


HH SATURDAY SERIES: Whippendell Wood Org: Jill Chapman


MV FROLIC: Epsom Downs ORG: Jackie Olive


. DFOK Frolics Event. Keston Ponds, Bromley. TQ/414640. Carys Morgan, £3.00/£1.00. EPS-SI. Lim CC courses.


SLOW FROLIC: Ham Riverside Nigel Saker






HH SATURDAY SERIES Bentley Priory Org Jill Chapman


HAVOC: Epping Forest 125th Forest Anniversary




SOUTHDOWNS LONG-O: Devils Dyke Newtimber Hill


CADDOHOE CHASE: Crazywell Princetown




                           SLOW CLUB CHAMPIONSHIPS AND BBQ

                                                      Sunday 31 August 

                                 Holmwood Common,   South of Dorking,


followed by the club BBQ nearby at the home of the Turners.

The orienteering will bear a remarkable resemblance to the Trail Challenge courses run on Holmwood in March.   Food and drink will be good and plentiful.

£5 for adults, £1 for juniors to cover cost of food, payable on the day. 


Please let Chris Robinson know if you are coming




Our Summer series of events continues. Coming soon we have:

Tuesday 24th June Epsom Downs from Mole Valley (more details below)
Tuesday 1st July Addington Hills from Croydon OC (details awaited)
Wednesday 2nd July Ham, Trail Challenge Number 2, from SLOW see website for
more details

See you there!
Alan Leakey