Harvester Relays and UK Relay League

SLOW sent two teams to last weekend’s annual Harvester Relays, which were held at Teviothead in south Scotland. This is a great fun team relay event, which started late on the Saturday evening and then ran through the night. Our teams competed in the men’s handicap and women’s handicap classes, and both secured excellent 2nd places in their respective classes.

The ladies team consisted of Dorte Torpe Hansen, Vicky Whaley, Christine Robinson, Heather Monro and Diane Leakey. The team ran brilliantly, completing the total distance of 31.6km in a time of 314:25, but just had to concede to a better team at the end with MAROC winning the class by 10 minutes. They were also the 4th women’s team overall which helped us to secure 2nd position in the UK Relay league – see below.

The men’s team was made up of Jim Mallinson, Simon Evans, Richard Catmur, Andy Robinson, Alan Leakey, Don McKerrow and Ed Catmur. Unfortunately both Andy and Ed were carrying injuries going into the race. Both knew they couldn’t be replaced and so had to give it a go, although both ran at least 30 minutes slower than if they had been fully fit. Despite that the team finished just 10 minutes down overall, completing the total distance of 59.2km in a time of 604:54.

Well done to everyone who competed. Next year’s event is being held on Cannock Chase on 3rd June 2007 – much closer to London so hopefully we will get a few more teams out!

The full results from the Harvester can be found here.

UK Relay League

A big well done to SLOW’s women relay team, who have finished a mightily impressive second place in the national UK Relay League for 2006. This league combines results from the top 5 national relays of the year, with the best 4 results counting. SLOW’s women finished 4th at the British Championships, 4th at the JK, 1st at the Triple-O-Severn and 4th at the Harvester, resulting in 2nd place overall.

The men’s team also had some good results during the year, and secured an excellent top 10 overall position, finishing in joint 9th place.

Congratulations to everyone who ran in the teams at the various events.

The final standings can be found here.

British MTBO Championships

Christine Robinson on her way to winning the Women’s Supervets category

Christine Robinson

SLOW had a couple of successes at today’s British Mountain Bike Orienteering (MTBO) long distance Championships which were held on Army land around the Aldershot area in Hampshire.

Heather Monro showed she can compete just as well on a bike as on foot, by winning the women’s Elite course – completing the mammoth 31.7 km course in a time of 2 hours 25 minutes 36 seconds, to win by just 1 minute. This victory means that she also wins the Peel Adventure MTBO series for 2006.

Christine Robinson was also victorious at Sunday’s event, winning the women’s supervets (50+) category. She completed her 13 km course in an excellent time of 87:04.

Another SLOW member, Andy Jones, had an excellent weekend – he finished 3rd in Saturday’s middle-distance Championships in the men’s vets (40+) category, completing 12.9km in 73:38. He then followed this up with a 4th place in Sunday’s long race, finishing the epic 38.2 km course in an impressive time of 3:36:23.

Full results of the weekend’s races can be found at the following links – Saturday (middle distance) Sunday (long distance)

SLOW women lead UK Relay League

After the first three big Relay events of the year – the British Championships, the JK and the Triple-O-Severn – SLOW’s women team find themselves in the lead of the UK Relay League so far, after three impressive results (4th, 4th and 1st respectively).

There are only two races to go – the Scottish Relays at the end of May, and the Harvester in mid-June. The final results will be based on the best 3 scores from the 5 races – let’s hope we can hold on to claim a well-deserved podium position.

The men’s team are also doing pretty well, in 8th place after a good Triple-O-Severn result.

The current standings can be found here.

Triple O Severn success

Congratulation’s to SLOW’s Women’s Open team, who won the Harris Relay at the Triple O Severn event on Bank Holiday Monday. The event was held at Gaer Hill, on the Wiltshire/Somerset border. This was a UK Relay League event, which means our women are now doing very well overall, with this win following two 4th place finishes at the British Championships and the JK. The winning team was Nicky King, Sarah Covey-Crump, Diane Leaky (all pictured right) and Kathy Haynes.

SLOW’s leading Men’s Open team – Simon Evans, Paul Nixon, Peter Haynes and Charlie Turner – also finished on the podium, with an excellent 3rd place.

Many congratulations also go to Abi Weeds, who won the women’s British Elite Middle Distance Championships on Saturday at Fonthill in Wiltshire, collecting a nice big trophy for her efforts!

SLOW enjoyed a very sociable weekend at the event, with over 20 club members staying together group accommodation in a nearby caving club hut in the Mendips – thanks to Simon Evans our social secretary for organising this.

Full results of the event can be found on the Triple O Severn website.

A selection of photos from the event are now up on the Sloweb photo gallery.

SLOW at the JK

Simon Evans

A large contingent of SLOW members made the trip up the M1 over the Easter weekend to take part in the JK festival, Britain’s premier annual orienteering event. This year the event was held in moorland and forest in West and North Yorkshire. Weather was generally very good (apart from a downpour at the start of the relays) and the consensus was that this was an excellent overall weekend, with some really good orienteering races.

The Friday event, held at Temple Newsam estate in Leeds, included a sprint race as well as general training courses. The start and finish was set in an old auditorium which was built into the side of bank, and complemented by commentary and spectator controls resulted in a very enjoyable race to watch and a good advert for the sport generally. The women’s elite sprint race was won by SLOW’s Heather Monro, completing her 2.4km course in a time of 11:39 to win by 18 seconds.

Individual days

Charles McMillan

The first individual day was held on the Saturday at Ilkley Moor. The assembly area was situated at the foot of the moor, from which excellent views of the orienteering area could be seen, with several controls in sight. This included 2 consecutive spectator controls on the Elite short races – making for entertaining viewing as the spectators could clearly see both controls, whereas the competitors could not see them until they got very close. Most long courses included an interesting long leg with a classic “straight or round” route choice, which is still being debated now!

Day 2 moved a long way north-east to an area called Keldy (formerly known as Cropton & Cawthorne) in the middle of the North York Moors. This offered a completely different challenge from the previous day, being a very physical forest in places, with the best of the area (i.e. the bit of the forest that was actually quite runnable!) saved for the second half of most courses.

Two SLOW members won their overall age group class – Heather Monro and Mike Murray both following up their British Championship wins 2 weeks earlier by taking the JK titles in W21E and M60L respectively. Ralph Street also repeated his excellent BOC performance, again coming 2nd on the M16 class, unlucky to finish just 16 seconds behind a visiting Norwegian runner.

Congratulations also go to SLOW’s excellent group of W50’s, who took 3 of the top 10 positions overall on that class – well done to Monika Bonafini (4th), Diane Leakey (6th) and Sarah Brown (8th).

The following SLOW members also won prizes in their respective classes:

  • Ali McKerrow (1st W20S)
  • Rachael Holmes (2nd W21L)
  • Christine Robinson (2nd W50S)
  • Anne May (1st W55S)

Chris Wroe also managed to sneakily claim a bronze medal in M20L after finishing 4th – speak to Chris if you would like inside information on how to achieve this!

Finally, a special mention must also go to David May, who was the IOF Advisor for Day 1 (advising on the elite World Ranking Event courses). Probably not easy to do at a distance of 200 miles, but it did mean that instead of competing on Day 1 he could go out onto the moor with his camera – as well as the pictures above, a selection of his photos of SLOWies can be seen in the Sloweb Photo Gallery.

The M21 Elite maps for all 3 individual days, complete with winning routes and interesting analysis, can be found on the M21E winner Graham Gristwood’s website.


Ed Catmur

The JK Relays were held on Easter Monday in Bramham “spot the technical bit” Park, a small, brambly area with lots of paths which did however have a superb large assembly area. A grand total of 18 SLOW teams took part – with lots of success.

In the Women’s and Men’s Premier Relays, SLOW teams were the leading southern teams for the second year running. Our top Women’s team of Rachael Holmes, Anja Stratford and Heather Monro finished a fantastic fourth, only a minute off third place. Our 2nd Women’s team, Caroline Catmur, Nicky King and Anna Bonafini, were in fact 2nd southern team in 17th place, Anna (aged 16) making her women’s open debut. The Men’s team of Ed Catmur (pictured right), Simon Evans, Alan Leakey and Paul Nixon finished in 18th place – all teams earning some useful UK Relay League points.

The Junior Men’s team of James McMillan, James Haynes and Ralph Street were the leading UK club, but were just beaten into 2nd place by a strong team from Kongsberg, Norway.

Men’s Superveterans

The stars of the day were the Men’s Superveterans (pictured left) who retained their trophy, having won it for the last two years: Peter “are you really that old, Daddy?” Haynes brought them in a minute up on 1st leg and David May and Mike Murray simply extended the lead to win by a massive eight minutes.

The Women’s Veterans team also made the podium, Monika Bonafini, Jackie Chapman and Diane Leakey taking the bronze medals, with SLOW’s 2nd team of Sarah Brown, Chris Robinson and Kathy Haynes in 5th place.

Every SLOW competitor got cheered up the very long run-in, none more so than Richard Catmur who was lifted by the vociferous SLOW contingent to overtake rivals Mole Valley; what Richard knew, but the rest of the club overlooked, was that they were competing in different classes! Paul Nixon also benefited from the SLOW tent screaming at him that there was another runner behind him, this time who was on the same class – disbelievingly turning round half-way round the run-in to realise this was true, he just managed to hold off the Czech runner who was closing in to finish 1 second ahead.

A big thank you to Captains Rachael and Pete for organising the teams, especially as there were so many last minute changes and as the JK immediately followed the British Relays and the CompassSport Cup. You can have a well deserved weekend off.

Full JK results are available on the JK2006 website.

JK Photos – David May’s photos are in the Sloweb photo gallery (see the frontpage). Additionally, hundreds of JK photos are now online on the CompassSport website – to see pictures of SLOWies type “SLOW” into the top right photo search box! A further selection of pictures can be found on the Digisport website.

SLOW runner

SLOW qualify for Compass Sport Cup final

We did it again! For the 2nd year running, SLOW have qualified for the national Compass Sport Cup final. We finished in 2nd place in the qualifier today with 2309 points, just 54 points behind the winners Southdowns and a comfortable 286 points ahead of 3rd placed Wimbourne. In the south-east heat, both of the top two clubs qualify for the final.

We fielded a strong team, and there were many excellent runs across all courses. Well done to everyone who took part and helped us to reach the final. The final is being held on Sunday 15th October, at Greenham Common, near Newbury in Berkshire. Put the date in your diary now!

Full results of today’s qualifier are available on the SN website.

Results from the other heats indicate that the full Final line-up is as follows:

SLOW success at British Championships

Over 50 SLOW members competed in the British Orienteering Championships last weekend, which this year was held very close to home at Furnace Wood, Woolbeding Common & Great Common, near Midhurst in West Sussex. The forest provided a tough challenge, with long hilly individual courses with some small areas of complex detail. The relays moved to the Great Common part of the map, with excellent short courses containing lots of controls in the intricate areas, making for good head-to-head racing.

Individual day (1st April)

Heather Monro, British Champion

SLOW have two new individual British Champions – congratulations to Heather Monro (pictured right), who despite having retired from international orienteering and having (allegedly!) severely reduced her training program, managed to win the W21 Elite course by 3 minutes. You can see her winning route on the BOC website. Also, congratulations to Mike Murray on winning the M60 class, his 101st British/JK title in an illustrious orienteering career.

SLOW’s other main star performers of the day, all finishing in the top 3 overall in their age group, were Ralph Street (2nd on M16), Diane Leakey (2nd on W50) and David May (2nd on M60).

Additionally, excellent top 3 performances in their respective classes were achieved by the following SLOWies:

  • Robert Jones – 1st, M14B
  • Greg Street – 3rd, M14B
  • Cordula Suter – 2nd, W20L
  • Matthias Mahr – 2nd, M21L
  • Anita Ray – 1st, W21V
  • Anne May – 1st, W55S

Many other SLOW members also had excellent runs – congratulations to everyone.

SLOW also played a big part in helping out on the day, being responsible for running the Finish, Download and Results. Several SLOW members also helped out on the Start. Big thanks are due to Don McKerrow for organising our helpers team, and to everyone who played their part in helping the event run smoothly.

Relays (2nd April)

Sixteen SLOW teams enjoyed the relay courses organised by Guildford Orienteers at Great Common. Some teams were trying for top places, but all teams were out to have fun as well.

We had three teams in Men’s Premier – when was the last time that happened! (OK it was last year – but when was the last time before that!). The first team (Phil Marsland, Matthias Mahr & Ed Catmur) came 17th. There were also good performances from Paul Nixon & Simon Evans in the second team, who were joined by Andy Jones – now when did he last run Men’s Premier?

Rachael Holmes in the Women’s Premier

In the Women’s Premier, the first team (Rachael Holmes (pictured left), Anja Stratford & Heather Monro) came 4th behind 3 very strong teams. Those teams each had two members of the British Squad, & we didn’t have any! Ten clubs had teams in both the Men’s & Women’s Premier classes – and we managed it twice.

The M18 team (James McMillan, Michael May, Ralph Street) came 5th. This was a very competitive class at the top end; our team ended up 9 minutes down. The M14 team (Robert Jones, Matthew Haynes, James Haynes) were mid-table in 7th, 7 minutes down on the silver position.

The M40 team (Peter Haynes, Stephan Rudolf, John Dowty) were a very good 4th place, especially considering they are all M45, just missing out on bronze by 11 seconds. And just 7 seconds slower than the winning Women’s Premier team, who shared the same course! Our two M50 teams came 5th & 6th. There were particularly good runs from Mike Murray (M60), Charlie Turner & David May (M60).

The W40 team came 8th, with a good first leg from Jackie Chapman.

And finally our best performance of the day came from the W50 team (pictured below – L-R Diane Leakey, Christine Robinson & Sarah Brown). Diane overtook Happy Herts on the last leg to win by 26 seconds! Now if the whole team could get some solid training in, how much better would they do!

Team selection was quite interesting for the Men’s Open & M50 teams this year – which goes to show how much depth we have in those two areas at the moment. It was great to see several people running in their first relay for SLOW. We do encourage everyone to take part in team events and they really are very enjoyable.

Finally thank you to those who brought along the tent & new banner (especially David, Phil, Andrea & Raffaella) – that’s very important for the big events.

W50 team, British relay champions

Full results

Complete results for the event, along with sample maps and winners’ routes are available on the BOC website.


The SLOW photo gallery contains several more photos taken at the weekend – see the link on the frontpage. If you have any other photos which can be added, please email them to .

SLOW Coaching Day, Oxshott Heath

(Note the clocks go forward 1 hour on Sunday morning!)

Meeting point: Oxshott Village Sports Club, Steels Lane, Oxshott. OVSC are kindly allowing us to use their excellent facilities as a base. www.oxshottsports.com (click on “Find us” in the left-hand menu for directions). There will be changing rooms and showers available, and a bar open from 11.30.

Arrive in time for a 10.00 start. We will go out and do orienteering exercises on Oxshott Heath, followed by a lunch break back at the Sports Club at approx 12.30 for about 30 mins to 1 hour. We will then go back out for a final fun exercise, finishing at about 2.30.

Suitable for: beginners, improvers and experts, juniors and adults. There will be coaches and assistants to introduce beginners to orienteering, help you learn how to read an orienteering map and to find your way round a simple orienteering course. Wear either walking or running gear, including shoes with good grip (the Heath is muddy in places). You can walk or run – the choice is yours. No prior experience necessary. Finish time approx 2.30, though you can leave earlier if you wish.

If you’ve been orienteering for a while and would like to get better at it, we will teach you some simple techniques to help you improve.

For the more expert orienteers there will be exercises on the fiendishly intricate contours of Oxshott Heath and a role play exercise to help you prepare for the British Championships.

Please let me know if you are coming so I can prepare appropriate numbers of maps and exercises.

Orienteering in London and Surrey. British Orienteering's Club of the Year 2013. Community Amateur Sports Club accredited.