It was a lovely warm evening for the second race of the 2019 park race series, kindly hosted at Imperial College, and organised and planned by Michael Crone. Thanks for coming along: we hope you enjoyed the evening, running in such a pleasant part of London and the challenges the courses offered.
One of the characteristics of orienteering is that the runner takes responsibility for their route. The planner makes it more than a run in the park by setting interesting and challenging legs that require the competitor to interpret the map, and make route choices.
Leg 9 to 10 on the long course is such a leg. There is a large building between the control sites, and there are two levels at number 9 . It’s a good leg, with there being alternate ramp and stair choices – which did you pick? (The Routegadget link below has the full map.)
But it’s a University building and it had open doors at least at some of the time we were racing. Several runners on the course ran directly through it. The map clearly does not have this “route”.
For newcomers to orienteering, oops. Maybe you didn’t realise or you saw others doing it. There are no disqualifications.
For experienced orienteers – and many of the transgressors are members of SLOW or other clubs – this is poor and you should know better. Please stick to the rules and don’t do this sort of thing.
If you can see from the map that there isn’t a legal route don’t go that way. Do not cross impassable wall /fence /vegetation /access forbidden /out-of-bounds – you need a different way. If a road is cross-hatched in red do not cross it even if you can. If you find an open gate or a hole in a fence that is not on the map don’t go through.
The serious aspect is that deliberate action of this type can cause us to lose access to part of a map, or even to be unable to get permission for future races: “last time your people did this…” In any case it damages the sport’s reputation. We need to try hard to maintain a good reputation, especially with site managers and landowners.
Of course it’s tricky at times – and most people make some mistakes some of the time, but really it is hard to imagine that so many experienced runners misread the map to think it was OK to run through the building here.