Skip to Navigation | Skip to Content

Manchester & District
Orienteering Club

Urban Middle Distance - Birchwood

A UK Urban League and NW Urban League event

A Regional Middle Distance Urban event at Birchwood, including a new extended area.

Sun 28th Apr 2019

Type of event: Regional, Urban
Type of terrain: Urban
Info updated: 29th Apr


Event Report

Controller’s comments

I was delighted to be asked to be the controller for this event, as I remember thinking what a great area it was when I ran in the sprints here a few years ago. And since then the map has been extended! It was good working in an all-women team of organiser, planner, and controller – quite a rare occurrence. Jillyan created a set of excellent courses, and there were very many positive comments at the finish about both the area and the courses, with many people finding it hard to maintain the required level of concentration throughout.

The aspect of planning that posed the biggest challenge was the planning of the junior courses, and in particular Course 7 (M/W12-). Urban areas are full of hazards such as traffic on roads, vehicles reversing from driveways, and parked cars blocking sightlines. But also, relocation after a mistake is relatively difficult in Birchwood, and we didn’t want youngsters wandering around looking lost. So we spent more time discussing Course 7 than all the other courses combined. I think the course Jillyan settled on addressed the safety and technical aspects very well. With a small entry on Course 7, this effort could feel disproportionate, but it’s essential, and it really makes the planner and controller engage closely with the map and the safety issues, which has benefits across the whole event.

I hope people enjoyed the opportunity to run on what is essentially a sprint map, but for double the length of time we usually get to spend doing a sprint.

Carol Edwards, Border Liners

Planners Comments

The Birchwood map benefitted from the inclusion of the new intricate area of Oakwood, characterised by lots of houses with ‘underpasses’.  The extension, which was very accurately mapped by Chris Smithard, also allowed us to use a pleasant open area for the Start and Finish.  We also spent quite a lot of time widening alleyways in the main body of the map because I know how frustrating it can be if you cannot decide whether there is a way through or not.  I hope this helped.  Nevertheless, Birchwood is undoubtedly complex and the middle distance format showed it at its best with quite a few competitors arriving back at the finish both physically and mentally exhausted, just the way it should be.

I was very lucky to be given the opportunity to plan on an area with so much potential and would like to thank Carol Edwards, our constructive and sympathetic controller and Marie Roberts, our calm organiser who facilitated the smooth running of the event.

And weren’t we lucky with the weather.

Organiser's Comments

MDOC had held local urban events at Birchwood on two previous occasions, so knowing what a superbly complex area it was, we were delighted when it was selected for the 2019 UK Urban League.  The newly mapped area of dense housing with underpasses around the start and finish made Jillyan’s excellent courses all the more testing.  With a gloriously sunny day to follow Storm Hannah, it was no surprise that we had a good entry on the day and nothing but compliments for both the area and the courses. Congratulations to the planner, Jillyan Dobby.

We did have one comment from a resident driver that he almost hit a runner who was engrossed in his map as he crossed the road.  Do take note for the future – no-one wants a nasty accident.

Thank you to all the helpers both before and during the event who helped to make it go smoothly.

Thank you also to Warrington Borough Council’s Event Safety Committee and Birchwood Leisure and Tennis Club.

Marie Roberts, Organiser

Manchester & District Orienteering Club

Pre Event Info

This Middle Distance Urban event will be a highlight of the season. Birchwood is an extensive, complex area with an exceptional map. Don't miss it! 

Event Centre: 

Birchwood Leisure and Tennis Complex, Benson Road, Birchwood, WA3 7PT


Nearest town: Warrington

Directions / Parking

Birchwood is situated close to the junction of the M6 and the M62. Leave the motorways at M6 junction 21 or M62 junction 11 and follow signs to Birchwood.

Nearest rail station is Birchwood which is adjacent to the shopping centre.

Parking at Birchwood Shopping Centre, Benson Rd, Birchwood, WA3 7PG (3 hours free with no return for 1 hour) or park on local streets. 

Registration & Start Times

Registration 10.00 to 12.00. Starts 10.30 to 12.30. Junior courses to start after 11.30

Course Information

Middle distance courses will be based on the normal UKUL age classes as follows:

Abbreviation Full Category Name Age Classes Course number
MO  Open Men

M18 M20 M21 M35

MV  Veteran Men 40+

M40 M45 M50

MSV  Supervet Men 55+

M55 M60

MUV  Ultravet Men 65+

M65 M70

MHV  Hypervet Men 75+


MJ  Junior Men 16- M14 M16 6
MYJ  Young Junior Men 12- M10 M12 7
WO  Open Women W18 W20 W21 W35 2
WV  Veteran Women 40+ W40 W45 W50 3
WSV  Supervet Women 55+ W55 W60 4
WUV  Ultravet Women 65+ W65 W70 5
WHV  Hypervet Women 75+ W75+ 5
WJ Junior Women 16- W14 W16 6
WYJ  Young Junior Women 12- W10 W12 7

Course lengths will be middle distance in order to keep the courses within the most complex parts of the area. Courses 1 and 2 will have more than 30 controls, so a high capacity SI card will be required (type 9 or higher. See SI card comparison).

M/W10 (born 2009 or later) MUST enter MYJ/WYJ (course 7) AND be accompanied by an adult.
M/W12 (born in 2007 or later) MUST enter MYJ / WYJ (course 7).
M/W14 (born 2005 or 2006) and M/W16 (born 2003 or 2004) can enter MJ/WJ (course 6), or choose to run course 7.

All other competitors may enter whichever course they wish. However, to be eligible for UKUL points, competitors must enter the class approriate for their age.

Explanation of colour courses

  • White are very easy with all controls on paths. They are mainly used by 6-10 year olds and family groups.
  • Yellow use simple linear features like paths, walls and streams. They are mainly used by under 12’s and family groups.
  • Orange progress to basic use of the compass and route choice. They are ideal for novice adults or experienced youngsters.
  • Light Green are ideal for improvers as the navigational difficulty begins to increase and uses simple contours and point features.
  • Green are used mostly by experienced under 18’s and adults wanting a short but challenging course with a very hard navigational difficulty.
  • Blue are a longer, more physically demanding course in comparison to the green. The distances are more varied between controls and the course attracts experienced orienteers.
  • Brown & Black are very physically demanding and have a very hard navigational difficulty. They are for experienced orienteers only.
  • Score means visiting as many controls as possible in any order in a specific time, like 45mins.

Entry Details

Pre-entry via from 1st March. Entries will close at midnight on Sunday 21st April. 

Seniors £10.00*, Juniors (under 21) and students £3.00.  

Limited Entry On the Day. Seniors £12.00*, Juniors and students £4.00

*There will be a £2 surcharge for seniors who are not members of British Orienteering.

SI electronic timing will be used and controls will be configured for contactless punching using SIAC. Standard dibbers (type 5 with up to 30 split times) will be available for hire from registration at a fee of £1 (free for juniors). SIAC dibbers will be available for hire if booked with advance entry at a fee of £2.50. Lost standard dibbers will be charged for at £30.00. Lost SIAC dibbers will be charged for at £70.00. 

Terrain Description

Birchwood is a 1980's residential development on the outskirts of Warrington. The area is a complex network of residential roads, walkways, courtyards and public green spaces - where the route choice challenges come thick and fast. A new extension to the map will be used for the first time.


Toilets are available at the Leisure Complex.

Dogs allowed?

Dogs are not allowed inside the Leisure Complex. Whilst dogs are allowed on the streets we discourage taking them on a course.

Contacts / Officials

Organiser: Marie Roberts 0161 439 6435

Enquiries to

Safety and Risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event.

Privacy: when entering our events your name may appear in the results section of this website or in newspaper reports.
Read our privacy policy to see how we look after your personal data.

Back to top