Chasing Sprint Event
Thanks as always to the usual suspects ... the course team of Grahame and Andrew; the IT team of Eddie, Trevor, Steve, Martin; the helper team of Irene, Margaret, Sue, Jen, Andrea, Dave, Jan, Dave, Alex, Chris, Ian, Simon, Pete, Rae. Achieving a 12.30 + time for a fully-controlled Chase wasn't too bad, but can definitely be improved.
Thanks to Norman Gillson and Ed Braney for allowing us access to the campus and use of the pavilion - an excellent facility that could easily sustain a far bigger turnout. Thanks also to Kirsten Warren for allowing us use of Platt Fields.
It was good to see people travelling from all over the place for this specialist
form of entertainment; it was disappointing to see almost total abstinence from
neighbouring clubs DEE, SELOC and even MDOC itself outside of the helper group.
With 51 runners we haven't exactly made a loss, but we've had a higher turnout
at every local event of the last year. OK, this is the third year we've used
the same areas and maps in the same way - but they're fine for the purpose and
Grahame's planning seemed to be well received. I tend to agree with the view
that these events need to be joined up in some way to make for a series, which
will bring in a few more of the committed sprinters (maybe a University Series;
maybe a NorthWest Series).
But what do we have to do to get mainstream attention ?
I would like to continue support of University orienteering, and to me campus-based races are a perfect way of doing so. If anyone has suggestions on improvements in format, timing, etc, I'm interested ... johnbritton at ntlworld.com
Platt Fields is probably not the most challenging area, either technically or physically, on MDOC's books. The main route choices involve going clockwise or anticlockwise round the lake and whether to take a left hand or right hand path route through the central OOB area. Courses were therefore planned to try and ensure that these choices had to be made.
I relied on the Condes software to measure the distances, but when Andrew checked them more carefully (a complex process involving string, sealing wax and a theodolite), we did shorten them a little. Winning times on all 4 courses were surprisingly close to what we hoped for.
There was some discussion about controls 2 and 3 being in a straight line on Course 3. Control 2 was used to introduce an element of route choice (totally absent if not included), and, in any case, there is quite a deviation from the straight line If you look at it carefully. I remain unrepentant on that one, although I would agree that where the line from 2-3 crosses the lake, it does appear much more prominent - and "takes the eye".
Some of the control circles in the area round the sunken garden near the finish were quite difficult to see on the map - we should probably have spotted this.
Fallowfield Campus is a great little area for Sprint O. The ISSOM 2007 map (originally produced for last year's event) is much more legible than the original one used previously, although I was initially surprised to see that many of the features on the original map were no longer on the update. Some of them were reintroduced for this one.
The emphasis here was again on route choice - and attempting to ensure that
most legs involved a major change of direction. Once again Andrew's patent measuring
device showed the actual distances were significantly greater than Condes figures
(in fact Course 3 was revealed to be longer than Course 2 - no problem I just
switched them round!)) and some judicious shortening was carried out.
Again, the winning times were of the order I planned for, and from the comments I heard, most people seem to have enjoyed their runs.
Just a brief note on the delay in getting the Chasing sprint underway. I had always felt that a 12.00 base time was a tad optimistic. I think we could have made it, but circumstances beyond the shuffler's control introduced an inevitable 15 minute delay, and with communications stretched, I didn't react decisively enough, and we lost another 15 minutes. Apologies to those who were adversely affected by this. The lesson has been learned for the next time.
A final note of thanks to the control hangers, watchers, shufflers and collectors who did a great job. Special thanks to Jan Ellis and Dave McCann who intercepted a group of Rusholme's finest making off with one of the Platt Field's controls - presumably to use in an event in one of the adjacent parks.
Thanks for coming - I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
The use of the neighbouring but very different areas of Platt Fields and Fallowfield Campus makes an interesting orienteering challenge, with maps at different specifications and different scales, and quite different types of thinking are required for each area.
Grahame Crawshaw produced some excellent courses, which seemed to be enjoyed by everyone. The course lengths were about right, judging from the winning times. We had some top competitors on the men's and women's open courses, but obviously the winning times for the other classes depend very much upon who turns up.
The organisation of the event was excellent, even though the carefully calculated timetable for shifting controls between the two areas was unavoidably delayed. The willing team of MDOC helpers put out controls, guarded groups of them in each area, and moved them quickly and efficiently from Platt Fields to Fallowfield. The timing of the chasing start was very well planned and carried out. The only problem was a slight difference in synchrony of the watch used for the chasing start and the timing of the SI boxes for those who used a punching start. This was quickly corrected after the event by SI supremo Eddie Speak.
An excellent event, and I am sorry that more competitors didn't turn up to enjoy it.