Manchester and District Orienteering Club
Town and Country Weekend
June 11th and 12th 2010
Two Level B events in the NW Orienteering League
Saturday: Middle Distance Race in the runnable northern part of Macclesfield Forest
- One of the two Finish boxes was found to be set at 13 seconds in front of race time. We have identified the competitors affected and manually adjusted the times.
Apologies for the missing sign at the most important turn from Macclesfield - it had disappeared between 6pm Friday and Saturday morning. I should have checked. The rest of the signs were all there though not all as prominent as I wished. Also, the route from car parking to assembly wasn't as well marked as I would have liked. However, I'm sure everyone found their way OK and enjoyed Steve Dempsey's excellent courses.
On most counts Macc.Forest is ideal for middle-distance races, because its most technical and runnable areas are rather small. Planning is difficult because those areas also have too many contours. However the enthusiasm at the Finish and the very few mispunches show that Steve's courses gave much pleasure on a cool sunny day - ideal conditions.
It was good to be visited by our up-and-coming international squad, who showed that the courses could be won in target time; but despite using last year's races as a basis, ours still seem to have been on the long side. There are few specific planning Guidelines beyond 'very long legs should be avoided, but small and medium-scale route choice is encouraged' - which seems to suggest a course of half the classic length with the same number of controls. Some runners apparently got so used to straight-line navigation that they were not tempted to consider path routes to control 139 (the small ruin). Perhaps a serious oversight?
My thanks to Steve D for his clever use of the best parts of the patch, and to the experienced MDOC organising team for a good event.
Organising any orienteering event is always a challenge and there is always more to do and plan for than first envisaged. However with the usual excellent support provided by MDOC members, I feel this two part event generally passed off quite smoothly and with only a few glitches. One issue I need to mention however was the lateness of establishing a visible, effective marked route back from the Town to the School, the consequence being that some of you got lost and ended up taking a long route back. I apologise for the inconvenience this caused.
We were pleased that our event provided a training opportunity for some GB squad members over the weekend. Their presence gave our local orienteers the opportunity to compete against some of the best.
I don't believe that the inclement weather dampened spirits too much. Certainly observing the atmosphere and discussion in the school canteen afterwards, everyone appeared to have enjoyed the challenge provided.
Thanks must go to Sue Birkinshaw for coordination and ensuring things get done, Thomas Fellbaum for his maps (first major mapping project) and to Paul Watson (first planning job for MDOC). Also thanks to Ian Watson and his team for managing the computing activities.
The NWJS I know appreciate your contributions to the cake stall. (Vicky Thornton)
Finally I would like to thank you all for attending and making the event a success.
I hope you all enjoyed your visit to Macclesfield and Tytherington and, for any of you trying urban orienteering for the first time at the event, that you found it an interesting alternative to 'traditional' races and will be encouraged to participate in future urban events.
In endeavouring to create an event for all ages this presented its own logistical issues with us effectively having 23 courses over three separate areas with two of the three areas in use at any one time. My thanks go particularly to Steve Fellbaum, Tom Fellbaum and the members of MDOC for their work both leading up to the event and on the day, particularly later on when the weather deteriorated. Many thanks also to Graham Nilsen for his help and guidance.
I think it is fair to say that Urban Racing is still a developing area and
that lessons are continually being learnt by organisers, mappers and planners.
I was sorry to hear reports of competitors punching controls through uncrossable
fences and I also heard one or two anecdotal reports of competitors transgressing
out of bounds areas. In respect of the former, and in hindsight, I would accept
that where competitors found they were able to do this the control should
have been placed differently, to avoid both the temptation and the possibility.
However I had also expected (perhaps naively) that competitors would do the
right thing and, if they make an error, correct it. I am sure a debate will
continue on whether punching through an uncrossable fence would be classed
as crossing an uncrossable boundary and therefore liable to disqualification
but, in researching post event, I see that other planners have had this issue
(including those involved in this year's Scottish Sprint Championships).
Certainly it is one lesson I have learnt for the future!