Is the biggest boon to a winter's o-event organiser a large surfaced car park? We just about filled it with 400 cars, with the car park team asking me at the end why I'd discussed prior to the event which part of it we should use!
While the responsibility for the event might lie with the organiser, I believe that the largest job is the entries person. Carefully selected as having 'something to do with computers' in her real job and an orienteering family to provide assistance with the tasks, Clare Crocker knocked me back with her immediate 'yes' to my tentative enquiry. Maybe the task didn't flatten her or Simon although the times on some of her emails caused me to shudder! The other essential member of the team is the SI software expert, and John Hammond fulfilled his by now normal role for Deeside. This system reduces the team required but the stress that it generates at the event can be considerable when things go awry. My thanks also to Dave Radspinner, in charge of the finish/results, who also had considerable input prior to the day.
Any surprises? Yes, the number of EODs, about 200 against a pre-entry of 580 (internet entries were about 320, I believe); the number of people who asked to change their start time causing the start team unexpected work; and the disappearance of the ambulance to attend to, as it turned out, a non-orienteer who had broken an ankle in the forest.
not least, thanks also to Forest Enterprise for the use of the area and to the
public who left all our equipment where we'd put it - all collected in with
only one unit (238) failing during the event. Thanks for coming, hope everything
was OK in the forest.
Firstly my thanks to Clive and Mike for running such a professional event that really left me with little to do. Clive planned courses that were interesting and challenging, I think the choice of the start was particularly good, enabling him to take senior competitors straight into one of the more technical areas of the forest. Like Clive I was surprised that winning times were so short. The bracken was certainly down, but it was wet and slippery underfoot in many places. I only had one complaint, from a lady competitor whose name I do not know who had picked up a map where the overprinting was very faint in places. In the gloom of the forest it must have been almost indecipherable! I can only repeat my apologies; the maps were checked, but one obviously slipped through the net.
This was the first electronic punching event that I have controlled. It was somewhat unsettling to stand in the download tent knowing that I could offer no helpful suggestions as the team coped admirably with some of the early problems. As a controller I have always been used to having at least a nodding acquaintance with all aspects of an event, but here I had to rely completely on the technical expertise of a new breed of orienteering technocrats! It cannot be denied however that this system enabled Clive to use the forest to the best advantage on the longer courses and he made full use of the opportunity; the same piece of forest looks remarkably different if you run through it in different directions!
The St. John's Ambulance were well in evidence and had to cope with at least one nasty looking eye injury, although their most serious case was a broken leg not belonging to an orienteer at all!
My thanks to
Robin Tilston who drew the map and to all other officials and helpers. If there
were any organisational problems, I was not aware of them and the whole event
seemed to go very smoothly; I heard many positive comments at the finish.
The felling of the trees previously planted in Blakemere Moss has created an attractive mere, but has limited the scope for orienteering events based around the large area of hard standing car park that was used for this event. Having both the start and finish in Delamere West allowed even the shortest technical course to get into some of the more interesting forest, and having the start and finish on opposite sides of Blakemere Moss allowed the colour coded courses to do a circuit of the mere. The technical courses were designed to give short legs in the nicer areas of forest, to encourage people to go through, with longer legs to give path running around the grottier bits - one of my personal dislikes is planning that forces me to go through large blocks of brambles (surely courses should be planned to be enjoyable, as well as challenging?). The use of e-punching allows more convoluted courses than experienced previously at Delamere, and so I tried to give you plenty of direction changes. Winning times were perhaps fractionally short: the frost this winter has done a much better job than usual of flattening the bracken, and even seems to have flattened some brashings! On Sunday Delamere was in the best condition for orienteering that I can remember, I hope the overall effect of the forest and the courses were enjoyable.
As always, particular thanks are due to the overprinting team of Stuart Padget, Graham Padget and Peter Sleigh, and to the controller, Paul Chamberlain. This was the third event Paul and I have worked on together, twice Paul having been overseer for all of Croeso when I was controller for a particular day. Previously having worked together helps, and this event went as smoothly as any I can recall, with Paul quietly checking and helping, and most importantly, spotting my errors before they mattered. My thanks to him - and my best wishes to all other members of the former Offas Dyke Raiders. I hope that the demise of ODR doesn't adversely affect orienteering in North Wales.