This is an interesting one to try to talk about as its not of the same ilk as a “normal” fell race such as I have been blogging about on this blog. It was an orienteering event, 90 mins, and somewhat akin to the adventure racing that I have done in the past, (except it obviously doesn’t go on for 8 hours).
A whole load of Glossopdale were out as the race was a counter for the mid-week championships. You could tell the demarcation between the fellrunners and the orienteers who do this on a regular basis. The fellrunners were in shorts and vests, and were working out how to use their compasses, and the orienteers were in full body covering- lycra’d up to the eyeballs some with proper old school 80’s headbands, and looked like they most probably knew what they were doing with a compass.
So we all got a map and a list of controls about a minute before the off, just enough time to look at the map for a short period and try to work out the route, and bang- or rather hoot, the hooter sounded and we were off- mass start and everyone setting off in radically different directions.
This is where it gets interesting to talk about, and partially why I enjoy events like this.
Any runner you see from this point on may have got more, or less points than you, you never really know who you are actually running against, and so its really you, against you and what your body thinks it can do. There is also the minor issue of having to navigate as well, but thats by the by.
This wasn’t an event where you had to find orienteering kites and get the letters. Each point had a question on the paper that you had to answer at the point- like who is mentioned on a plaque, what number is carved on a telegraph pole, that kind of thing.
So I set off, looping around to the south, having a vague plan of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do, getting the far away ones first and then swooping down to pick up the closer ones on the way back home. This worked relatively well, except for the fact that I got slightly lost about half way through. I climbed a hill faster than I thought possible and ended up about a kilometre further ahead of myself without realising it. This obviously cost me time.
On the way back I was fine, but if I hadn’t got lost earlier, I probably would have had about 5-7 extra minutes in which I could have got 3 extra controls on the way back.
Ah well, never mind.
I think I also found pretty much the only boggy patch in the entire run- going up to my ankles as I careered through a field. Nearly everyone else at the end seemed to be bone dry.
In the end I got back with 30seconds to spare, and I think I got 20 controls, (though one of them was a bit ambiguous, so it may or may not be counted).
No idea where I came, no idea if I narrowly beat someone, but thats the nature of orienteering at this stage. Just got to wait for the results to come out.
Hopefully the link below should take you to the Garmin track of where I got to…