Sunday, December 16, 2012

Marrickville Event - UK review

Essex Orienteer David Lumby participated in our event at Marrickville.
The following is his report on the event.

Summer Series Down Under - David Lumby

Before setting off on a work related foray to Australia I googled "Sydney Orienteering" and discovered that there was a Summer Series of evening events running and I was in town for the events on Monday 29th and Wednesday 31 October. In fact there are 39 events in all in three separate series. I packed my shoes and Stragglers O-shirt.

Event 1, Marickville, Monday 29th October

I managed to get away from the office at 17.00, nipped back to the hotel to change and caught the train down to Tempe station near Markey Park in Marrickville which was the event base. The first navigational challenge was to find the start which I achieved by map memory from Google Maps. Out of the railway station, cross over the bridge and head toward the setting sun - that would be North-West!
I completed the registration card and was immediately lucky - they gave me the $3 discount for being a club member despite it being 11,000 miles away. Nancy, I promised them a reciprocal deal so look kindly on any reduced fees paid by visitors from Uringa Orienteers.
The event was a 45 minute score with ample time to study the map before the start. 30 controls were available with numbers 1-10 worth 10 points each, 11-20 worth 20 points each and 21-30 worth 30 points each for a maximum score of 600 points. 10 penalties for each minute or part over time. The course was either side of Cook's River with the North mostly urban and the South a mix of urban, grassland and "bush". Whilst not necessarily the most sensible route choice I decided to go South first as that meant I was sure to get a run through the bush.
I checked my watch and was off. The first control was easy - the bench near the park entrance that I had spotted on my way in. Unfortunately this gave a sense of over confidence and I ran off the edge of the map into the station car park, only realising my mistake when I spotted a fellow competitor the other side of the stream punching a control (SI boxes cable locked to immovable objects were in use). I was soon back on track and collected the next three controls with no difficulty before heading along a footpath into the bush - I suppose we would call it fight forest - where I promptly lost my way and wasted 3 minutes. I was now getting confused by not being able to find the major path which was indicated by the black line. Once I realised this was a linear rock face I was back on track but breathing heavily as it is surprisingly hilly in the Sydney suburbs.
After a few poor route choices I had to modify my plan a bit but still covered the majority of the controls I was aiming for. As I approached the finish I had two minutes to spare so detoured to pick up the extra 10 points from a control I had identified as an option on the way to the finish and punched in with 43m 56s on the clock and 380 points. Not bad I thought though running off the map, my issues in the bush and a couple of other slip ups should have allowed me to get over 400. At the post run discussion I saw another few controls I could have collected and reckoned 450 would have been on. Looking at the results board I was sure no-one would have got all 600. Correct - the leading score was 580. By the time the final results hit the website I saw the winning score was 600 in 44m 36s and I was 22nd out of 40 competitors. A clever bit of software calculates the shortest possible route connecting all points and gives this as 9894m plus 140m of ascent - pretty impressive in less than 45m.
All in all a fine evening out and I knew I would be less jet lagged by the second event on Wednesday night.

David's roundup of his down under visit can be read at:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Orienteering on an international level

Have you ever wondered what the International Orienteering Federation (IOF) does, what the long term goals of IOF are and what's involved at that level?? If you are interested on what's happening on the international level of orienteering, here are some websites:
(website of the IOF; includes structure, resources, athletes interviews etc)
(facebook page)
(subscribe to the IOF online journal "Inside Orienteering")
The latest issue includes an article on Christine Brown who is from Tasmania and is a senior IOF event adviser and many articles from the international stage......Very interesting to read how the IOF is very committed to have orienteering included in the Olympics hence there are a lot of spectator-friendly events on the World Cup agenda; ie middle distance and sprints - not always to the athlete's satisfaction !!
Headlines from orienteering sites all over the world, athlete's blog, events, maps etc