Thursday, November 27, 2014

Running around in the dark - with purpose

Metrogaine Jo'burg played out really well last night and we got super lucky with the weather.

My one friend, who lives in the event area, emailed this morning to say:
"The hard rain did eventually arrive – between 23h30 and 04h00 we had 35mm of rain – our biggest this summer and this morning at 07h00 the river was still uncrossable at the Bryanston bridge; the drift would have been under water."
I'm a bit communication'd out, but you'll find my write-up in this Metrogaine newsletter - it talks about a few of the gremlins on the course (like about the people who changed the gate to their property over the weekend!).  The most up-to-date results are linked to from the Metrogaine page on

In the Metrogaine Bryanston album on the Metrogaine FB page there are some photos and also maps with the routes run by a number of the pairs.

The next Metrogaine events will only be in April and June 2015.

Between now and then...

There's AR Club's Summer Series this next Wednesday and the next... and there will be a few more in Jan/Feb next year.

And I'm really looking forward to the annual, novelty xmas O event on Sun, 7 December. Gonna be good.

There's definitely no shortage of fun and games.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Metrogaine, novelty O, nav coaching and cultivating young orienteers

Tomorrow night is the last Metrogaine event for the year. This is by far the most difficult course planning that I've undertaken. The area is challenging with the road closures (restricts the flow of the course and makes sections unusable) and using a Scatter-ScoreO format (as opposed to the rogaining format Metrogaine is based on).

This meant a smaller area and a lot of juggling of control placements to get specified minimum distances on the courses. It's fun to have my course planning powers completely and utterly stretched and exercised. Tomorrow night the proof, of course, will be in the eating of the pudding that is Metrogaine when the participants set out to spend 90-minutes on my map.

On Sun 7 December I'm looking forward to the annual Xmas orienteering event. It's always a novelty-style event and this year it is at that paintball place off the N1. Entry fee is a gift (labelled men, women, child) to the value of R40. You hand it in at registration and during prize giving you receive one. It's good fun.

I'm also excited about doing some navigation coaching on the 6th with bunch of sporty, adventure racing women (and I think one guy). I always enjoy coaching sessions and I think this group will be a hoot.

I'm in the process of setting up a new Orienteering Schools League (OSL) for schools in eastern Jo'burg. On Monday I'm coaching a teacher's workshop. I did one in October (in our northern OSL area) and the teachers were superb and enthusiastic. The response for the workshop hasn't been great - but the timing is not ideal for everyone with year-end, exams and marking. Three geography teachers are confirmed and I look forward to exploring opportunities to align orienteering with map-related syllabus components - for practical map reading experience that will make maps 'real' and fun.

Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of putting two children through one of my orienteering cone grid games -  a six-year old boy and a nine-year old girl. I've never done cone grids with a child as young as 6. He nailed map orientation within a few minutes of being shown what to do and he got addicted, trying grid course after grid course. This weekend I'll try them on a 4x5 grid... and maybe a 7x7 grid too. Yes, they're totally being cultivated.

(Download the grid cards and instructions for Counting Coloured Cones and give it a try too.)

Maps, maps, maps... there's navigation opportunities everywhere!

The adventure racing team and the dog that followed them

If you haven't yet heard about Team Peak Performance (Sweden) and the stray dog, Arthur, that followed them for the final two stages of the AR World Champs, which has just been held in Ecuador, then you must have had your head under a rock.

The story is big news because the dog adopted the team during the race and they have subsequently adopted him. Arthur flew with the team back to Sweden after the race. This canine adventure racer now has a forever home.

It's an absolutely charming story and the sport of adventure racing has never before received so much media attention from around the World - the story even made online news in South Africa. It's all over Facebook too.

If you haven't heard about this yet, then pull up an online newspaper and take a read. Here's a piece on the Daily Mail. Very, very sweet.

Get your mojo on

Last week I went to a workshop presented by my friend, Telana Simpson. She's a communication and personal coach and a place on her 'Boost Your Mojo: Increasing your personal power' workshop was her FEAT Trade with me. It has taken a year for me to be free on the same night as the workshop!

I like to think that my mojo runs pretty well most of the time; but it can wane and so I was totally open to a receiving a boost.

From Telana's website:

Mojo means self confidence, or self assuredness.  It’s the basis for having a belief in your own self, especially in dealing with approaching someone, or when having to confront someone.
Another view of mojo is that it’s a good luck charm that bolsters confidence, and even talks to a magical power, or talent. It’s also known to be about our ability to bounce back from a tough time or negative attitude.
There were a few things from this workshop that stood out for me - also from my interactions with the other women participating in the workshop.

Without giving too much away, the first was the relationship between being responsible TO as opposed to being responsible FOR a person.

When I look at something like my Forest Run, which comes up in March 2015, or even tomorrow night's Metrogaine.

My role is to planning the routes, adequately briefing the participants, ensuring there is water, safety, medical and other relevant components.

For this I am responsible TO the participants. But, if a runner does not adhere to my instructions to carry a hydration bladder at Forest Run and to fill up with water at the aid stations and they don't drink enough and become dehydrated... I am not responsible FOR this runner's behaviour and what they do with what I tell them, although as a result of my responsibilities I'll have medical etc. in place.

It's very much "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". I'm very cognisant of this, especially as an event organiser - although it applies all around.

This workshop tied together a couple of things that I've been thinking about / moving towards over the last couple of years. Too often these things take a while to arrive at and sometimes longer to implement.

I enjoy workshops and especially the interactions with other attendees. It was nice that we had a small group and good, open discussions where we could link and share experiences.