Tuesday, December 16, 2014

O Sprint Cup at PBG

On Sunday morning we had the last orienteering event of the year - the annual Sprint Cup at the Pretoria Botanical Gardens. I haven't been here for years and after the recent rains the Gardens are looking amazing.

Sprint Cup works on a different format. Participants first run a preliminary round and their finish times and positions determine where they start for the final round. The fastest runner after the prelim starts first and the other runners then set off at the time interval that they finished the first round. Say the second placed runner in the prelim finished 23seconds behind the winner, they will start the final 23secs after the first runner - and so on.

Why this format is so much fun is that if you catch the runner ahead of you, you gain an overall position. And, of course, there are runners behind trying to catch you!

I was fourth after the first round and there was too much of a gap (just over three minutes) between me and the third-placed runner to realistically look at third place... so I aimed to keep ahead of the next runner behind me - I had about a 1min20 lead on her. This time difference can be gobbled up quickly if you make a mistake; or even if you lose a few seconds per control.

I managed to hold on to my position - although Kirsten did gain a little ground on me - to finish in 4th overall.

Orienteering events pick up again in January.

Running into the finish. Photo by Val.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Summer Series #2

Our second Summer Series event was good fun and it was good to see a number of children and a bunch of first timers.

For the first time I got to run in a Summer Series event; shadowing young Connor. And it was such fun! His navigation was very good and he got us swiftly through the middle (20 control) course. I was very pleased that he chose a great route that had us collecting our last controls up in the top South-West corner (bridge) so our climb back up to the start/finish was more gradual than running up from the Environmental Centre. Phew!

Being out there, I had the chance to take photos of other participants too.  Photos are on our AR Club Facebook page.

The event format was again the same (ScatterO), but this time with 30 controls (instead of 25). Most participants got the required number for their courses.

Garry did the planning for the event and we had a bunch of helping hands on the night. Grant, Garry and I put out controls; Zig and Denise managed registration. Robyn, Garry and I collected controls. Thank you everyone.

 Please join our Summer Series email notification list so that we can let you know directly when the next events are scheduled.

We (me and Garry) be back with three Summer Series events in Jan/Feb. I hope to see you then.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

AR Club Summer Series #1

Tonight we had the first of two AR Club Summer Series events at Delta Park. We ran this fun event on the ScatterO format and gave all participants one hour to complete their courses.

Garry did the planning and he was pretty sneaky. I took a lookie at the map over the weekend and told him which controls I'd leave if I was running the long course, which requires runners to locate 22 of the 25 total controls. He adjusted some control placements to 'force' runners into areas. Cunning, very cunning.

We had a number of complete newcomers and it was great to see a good number of children out with their parents (and on their own - in the case of Garry's boys). FYI - we give children still at school (and younger) free entry!

Delta Park is looking great. Green, lush and with grasses still nice and low, the terrain makes for superb running. This event is held in daylight (18h00 to 19h00).

We're doing one more Summer Series event next Wednesday, 10 December 2014 and will only pick up with these again in mid- / late-January.

Special thanks to Liz - she handled registration today. Garry did all the planning and printing. I put out controls (including one, #35, in not quite the right place - that's what happens when yuo phone me to ask if you can come / for directions when I'm putting out the flags!). Our thanks too to Sarah and Michael and Piers for collecting controls. And also another pair (I don't know your names), who arrived late (stuck in traffic) and kindly got roped into control collecting.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Metrogaine review

Although people post online and email really lovely comments about their experiences at Metrogaine, it is not often that I receive a full-on write up. Feige contacted me a few weeks before Metrogaine. Her background is primarily road running and she regularly participates in events and writes about them (much like I do). I was delighted to give her an entry to give this event a try - something quite different to what she is used to.

Feige has written one of the nicest reports I've seen. She has beautifully described how the event works and she has conveyed her experience clearly. I'm also charmed to see how she picks up on the little elements of Metrogaine, like the yummy cupcakes that are homebaked by my orienteering friends, Denise and Christie. With the wind howling and rain descending, Feige missed out on the tea-light candles lining the finish chute - they wouldn't stay lit. I'm sure she would have appreciated these too.

When I first started Metrogaine I used to bake and ice the cupcakes myself. After making over 200 for an event (with my visiting friend Ray from CT coerced into mixing and icing too), I changed to the custom message fortune cookies to manage the numbers. It became challenging to order the correct amount with people entering so late... And then I outsourced the cupcakes to Denise and Christie. They make great cupcakes and they're here to stay.

Metrogaine is designed to be fun and low-key and friendly and convenient and efficient week-night, nav-running fun. And from Feige's report it looks like I'm hitting the nail on its head. Thank you Feige.

You can read her report on her blog - "Living the treaty life".