There are many natural restrictions in this area to setting challenging courses. In the park the lakes are massive and obvious hand rails which limit the usability of those narrow strips on the map boundaries here. In the open areas those bits of open fast woodland are easily visible and make for simple orientation. The roads do not help either. Then there is the predominance of green of the map. Whilst I understand the comments that much of this is just brambles – they are not ‘just brambles’ for most of the year. Many a stray has been lost forever to those brambles, and in just a few more weeks one will not be able to see over them.
Overall it was a challenge as a planner to squeeze some decisions into a course, much more than I had anticipated. I do now realize that without the nice weather and tidy facilities of the school some may have felt the days orienteering was not quite the mantle exercise they hope for each weekend. But hopefully the minutes per KM they achived made them feel good.
My biggest fear was loosing controls during the event – but I should have more faith in my fellow mankind.
I believe these were the first full courses on the larger combined map. I think the next use though should be for a night event on the open area which will present much more of an issue for navigation.
The use of Aldersbrook Junior School car parking, electrics and toilet, plus the teas and cakes provided by their PTA certainly made this a relaxed and social event. A full compliment of willing and able helpers also makes my job a lot easier. Thanks to everyone for putting in the time and effort, and to the computer team who had the results up 4 hours after the event finished.
The shortest courses (White to Light Green) stayed within the bounds of Wanstead Park, with the longer courses (Green to Black) taking loops of varying lengths across to Bushwood and onto Wanstead Flats. This made the Green course slightly longer than recommended, but the runnability was such that this did not seem to affect competitors’ times significantly. Not surprisingly the leading times on the longer courses were all on the quick side, despite seeing a bit more of the ‘Green’ in Wanstead Park.
The road crossings on the longer courses were both a potential hazard and a variable hindrance. Whilst it was possible to exclude the time taken for the first road crossing from Wanstead Park to Bushwood, it would have constrained courses too much to have had further timed crossings between the different sections of Wanstead Flats. I hope competitors weren’t too inconvenienced.
There were many favourable comments on the day for Mike Brett’s courses, although some felt that some of the controls on Wanstead Flats were too visible. Others commented on the representation of some of the bramble in Wanstead Park as solid green rather than using an undergrowth screen. Nevertheless, Mike and mapper Tom Edelsten should be congratulated on the outcome of their efforts; well supported on the day by Kate Brett and her team of helpers.
Brian Daniel (HAVOC)
Thanks to those runners who tried out our online entry system. We‘ve been experimenting with this at our most recent two events. Sorry to anyone whose pre-entry did not go through – we’ll try to figure out how to make it better. These mainly seem to have been cases of two people entering in quick succession from the same pc – with the second entry failing.
We’ve had 85% of pre-entries turn up over the two events and we will debate the advantages and disadvantages of having this and/or entry on the day.