I took part in the Quantock Club Championships in Bridgwater on Saturday 10th September. A one-hour score event on a bright and warm day. As an M16, I had the choice of the Junior competition, technically less challenging or the senior event, completing against the seasoned orienteering vets from our own club and neighbouring club members who travelled to the event.
The junior event used the club Sport Ident electronic dibber to record the checkpoint controls visited and did not have to cross any roads, to be safe for younger children. The senior used our mobile phones, which record the locations of the checkpoint controls as you visit each one and this can be downloaded to Strava afterwards so you can see where you have run and how quickly you got there. I opted to try the senior as wanted the challenge of a wider area and more controls to choose from.
At the start, everyone was busy checking their mobiles had the MapRun6 App ready and loaded to go. Unfortunately, mine seemed to have gone off my phone so luckily with some help it was quickly downloaded, and I got my course for the competition uploaded to my phone. We had a short briefing by the Club Chair, about main roads that must not be crossed in the town and out of bounds area - no crossing people’s gardens, fences, the river or the streams across the field. Apart from this, we could go whichever route we wanted with the aim to visit as many checkpoint controls in the 1 hour.
A few minutes before the mass start, the phones picked up the tiny map and the controls on the screen, we were given our paper A3 maps showing the area and all competitors studied carefully to see which way they might go. Mostly urban, streets and buildings, there was also some areas of open land, criss-crossed with the uncrossable streams and hedgerows to negotiate. At 11am the event started with a mass start, everyone at their own pace, some young, some old, some quicker than others, rushing off at best speed to their first control.
My run started good, picking up most of the controls on the south of the map but as I went on, I started to make more and more mistakes, running into dead ends, picking up wrong ally ways. Overall, my run was good, but I wasted too much time as a result of not being in close contact with the map especially in the marshy middle area. It was a great day and was good to get up to speed with the QO Presentation. We had a nice lunch then our AGM where we heard everything about the club and individual successes over the last year and events planned for future.