Schools League Report - Julie Laver
The new season of Schools League events is off to a good start and after two fixtures the top three places for each class are as follows -
Well done to all who have taken part so far. Don't forget to check the web page (www.cordle.net/essol) for the full list of participants.
It is becoming easier to collect the results as more of you are making sure your details are filled in fully on the registration slips. This helps also with getting certificates to you at the end of the season. If I have mistaken or missing details please contact me - details also on web page.
As may be noted we need some more Y9/10 girls so if you know anyone who might be interested bring them along.
Unfortunately the Castle Park event is no longer to be an ESSOL fixture however I am looking into providing a replacement - watch this space!
Too old for the Schools League? Don't do enough Regional Events to worry about your National Ranking Points? Too long between East Anglian League events, and besides, you don't know many people in your age group? What you need is a Stragglers League.
Points will be allocated to all Stragglers running by themselves on technically hard courses at Stragglers and nearby events. Your 6 best scores in the last year will determine your position in the table. The Points Table will be published after each event at www.stragglers.info/league.
For cross-country events, points will be calculated as follows - for all TD4 (Light Green) and
above courses, calculate every Straggler's corrected time per km as follows - time from results divided
by the corrected course length (=length + (10*climb)) multiplied by an age class speed factor. The fastest
corrected time per km will be awarded 100 points, everyone else scores points in proportion.
The current rules will always be on the SOS website, as will a Q&A section to explain why the rules are the way they are. I expect the rules to evolve over the next year or so as people let us know what they think.
Any local event with a fair sprinkling of Stragglers expected will be considered for inclusion. Normally
these will be announced in advance on the website and in the newsletter, but to get some points on the board,
some events which have already taken place will be included. Most Stragglers events and larger events from
neighbouring clubs will be included, but the JK, British Championships and Scottish/Welsh/Lakes/White Rose
holiday events won't be (it's a local league). CompassSport Trophy heats and finals will be included. So
the first events are -
Other events will be added - see stragglers.info/league. I know that it's not fair to count events that have already taken place, but all complaints such as "I would have gone to that event", "I would have done the Score course", "I would have tried harder but used the event for technique training" will be speedily and comprehensively ignored.
So how are you doing? the scores so far are -
While we haven't had enough events yet to have meaningful places in the table, some interesting
trends are emerging -
Papers resented at this year's AGM, in case you missed it
Chair's Annual Report - Martin Sellens
Once again activities over the last year have been impressive for a small club such as ours, and this is a tribute to the hard work of the committee(s) and willing club members. I calculate that we have put on 13 events since the last AGM. One more than in the previous year. These have included the regional event at Baddow Ridge, 4 district (colour coded) events (1 EAGAL), the East Anglian Schools Championships, three informal summer "family fun" events, and four special events including the inaugural event at Hanningfield Reservoir, the relays, the annual Cordle New Year Novelty event and another successful Schools day at Wivenhoe Park.
This schedule represents an enormous amount of work behind the scenes from mappers, event officials and from Jack Isbester who has had the unenviable and increasingly difficult task of recruiting event officials for several years now. He is retiring from this position in order to update his international bestseller, “ the secret life of the bulk carrier”. The club owes him a debt of gratitude and I thank him on behalf of all Stragglers. Hopefully he will return to committee duties in due course as he clearly enjoys it so much. We will miss his AOBs and attention to detail. Many thanks also to mappers Chris Sellens (Layer Woods) Dave Birkett (Hanningfield) and Kevin Machin (Baddow Ridge) whose efforts added another three areas (OK, strictly Baddow was more of a rebirth) to our precious stock. Kevin continues to do a magnificent job as editor and printer of the maps that are our life blood. Thanks also to the myriads of officials and helpers who have enabled these events to take place.
The development Committee, under the leadership of Lyn West, has done a sterling job in the areas of promotion, recruitment and coaching. We have a vibrant and well established coaching programme under head coach Stephen Cartwright, with Julie Laver, Dave Birkett and Richard Barker all holding coaching certificates at various levels and providing both formal and informal coaching at most of our events. Richard continues to do sterling work as Coach for East Anglian Juniors. Under the leadership of Andrew Cordle, the Development Committee successfully applied, on our behalf, for ClubMark status this year and is one of the first Orienteering Clubs to achieve this distinction. Lyn West and her team once again did a brilliant job on putting together the summer series.
Jenny Collyer, in her role as Club Captain has ensured that Stragglers are represented in major event relays and that we perform at a high level in the CompassSport Trophy. Once again we are the representatives of East Anglia in the Trophy final the weekend following the AGM and it is difficult to remember a year in which we did not reach this final hurdle. Perhaps this will be the year we regain our crown. A few members will have shared in the glory of that achievement about 15 years ago. Forgive my lack of precision. I am no historian.
Geraldine Russell and Andrew Cordle picked up the baton as Newsletter editors after a brief holding operation by your Chair and Secretary and following the retirement from the editors chair (2 seater settee) of John and Jenny last year. They have maintained the excellent quality of this organ and introduced colour photography recently that, along with pithy editorial and captions, has made it an even more entertaining read.
Finally thanks to all committee members for their hard work during the year and my apologies to those who I have not mentioned. In particular, thanks for years of service to those who are not standing for re-election, notably Jack as Fixtures Secretary and James Lyne as Junior Captain. Best of luck to James in his studies at Edinburgh University. At present I am hoping the other aspiring retires will be persuaded to continue! Thanks to you all.
2006/07 Accounts - Hilary Sellens
Final Accounts for the year ended 21st August 2007
Fixtures in East Anglia and Nearby Regions
The information provided below normally consists of Event Date, Region (eg EA = East Anglia), Event Grade and Type (Grade 1 is highest grade, Grade 5 is lowest. Type C is a conventional Cross Country event in which controls must be visited in the sequence listed on the description sheet). Event & Location Names and map reference. Organiser's contact details. Contact details, costs, closing date etc. for Pre-entry when provided. Whether Entry on the Day (EOD) is possible and the surcharge payable. The range of courses offered. The address of a website from which additional information can be obtained. Additional information in plain language.
At Essex Stragglers' events registration normally opens at 1000hrs, starts are from 1030hrs until 1230hrs and courses close at 1430hrs.
... emails to the Webmaster ... bits of paper found in the bottom of an O-kit bag ...
Found in the Organiser's email In-box two weeks after Hatfield - Jack Isbester
Thanks for telling me that you've found my dibber. I hadn't realised I'd lost it. I wonder where my compass is?
xxx xxxxx of Happy Herts
Stragglers Relays - Derek Keeble
I note from your Straggler web site listings, a continuing interest in Straggler Relays. The following could be a case for another new bottom line.
The earliest Straggler Relays I recall were promoted in Hylands Park, Writtle on a humid Saturday afternoon 26th July 1980. It was a well-supported event gently stretching our limited resources.
Included was the introduction of Derek Ladkin's innovative "O-men", which converted the beetle-drive idea into a wide-outdoor-game indicator. His O-men were assembled graphically in view of the penned competitors, so that team-mates' and rivals' rates of progress could be more easily assessed by all.
The excitement engendered, linked us we understand, to Moscow where that very afternoon a couple of Brits, Messrs Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, fore-and-aft respectively, escorted a German Jurgen to his silver medal position in the Olympic 800 metres final.
Keep happy feet
Fixtures - Derek Ladkin
Russ ( back in Antarctica) e-mailed the address below and I wondered if you had seen this site
and think it is worth a link on SOS site or circulating on SOS Members?
The page is also linked from the British Orienteering Fixtures page at www.britishorienteering.org.uk/event/findevent.php and shows the location of and number of weeks to orienteering events near your postcode. It's a great tool for planning your weekends ahead. I hope to do a Nerds Corner on mapping software in a later edition - Ed.
Oh, and click on the Maps tag and put in your postcode and SOS to find all our mapped areas. If only we could get the grid reference right on the Map Registration form!
Stragglers' Copse - Jack Isbester
In September a letter was written to the Woodland Trust reminding them of our recent SOS tradition of making donations in memory of former members of our society and dedicating those donations to a plot in Fordham Hall Estate, the woodland which is being created west of Colchester, bang smack in the middle of Straggler territory.
In memory of our clubmate Jessie Keeble a £50 cheque from SOS was enclosed and we enquired whether some sort of physical symbol, for example a bench with a plaque, could be placed, at our expense, in or near the bit of growing woodland with which SOS has been linked.
Alternatively, we asked, could our area be named 'Stragglers Copse' on Woodland Trust maps? We would then carry this over to our own orienteering maps. A book or document could be maintained, we suggested, having inscribed in it the names of those remembered by Essex Stragglers and containing a statement on the lines of:
"Stragglers Copse has been created and maintained in part by donations from, and voluntary work done by the Essex Stragglers' Orienteering Society in memory of the former members named below. They loved the countryside."
We explained that we had a distant vision of such a book or document eventually being displayed within a case in the Fordham Hall Estate Visitors' Centre, so it would be useful to have The Woodland Trust's advice as to what that would cost.
Our letter ended with a mention of the fact that, in addition to donations, the local Woodland Trust ranger, Geoff Sinclair, has always been able to rely upon volunteers from SOS for tree planting, hare expelling and such activities.
In reply Liz McLelland of the Woodland Trust told us that our donations now total £1,580, a "wonderful contribution". She could not offer us a site for a bench but our acre has been increased to two acres and is now named "Stragglers' Copse" on the Woodland Trust maps.
She liked the idea of a Visitors Centre at Fordham but that isn't going to happen until someone gives the Woodland Trust a lot of money - there are currently more urgent priorities.
Any SOS members who are not yet members of the Woodland Trust and are interested in joining can find them at www.woodland-trust.org.uk.
Orienteering Standards - Steve Cartwright
One of the ladies in the club asked me on Sunday whether I thought the time for her course was reasonable so I have
tried to make a bit of a study of it based on Running Club standards for the 5K. Obviously Orienteering differs in that
the terrain and course play a great part, yet where the area is runnable below must have a bearing. I have used the
womens 35-40 category in a general way for Senior women.
Although the acceptable speed reduction per age period gets greater as someone gets older roughly it can be thought of as 5% per age period for the men and slightly more for the women. A basic standard for a man of 50 would be under 5 mins/km and for a woman under 6 mins/km.
A standard of 10 mins/km at a particular colour (probably inc hills) has been quoted as a good guide before trying to move up to the next colour in the colour coded scheme. For our actual average speed we could measure the distance adding 0.1km for each 10m climb or say add 10% to the quoted distance and then work it out. However, we are not all as fit as one another so perhaps a better guide is to look at personal bests. If I could do say 7 mins/km at 21 I would be expected to do 8 mins/km at 50 to maintain the same standard.
In terms of walking its frightening:-
Coaching and training have 3 core elements - a technical part, a fitness part, and a competition part (ignoring warm ups and cool downs) with each part essential where an individual wants to succeed. Fitness work may be essential in coaching sessions depending on what people are doing during the week, yet taking care not to overdo it.
SOS Needs You - Dave Skinner
The call from the Fixtures Secretary came out of the blue...."Our Organiser for the Hatfield Forest event has for unavoidable reasons withdrawn....no one else available....I will take it on as long as I have an assistant - can you help?" Gulp! Since taking up Orienteering and joining SOS just two years ago I have regularly helped at events to gain insights into what makes events tick and, importantly, to develop relationships with other club members and perhaps draw on their experience (not much evidence yet that that has had a major impact on my running performance!). But was I ready to accept the responsibility of Assistant Organiser? Well there may have been a little subtle arm-twisting but I fairly readily agreed.
During the weeks leading up to the event my tasks were varied and included: assisting with the finalisation of car parking arrangements; completion of a Risk Assessment for the event (many thanks to John Collyer for his input); ordering Portaloos; reviewing equipment checklists; collecting SI equipment and delivering to the event Planner; and no doubt others now wiped from memory. I knew of course that I had reached the pinnacle of my orienteering career while sitting in a field on the edge of the forest for several hours awaiting loo delivery (the driver had lost his compass!), but usefully the opportunity was taken to identify a safer route to the Start for competitors (thanks to Dave Birkett for his assistance). On the day of the event up early to erect road signs (well I had to make sure that our Organiser did not get lost!), and rig the download tent (quickly delegated this task, or to be more accurate I was very grateful to those who, recognising my incompetence, stepped in). As the event proceeded I generally filled in on tasks where there was a shortage of helpers and at the end of the day helped with clear-up activities. And what did I get out of it? Well lots of things but in particular it certainly broadened my understanding of how events are organised and the efforts made by Officials to ensure success, and built confidence that I could take on an Organiser role in the future; and from comments made directly to me and overheard it was clear that competitors had enjoyed the event, so a certain amount of personal satisfaction resulted (as did a good night's sleep!).
So "what is the point of this article?" I hear you ask - a couple of main points:
I guess I should also mention that having recently assumed the Fixtures Secretary role for our club (more gentle persuasion!) I have a vested interest. Perhaps you may read "A Day in the Life of a SOS Fixtures Secretary" in a future Newsletter!
Venice Street-O - Lyn West
Having heard a great deal about the Venice Street O, Colin and I decided it was time to experience it for ourselves. And it lived up to expectation – amazing! As soon as our daughters heard we had booked flights, they decided we couldn’t be trusted on our own and arranged to join us. The event is BIG - 3163 runners from 32 countries.
Colin, Jo and I flew out on Friday so as to run the “Park-O” event on Saturday afternoon. Actually it was street Sprint O. I had 2.6km on 1:5000 map as opposed to the main event with 4.2km at a scale of 1:7500. It was a good opportunity to get a feel of the event style and to learn from a few mistakes. Picking up my map, the first control appeared straight forward – over the bridge, first turn right and cut into the correct alleyway. Off I ran, dodging round the tables outside the waterfront restaurants to the turning. Directly I was in the alley, I knew I was wrong and had missed the first turn. A quick right and left got me back on track and to the control. It was an early lesson on taking care – subsequent investigation revealed that the alleyway that I missed was very narrow. Leg 2 was one of the longer legs and looked impossible at first glance. The straight line route crossed two canals with no bridges anywhere close. It took me an appreciable time to work a route out and then judging by my split, I didn’t get the optimum. After that I started to get into the map and finished the course without further incident. Eleanor arrived from Frankfurt in time for a superb dinner in a fish restaurant close to our apartment followed by a visit to the gelateria to end an excellent day.
Both the Park O and the main event started and finished on the waterfront overlooking the lagoon. There can be few better locations. Jo, Colin and Eleanor all got to cross the Grand Canal twice, once across the Rialto Bridge. Jo confessed to almost stopping to admire the view. My course was too short but I did get to run alongside the canal with a view of the Rialto. Jo also chose to run through St Mark’s Square – pigeons and tourists instead of brambles!
The different scale on the Sunday magnified the need to concentrate fully at all times. The complexity of the map was mind blowing. I have never thumbed and turned my map as frequently as I did on the course on Sunday but this was vital to keep track of progress through the maze of narrow alleyways that makes up Venice. The legs were longer (I had only one more control than the Park O) and so breaking the leg down was essential. Route choice is key with finding canal crossing points critical (no swimming allowed!). And it was navigating at speed. Straight line routes were generally impossible so the distance covered on the ground was much further than quoted course lengths. We all had one particular 90m leg but by the time you had run round two blocks to get to the bridge over the canal and then another block to get to up the blind alley into the control, the distance was at least double.
All in all it was a wonderful experience which I can thoroughly recommend. We will go again!
Retro-O in The New Forest - John Collyer
Back to 1968 at The November Classic! The first event was re-run the Saturday prior to this year’s. The original planner now lives in Switzerland, although the organiser was present. We met some people who had run at that first event.
There were four courses, each one an exact copy of the original; we decided to do the shortest at 3.7K, which was nominally green/orange standard. The longest course was 10.4K.
The map was a photocopy of the current OS 1:25,000, it was thought this was fairer than to use a 1968 version.
We were allowed to copy up the map at pre-start and the description sheet used the old convention of adding “The” to a feature which was on the map and ground. This of course meant that a description of just “Depression”, was around an empty circle on the map.
The only real difference was that the original set of ink punches was incomplete, so it was decided to use the still-familiar pin punches.
Fortunately the area was very runnable, open heath and mature forest, so that direct compass lines and pacing generally worked well. In fact I found it a very good training exercise in that respect because with no real vegetation markings, and only big tracks and paths shown, it was usually necessary to ignore most of the information other than contours.
Bovington, Dorset Sunday 18th November 2007
Two Gold Medals for For SOS Juniors - Dave Birkett
Stragglers juniors representing Barnardiston Hall Prep School, Meadgate Primary School Chelmsford, Colne Community School Brightlingsea, and Philip Morant Secondary School Colchester were out in force at this years British Schools Champs. Notable top three results came from Tom Birkett, boys year 5 winner from Meadgate. He used his practice day to good effect, exorcising the demons, and then running the 1.5 km white standard course in a consistently fast time of 8 min 25 sec. Barnardiston Hall’s Isabella Coutts did brilliantly to become year 6 champion beating off her rival Rachael Harrison who unfortunately missed one of the controls. In the year 5 girls race Barnardiston dominated with Lucy Holder finishing an excellent second and Kitty Becher and Phoebe Howe, running as a pair, finishing 3rd. The Ware family was also competing with Alex and Rhiannon braving the elements to finish creditably in their respective year groups.
The weather was extremely wet with continuous heavy rain throughout so well done to all those who took part in what were quite difficult conditions. The results at the time of going to press had not been finalised so we are still waiting to see if Barnardiston School retained the Middle-Preparatory School title. Let’s hope so.
Next years event is on Sunday 16th November 2008 in Hampshire. To enter download an entry form from the BSOA web site www.bsoa.org, obtain the Schools Head Teachers agreement and signature, submit the form and then simply get practicising.
"I was more worried about stopping kids getting hypothermia" - Julie Laver
This years BSOC were held at Wareham Forest, Dorset. Much of the area is used as a military tank practice site and we saw worrying signs such as WARNING-SUDDEN FIRE. However as all good orienteers should, we carried on undaunted.
The practice day went well. Reasonable weather and a variety of courses to choose from so all the kids had two runs out. After four hours in the car this was welcomed. We also met a few familiar faces including the Birketts.
After the practice we decided to do a little sightseeing as the hall we were staying in did not open till much later so we drove on to Lulworth Cove to look at some local geography. I was much taken with the sea arches, stacks and blowholes whilst the kids tried to find precarious cliffs to fall off!
Still we made it to the school hall we were to sleep in without any broken bones and made camp.
The morning dawned wet and windy and went down hill from there. We had sorted layers of clothing to wear to the site but had not realised how spread out all the areas were. The parking was about 1 mile from the assembly field which meant we could not easily go back for spare clothes. The starts were also not very near the assembly so the logistics were challenging in the weather conditions – driving rain and cold.
Still we made it to our start in the nick of time. At least there was no time for last minute nerves and they were off.
It took some special runners to do well in the conditions and all the competitors who made it all the way round deserve a medal but looking at the results today I must especially say WELL DONE to Thomas Birkett who came first in his class.
Once all my charges had made it round I spent my time trying to get them warm and into dry clothes – not easy with no club tent and only the layers I managed to prise off them before the race. Rhiannon and Samuel were so cold I managed to find space for them in a minibus being used to reheat those juniors in danger of hypothermia and I am very grateful for the help of the club providing this service. The bus was quite crowded by the time I retrieved them with still more arriving for treatment.
We decided to leave ASAP and by that time many other teams had the same idea. Unfortunately the prize giving was cancelled as were all the other activities usually available. The site looked like a quagmire – photos available at www.bsoa.org. Still ever optimistic there is always next year and it can't be worse (do you get blizzards in Hampshire in November I wonder……?)
SOS Junior results
Having used a permanent course on a fantastic area on the Arctic Circle at Rovaniemi last summer I was keen to travel to this year’s World Masters Championships close to the Arctic Circle and the Russian border. As soon as Ann and Eric told me they had a spare bed in the log cabin they had rented for this event I was on the web booking flights and filling out the entry form!
I took the wet English summer to Finland with me (up to then Ann, Eric and Miia had been basking in hot sunshine in northern Scandinavia). Before the World Masters Competition was the “Midnight Sun” event with starts from 8.00 to 11.30 in the evening but there was no need for a headlight as it didn’t get dark! I used the ski lift to get to the start at the top of the local hill but didn’t consider how cold I was going to get in just my O suit with a temperature of just 9°, drizzly rain and a freezing wind that hit us when we came out of the shelter. It took me ages to work out the way to go from the start and I still didn’t get the route right – I think because I was so cold. Things got better though and I enjoyed the area including running across the pistes and even through some snow. However, it was rather rocky with some steep climbs despite the Finish being at the bottom.
There were 2 training areas but I think most of the 4,000+ competitors made for the one described as similar to the area being used for the Final. It was a small area and each control was easily spotted (and heard) by the number of orienteers standing and chatting at each control. It was useful to see what the map and terrain would look like though.
The event comprises two Qualifying races and a Final. In my class (W60) there were 191 competitors – 141 of them Scandinavian, mostly Finns, and just five Brits. We were split into 3 qualifying heats and the aim is to finish in the top 27 over the 2 days in order to make the “A” Final.
The first qualifying race was at Isokallio on a very cold wet day. The terrain suited me – not particularly rocky underfoot, just a low ground cover of bilberry. The large open marshes were obvious and useful to navigate by and there were also some open felled areas and numerous low hills. I was very pleased with my run making hardly any mistakes and finished 11th. The Start had been chaotic though with the clock, unknown to competitors, showing real time so there was a mad scramble through and to be honest it was difficult to know when to start as there didn’t seem to be any officials controlling starters. Fortunately they went over the top to get it right the rest of the time.
The second qualifying race was at Suovalampi. The area was described as even better than day 1, but I found it rougher. I made an error in route choice to no.1 and lost 3 mins and a few other errors crept in. Again the marshes, open areas and low contour detail were useful and I still managed 20th place only dropping a couple of places over the two days to 13th easily making the A Final. For the first time since I had arrived 5 days ago, the sun appeared in the afternoon!
After the rest day (spent visiting a bear park amongst other things) came the Final day. Competitors in the A Final start in reverse order with those in 27th position in each of the 3 heats going first. I started halfway down the field in about 39th place. The course was longer than the two qualifying races but with similar terrain. Again the marshes and contour detail were useful. I enjoyed the area and only made a few small errors and moved up a few places to 34th overall. Next year – Portugal!
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