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There they are in all their glory: my three O badges. In the next few days I’m going to try and find out whether or not I qualified at some time in the last few years for my red, blue, M21S and M35S badges. I’m a big fan of the badge system, so I’m a bit ashamed that I lost track. But it set me wondering: why isn’t a database kept so that badges can be awarded automatically? People like Peter Bylett and Hilary Simpson are great at processing the juniors, but I want to be processed too! 

Achievement seems to be a quite private affair in British orienteering. When I was in Hungary, after every regional event there were podium presentations for the top three finishers in every class, always with certificates, and often with medals, trophies or t-shirts. Here people just get in their car and go home, and a few names are mentioned later in the club magazine, names that I often can’t put a face to.

I think my #1 goal in orienteering has always been to obtain my brown badge. Hungary (no colour-coded) and then Catherine (no running) kind of got in the way of my slow upward progress towards achieving that goal, but at the age of 41 I think I’ve still got enough time to make it…

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