I had a good run at this national event, only slightly spoiled by the trouble with my knee for the last 20 minutes. For each leg, I’ve included my time, my leg ranking on M40S, and Andy Hemsted’s time. It only occurred to me afterwards that his course was exactly the same as mine, only he had the benefit of a map that it was actually possible to read…

Part One. This was the more challenging half of the course, navigation-wise, with speed less important, and I’m pleased that I was in third place by the 7th control. Gives me hope that once I get my speed up (if I ever do!) I can be reasonably competitive.

S-1 (6:56 5th – Andy 5:02) Right at the start I had to make a route choice: over the fence crossing and through the wood or go around on the tracks? I think if I was being a bit more competitive I would’ve just run up the track, but I went for the more interesting option… The first 150m was tough going but, once I found the fight, getting to the next fence crossing was easy. Then I set the compass to W and found the feature without any trouble.

1-2 (5:34 11th – Andy 3:32) I aimed north but I found it difficult to follow the terrain. I knew when I was getting close when I could see the wooded area below me to the right but, worried that I might be too high or too low, I slowed right down and virtually walked into the control.

2-3 (2:21 10th – Andy 1:42) I stopped after a few seconds when I hit a vehicle track, and it took a while to convince myself that it wasn’t mapped. Otherwise this was an easy control.

3-4 (3:12 12th – Andy 1:39) There was a clear elephant track to follow as far as the ruined wall, which turned out to be an earthbank. Crazily, I found the control from there alright but thought I could see the number 157 on it, so I ran to look a little north and south. Then, looking back at the control, it now said 158!

4-5 (0:59 6th – Andy 0:51) Just head up the hill to the building!

5-6 (6:03 9th – Andy 3:48 ) It was easy to see which way to go, but somewhat disconcerting that the pond (obviously) wasn’t visible until I got up to its edge. South from the pond was also easy enough, though I made the daft decision to go left around the little hill just before the control and found that way impassable.

6-7 (8:41 5th – Andy 6:00) I set the compass to SE and ran, or tried to, across the tussocks and marshes. There were some trails where feet had knocked the grass, but it would’ve been easy to follow the wrong one. (It was here that Andy overtook me and I figured his course must be similar to mine…) I headed north of the pool but I was cross with myself because I had to run further north to get to the fence crossing. I ran down the track to the gate and turned E into the wood, expecting to cross the little track but I didn’t find it. Instead I found lots of brashings and, luckily, the control.

Part Two: I fell back on this section. The navigation was relatively straightforward (or should I say too easy?)and there was loads of path running, on which people were zooming past me – especially after I had my knee trouble.

7-8 (7:07 14th – Andy 3:53) I’m not sure what went wrong here. I was doing okay until I noticed I hadn’t seen the first ride. I slowed up, and found the second ride slightly hidden behind a row of trees. Then I turned off the ride a bit early and fund my way barred by a fallen tree. I don’t liketrying to spot tree-type boundaries but the kite was visible enough.

8-9 (4:10 11th – Andy 2:21) This was one of the legs where I had trouble reading the map (because I had my lenses in). After wasting some time wondering whether I could go straight, I realised I had to go over the gate by the (non-existent) water station. The control location was as plain as a pikestaff, and one of those I don’t like because once you’ve run down to it you have to run back up again.

9-10 (7:19 13th – Andy 4:26) I didn’t see the southern gate on the map, and followed another runner over the fence. Thence it was easy enough to find the field and the track, thought not so easy to run up it to the water station. Water! At last! After 50 minutes! (Hello Kerstin!) I hit the control perfectly, having set my sights on the end of the pond.

10-11 (4:13 3rd – Andy 6:46) A triumph! My best control. Where I was wise was in running down the path and ride all the way to the track, then just turning left after the green stuff. Voila.

11-12 (4:28 7th – Andy 2:33) Back to the track, round the bend, down the hill (oops – crossed the fence, sorry), through the copse, down to the stream, turn right and there was the niche.

12-13 (6:59 14th – Andy 4:29) Joy – another climb. Then, as I reached the top, I “felt my knee”, and I think any of the several runners who passed me as we did an impromptu 800-metre race along the track could probably see I was now carrying an injury. It was discomfort rather than pain though and I decided not to stop. Maybe I was wrong, but I felt that if continued jogging along it might do it more good than harm. From the track to the control other runners had made a clear path.

13-14 (3:00 10th – Andy 2:03) Once I’d negotiated the rhododendrons and got into the control circle, the kite was soon visible.

14-15 (7:20 13th – Andy 3:59) Another uncomfortable track leg. I decided the simplest route choice was to run all the way to the gate, then go E down the hill. I found a thicket, ran around it and came to a path. Ah. I realised then that if I squinted I could just about make out a faint green dot, and the green dot I actually needed was a bit further down the hill.

15-16 (1:00 14th – Andy 0:31) I got slightly disoriented here.

16-F (0:21 5th – Andy 0:18 ) One always has to put on a show for the crowds, doesn’t one. 🙂

 

Here’s a suggestion for an alternative course that would’ve kept us off the tracks:

Keeping us off the paths (Click to enlarge)

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