By local standards Lickey is a great area so I couldn’t really miss this. And the weather was perfect too – I love orienteering in the summer rain. I thought about running the long course, but because I’d have to wait for a map, and I wanted to get back to watch the football, I stuck to the medium, 3.7 km. Charlie Nelson was encouraging me to change my mind, worried that I’d beat his time, and, sorry Charlie, I think I did! But both of us trailed in the wake of the indomitable C. Spears, esq.

My time was 55.45. Thanks to John Pearson for an excellent course. I don’t know if he received any complaints about the way he kind of hid a few of the controls, but I was happy enough – I found them! My only (navigating) error was at the third control, in a reentrant. I found the right one, but not wanting to risk running up it, I retreated to check some other very shallow reentrants. My other error was wearing my contacts. I thought I’d try them one more time, but it was hopeless: I was constantly stopping to squint at the map.

At my relatively young age* I suppose I ought to run the long course more often. It’s quite a step up though. On a good evening I can win the medium course but I don’t stand a chance on the Long against the likes of Chris, John, Dave et al. And there’s the time pressure: if I get started after 7, I might not be back till quarter to 9. It’s midsummer but it was quite dark in the woods even at 8 pm.



*SIgn of not being as young as I once was: I can’t remember hitting my leg on anything, so why is my calf throbbing?