I’m sure it’s been asked before, but I’ll ask it anyway: how do Octavian Droobers (the Warwickshire orienteering club) do so well? They won last year’s West Midland League and they’re more or less assured of victory already this year with 3 events still to go. They won 9 out of 14 golds at this year’s WM Relays. They won this year’s Score-orienteering trophy. 15 out of 29 current West Midlands champions are Droobers. And they’re just about to host the national club championships that they’ve won the last three years in a row!

As an aid to discussion I hereby append a map of the county of Warwickshire. Urban areas are shown in grey, and good orienteering areas are shown in green:

Get my drift? Maybe you’re thinking they could spend their evenings and weekends romantically training in the long, dark hectares of the Forest of Arden? Well, good luck trying to find it! No, there is no good orienteering territory, except perhaps Bentley, which I’ve never been to, so might it be their secret orienteer manufactory? Apparently it’s been said that “it’s an area you’d love to train on, but racing on it was sheer torture”.

Maybe you can add to my list, but come to think of it there are a couple of obvious reasons for OD’s success: firstly, Peter Guillaume and others are doing a great job on the coaching side (having Graham Gristwood on the team for a few years must’ve helped). Second, a lot of the success is based on a small number of schools and families. It only takes a strong input from a few of each to make a good basis for club success.

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