A BOF leaflet (dated 1993) written by John Knight in 1983. (600 kb)

Tips for Newcomers

Some comments:

1. Before you start, study map and legend. I agree there are a few things it’s worth checking, e.g. special symbols; course overview; out of bounds; crossings and crossovers, but there’s hardly much time to “study” anything.

2. Don’t think of the competition as a race. But it is!

3. Never run at absolute top speed. Hmm. Too many times I’ve got to the finish with too much energy left over, which can’t be right.

4. Try not to stop. Like a lot of people, I find it hard to read the map while moving. And that’s not the end of the world. On the other hand, “try not to stop at the control” is good advice.

5. Don’t stand still if you’re lost and can’t work it out. I suggest it is a good idea to stop for a moment if you’re lost, and try to work out what’s happened.

6. Don’t run on “feel”.

7. Don’t rush off.

8. Don’t ever run without counting your paces. I’m afraid I hardly ever pace-count. It’s possible to be moderately successful without pace-counting, so though it’s an important skill I wouldn’t have it on my top tips for newcomers.

9. Don’t ever assume you are right and the map and compass are both wrong. I wonder how many newcomers know what a reentrant is?

10. Don’t forget to read contours. Fair enough.

11. Don’t kid yourself you can beat the superstars. How many superstars am I going to be competing against?

12. Don’t let them tell you fitness isn’t all that important. Fitness isn’t all that important.