…or perseverance pays off (sometimes).

Twice this week I’ve been out orienteering for about two hours in non-standard races, and twice I’ve beaten the odds and come second. 🙂

On Thursday it was the BIMM: the Bewdley International Mountain Marathon. In fact it was the Return of the BIMM, since the format had been retired by its originator, the inimitable Russ Fauset. Although my knees don’t like street running that much, this kind of event favours me: I like puzzles. The race was in two parts: first, 2.5 km navigating around the centre of Bewdley using a bad copy of a Victorian ordnance survey map. Second, a route of indeterminate length on a roughly drawn street map. Unlike normal orienteering, where you see the entire route at the start, in Russ-O you have to get to each checkpoint before you find out where the next one is.

Does the event have the right to call itself an International Mountain Marathon? I should coco: we had a competitor from Sweden (or from Wordsley, if you want to make it sound more exotic); we had mountains, as this route profile shows…

bewdley

(Note the genius of the Tour-de-France-style planning – the first 8k was a relatively flat warm-up for the hors-category climbs in the final third of the race.) and although 8.5 miles isn’t literally a marathon, it is a freaking long way on a freezing Thursday night.

This must be the first orienteering event when I’ve been out for an hour and three quarters and still come second!

And then yesterday I eclipsed that by coming second after a two-hour run. Radio orienteering is an acquired taste and I’m a complete ham, but, as at Bewdley, I proved that persistence in difficult conditions can bear fruit. Cademan Woods is a tricky area (as competitors in the British Night Championsips there can testify) with its rocky outcrops, maze of paths and acres of brambles but at least it’s an area I’m familiar with. And it was a cold morning flecked with snow.

I set off west, convinced that transmitter 2 was over there (you can do them in any order), but 45 minutes later I eventually found it virtually in the centre of the map, having slowly drifted northwards across the road. (I’d actually gone virtually straight past number 1 without realising it.) A crap start which included slipping and falling on my back while clambering down some rocks. But finding the first control gave me confidence that I knew what I was doing (!) and I proceeded to find the other 4 transmitters and by some miracle get back within the 2-hour time limit – just. Checking the results, I was shocked to see that I was one of only two people who managed this feat!

cademan-route

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