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At Pelsall Common and at Warwick University, two similar occurrences…

Arriving at Pelsall Common by car, Catherine shouted “There’s David!” (David Williams) as we drove past a control situated by the road. A few minutes later we parked, got changed and made the long walk to the Start. On the way, who ran across our path but… David. He kindly stopped to shake Kobe’s hand – he’s one of Catherine’s friends, and we’d brought him along for his first go at orienteering.

Now, checking the map and splits I can see that David was on his way to controls 15 and 22 when we saw him, and it was 15 minutes between sightings. Hence 15 minutes equals one David (1 Dd).

At Warwick University on Wednesday night, I’d just run back onto the map* when Yvonne Feasey jumped out of her car to ask the way to Registration. According to my splits I’d been going for about 37 minutes at that point. After 62 minutes I saw her again, parked and paid and out on her course. So 25 minutes equals one Yvonne (1 Yn).

Now scientists are at work to find out why 5 Dd = 3 Yn.



* This was an excellent map-memory event, with 13 legs on a part of campus that wasn’t on the map. I made an error on the first map-memory leg, but learnt from that and did well on the rest of that section. After that, the section around the north west part of the campus was a bit of a slog, but I suppose it did make you think about route choice. At the end there was a nasty trick: there were controls on either side of a high wall, and it was quite a long way round if you went to the wrong side first…


Ahem. A short journey over to Nuneaton today for the Army event at Gamecock Barracks. The mix of housing, army buildings and open land means that some good courses can be planned there that keep you thinking. And the planner, John Middler, pulled off a bit of a coup by getting a load of us (including me!) to mispunch.

I ran the Green course (5.1 km). I came out from #16 along the path through the trees and checked the next control code as I ran along. I entered the next section of wood and saw my control ahead. I punched and ran off towards #18, shrugging off the strange feeling that the 6 should’ve been a 4, or was it vice versa?

It turned out that I hadn’t punched my control (code 106) at all – I’d punched control 134, on the other side of the thicket. Ian, who finished just after me but on the Blue course, made exactly the opposite mistake! And we were far from the only ones to fall into John’s trap.

So, what went wrong? Well, on both courses this control was towards the end of the run, so we were getting tired, both physically and mentally. Also, I think your concentration tends to drop anyway towards the end of a race: everything has been straightforward so far, we haven’t seen any controls anywhere that weren’t ours, we’ve been checking the codes but we didn’t really need to, and so on.

So, kudos to Mr Middler for one of the most brilliant traps that’s ever been sprung at an orienteering event!

Results (My “time” was 39:14 – sob)

(The post title is a quote from Ray Collins upon hearing that so many Harlequins and Droobers had fallen into the trap…)




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