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Organising a big event is a pretty thankless task – the only participants who’ll really appreciate your effort are the ones who’ve done a similar organising job elsewhere. And though people say how wonderful it was, nearly all the discussion is about the mistakes. That’s life. You get 2,990 things right, but the 10 things you get wrong stick out like a sore thumb.

I’m here to say it was a fantastic weekend but there are three things I think need looking at. One was specific to the event and the other two are more general. The specific matter was the Start. This is what the map issue looked like on day 3:

Is it any wonder that some people picked up the wrong map?

The general issues are more important. One is also about the Start, and it’s a topic that’s come up often enough before: where the White and Yellow courses should be. When there’s a high, remote Start, I really do think that the White and Yellow courses should have a low, near Start. Some events do do this, but I think it should become standard practice.

The final problem I want to raise is Entries. Once upon a time the courses were numbered and divided up between the age classes. Nowadays they’re coloured, which is leading more and more people to enter major events by colour. This is all very well if people are fully informed about what the correspondence is between the colours and the age classes, but often these days people just go to fabian4 (Other online entry services are available) and enter without checking the event information. Much more than in the past, people (including me) weren’t running the right course for their age class. Somehow fabian4 needs to be improved to inform entrants which age classes correspond to the colours shown on the online entry form.

So, what was good about SINS? Well, apart from the fact that Catherine and I both enjoyed our courses, it was brilliantly organised. The arrangement of campsite and assembly was excellent, and the evening centre was a triumph. I think next time the event areas will have to be more spread out, so there’ll be a bit more travelling, but it won’t matter if we can return each evening to such a good venue.

It was my 7-year-old daughter’s first camping/multi-day experience, and she loved it. Enough said.


ORANGE 2.5km

Position Name Club Age Class Time
1 Lewis Wright IND M50 23.03
2 Penny Hemsted HOC W70 27.34
3 Alex Robinson DEE M12 34.34
4 N. Townsend POTOC M55 34.51
5 Raife Zissler DEE M12 37.36
6 Matthew Hurst + James Ormrod DEE M12 39.35
7 Catherine Bailey + dad HOC W8 41.49
8 James Thorne DEE M12 42.00
9 Idalia Fray HOC W4 59.27


Position Name Club Age Class Time
1 Romualdas Stupelis HOC M21 23.22
2 Ian Gamlen COBOC M45 33.02
3 Steph Ellis- Gray OD W21 38.03
4 Bob Scott HOC M60 39.04
5 Mick Sadler COBOC M60 39.28
N/C Adrian Bailey HOC M45 40.52
6 Barry Mc Gowan HOC M60 47.19
7 Peter Sunley COBOC M21 48.45
8 Clive Coleman COBOC M60 53.08
9 Lin Page OD W55 65.05
10 Nigel Cousins HOC M55 71.59
11 Sam Baldwin DEE M12 75.45
12 Joe Peskelly + Will Lancaster DEE M12 78.37
  Results for Queslett event 6/3/11      
    club cat SI time
  BLUE 5.2km 23c        
1 David Williams HOC M45 264271 39.23
2 Clive Richardson WRE M45 771137 44.42
3 Andrew Sadler SHUOC M20 425410 49.34
4 Suzanne Humphries OD W45 561104 50.01
5 Mike Baggott HOC M60 808474 52.46
6 Peter Langmaid HOC M40 333762 53.17
7 Dave Arnot HOC M60 411151 60.34
8 Charlie Nelson HOC M60 202151 63.00
8 Barry McGowan HOC M60 50423 63.00
10 Graeme Routledge IND M21 425415 64.22
11 Stephen Bramwell HOC M60 425412 68.40
12 David Randall WRE M55 32869 69.40
13 Rodney Hugo OD M 220972 70.50
14 Dennis Mews HOC M60 33100 72.01
15 Russell Eassom WRE M21 37341 76.43
16 Paul Watterson HOC M60 416810 82.18
17 Richard Burnett COBOC M55 261380 83.58
18 Andy Plante HOC M55 425414 87.39
19 Paul Hammond HOC M45 217754 90.25
20 Marcus Eassom WRE M55 37389 91.38
21 Garry Dorrell IND M45 425409 130.51
  GREEN 3.9km 20c        
1 Andy White HOC M55 261368 40.46
2 Ruth Lockley HOC W55 425405 49.42
3 Bob Scott HOC M60 345406 57.03
4 Sam Chambers HOC W21 37536 58.06
5 Tim Gray WCH M55 263459 58.34
6 Adrian Grew IND M45 424371 63.08
7 Mick Sadler COBOC M 347831 64.28
8 Nigel Cousins HOC M55 423573 66.28
9 Lewis Wright IND M50 424375 67.20
10 Mark Goodman HOC M21 424373 67.25
11 Steve Nightingale HOC M60 411118 68.20
12 Jeff Haycock WRE M65 261396 81.50
13 Nick Taylor IND M60 400986 82.50
14 Pat Pay WRE M70 40419 92.42
15 Lin Page OD W55 424369 98.22
16 Peter Ankcorn IND M55 424368 113.12
17 Ted Smith HOC M70 425420 134.05
18 Kay Grew IND W45 424370 153.10
  ORANGE 2.2km 14c        
1 Richard Lowe IND M40 424372 43.26
2 Sarah Cousins IND W21 33057 59.06
3 Heather Shilling WCH W70 32827 66.33
4 Beryl Pay WRE W75 24946 78.40
5 Celia Howell-Jones IND W 425413 92.22
  YELLOW 1.5km 11c        
1 Geoff Mander OD M65 401248 26.57
2 Robin & Scarlet Dempster IND   424367 45.29
3 Sophie Grew IND W10 425411 152.26
  WHITE 1.1km 9c        
1 Catherine Bailey HOC W6 425403 9.40
2 Daniel White IND M4 424374 15.26

Thanks for coming!

Registration: 10.30 am-12 noon at the tent at the Booths Lane entrance to the nature reserve; Starts: 11 am-12 noon
Directions from M6 junction 7
Go south on the A34 towards Birmingham. At the first (“Scott Arms”) traffic lights, go left onto the A4041 dual carriageway towards Sutton Coldfield. Stay in the right-hand lane. After 700 metres (before you go under the bridge) turn right into Booths Lane. (If you miss the turn, you can turn round at the Asda roundabout 1 km further on.) Once on Booths Lane, after 600 metres the entrance to the nature reserve is on the left and the golf centre is on the right. The road is unadopted and full of potholes so take your time.
Parking: Queslett Park Golf Centre, Booths Lane, Birmingham B42 2RG, and along Booths Lane. No charge.
Courses: White 1 km; Yellow 1.5 km; Orange 2.1 km; Green 3.7 km; Blue (two maps) 5.2 km
£5 for Adults (£3 for Beginners/Members of West Midlands Orienteering Clubs/Members of British Orienteering)
£2 for Children/Students/Unwaged
SportIdent electronic punching. Bring your SI card if you have one, or you can hire one for £1.
1:5000, revised 2011. Maps are not waterproof but issued in an A4 poly pocket. Control descriptions on the map, not issued separately
The nature reserve is an old quarry. The southern part is a mixture of small dense woods and rough open land with a network of paths. The northern wooded area (visited by the Green and Blue courses) has some intricate details; runnability/visibility is quite good but there are quite a few brambles. The area is flat except for the slope up from Booths Lane.
Competitors should carry a whistle. The area is popular with dog walkers – take care if you encounter dogs. Use your whistle if you are in difficulties.
Refreshments/Toilets: available in the golf centre (Please change out of muddy footwear.)
Organisers: Iain Gamlen/Mick Sadler (COBOC) 0121 603 1091
Planner: Adrian Bailey (HOC) 07505 381666
See you there!

Catherine went to all three sessions at Witton Lakes, plus the beginners event on the 16th, which was cleverly arranged to tie in with a fun day being held there. A similar format will be tried at Aston Hall and Handsworth Park either side of Christmas. Although she’s somewhat overqualified for this role, it was good to see Sam Chambers involved with orienteering again, and the children took to her.

Catherine and I also went to the COBOC committee meeting and it’s good to see the enthusiasm to get things up and running. There’s going to be a Christmas event on 18 December, and the AGM in January, so if you live in Birmingham and you have a couple of quid to spare, do join and help us to kick start regular races in the city.

… and my event at Queslett was no exception. 18 controls in 2 km, with overgrown paths that no-one had walked on for months, it was quite a challenge. I did warn people but they accepted the challenge and they nearly all came back smiling. 🙂


Three runs this week to get back into the swing of things. Tuesday was a street event in Shrewsbury. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t use the proper O map, but I didn’t mind the quiz format too much – it’s a nice bit of fun for the summer. A pity though that the central area was so faint – it made my progress to the finish even slower, having already succumbed to a case of vibrating kneecap.

But that didn’t put me off travelling to Hinckley on Thursday for LEI’s end of season Burbage event. The ground there was much springier than the streets of Salopia and my legs were much happier. I wondered whether this event was sponsored by IOF, to trial the mass-start “Hagaby” style of race that they’re thinking of introducing into the world championships. What you do is split the course into sections, and have alternative routes for each section. The runners go round the course twice, but the second time they do the controls they didn’t have the first time round.

Today I took Catherine to the first event of the new season: a middle-distance event on Cannock Chase. Thanks to the Mitchells and the Whites both Catherine and I were able to run. She was brilliant today, zooming round the White in under 10 minutes, coming first overall. 🙂 She even said to me that it’s a good idea to check which way you need to go next before you arrive at a control. My performance was a more modest 13th out of 28. I was 3rd after 4 controls, but later on I managed to take 4 minutes to do a 100m leg…

If you fancy some adventure, it looks like this event on Calf Hey, a new island off the coast of Iceland, might be your cup of tea…

Took Catherine to WCH’s Saturday training event, then took myself to HOC’s Sunday colour-coded race at Arrow Valley Park. There were some good legs on the Blue course, e.g. 1, 9, 12, 13, 19. Results




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