Yesterday was the Stratford City orienteering race, organised and planned by Josh Jenner, with the map done by myself. The map was a real fiddle to do, requiring four site visits and many hours in front of the computer to build up the six mapped levels (the top half of the is shown above) but the race went well in the end, with no major complaints, only minor ones (a few people found the level change arrows hard to spot, and some people didn’t spot some Out of Bounds areas and so ended up in an area that wasn’t mapped to detail.)
The weather was great (cold and clear outside, warm inside!) and nearly 100 people raced in five waves, including, notably, a wheelchair competitor. Not many “regular” orienteering areas are both wheelchair friendly and traffic free. I did have to hang some of the controls very high though – a couple over six foot off the ground – to use suitable mounting points. The centre management were enthusiastic about the race, and another edition is possibly in the future – possibly using a different format to keep the idea fresh.
After the race, two of the controls were missing – it turns out that one of the collectors had kept one by mistake, and the other had been retrieve by a concerned member of the public (it wasn’t locked down to the chair) and handed in to security, so eventually we were reunited with them all – a good thing as the control boxes are very expensive! The centre was, as expected, almost deserted for the earlier waves, but from 11am it started to get a good busy and it was a good thing the orienteering was out of the way.
I managed to get a run in myself, taking part in the last wave. I was strictly non-competitive, as I knew exactly where all the controls where and the best route to take between them. Despite this I was still beaten by Ed. My route was around 5.5km, I don’t think it would have been possible to visit all the controls and run in under 5km, which is not bad for a site that is only 400m across. The format of the race was score, i.e. controls could be visited in any order.
Thanks to Josh for the concept and organisation, and Westfield centre management for letting it happen and giving us full reign through the centre and even control suggestions!