Event: Richmond Park (Holly Lodge section) with Sheen Common (11 Jul)

Richmond ParkThis was the third leg in the Frolic summer series of events put on by London orienteering clubs, like the others the format was a 3km handicap race followed by a similar length sprint race. This was also my O-Ringen warm-up event (!) – hardly Sweden, in fact possibly the easiest area I’ve ever been on. Interestingly the winning speeds for the sprint race, which used the confusing Sheen Common only were slower than for the Frolic race, which used the fast, open parkland more. Ed Catmur won both incidently. My times were OK too – comfortably below my 8 min/km target speed.

There was nothing to get too excited about for the main Frolic race, although it is a scenic area as befits a Royal park – I passed a herd of deer on the way. One leg of interest is shown on the right – not because I made a mistake here, but because this leg afforded a good choice of routes. I went left, through the open forest, rather than following the paths here. The end of the race was a quick circuit of Sheen Common, a very green area.

Sheen CommonThe sprint race was more interesting. I didn’t realise, until picking up the map, that it was in the trickier Sheen common. The course was well designed and was a true sprint, with dead-level running, tight, close legs and enough on the map so that you had to keep your brain switched on. Every leg of mine was finished in under 60 seconds, except for an unfortunate (any mistake in a sprint is very unfortunate) error between 2 and 3 – see left – where I went east through the rough and then some how ended up in the marsh marked. It took a little while to extract myself from the vegetation. From there it was plain sailing to the end – the prior Frolic race helping with the layout, admittedly. I glimpsed Ed about half way around and so sprinted the rest of the way, but he was doing well under 5 mins/km and was never for the catching.

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