Why I Like the Bushy Park Time Trial more than most Orienteering Events

Oh dear. I had starting running in the Bushy Park Time Trial, a 5km trail race every Saturday at 9am in SW London, as a way to get me up and out of the house on mornings when there was no orienteering event. But now I’m choosing to go to it in preference to the very orienteering events I was looking to supplement.

Why? Because there’s a few things about it which beat any orienteering event:

  • It’s completely free.
  • You get your race photograph taken for free!
  • Results on the website normally within 3 hours of each race.
  • Photos on the website often within 6 hours of each race.
  • Stats galore on the website, including announcing personal of bests.
  • Personalised email sent automatically containing your result, performance statistics and motivational message.
  • No need to register before the event (unless it’s your first time) – just state your name at the finish.
  • No compulsory entry in advance.
  • Everyone runs the same course – men, women, children…
  • Free Lucozade sports drink at the finish, not generic Tesco Value orange squash.
  • Same price (free!) to run, whether you are affiliated to a club/a national govening body or not.
  • Sometimes get to run alongside (actually, a long way behind…) superstars of the sport at the same race.
  • Most race kits people run in aren’t overly garish.
  • No revisiting of areas you’ve already been to earlier in the race.
  • Proper, scenic spectator finish.
  • Start, finish and car park are all very close together.
  • Plenty of room to lock up bikes at the start.
  • Organised social at local coffee shop after each race.
  • Apparently occasional prizes and freebies, not that I’ve had any yet!
  • It has its own Facebook group.
  • The whole thing just feels friendly, relaxed and fun.

BPTT Photo of Me
Nice Try: I fail to make a 14 year old’s day by beating him in a sprint to the finish line. Still, we both got personal bests so he can’t be that unhappy. Photo by Paul SH.

1 comment

  1. Ollie – some very good points there, many of which sum up what orienteering isn’t doing well enough. I reckon there are about 15 of them that should, and could, be catered for at an orienteering event but on the whole aren’t. Primarily these are things which make the event more accessible and create a better, more social atmosphere – and so makes the event more attractive to people. But getting that message out to the orienteering community is a different kettle of fish…

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