Saturday, 5 February 2011

Street Orienteering

Once the dark nights draw in the head torch running begins and with it the Street Orienteering (Street-O). Hosted by South Ribble Orienteering Club (SROC) the events normally take place every couple of weeks from November to March.

The idea with Street-O is that you get a control sheet, when you register, listing controls such as LP (Lampposts), TP (Telegraph Poles), GB (Green  Boxes) or other types of street furniture including telephone numbers on the front of shops or maybe the number garages on a house, Sample Street-O mapbut as yet you don’t know the location of these items. Each control is worth 10,20,30,40,50 or 60 points (normally).

It’s worth pointing out that a street-O map contains very little detail in comparison to a normal O type map. The Street O map contains no contour lines and doesn’t always show wooded areas or open land. It basically shows Roads and footpaths/tracks and controls are marks on with a red dot which should be accurately placed at the correct point and the correct side of the street to allow you to find, for example, the correct lamppost number.

Once you start the map is given to you. You now have up to 75 mins to visit as many control sites, in any order, as you can ensuring that you return WITHIN your chosen time frame to avoid penalties. Penalties are accrued at something like 1 point lost for every 2 SECONDS you are late, so if you are 2 1/2 minutes over you will lose 75 of your hard earned points, but if you come back in too early you have wasted your valuable minutes that could have been spent getting that extra 50 point control.

I think it involves quick thinking and route planning plus good time management. I normally find that running along the roads/pavements is pretty boring but when doing this the time flies by. I also think that I run harder too with all the stopping to note controls on the sheet and route planning. I find the speed I run between controls feels faster than if I had run the same route continually. Ultimately I feel pretty tired by the end of the 75 minutes.

If anybody has a spare evening and heads out occasionally for a road run, then I would recommend you try at least one, especially at the bargain price of £2. Don’t forget to bring along a torch, pencil and reflective clothing.

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