Saturday, 10 September 2011

The Harvester Relays, Sheffield 2011 (Orienteering)

Map picture
A few months back I took part (with SELOC) in the BOC Relays near Dore in Sheffield. It was a great day and a good atmosphere amongst the team. Overall we didn’t fair well and I think we were the last team to leave, but that didn’t spoilt it for us.

In July came the Harvester. The Harvester too is a relay event too which involves either a team of 5 or 7 to take part. Each leg is a different length and difficulty level and it starts at Midnight. The 7 legs run through the night with the hope of finishing by around 9-10AM.

I arrived around 10:30PM and set my tent. Then hung around for the Start. The guys from ShUOC had used little tea lights to mark out the run/run out and it all looked really good. Midnight came and the mass start happened. The runners headed of down the field in three different directions. This year they were also using GPS and radio controls so once the runners disappeared most spectators huddled in the marquee to look at the GPS dots on the partially blanked out map showing on the side of the tent. This was great to watch but as not all competitors carried GPS the novelty soon wore off. However the radio controls DSC00038were very good as this gave you a good indication as to how your team was actually doing and as the night went on more people were watching these screens than the GPS screens.

I was on Leg 3 and as I spent that much time watching the screens I never got any sleep before heading out for my leg. It was marked as about 11k but it still took me near 2.5 hours to complete it and it was getting light by the time I got back. Most of the controls weren’t too hard to find but the terrain was a little more difficult in places. There were a couple of controls that led me astray but I didn’t make any major cok ups, it was just my general stamina that let me down.

Ultimately though we got disqualified as one of the runners on a later leg missed out one control but it didn’t matter as we were never going to be competitive at the event anyway (not with me in the team) and it’s just about the participation in the event.

On the Sunday ShUOC had also put on an urban orienteering event in Dore village and with some tired legs from the night event there were probably some slower times than normal. The local residents of the little village must have thought we were all mad.

I’ll look forward to similar events next year too.


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