Report by Katherine Ivory, member of Interlopers (INT).
Interlopers Event held at Mortonhall on 3 October 2020.
Despite the torrential all-day rain, Interlopers held its first event since lockdown on Saturday 3 October, with a Level D event on the Mortonhall estate in South Edinburgh. We were delighted to welcome back around eighty runners from a range of clubs for light-green, orange, and yellow courses.
We had originally been hoping to hold our re-start event a month previously at Colinton Dell, but City of Edinburgh Council was not (and still is not) granting permission for any events in the public spaces they manage. Instead we turned this set of courses (planned for May) into a virtual event using MaprunF, with competitors running in their own time over the course of a week. The variable stances of landowners on holding events again has been a considerable issue for arranging our club’s programme now, and we were very grateful to the Mortonhall Camping and Caravan Park for granting us permission.
Covid risk management requirements meant of course some differences compared to how we had normally run a level-D ‘come and try it’ event. Typically, these are informal, with competitors simply turning up on the day, and a lot of chat to welcome newcomers and catch up with friends. For this event, all entries needed to be made in advance, via a simple online booking form in Googleforms which worked very well. Payment was taken on the day in named envelopes. We were happy to be able to open the event to everyone and anyone, rather than just our own club as would have been the case back in September. It was great to see familiar faces from other local clubs as well as new recruits to Edinburgh University Orienteering Club, and some newcomers who had been looking for a new activity to try with other activities currently not happening.
‘Social-distancing’ was the watch-phrase, and everyone was allocated a start time to avoid gatherings at the start. Hand sanitiser was provided at registration, simple entry-fee drop-off and dibber collection if required, and download. Runners were asked to hand-sanitise before picking up their map and running. We also kept our volunteer count to a minimum to reduce the number of people on the ground. Normally we would have been very active in helping newcomers, but instead offered online pre-event chats by Zoom, with a Power-point pack of photos of what to expect and showing what a dibber and control look like, for example). This worked very well. Runners were able to take away their splits but otherwise, to avoid clustering, had to wait for these to go up online that evening on the Interlopers website (www.interlopers.org.uk). To compensate a bit for the lack of opportunities for event-chat for club members, we had an online post-event Zoom social and quiz the following evening.
Given the wet weather, kit-drying was very much required – but quarantining it for 72 hours as part of our risk-management measures.
Obviously, some entrants were unable to attend on the day, and we were extremely grateful to those who stayed away as requested if they had any symptoms. We have now put all three courses into MaprunF in the Edinburgh O folder in the app, and on the Scottish Orienteering Association webpage here, and allow those who had to miss the event to still run the courses in their own time.
A huge thank you to everyone who took part in our first event since lock-down, braving the weather and mud for some orienteering again! As usual, this was a true club endeavour with a large number of Interloper volunteers working behind the scenes and on the day to make it happen. We hope to hold our next event at Dechmont Law on Sunday 8 November.
Celebrating the re-start of orienteering.
What activities or events has your club organised? Have you recently attended a re-start event? Was it your second or third? How did you find it?
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