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Event Spotlight: London City Race British Sprint Relay Championships 2023

London City Race Day 1

Written by Luke Bennett of Dartford Orienteers

On 15th September, Dartford Orienteers (DFOK) were proud to kick off the London City Race Weekend at Southwark Park. With Decathlon being one of the sponsors of the event and agreeing to host the event centre in their Surrey Quays store, competitors had a unique venue to socialise with other orienteers pre- and post-event.

We had an incredible 314 entries, including 91 from foreign clubs, representing 22 countries and 4 continents!

It was an unseasonably hot September evening and the sun was shining, which created a good atmosphere as competitors stayed after their run to socialise, support their teammates and to take many photos which will create memories and also promote our amazing sport!

Although many competitors were seasoned orienteers, it was lovely to see so many first timers attend our event, with many tackling the longer courses and our planner hoping they would make it back on time and before the park closed (which they did!).

Being asked to host such an event was an honour for the club, but understandably comes with months of hard work from club members to make the event a success. In particular, as a club we would like to thank Geoff Goodwin who was the planner and created many interesting courses. To Andrew Evans for putting much effort into organising the event, including liaising with Decathlon. David Lobley for overseeing the running of the event on the day and to Gordon (South London Orienteers) who stepped in to help at download after one of our club members came down with Covid!

We hope everyone enjoyed the event as much as we did and we hope to see you all next year at the London City Race 2024!

London City Race 2023 Day 2

Written by Alan Leakey of South London Orienteers

The London City Race is a rarity in the UK in being an annual orienteering event with essentially the same format each year. So, as soon as one event is complete, our planning starts for the next year. In this case that meant deciding on Rotherhithe as the competition area and hence approaching Southwark council for permission. As usual they were helpful and forthcoming with permission. Being a London based event we are never going to get much enthusiasm from the local council in terms of tourism etc so just getting permission is our main target there

The next step, finding a somewhere for the event centre took a lot longer and our eventual venue, the Decathlon store at Surrey Quays was the 10th that we approached! However, it turned out to be a superb venue, as the Decathlon team created a large space for us on the first floor of the building including screening off separate changing areas and building the podium for prize-giving.

And then it was into getting the map extended and planning the courses.

Unfortunately, we had one control stolen between control checking and the first runners getting to it. Although we managed to replace it within 10 minutes of being notified there were still 12 competitors on 3 courses affected. As a matter of routine we always secure all of the controls in use with metal cables and gripple locks but in this case the cable had been cut – we found it later by chance, rather bizarrely placed in a parallel alleyway about 70 metres away. This was only the second time that we have had a control vandalised in 15 years of running the event and it does seem that the quiet time between controls being checked and the first runners getting to them is the vulnerable time. Our intention next year is to send out some pre-runners carrying mobile phones.

Dry warm weather always contributes to happy competitors and volunteers and that plus a great venue made for a really good atmosphere. The fact that our arrangement with Decathlon meant that we were able to give Decathlon vouchers to everyone on the podium didn’t harm!

This year we had the ambitious target of 1000 competitors and we nearly got there - we had 971 entrants which makes it the biggest London City Race for quite a while. The downside of such a big field is that the opportunities for class consolidation are limited and more controls are needed. On the morning of the event, we had 7 people hanging controls and 3 checking. At the end of the day, we had then 9 control collectors. Fortunately, we only needed one Start and one Finish, but we still used about 35 volunteers in total.

An innovation this year was the provision of an accessible course aimed at wheelchair users. We had 2 wheelchair users, one powered mobility scooter plus a baby buggy take part. We were happy with that because the flatness of Rotherhithe meant that the extra effort on our part was minimal, and most importantly the wheelchair users in particular were really happy to have been abler tp take part. Hopefully, we can spread the word to encourage more wheelchair users to enter and try out the sport.

For SLOWs next big event we are back in the forest for our OK Nuts Trophy event at Holmwood, south of Dorking on Sunday 8th October. But in the meantime we are already working on our plans for the 16th London City Race on Saturday 14 September 2024 – put the date in your diary!

London City Race Results

The event results are now available online. Congratulations to all winners!

View results

British Sprint Relay Championships 2023

Written by Julie & Ronan Cleary of London Orienteering Klubb

Holding the BSRC separate to the British Sprint Weekend was expected to reduce entry numbers, but by twinning and sharing publicity with the London City Race that was part of the City Race Euro Tour; numbers were almost identical to Yorkshire in 2022: 151 teams.

With Brunel having been used for the JK 2017 Sprints we had a known venue. By far the biggest advantage we had was that our controller is a Brunel Pro Vice-Chancellor…a man on the inside is priceless!

Whilst London Orienteering Klubb (LOK) is a small club, organising the event on behalf of South East Orienteering Association (SEOA) just meant key positions needed experienced safe hands with executive decision-making powers, so planning, IT and arena…that’s almost the organiser’s job done.

The key planning objectives were to provide head to head racing while (with the exception of the ungaffled YJ(12-) course) keeping competitors on their toes as to when the next gaffle might occur; maintain pressure as much as possible with frequent and close (but fair) controls; and, create an exciting atmosphere for spectators in the Arena with good visibility of the competitors. We believe that we achieved all of these objectives with the highlight being the Arena Passage leg. Spectator access to the full length of the run-in and a low-tech, but effective, commentary further enhanced the spectator experience.

On the day, the usual LOK weather planning service was deployed… everything totally drenched 30 minutes post prize giving...that’s the LOK way! 

Relive the action 

Captured by British Sprint Relay Championships 2023 Organiser Neil Brooks, watch this short video which encapsulates the action from the event. 

British Sprint Relay Championships Results

The event results are now available online. Congratulations to all winners!

View results

An additional overview of the results from the event is available via this news story


A fantastic erray of images is available via Rob Lines' Flickr account. Many thanks to him for capturing the event in photos. 

Image credit: Rob Lines