Report by Richard Gamble, Sporting Clubs Coordinator (Northern Ireland)
After engaging in the recent British Orienteering Webinars, six members of Northern Ireland Orienteering Association (NIOA) formed a MapRun working group. This is a cross club initiative covering the whole of NI. In the month of June they were busy familiarising themselves with the app, testing it out in different areas and terrain. Meeting once a week, they discussed what they had done and learned and sharing courses with each other to check.
Lots of work has also been done on georeferencing our maps.
On top of this NIOA has offered a grant for work on adding contours to OpenOrienteeringMap, which do not appear on NI maps, unlike the rest of the UK.
On Friday 12 June NI was at the stage were ten people could meet outdoors, so the next weekend the group set out four MapRunF courses and invited members to trial them and feedback on their experience. The feedback was very positive, the app worked really well and it was lovely to see people running with a map in their hand again.
Photo collage shows happy orienteers socially distancing within family groups.
We are now in the middle of “Return to your Routes”, more MapRun activities across NI for the month of July. There are eight score/scatter MapRun courses set out that can be run by individuals at their own convenience. A fun league was set up, where your best 3 positions count, with the idea to encourage as many club members back out to do as many courses as they can.
As lockdown restrictions loosen their grip in NI, we are now allowed groups of up to thirty outdoors, there are now three ‘real’ events in the pipelines for August but we intend to keep a MapRun programme running (maybe this time linear courses) as we see the great benefit of setting out training courses for people to keep up their skills, when it best suits them.
Also, Juls Hanvey is now excited to be back to work, after her maternity leave. This is great timing - her enthusiasm and energy will be invaluable helping give Orienteering activities a kick start in this ‘new norm’.