The first ever weekend combining the (newly official) British Sprint Relay Championships and Individual Championships will be with us very soon, courtesy of North West Orienteering Association (NWOA) who are staging both events in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.
This coming Saturday, 21 August, sees the Relay races, with four Legs for the elite teams of which the first and last must be run by a woman, though all female teams are allowed. Other classes run three Legs, of which at least one Leg must be run by a woman. This relay has been an “unofficial” event for a couple of years but is now governed by British Orienteering rules so there will be medals awarded in all classes apart from the Ad-Hoc. There is a strong entry in all classes so it should be a well-fought battle to gain them, and the arena offers superb spectator facilities with commentary from Andy Monro and Chris Poole.
Sunday moves to a different area of town for the Individual races, in the usual format of qualifying heats leading to an A, B or C Final depending on results. Heats and Finals both use the same Asembly Area and Finish, with space for club tents and social distancing in a school field. Again there will be a full commentary and, as a late addition, organisers hope that school staff will now be selling drinks and snacks during part of the day for school funds.
Courses on both days make full use of the complex network of paths linking quiet roads. Competitors will find them a demanding test of navigational skills and concentration as well as running speed.
Organising teams are currently putting the finishing touches to their preparations ready for the competitors to arrive. It has been a difficult weekend to arrange as COVID restrictions meant formal permissions couldn’t be obtained until mid-July, but the weather is now the only thing they are all waiting on.
Event Information for the whole weekend is now available to download here.
Thank you to West Lancashire Borough Council who have given their permissions and support for the running of this event and to Delph Side School for the use of their facilities. A huge thanks also to the Organisers, Event Coordinator and all volunteers from Deeside Orienteering Club and other Northwest clubs for giving their time and hard work to make this event possible.
Who will be crowned the 2021 Champions?