Report and photos by Pete Davis member of Southampton Orienteering Club.
We did it! We finally got back to a semblance of normal orienteering. It was a bit of a funny day weather wise. Thunderstorms were forecast from mid-afternoon all the way through and looked like they would be with us for the whole of the event. As it turned out Hugh and Pete got very wet putting out controls but, by the time competitors were socially distancing at the start, the sun was out and it was a glorious evening.
This limited entry event took place at Royal Victoria Country Park on the banks of Southampton Water. A wonderful location with a very interesting history. The park is on the site of the former Royal Victoria Hospital, built in the 1860's it was at that time the longest building in the world. Only the impressive chapel remains now.
28 club members enjoyed Hugh's courses around this super location. Some of the controls were in a tricky area of wood that did get very dark towards the end of the event and it was quite slippery underfoot. Congratulations to Rob Finch on winning the Light Green and Stephanie Light for her first place on the Orange!
The COVID-secure aspects of the event worked well. We decided to reduce the touch points as much as we could. Entry was online card payment only using the new racesignup.co.uk service. eTags, straps, loose control descriptions and maps were placed in named bags. Runners took their items at "registration" and dropped their car keys in the bag. Thanks to EMIT-UK we had a free loan of the touch free system which worked really well. Download was self-help and eTags were dropped in a crate for later disinfecting. This allowed us to use very few helpers - just one at the start and download monitored by the organiser.
There were lots of happy orienteers finally getting back to a competitive run.
Join us in celebrating the re-start of orienteering.
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