Report by Jason Falconer (Wessex Orienteers)
Clubs from around the South East came together to race at Basingstoke last weekend in England pre lockdown.
This event was organised by Basingstoke and Andover District Orienteering Club (BADO) for the second event in the 2020-21 Wessex Night League. Club members present included those from Southern Navigators (SN), Wimborne Orienteers (WIM), Wessex Orienteers (WSX), Sarum Orienteering Club (SARUM), Southampton Orienteering Club (SOC), Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC) and the winner from South London Orienteers (SLOW).
These were dedicated competitors showing their strength on a dark rainy night which saw 66 racing and only one DNS from the whole field. Last use in 2018 Night League this area used an extended part of Hatch Warren on Alan Kersley’s great mapping, impassable lines shown in bold it’s a modern estate with many alleys and challenging sections. Also interspersed with small sections of woods and trails the planner really gave about a 50/50 street / woodland mix - so loads of decision making.
Using the Emit timing system managed by Alan Farrington of Race results in his specially adapted van, runners collected timing chips and went off in safe socially distanced spaces onto the large parkland in the centre of the map.
As always the skill is in the sequencing of the route choice, aiming for all controls within the hour. Having several of the controls requiring you to read the descriptions closely to discover how to get into them is quality planning. Robin also gave us a surprise allowing runners through his garden into another woodland section, with a spooky control addition.
My own run was calculated on the basis of collecting all top value controls in an anti-clockwise route. I got 19 of 30 leaving out some 10’s. I was happy with my sequence although Strava stopped timing somehow probably when I stopped to take photos of Robins control, so I hadn’t any idea of my remaining time and headed to finish 10 minutes before time. Soloing the whole run the quality of the mapping made it a total pleasure, every locality covered distinctly in exact detail. The top end of the field were all round in 52 minutes and recording about 10KM as is the standard complete distance on these events.
It was good to also see several youth runners out accompanied by parents putting in some great efforts too.
Results can be found here.
Please note further planned events have now been postponed following the new measures in force across England today (Thursday 5 November 2020) until Wednesday 2 December 2020.
The latest guidance for all nations within the UK can be found here.