Report by Alan Kersley Organiser and member of Basingstoke and Andover District Club (BADO)
Please note: this event took place before the new lockdown measures came into force in England at 00.01 on Thursday 5 November 2020.
This event was conceived to be the first of Basingstoke and Andover District Orienteering Club's (BADO’s) usual two event contribution to this year’s fixture list (2020/21). It has been the case previously that Mike Frizzell and Bernie Fowler (BADO) alongside myself have shared official roles over the past few seasons to put on these fixtures, therefore adding several new venues for the regulars to sample.
On this occasion, Robin Smith (Southdowns Orienteers) having now moved into the local area approached us to plan. We accepted his offer and came up with the idea of staging the event, unusually for us on a Friday evening, so that we could in theory support the usual November Classic weekend. As circumstances progressed, we became the last event standing, as access restrictions wreaked havoc with other event aspirations.
Knowing pointedly we had COVID-19 protocols to observe it seemed obvious to me that we should follow the example and proven process we all experienced at the recent British Army Orienteering Club's (BAOC’s) Military League South (MLS) Wednesday fixtures as civilians and therefore chose to request use of EMIT’s touch free equipment, courtesy of Allan Farrington. In addition, of course, I chose to support that by utilising the excellent new RACESIGNUP UK online offering for the necessary pre-entry and administration tools.
Having set up the administration, we needed to decide how many might attend so Mike configured possible entry slots for 60 participants and the event was sold out inside 48-hours, once entries opened!! Many were regulars but we attracted numerous others from far and wide for the ever-popular Score event format. Later on, that rose to 66 as we accommodated a ‘waiting list’ and figured out we needed to relocate parking slightly to safely meet the demand. Our thanks to EMedia Marketing for the use of their car park to avoid using the originally identified limited public facilities.
It was odd not having an actual Assembly building, but we coped admirably with using the EMIT vehicle for ETag distribution and Download, coupled with distributing Control Descriptions online beforehand. The weather was sort of kind, just a bit of drizzle on and off and sure enough people arrived in good cheer, had a great 60-minute run-around in the dark and left with smiles on their faces. Job done.... zero complaints, just lots of gratitude.
A post-mortem of results had the three podium places remarkably separated over a spread of just 9 seconds after 30 controls. I hesitate to suggest within ‘touching distance’, but of course that is not allowed unfortunately.
British Orienteering full statement for national restrictions in England can be found here.
The latest Orienteering guidance for the whole of the UK can be found here.