Report by Alun Jones, Organiser and member of Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC)
Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC) held its first event of 2021 last Sunday.
We had planned an event at Bradenham last November, but it was a casualty of lockdown. As was its rescheduled date of 10 January 2021. With forestry work starting, we took the decision to cancel and refund pre-entrants.
Fortunately, the forestry work was less extensive than we had feared. With the roadmap out of lockdown published we realised that, with some remapping and a few tweaks to the courses, we could hold the event after all. We had a regional event in the diary for 18 April. With the local National Trust Manager again very kindly granting us permission, it was game on.
The day itself went like clockwork. We had 550 pre-entrants, of which 521 took part - including a number of family groups. So, an excellent turnout. It was a beautiful day, and people were obviously reluctant to leave, seeing how slowly the car park field emptied.
Although each entrant had a specified start time (self-selected when they entered), we used start times as a guide to control the flow of competitors to the Starts, rather than sticking rigidly to the times. When people arrived at the Starts, we encouraged them to immediately join the queue for their start lane. By opening the Starts early, we never had any queues build up. As a result, we could easily slot in late arrivals.
We also restricted the event to British Orienteering members only. This ensured that by far the majority of attendees knew exactly what they were doing. Interestingly, a number of entrants chose to join (or re-join) a club in order to come to the event. Other clubs might want to consider this approach for their larger events.
Overall, the event went extremely well. We had a large number of participants, they were delighted to meet up with old friends and to be back in the forest competing again, and we were glad to make a substantial donation to National Trust.
TVOC’s next event is the Chiltern Challenge at Hambleden on 23 May. Hambleden is a superb area; many readers will remember it being the venue for two days of JK2013, and it was also used for last year’s British Night Championships. Entries only opened last week, but we already have 500 entries. With capacity for over 1,000 entries, we are hoping to set a new record - please help us to do so!
Find out more details about TVOC's next event the Chiltern Challenge being held on the 23 May 2021 here.
Celebrating the restart of Orienteering together!
What events or activities is your club planning? Has your club already held a return to orienteering event over the last week?
How did it go? How did you organise it - what worked well? What did you find challenging, and how did you overcome the challenges?
British Orienteering wants to hear from clubs and / or individuals restarting experiences. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To view the current British Orienteering Guidance visit: