Location: Highlodge Warren, Thetford
Congratulations to everyone who braved a misty February morning to enjoy a few hours in the heart of Thetford Forest. Of your comments, two of my favourites were 'What a friendly event' and 'It was much more technical than I was expecting'; I hope these are representative! To address some other comments, the 'start slips' issued for entries on the day were a system to check we had a map for everyone, and doubled as a safety precaution to make sure no-one was left in the forest. For those competitors upset by being 'marshalled' in the western region, I hope you will appreciate that this was an unwilling response to a condition imposed by the landowner. My apologies to anyone who discovered too late that parking wasn't at the visitor centre – we used that car park for our 2004 event, but the £4 parking fee dissuaded us from using it again this year!
As organiser, a large part of my job is to ask favours, and thank people for them afterwards; this paragraph gives me the opportunity to make my appreciation public. RAFO generously provided their SportIdent boxes and stakes to supplement the East Anglian equipment. Thanks to WAOC, who hosted a preceding night event and loaned us some of their kit. Im indebted to all those members of CUOC (and DRONGO) who committed themselves to a long day of helping out starting before dawn and finishing after dusk is never popular! Alan planned interesting and challenging courses, and took the time to contribute to a substantial remapping of the western region of the map. Rosemary dealt with all your pre-entries, and stepped in magnificently to act as planner-on-the-day. John Ward (no relation) was an invaluable source of advice and constructive criticism... I hope we convinced him that, at least occasionally, students are capable of getting out of bed in the mornings.
Results for all courses are available on the CUOC website (with Badge times), and also on Splitsbrowser. The senior classes have been added to the BOF rankings list; contact me if your BOF number was missing or there are any other queries. One important result is from the String Course (thanks to Vanessa de Souza): your favourite Arctic animal was the polar bear!
The Icenian Trophy is awarded annually to the best-placed club at CUOC's public event. This year's scoring scheme (as for recent years) measures the lowest overall sum of times behind the winner across a portfolio of classes (any ten Long/Junior courses, which must include at least two J, two 21-45, two 50+, and at least four of each gender). In third place were SOS (94:01), behind defending champions NOR (7:34). The clear victors this year, with wins in twelve eligible classes and a corresponding perfect score, are WAOC. Well done!
On behalf of all those involved in the Icenian, I wish you an enjoyable year of orienteering, and look forward to seeing you again (without my organiser's hat) on Saturday 3 February 2007!
Edmund Ward (CUOC)
On the Day Planner's Comments
When we were allocating committee positions at last summer's CUOC AGM, Alan mentioned that he might not be able to be there on the day for the Icenian, but was still keen to plan so I volunteered to stand in on the day if necessary. He subsequently assured us that he would definitely be there, until three weeks before the event when he discovered that his supervisor had booked flights to America leaving on 4th Feb, so after recovering from the initial shock I agreed to help.
Alan worked hard to finalise the courses and get everything ready before he left, so all I had to do was put out the controls. I managed that in good time and without any problems thanks to Alan's very obvious taping, and much-appreciated help from Edmund and Nicola.
Highlodge is a typical Thetford Forest area, with an extensive path network carving the forest into rather featureless blocks. Planning is made even more difficult by the constantly changing small mountain bike tracks, which often go right through potentially interesting control sites. Alan made good use of the control pick area to the west side of the map, which added interest to courses that unavoidably favoured fast runners. He also included some long legs on most courses, allowing a degree of route choice, even if it was only deciding which way round a block of forest to go.
On the day the event ran as smoothly as we could hope for with a limited number of helpers. As none of us were experienced with the SI software, download was a matter of learning on the job, so thank you to everyone for their patience while we dealt with problems. Many thanks to all members of CUOC who gave up their Sunday to help, especially to Edmund who was organising for the second year running, and did an excellent job. Thanks also to John Ward (NOR) for controlling the event. As an experienced controller of CUOC events, he was keen that we had everything done in good time, and was always ready with advice.
Thank you to everyone who competed, and I hope you enjoyed the event.
Rosemary Dyer (CUOC)
Sorry I missed it!
Alan Elder (CUOC)
All small clubs should take heart from the fact that CUOC are able to stage a Badge event every year, despite their own small size and an ever-changing membership. It would be untrue to say there were no problems this year, not least that the Planner, Alan Elder, had to depart for the USA the day before the event. Inevitably, this left a vacuum and room for errors, but, fortunately, they were few. Rosemary, Nicola and Edmund placed the controls on Saturday and early Sunday morning, and then all turned their hands to other jobs. I take responsibility for the Start and route to the Start not being exactly how Alan had planned them, but by the time I was able to check them it was too late to make changes.
The best area of High Lodge is undoubtedly the western edge, but we had anticipated that using it might have led to problems with the mountain bikers. Some of it was therefore out of bounds, and Alan concentrated controls in the parts where visibility was best, but during the event the Forest Ranger objected to orienteers running on the Black bike tracks. We agreed to marshal these at one point and ask you to be cautious and keep off the paths as much as possible, but only time will tell whether this fully satisfied Forest Enterprise. The competitors who responded to this warning by saying things such as 'But we are orienteering' need to remember that future permissions can be lost by that sort of attitude. By venturing into the western part, Alan maximised the technical difficulty and avoided the temptation of replacing this with excessive length. As a result, times for most courses were very much as planned. To end on a happy note, I would like to congratulate Edmund on his organisation, and thank him and all the other members of CUOC for providing a most enjoyable event.
John Ward (NOR)