Southern Champion

Duncan enjoying Shotover

I had a weekend full of orienteering. On Saturday we went to help at the JOK Chasing Sprint at Shotover near Oxford. I had first shift, helping on the prologue start and then collecting a few controls (only one before a competitor came chasing after me to punch it but then he had started 20 minutes after the last start time). I then took the kids to play in a sandy/muddy stream whilst Christine helped with the chase start which they loved. In fact, they were having so much fun that they seemed oblivious to the race unfolding around them although it did give me a chance to take a few photos.

On Sunday, I left the rest of the family to go to Manor Farm Country Park whilst I got a lift to the Southern Champs, taking place on the Hambleden Estate near Henley-on-Thames. It made a pleasant change having time to prepare before the start of the race although I still had to go back for the Emit brick I left behind. I enjoyed my run as Hambleden is a delightfully runnable area (if you discount the hills) and I had no pain from my dodgy knee. I only messed up two controls: two minutes at number 10 (see RouteGadget for the near miss) and half a minute at the penultimate control. On the long (~3km) leg, after taking time to examine the map on the previous leg, I ended up going pretty straight. It will be interesting to see whether anyone ran faster taking the long flatt(er) route going south and then coming in from the east.

I was 1st out of 5 when I finished but results were delayed and we headed off before the prize giving. Still no results when I went to bed so it was a pleasant surprise to have an email in the morning from a club-mate indicating that they had picked up my M35L trophy. So, growing older has its benefits. The only fly in the ointment? Richard Barrett took nearly 5 minutes less on the same course as an M40. Looks like I still have some work to do over the next 5 years!

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