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Organiser's Comments (Tim Sands)
On your behalf I wish to publicly thank all those helpers, more than 70 in all, who contributed to the success of this years November Classic . It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside such a dedicated and professional group of people. It was also a delight to stand at download and receive so many positive comments. These were largely misdirected as it was Ray who prepared the map and planned the courses. Unfortunately I could not share your experience of the forest but I understand his map and courses were challenging, fair and enjoyable. I will ensure he receives the credit he deserves.
It really has been too long since I last organised a large event. Since then, technology has exploded. Harnessing that technology for best effect without increasing risk is a challenge. For instance, do you remember postal entries? How on earth did we manage without the Internet? Unfortunately for an organiser, with the internet came the Email! Clearly Email has it’s uses but hey in the days of pigeon mail I am sure I would not have received around 200 messages in the last 2 weeks; nor be expected to provide instant replies. To keep a track of all this traffic would challenge a full time secretary!
Since the introduction of the 4 tier event structure, I have attended a number of level B events which in my opinion were Level C masquerading as Level B. My personal goal was to deliver an event worthy of its Level B status. I hope many of you left the New Forest believing I had achieved my goal.
Finally, I have been reminded just how many hours go into delivering an event the size and quality of the November Classic. I have the luxury of being retired. I take my hat off to anybody who voluntarily takes on an orienteering project such as this and works full time.
Planner/Mapper's Comments (Ray Massey)
I was very fortunate to work with two Tims. Tim Pugh, who I know of old, is a very well regarded controller, and I subscribe to that regard. He interfered when it was necessary, and stayed quiet when it wasn't. What more could you ask. And Tim Sands, who I didn't know well, but I do now, who carried out the organiser's role superbly, without treading on or offending any one (at least that was my perception). What branch of the military were you in Tim, The Diplomatic Corps?
My forest team were super, but then I knew they would be: they are my mates.
What did I do wrong? Well, I think the 3 longest courses had a tough finish. But I wanted to keep them separate from the 1:10k map courses, because I was conscious of there not being much room to return courses around the SW corner of the out-of-bounds area. You have to admit that the block of forest with controls 47, 119 and 50 in it was wonderful (ok, from a scenic rather than an orienteering point of view).
The real problem was that the enclosed forest just wasn't very nice (undergrowth) and the less time you spent in it the better.
Incidentally, The people who live in that out-of-bounds area were great. It's not often you get people offering their water supply for the drinks station. They even offered us an outside loo, which I kindly declined, pointing out there were about 1000 competitors. Their attitude was completely refreshing.
Who else suffered? well possibly the 3 shortest courses. The White was a little pedestrian with a simple sequence of controls along an albeit very pleasant ride (103, 123, 102, 124, 69). Two months ago this ride looked almost impassable for juniors. As usual the White course is one of the most difficult to cater for. Here one of our salvations was the taped route from control 82 to 83. Your thanks should be directed to the forest team: all that hacking for 15 or so competitors.
On the other hand the Yellow was difficult; the sequence 62, 60, 45, 61 was tough for a yellow course. This was made moreso by the recent leaf fall obliterating the paths, which were faint to begin with. One of my good friends advised me to be prepared for criticism from parents. Now there's a problem: do I fight or run?
The Orange was pretty difficult throughout. Though legs 6 (74-106) and 7 (106-101) were only difficult if you decided to go straight. Leg 8 was a taxing leg: diagonally across open and forest, but with a good collecting fence near the end.
So if you did well on the Yellow and Orange courses, then give yourselves an extra pat on the back.
There seemed to me to be three difficulties facing competitors today:
- the leaf fall obscured the paths.
- the general wet nature of the land obscured what were marshes and what weren't.
- the lack of a physical structure to the land, especially in the central area, made relocation difficult.
When I walked through the forest I was aware of a goodly number running quietly and smoothly through the woods, checking bearings and continuing almost without halting. I was aware of an equal number looking very lost. I was sorry that they were lost, but I was heartened that the good orienteers were having a good day. So to the winners I toast you: well done. Those of you that know me will not be surprised that I have a good glass in front of me whilst I write this.
One of my guides when choosing an event to go to, is who is the planner? what age group is he? If he's an M65 expect a good short blue course, if she's a W70 then expect a good W70 course. What planner is going to upset their peers? So with today, I felt my most successful courses were Short Green through to Long Blue. I was particularly pleased with the Long Blue: for a long time I have felt that BO guidelines lead planners to leave a great gap in their courses between Blue and Brown. Hence a Long Blue course - the longest course I could comfortably fit on the 1:10k. Thanks are due to Tim Pugh, who said allocate this course to M45/50 otherwise it could have been a white elephant.
Enough from me. I really hope you enjoyed your run in the New Forest. It may not be everybody's idea of orienteering, but it is mine. Incidentally, you may have noticed I was also the mapper. If you have any comments, missed features, corrections to today's map then please email me: email@example.com
Controller's Comments (Tim Pugh - GO)
From the comments overheard at the finishes and download, it was obvious that the great majority of competitors had enjoyed their courses and their day in The New Forest. So, I wish to thank SOC for staging yet another successful November Classic. I just hope that all those wanting to catch the eyes of the selectors managed to meet or exceed their own hopes.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Ray and Tim over the last months, they both made my task relatively easy. On behalf of all of the competitors, I wish to thank them both for all of their time and efforts. Ray has laboured for the last 2 years with numerous visits to the area in order to bring you the map – a monumental task. Thank you Ray.
I was delighted when Tim decided on the safe parking at the camp site. However, that decision dictated that there would be long walks to and from the best of the terrain. With that in mind, I believe that Ray (with his planner’s hat on) chose a good compromise in taking competitors away from the start on tracks and then putting you all into just a small amount of the rougher terrain on the approaches to the finishes.
I did overhear several comments about the names of courses (e.g people not entering the same course as their peers, others not being sure of their course at the start). For some time, I have not been happy with the current nomenclature, in my opinion, despite that it has been in use for over a year, many competitors remain confused. I believe that BOF need to introduce a simpler naming system as soon as possible.
Tim had everything well organised on the day due to his meticulous preparation. Our thanks are due to him, his team leaders and all helpers. I must also add my thanks to Ray’s forest team for helping to ensure controls were in the right place throughout, literally, I could not have done that bit without you all.
Thank you SOC, it was pleasure to be involved with you all.