Matt had the kids organised with a little light jogging and easy stretching before they split into pre-arranged groups and then further from there into pairs. The idea was that they would run the course above with each pair taking a different route on each leg, comparing notes at each control. I got the kids in Matt's group started at minute intervals while he took off into the forest to help them. I waited a couple of minutes after the last couple had disappeared and then followed up, keeping an eye out for any stragglers.
The main issue early on was an old Woodhill favourite, the presence of unmapped tracks. There are a lot of unofficial dirt bike tracks that come and go and either weren't there when the area was mapped or were obviously transient so were deliberately not mapped. This caused some confusion for the first few controls as the kids got used to the map. In particular, I helped two groups who crossed an unmapped track on the way from 2 to 3 and thought it was the track shown on the map so stopped and searched for the control too early. A quick discussion about other features we could see that were definitely on the map and they went on happy.
By the time we were up to the fourth or fifth control most of the groups had got the idea and were operating independently - and quickly. I was always going to be most use with the stragglers at the back, which was just as well because I wouldn't have been able to catch up to most of them. The use of virtual out of bounds areas from Control 5 onwards added some complexity and interest to the later stages.
Two hours later, I was amongst the last to emerge out of the forest back at the vans. A bunch of happy and still energetic kids were already lining up for the second exercise of the day - a forest sprint. Wisely, I decided to have lunch first.
I knocked off Controls 2, 3 and 4 with ease and regained some confidence. However, the leg to Control 5 would take us into the dreaded Maze. I climbed the sand dune behind 4 and considered the terrain ahead. At that point I chickened out and ran down the obvious (but unmapped) track in the green stripe out to the track that paralleled the road and headed into the Maze from the vicinity of Control 6. It was a slow walk but not navigationally difficult to Control 5 and then I returned the same way to Control 6. Back along the track to 7 and then into the finish.
The rest of the day consisted of a visit to the Parakai Hot Pools where 80 odd teenagers amazed us with their ability to run up the water slide tower time after time for an hour and a half despite all of them having already run well over 10km in the forest that morning. Back at the camp I helped Norm with the lasagne (and managed not to poison anyone) and then the evening was a session where Matt and Eskil explained their gold medal winning runs at the Junior World Orienteering Champs earlier this year with much discussion of route choices on some of the longer legs of the Long Distance race. After that I headed home but the Juniors got back into their orienteering gear and headed out for a night relay around the campsite.