Looking at the map I was reasonably confident that I would be able to get 18 controls in about an hour and I quickly mapped out a clockwise route that looked roughly optimal. I then decided to run it anti-clockwise instead as this would give me more options to cut down to a 14 control loop if I was running out of time or enthusiasm half way around. I wasn't quite ready to go at 7pm - I had been changing during the five minute map reading period - so I ended up setting off about 45 seconds after everyone else.
I turned into the side road leading to XA and was met by a small wall of people heading out. On returning to the main road I passed Kayla at the head of another group returning to this control. I can only imagine they had overshot the road as I don't think they had had the time to get to XB or XS and return. I was mulling this over as I ran down the hill to XB; it seems it was a good plan to not be thinking about my running as I found myself overhauling Allan. He is showing an impressive turn of speed at the moment so I was pleased to be able to catch him. We continued on down the hill to the end of the road and up the very steep track towards XC. In all the time I've been jogging and orienteering in this area, I think this was the first time I had ever run these particular roads. By now we had been joined by Fernando (I think we caught him up rather than vice versa but I can't remember for sure) and the three of us got XC and XY together. As we were approaching the T junction just before XY Jonty went tearing past leaving the control so we knew we were about a minute behind him. We passed him again coming out of the track from XT and at that control we split up with Allan and Fernando returning up the track following Jonty while I continued up the hill and took the right hand road option to XR.
The road leading into XR was a sea of road works and, with failing batteries in my headlamp, I found the going tough. I managed to just beat Allan into the control by a matter of centimetres so I don't think there was a lot of difference between the two route choices. At least we found the control easily, Jonty would later report having to cast around a bit before locating it as he was expecting it to be exactly at the corner. We headed up the hill to XS and Allan started to pull away leaving me running with Fernando.
It was a short sharp climb up to the major road junction and then, as we turned right and passed Fernando's house, he got a second wind, pulled away from me and had caught and joined Allan by the time we got to XD. I kept them in my sights as we punched XE and then XH but the climb up the hill southwards from XH was too much for me and they pulled away and then disappeared altogether. As I turned right towards XX I caught what would be my final sight of them for the night as they ran round the chicane like corner into XX. The hill to the west of XX has a number of undulations and these hid them from my view.
From here I was on my own. I got XK and then XJ, stopping for 30 or 40 seconds at that point to explain what I was doing to a curious resident. Many of the Melbourne street maps I've run on have a triangular information area with website details on one corner that you can tear off and give to anyone who asks. As I headed off in the direction of XM I was lamenting to myself the lack of this useful function when I realised that I could have torn off the top left corner of my map and given him that.
I was into a series of longer legs and I'd also passed into one of those areas that happen from time to time where there were no other orienteers in sight for ages. It is tempting at these times to assume that you have made some horrible route choice that everyone else has had the sense to avoid but actually I think it was just one of those things. I checked my watch as I ran to XN and figured that I had an outside chance of getting around in less than an hour. This encouraged me to keep running even though the slow but steady uphill gradient from XN to XP was sapping my strength.
It seemed an awful long way from XP to XL and I knew by then that I wasn't going to make it in an hour. I chose the northern route from XL to XV to avoid the worst of the climb and I punched XV at a fraction over 59 minutes into the race. With 20m contours on the map it isn't obvious but the run back to the finish seemed to have about 19m of climb. Quick Route tells me it was actually 12m.
I was happy with my time of just over 1:02; I ran 11.6km with 180m of climb.