As a family we lived in Frimley in the UK for many years, running with the Southern Navigators orienteering club, so I've always considered this a home map for me. All the more so as the equivalent map in the UK, Frimley Lodge Park, is not too disimilar; I've often stated, with a suitable amount of hyperbole, that you could swap the maps at any given event and not notice the difference.
The start took place around the back of the pavilion with a good 150m taped run to the start triangle, all in direct sight of the gathered hordes at the event centre. I made a mistake here, only noticing I hadn't turned on the GPS on my watch until about 30 seconds before my start. Luckily it was a punching start so I let the runners on the other courses go first and hung around for a few seconds longer before punching, holding my map behind my back so that Derek, who was manning the start, could see that I wasn't trying to gain an advantage by reading the map. However, I was conscious that Brent was breathing down my neck and waiting to start so I didn't wait too long; the GPS finally cut in half way to the start triangle.
The first control was very close to the location of a control last year that had caused all sorts of grief to a number of runners (not me!) who had approached it from the east rather than the north west and found an uncrossable fence in the way. This year either we all knew about it or the control was just far enough away that I didn't hear of anyone being caught out. A loop of the school followed before the first major route choice leg from 6 to 7. There were three obviousroute choices here, you could go east to the road or west to the gap in the fence near control 2 from where you then had a choice of left or right about the tennis courts. I chose what was, in retrospect, the slowest of the three options going west then left. However checking Winsplits later it seems that it didn't cost too much time. There was then a loop of the southern school buildings before two long, flat, straight fast legs to controls 11 and 12. Brent caught up with me at 12 and I tucked in behind him hoping to keep up for a while but expecting him to quickly pull away. I followed him through the last loop before the map flip at control 16 and was still with him as we headed off on the last long leg to contol 19. Before leaving the park area of the map it is worth mentioning control 15, a fairly bland unassuming sort of a control but notable because Dwayne completely missed it on his run, resulting in a mispunch.
Back into the buildings heading to 19 I actually managed to get aheaf of Brent. As I pulled away from 19 I realised I had a bit of a gap and accelerated hoping to hold it. There followed one last loop of the school, of which control 21 caused some problems due to an inconveniently parked car hiding it from view until the very last moment, and I increased my lead over Brent who came into the finish perhaps 10 or 15 seconds after me.
I once again finished fifth, just seven seconds behind Hugh and held on to my fourth place overall. Such is the competition in M40 that, with Rob winning the stage, we had now had four different stage winners in the four stages. Only three minutes separated the four of us and tomorrow morning Sleeping Giant beckons. This steep forested map would likely change placings considerably.
Over in Senior Boys, Jonty had beaten me by 22 seconds to draw level, two stages each with two to go.