The first four controls were flat and fast without much route choice other than the need to read the map correctly to make sure you ended up at an open gate for getting in, out and through the racecourse and showgrounds. Many years ago on this map, I and many others had ended up scaling a 2m fence when a mapped open gate turned out to be locked but this year every gate I encountered was in the correct state. For controls 5, 6 and 7 we were in Cornwall Park School and, while small, this changed the focus for a while to navigating around the buildings. Control 7 in particular would have caught out a few people who weren't paying enough attention to their map. Then it was back into the park and the roads for some more fast running through the controls to 12 where, after a loop of 4km, we joined the throngs on Course 2 for much of the rest of the race.
The first big route choice (for me anyway, Jonty didn't even notice it) was from 13 to 14. I looked at the contours on Mt St John and figured that I would be quicker returning to the road and running around rather than trying to go over. Ewart was running up the road approaching the track as I came back out of it, I judged him to be about 300m behind me at that point. Running the road to 14 meant that I had to return back along the same road to 15 as my route choice for that leg used the eastern most entrance to the school grounds. As I passed the track down from Mt St John on my way back from 15 I could see Ewart descending it and gauged that he made up about half of the 300m between us, the mountain route seeming to be faster than the road route. However, while running across the playing fields from 15 to 16 I saw him again, still running along the road and still about 300m behind me so either I had misjudged the distance earlier and the two routes were much of a muchness or he had made a mistake with 14 and lost the time he had earlier made up. I forgot to ask him about this at the finish.
The school controls in Dilworth and Diocesan were a lot easier to read at 1:2500 than the Cornwall Park ones had been at 1:8000 and then it was on to control 22 where another mountain vs road route choice awaited us. This time I went over the top and back past 13. Had the control been at the bottom of the steps rather than halfway up it may have been a more difficult decision. From the pivot at 23 there was one more shortish loop through the park, showgrounds and racecourse back into the finish. My route from 24 to 25 used the eastern entrance to the showgrounds (in retrospect the northern entrance may have been a bit quicker) and involved a bit of a detour to avoid running through a training session the Warriors rugby league team were having - I reckoned that there wasd no way I'd come off best if we tried to occupy the same space.
Last year on this map I had run my first ever (I think) 10km plus Summer Series course and the finish leg had been almost exactly the opposite to tonight's finish leg (assuming you ran the path around the outside of the racecourse, which I did), there had been a strong headwind and I remember getting slower and slower the closer to the finish I got. Well, guess what? This year the wind was in the opposite direction so it was once again a headwind, just as strong as last year and I seemed to be running slower and slower as the 11km I had already run took a toll on my legs. To add insult to injury, I seemed to be in a sprint race with an eight year old boy on Course 4 - and he was winning. I finished the race in under an hour and in the top half of the field.