The first thing to notice is that the map is at 1:10000, a scale rarely used at Summer Series events. This meant that the entire 9.8km of Course 1 was able to fit onto one A4 map. The main road through the estate was marked as out of bounds with crossing only permitted at the two sets of pedestrian traffic lights. We were allowed to take the time we spent waiting for the lights off our overall time.
The first leg took us contouring across a hillside, giving us a chance to get used to the scale of the map, before we plunged into the industrial area itself. With the event being run after business hours there was very little traffic on these side roads. Once across the road to Control 4 I chose to run down the grass verge near the road to Control 5, counting off the storm water control berms on the way. Luckily, I counted correctly and ran across the right berm and down the boulder bank to the control. I then used the track to return to 6 and 7, deviating back onto the grass verge temporarily at one spot to cut out extra distance. Then it was the grass verge again until, in the vicinity of Control 15, I headed off across country to Control 8. I did, however, take the time to confirm that there were no pedestrian lights at the road junction closest to 15.
The little loop from 9 to 14 took us into an area that is being actively developed. This part of the map will change from year to year but at the moment it gives a few good route choices around or through the developed and undeveloped plots. The biggest problem of the night came at Control 12. The control description said "W stump" and, as it turned out, this was technically correct, the only problem being that while it was the western most stump in a long irregular line of stumps, the control wasn't actually on the western stump in the control circle. This fooled us all and, while I found it after giving up and heading to 13 via the general vicinity of 9, many people, including Jonty and Aiden, took the more sensible route choice to 13 down the road on the eastern side of the linear pond and thus never found it.
The next challenge came with the leg from 15 to 16. There were two possible route choices here, dictated by the only two legal road crossing points. Despite this, a surprising number of people forgot or didn't notice the out of bounds and ran straight down the road with multiple roundabouts. I took the North Eastern option, as did most people who took an allowed route. Opinion seemed more divided over the route choice from 16 to 17 with about even numbers going either side of the pond. I went to the right and had a good view of the control from 100m out. The ubiquitous eight year old boy was kneeling at it, makiing sure his punch was nicely centred on his clip card. As I got closer I started to worry about how long he was going to take and whether I would be waiting for him. As I got closer still I noticed that whoever had put the control out had placed it a long way from the nearest tree and maybe this was going to be a repeat of 12 and what was that boy doing, was he going to take all day? I then came to a grinding halt as it somehow got through to me that maybe, just maybe, that wasn't my control at all. I spun around and, sure enough, there about 20m behind me was Control 17 nicely placed on the Western tree.
A last little runner's loop followed with plenty of time to admire the model aircraft club who were playing with a large noisy helicopter with an exhaust that was polluting half the park. The setter had chosen to present us with a long uphill run to the finish and my delight with this fact was not helped by the sight of Jonty running into 18 just as I was leaving the bottom field. I suspected - correctly, as it turned out - that he was having a quicker run than me.
So I nice run in new surroundings on a lovely evening. Jonty beat me by two minutes. Bring on Katoa Po and the challenge of orienteering in Taupo day and night this weekend.
Links and Results
Summer Series: Steve 7, Jonty 3
All events this year: Jonty 8, Steve 7
All events since blog began: Steve 13, Jonty 9