Back out on the moors

Back out running after a while off due to calf problems.  I did a 6km route around Haytor Rocks in beautiful weather, a little hotter than I expected.  Calf was OK if a little stiff at the end, so fingers crossed it will be OK for the the OMM at the end of October.  But before that, next week is the SW Sprint Orienteering Champs near Dorchester. 

London City Orienteering Race 2011

James Hargreaves on the run in.

The 10th September saw the fourth edition of the London City Orienteering Race organised by SLOW, 1109 competitors made the start line from over 28 countries.  It was a race that I heard a lot about and was determined to have a go.  Preparation didnt go well and I when I turned up I hadn't really run for a month and half due a double calf injury.  I thought about walking around but as I got closer to the off I decided to give it a go and see how my recovery was going.  The pre race instructions had a lot about the mapping around the barbican estate which had multiple levels, this just confused me so I didn't dwell on it to much.  So after chatting to the Hargreaves brothers I headed to the start.  Off I went to the first control which was on some steps.  I soon reached the top of steps, as we had obviously started on the upper level no control, checked the control description, foot of, so down I went.  Now off into the city, quick route choices and clean execution the order of the day.  Into a small park and then back onto the street.  Now this wasn't a sprint event so, it was important to control the speed as the men's short was 6.1km straight line, so nearer to 10km probably.  Obvious control sites early on so I concentrated on flow through the controls which felt good, even if my basic speed was not.  The first city landmark came on the way to 4 when I ran around the famous gherkin, then Lloyds of London.  Control 10 was the first mistake. I ran down the road looking for the control in the park, to find an uncrossable wall, had to double back and around to the park entrance to eventually find the control only 1m from where I had been standing!!!!  Out of the park and due south to St Paul's, around the front and through a massive crowd waiting for the cathedral to open, which had a wedding take place.  Easy route to 12 but no sign of the control just about to check the map then there it was 10 metres away but down a level, after 50m detour I was at the control.  Clean to 15, before the tricky leg to 16, keeping it simple I ran up the main road to steps on the east side knowing I needed to go up a level, no steps! So back across the road to underground entrance up the steps and over the bridge.  The steps I was originally looking for turned out to be steps off the bridge easily confused!!  Clean in to 17, steps on way out took me to subterranean playground with no way out, two runners had follow so felt OK about this small mistake, decided to retrace steps to road to make things easy.  18, 19 clean but slowing now as legs getting painful.  Ended up in dead end in middle of leg, then wrong level so not a great leg to 20, went in early to 21 so lost small amount of time.  All in all I was really pleased with my run 71:51 for 6.1km and 22 controls. Really great event, which keeps you focused at all times, map contact key as it can be difficult to relocate.  The different levels of the Barbican proved a challenge but are well mapped, and make for interesting orienteering.  On the whole an amazing event and well worth the trip to London, next it will be city race on the Saturday and the southern champs on Sunday so well worth the journey.