Last Sunday saw 400 people turn out for the Thame Urban Race, an orienteering style race organised by Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC).
There were seven courses for all ages and abilities, around the streets, alleys and parks of Thame. Supported by Thame Town Council, the event was popular with local families and runners. It was also part of the UK Urban Orienteering League, and attracted runners from across the country.
The courses ranged from 2.5km, around Cuttlebrook Nature Reserve, to a longer 10km course around the whole of the town. It was a race with a twist; the twist being that there is no set route to the courses. Each competitor was given a special orienteering map, showing a series of checkpoints. The challenge was to visit all the checkpoints around Thame, choosing their own route between each one. Each checkpoint is marked by a flag and an electronic timing chip is used to record progress.
Holly Titchner from Thame said, “It was a great event. My family and I did the short course and all loved it! We’ll definitely be giving orienteering a go again!”
“Lots of local people came out to have a go at orienteering around the town,” says Mike Shires, from TVOC. “We had great feedback afterwards, with everyone enjoying the courses and appreciating the opportunity to get outside for some active family time. Our events attract keen runners as well as plenty of families who come along for a jog or walk around a course.”
TVOC is Clubmark accredited and is one of the largest orienteering clubs in the country, winning awards for their varied programme of forest and urban events around the region.
If you are interested in having a go at this exciting adventure sport, the club is also organising events at Wittenham Clumps, Waddesdon Manor and Wendover Woods this year. For more details visit TVOC’s website at www.tvoc.org.uk or see the Facebook event page at www.facebook.com/tvoclub.