Results from the Thame Urban Race on Sunday

Thames Valley Orienteering Club hosted Thame’s first urban race at the weekend. You can see a Facebook post regarding the results of the race below:



“The provisional results are now available for yesterday’s Thame Urban Race. A great turnout, with loads of newcomers – we hope you all enjoyed yourselves!…/…/results/results_view.php

A big thank you once again to Thame Town Council for supporting the event in a big way, plus all of our sponsors. And these special chocolates from Rumsey’s Chocolaterie Thame were amazing! 🙂

We hope to see you at our next events (click on the event pages to register your interest and receive updates):

Sat 20th October – Spooky Orienteering at Waddesdon Manor (a Hallowe’en themed event with lots of scary props!). The courses will take you around the ornate grounds and surrounding woodland (the orienteering fee covers Waddesdon grounds admission; you don’t need to pay to get into Waddesdon too, unless you want to revisit the grounds/manor after your run).

Sat 24th November – Wendover Woods Orienteering Races, near Aylesbury.

Sun 2nd December – Shotover Orienteering Races @ Shotover Country Park, Oxford.

Sat 5th January – Kings Wood Orienteering Races, High Wycombe.”


Planner’s Comments 

“It was an honour to be the first to plan an event on Mike Shires’s excellent new map of Thame. Very early in the planning process it became clear that courses 6 and 7, and hence the start and finish, would be in Cuttle Brook Park, whilst the most interesting urban terrain is in the Lea Park Estate to the north east. Getting courses 1 to 5 out of the park, into some interesting bits of the estate and then back to the park without too much repetition imposed some fairly serious constraints, particularly on course 5.

Control 143 was moved around the corner during the event, and this affected competitors on courses 1,3,4 and 5 for around 20 minutes. There is a lesson to be learned here, as this was the only control in the entire urban portion of the map which was not robustly fixed to the terrain with either zipties or gripples. Apologies to those affected.

Finally, it is a pleasure to thank Charles Bromley Gardner, the controller, who made a number of very useful interventions to ensure an enjoyable event for everybody.”

Ben Green

Controller’s Comments 
“Well done to TVOC for putting on a great event. Jon and Glynnis Wheatcroft harnessed valuable support from Thame Town Council, especially use of the Town Hall, and we saw the effect of engagement with the local community in the number of residents who took part in an orienteering event for the first time. Surprisingly, not all were taken to any new areas!

I also wish to congratulate Mike Shires for his first major map from scratch, and to Ben Green for his first major planning task. Both passed the test with flying colours! In particular, Ben posed some good route choice decisions, which were still being discussed afterwards, and included long legs that required detailed concentration on navigation. The main restraint was the limited area with controlled traffic management for the Under 16s, and so their courses had to be on the short side.

During the event, there were two issues that required my attention: first, we were quickly notified that control #143 was in the wrong place. Well no, it hadn’t been placed incorrectly. But true enough, it had ‘walked’. We believe not due to an irate resident, but rather someone who may have thought that they were being ‘helpful’ by placing it in a more obvious location. We got it back in place, as it was close to the Town Hall, within about 20 minutes. The control appeared on Courses 1, 3, 4 & 5. Only one competitor failed to find it (who has been reinstated) – a second admitted that he had actually completely missed that control accidently! After careful consideration of the options (e.g. voiding the courses at the extreme, or voiding the legs to and from that control), having discussed their reactions with a number of affected competitors (and no-one protested at the time), on this occasion at a Level C event I supported the decision that the sport was best served by leaving the results as they stand. Analysis of the split times shows who is likely to have been materially affected by this control having been moved, and allows those affected to identify how badly their result was impacted.

The second issue was identified by even fewer competitors: Barley Hill Primary School, marked as Out of Bounds on the map with a surrounding uncrossable fence, was actually open in the second half of the morning! None of us expected that. Most experienced orienteers will have read the map correctly and not even gone near it. But some competitors were reported as going through. I believe that these would only have been residents of Thame, who would have known about it. We could not have opened it ourselves for the complete competition time, and the only option would have been to have placed even more volunteers at the entrances to have prevented ingress by apparent competitors. Again, analysis of the split times identifies no competitor who was obviously quicker than normal on the relevant legs. So no action was required. A map point for all: a marked path going through an Out of Bounds area is still Out of Bounds: we should probably have been clearer on the map with a screen over the whole school, rather than leaving the wooded areas as such. ”

Charles Bromley Gardner


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