Sunday 18th June 2006

West Midlands Relays



Planner's Comments

Barry Houghton (HOC)

When I accepted the challenge of planning the relays I must have been in a very relaxed, easy going, altruistic condition, hic. I soon found out why no one else wanted to do it, I also forgot we were supposed to be away camping that weekend. Ooops!

Baggeridge is a very small area and has a number of restrictions, hope you all saw the orchids, lovely weren’t they, (damn things, ruined a number of my planned courses). I was also determined to avoid as much of the brambles and nettles as possible and to this end went out the previous week and cut a lot of the b*^%*$s down. Hope you appreciated it.

The area was always going to be fast, but with the exception of the mini-relays, did not turn out quite so fast as I was dreading. Possibly the twists and turns took the edge off high-speed orienteering, or maybe the denser foliage helped a little.

There were some very fast times on the mini-relays, plenty of promise there for the future and on the Open Men course the UWOC Embreys team of Iain, Iain and Iain set a cracking pace, unfortunately the last leg Iain mispunched. Of course we would have had to disqualify the team anyway as the distance via the exchange point was further than the distance to the finish control which Iain used to turn at. Great try though.

To the young lady who complained to me about the placement of one control, I sympathise, having also been occasionally irate with planners, but luckily I see that it did not affect the final results and hope it did not spoil your enjoyment of the event too much.

To the detritus that stole two SI units, may your dibbers shrivel up to match your small and twisted brains. (This was the polite version).

Organiser's Comments

Robert Vickers (HOC)

I had always said I wanted nothing to do with any relays, because they were so complicated, so I am not quite sure how I got landed with this job. However, like most things in our Sport, it all worked out in the end. This is due in no small measure to the dedication of Planner Barry Houghton and Controller Colin Spears together with Mike Farrington, who unravelled the intricacies of the entry, SI and results systems. Add to that the many supportive roles taken on by George Chambers plus the cheerful squad who I press ganged into helping - and my job was good as done.

I think Baggeridge was a superb venue for the event, with the natural amphitheatre forming a stage for the assembly and changeover. The acres of hard standing car parks, combined with permanent facilities like toilets, café and water supply all make life easier for the Organiser. The downside is the need to avoid any conflict with the members of the public who throng to the Park, along with the tiny minority who thoughtlessly stole two control units. We put into place our pre-arranged system to replace them as quickly as possible, so I hope your enjoyment wasn’t spoiled too much.

Controller's Comments

Colin Spears (HOC)

Having taken on the controlling at a somewhat late stage, I was horrified to discover the complexity of the rules for the WM relays. 14 different courses make it bigger than a major event relay.

Baggeridge was eminently suitable for the relays with an excellent assembly area allowing good sighting of the run in and an opportunity for a spectator control, the only problem being the popularity of the country park which resulted in the loss of two controls during the event. I’m sorry that some runners lost time searching for them. The use of SI allowed Barry to produce courses with interesting legs criss-crossing the area, though the main decision was which path to choose.

It turned out to be a good day for running, not too hot, and the little gentle drizzle towards the end was hardly significant. I hope the runners who got to the W side of the map appreciated the splendid orchids, I spotted three varieties. I think the longer courses were somewhat long for the older competitors, a result of the rules specifying course length rather than winning time and would recommend a simplification of the rules for the future. The short Ad hoc leg could be made more technical.

All the principals for this event had constraints on their time, Barry was working in Norway and France, Robert had heavy commitments other than the relays and Mike Farrington, our SI man, was working in Portsmouth for the previous three weeks. I must thank them all for still managing to produce a successful event.


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