Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you's in Orienteering

Some thoughts by Sharon Lucey

The Irish Orienteer has been the national orienteering newsletter for Ireland since the early 1980's and is now being distributed via the Internet and is accessible on Orienteering.ie. Information can be found here on what is happening in the world of orienteering, from upcoming events to race reports to controllers reports to news about orienteers. This month's installation has now been uploaded for viewing. Of particular interest is the report on 'Thanking the Control Collectors'.
I think that this is a very important item to stress because we sometimes can forget that some people run the entire map a second time, armed with controls on their arms or in their bags. BOC results always make sure that due recognition is given to all those who assisted in the organising and running of the event.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved in the running of the club and orienteering in Ireland in general, from any aspect.............controls in, controls out, mapping, registration, control card sorting, results, starts, finishes, manned controls (probably one of the hardest jobs anyone can do, though SI is now eliminating the numbers involved in this), planning, organising. I hope I didn't forget any position. Finally, I would just like to thank all the members who have attended events during the year and previous years who have kept the club going since it was first established. I am one of the members who has been in the club since it started and would like to thank Sean Cotter for keeping the club going. It must not be forgotten that we are the only club in the whole country that holds an event almost every weekend.
So thanks to everyone involved and happy orienteering!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Venice Street Orienteering 2009

Report by Sharon Lucey

This year’s Venice Street-O event was held on the 14th and 15th of November and saw a group of five senior orienteers from all over Ireland make the journey, including one BOC member. The team was comprised of Sharon Lucey BOC, Sarah Ni Ruairc FIN, Brian Flannelly CorkO, Kieran Rocks LVO and Stuart Scott UCDUO. With over 3,600 entrants and 398 teams from 31 nations, the 30th meeting of the Venice Street-O is the largest street race in the orienteering calendar.

Street orienteering has become one of the up-and-coming disciplines in the orienteering world with more and more races being held at this level. This Venice Street Race is different to usual urban races as the courses are much longer in length meaning that concentration and speed are of the essence. The normal winning times on urban races are under 20 minutes (usually sprint races) but for Venice, the winning times are typically around the hour mark for the Elite classes. There is no other orienteering event in the world that can be compared to Venice.

As the main event is on the Sunday, direct flights from Ireland to Venice were not an option since the change in AerLingus’s flight schedule. This meant an early departure on Friday morning from Dublin airport to Bologna for some of the group, while others opted for a transfer in Heathrow to Venice. After spending a few hours sampling the local culture and food in Bologna, we took the express train to Venice and all rendezvoused on the top of the Rialto Bridge.

As part of our accommodation, a free trip to Murano, an island in the Venetian Lagoon, was provided where we got to witness some glass makers in action. After a leisurely stroll around the island of Murano, it was time to head to the Event Centre, in the Sport Arsenale, for the start of the weekend’s orienteering.

As a taster for the main competition, a Park-O/Sprint-O was held on a 1:7,500 map, near the Event Centre. Though it was officially labelled a Park-O event, there were only 2-3 controls from the majority courses actually in the park. The rest of the course was on the streets of Venice itself to get competitors used to the map and the streets. This event proved to be a great taster for the main event, with everyone being able to get a feel for the map and an idea of what to expect for the next day. The level of entries was much lower for this event, with some competitors opting to just run the main event. We had nice steady runs on Saturday as the courses were pretty straightforward. The results from the day showed just how fast the map was and how costly a small mistake could be. Excitement was beginning to bubble over in anticipation of the great orienteering to come.


1. Graham Gristwood GBR 19.33

2. Lucas Basset FRA 20.11

3. Théo Fleurent FRA 20.17

49. Brian Flannelly IRL 27.01

70. Stuart Scott IRL 31.44


1. Marine Leloup FRA 24.26

2. Severine Vandermeulen BEL 25.11

3. Galyna Petrenko ESP 25.17

37. Sharon Lucey IRL 32.17

45. Sarah Ni Ruairc IRL 35.18

Sunday’s event was when the real competition started. After having a taster for what it was like from the day before, we were ready to tackle the streets once more. This year the courses were planned by a previous winner and the challenging legs promised were delivered. To get to the starting area, we had to get a boat across the Grand Canal to Rio Tera die Catecumeni all Salute. The boats held around 160-170 people and ran frequently and runners were given ferry times depending on their allotted start times. Once on the other side the call up was 4 minutes. At two minutes you ran over a bridge and out of sight of waiting runners and picked up your control descriptions. If you didn’t have a safety pin or holder they were speedily taped to your arm by an official. The organisation at the event was a credit to all those involved.

Venice is renowned for its intricate network of streets, dead-end lanes, canals and bridges. This made for the ideal street race venue, especially given the fact that there would be no traffic problems to contend with. As the area itself is unusual, so was the map and the control points. The map was printed on blue paper with white representing streets and lanes. The narrower the white, the narrower the laneway. Particularly busy streets were marked with a different shade (brown) on the map so that these areas could be avoided with some careful planning. All buildings were shaded in grey and a lighter grey was used to show covered laneways.

The control points were located at specific locations; for example, building inside corner or bridge western side, which meant that you had to look carefully at your control descriptions to see whether or not you were in the correct place and to see which street was best to attack the control from. Choosing the wrong lane could prove incredibly costly. The navigation was challenging as you tried to run at full speed down the twisting alleyways and across the steep bridges whilst trying to dodge the oncoming photographers and window shoppers. Needless to say, there were numerous crashes between orienteers and tourists and orienteers and other orienteers. The fast pace of the courses meant that no-one was willing to find an alternative route to avoid the busy streets.

Most of the long courses crossed the Rialto Bridge twice, that combined with the distance and ridiculous number of bridges, all competitors felt every second of the race in their legs! The highlight of the day was the comparison of GPS distances to see how long the courses really were. Most people were quickly learning that the easiest and safest route choices were those that involved T-junctions and routes through squares or lanes with distinctive features, such as water fonts or pillars. Though finding these ‘safe’ routes at speed proved to be the greatest challenge of all. A number of courses had an extremely long route that covered the length of the map meaning the route had to be planned in stages and lots of folding and re-folding had to be done. As this leg was towards the end of the course it tested everyone’s concentration levels as well as fitness. For me this leg took 21 minutes, with others bounding across it in a cool 13 minutes.

Luckily, I had a great run (by my standards) finishing just a few minutes off the pace of some very experienced and fit elites. As this was my first time running elite at an international competition I was impressed with my ability to stay focused and I kept a consistent pace throughout. I was hitting controls nicely and kept concentration for the majority of the course. My one slip in concentration was on that long leg. I took my thumb off the map and ended up running down a lane and came face-to-face with a bemused gondolier. A quick look out into the canal and I confirmed my location and was on my way once more. As I wasn’t wearing a GPS I’m not entirely sure of the exact distance of the Women’s Elite course. However, based on the length of the WA (11km) and the Men’s Elite (15/16km), I expect it was around 13km.

The fast pace of the streets meant that some incredible times were seen. The best results from the day from our group were from Brian and Kieran, who both finished a mere 11 minutes behind their respective course winners.

Women’s A: 7.8km

1. Zsebeházy Eszter HUN 59:11

2. Rysava Vendula CZE 61.31

3. Sabine Mumprecht SUI 63.16

55. Sarah NiRuairc IRL 94.42

Women’s Elite: 8.5km

1. Karin Schmalfeld SWE 58.26

2. Svobodna Sarka CZE 59.00

3. Sabine Hauswirth SUI 61.03

37. Sharon Lucey IRL 84.53

Men’s Elite: 10.64km

1. Mamleev Mikhai ITA 64.02

2. Øystein Kvaal Østerbø NOR 64.20

3. Jan Troeng SWE 64.45

64. Kieran Rocks IRL 85.10

Men’s B: 6.3km

1. Szajkó Csaba HUN 40.22

2. Batticci Stefano ITA 46.07

3. Eugenio Pedrazzini SUI 46.12

20. Brian Flannelly IRL 51.43

126. Stuart Scott IRL 74.38

Overall the weekend’s orienteering proved a great experience for all the group. The event was highly organised, with good quality maps and some excellent planning on all the courses. Having never experienced the street event before, I for one was bitten by the Venice bug (quite literally with the unwelcomed visit of a mosquito) and fully intend to hit the streets again in the near future. I would highly recommend the event to everyone; it genuinely shows that ‘orienteering is a sport for all’, with plenty of families and walkers being spotted amidst the faster paced runners. However, buggies are not recommended. Though Venice is trying to be more accessible, the vast majority of courses only crossed bridges with ramps on the final leg of the course.

A big ‘well done’ to all those involved in the organisation and planning of the event and a ‘thank you’ to the rest of the group for making the weekend so enjoyable.

A full set of Results can be found at www.orivenezia.it and keep an eye out for details on MOV 2010 in September. Apologies for the lack of photos from this event, but as we entered as a group we were given similar start times and so the photo moments were slim!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OCAD Computer Training Course

This Saturday (14th) there will be an OCAD training course (for drawing O-maps by computer) in Dunboyne.The course was originally to be run on September 26th but was postponed. There are a few places available so get in quick if you would like to attend. The venue is Dunboyne Castle, Co. Meath. It is an all day course on Saturday, Nov 14th for all levels of OCAD skills. The course is given by Pat Healy of CNOC.
To secure your place please send a cheque for €25 to the Irish Orienteering Association, Second Floor, 13 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4 to Aine Joyce IOA Admin Assistant
To enquire about the course and availability contact Aine at osec@orienteering.ie

One place still available (10/11/09)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Munster Orienteering Championships

CorkO held this year's Munster Orienteering Championships on Sunday, 1 November in Toureen Wood, around 3 km outside of Cahir.

The terrain commanded high levels of fitness as the wood proved more of a physical challenge at times, more so than a technical challenge. The would itself had a great network of paths, tracks and roads allowing for some exceptionally fast times to be produced on the day. The mature coniferous forest provided good visibility and very few brambles. The poor weather over the last number of days and weeks meant that small drains became last streams and any marsh area was highly visible. There were a number of parts of the forest that hindered speed, where long grass, stones and hidden dips meant that caution was required. The rain held off for most competitors runs making the courses very enjoyable.

Some excellent times were produced in the M21L and the W21L where Darren Burke of CorkO stormed around the 10.9km course in a mere 94.27 minutes, a full 9 minutes ahead of CNOC's Seamus O'Boyle. Daivd Healy of GEN also fought hard on the day, finishing just 2 seconds behind Seamus.

CNOC's Niamh O'Boyle took the lead in the Women's 21, 7.2km course in a time of 71.24, holding off stiff competition from FermO's Rosalind Hussey and Ciara Largey, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

BOC club members also were out in force and some fantastic results were seen at the end of the day, with two of our juniors claiming gold. Tim O'Sullivan was top of the results in the M12's, while Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan took first in the M18. Younger brother Zac, finished 5th in the M12. Keeping it in the family, Paul took third spot in the M45L course, fighting off some tough competition. Other club members on the course were:
6th Pat O'Donovan
7th Dermot O'Sullivan
12th Steve Young
15th Jim Lawton

Another medal winner was Dorothy Grimes who claimed third prize in the W21S course.
Other notable results from the day were:
W21L 7th Sharon Lucey
M50L 9th Pat Murphy
M21L 15th Donal Murphy

A full set of results and split times can be found on Orienteering.ie
A selection of Finn van Gelderen's photos from the day can be found at http://www.finnvangelderen.com/moc2009preselects/and John Shiels photos are found http://www.actionphotography.ie/galleries/2009-11-01-MOC/
Well done to all competitors!