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Richmond Park Orienteering

Published on 24/01/18

Hundreds of orienteers from all over the country journeyed to Richmond Park on Sunday 21 January to take part in the OK Nuts Trophy event run by South London Orienteers and Wayfarers.

The event incorporated three ultra-long courses involving up to three circuits of the park, named ‘Blood Races’ after the annual ‘Blodslitet’ races of Fredrikstad Skiklubb in Norway, which are amongst the most demanding tests of stamina and endurance in the orienteering calendar.

Fortunately for the three members of the Claremont Fan Court School orienteering squad who found themselves standing grimly at the start facing a chilly wind and driving sleet, it also included the standard set of colour coded courses, which though of more manageable length still provided a considerable physical challenge. Richmond Park is relatively open land with good visibility and runnability, but it does contain hazards not found in other forests, such as herds of large and occasionally quite intimidating deer. It also provides a surprising amount of route choice, and rapid decisions had to be made about whether to run over the top of a hill or round it, and whether to follow a looping path or take a straight route through a boggy marsh.

The three squad members rose well to the challenge. On only his second Short Green course, Jack P ran steadily with few errors and came 9th in 42:25. Nathan J, attempting the Green course for the first time this season, on which he was the youngest competitor, navigated cautiously with his new compass and was very pleased to finish 47th in 65:37. But the outstanding performance was that of Alexander O, who combined careful navigation on the Green course with a speed double that of his season’s average to finish 17th in a time of 46:42. All three boys had their best runs of the season so far and should be well pleased with their performance.