Organiser – Sal Chaffey, Planner – Marcus Scotney, Controller – Martin Ward (SYO)
It’s always fun to organise up at Birchen Edge, and being part of the UK Orienteering League gave the event a boost! I enjoyed the crazy loops on Blue, and enjoyed working with Marcus and Martin.
Thanks to the experienced DVO Help Teams (and Track Improvement Branch) for all your hard work in making it a great day for 450 runners!
One item of lost property - a stripy hat. Please email to reclaim or catch me at Burbage Moor.
How wonderful it was seeing so many competitors running at Birchen Edge; I hope you enjoyed the courses as much as I did planning them. Thank you for all the feedback I received; it sounded like everyone enjoyed their course, I don’t know if the dry conditions helped with the enjoyment, and it was incredibly dry underfoot, making for some fast running.
This was my first time planning for DVO and the first time planning an orienteering event for nearly 20 years; after many years running ultra marathons, I returned to orienteering 18 months ago and have enjoyed getting back into the forests.
I offered to plan Birchen Edge as it is close to where I live in the Peak District and would allow me to explore an area I don’t usually run.
Birchen Edge is a typical dark peak gritstone area with a beautiful gritstone edge, many boulders, and not-so-runnable moorland other than Gardoms Edge.
With the event being middle distance, the courses had to be kept short, and I hope you enjoyed the lots of change of direction to keep you focused. Also, the competition area was pretty compact, though there were still plenty of controls, there were 59 controls used in total.
As I mentioned, the area is littered with lots of gritstone boulders, and they were a prominent control feature; I tried to make sure I used many of the other features so you weren’t running from boulder to boulder. Unfortunately, not all courses visited the runnable technical area of Gardoms Edge on the east of the map; this is another area littered with gritstone but very runnable this time of year.
I tried my best to avoid areas with bracken; however, I know you all had to endure the bracken at the start of each course, thankfully the bracken is a lot shorter this time of year when I first visited the area back in September; some areas near the start would have been almost impassable.
A big thank you to our mapper Richard Parkin, who did an excellent job continually updating the map and was invaluable in coaching me during the planning process.
Thank you to Martin Ward of SYO, our controller, whose guidance was flawless and made the planning an even more enjoyable job, and I enjoyed our sight visit in January in the snow.
Thank you to Sal Chaffey, our organiser, who did a fantastic job as our entries grew and grew and finally, thank you to all the members of DVO who helped out and were very supportive of me as a first-time planner.
I was pleased to be asked to be Birchen Edge Controller by DVO - it's less than 10 miles from where we live on the edge of Sheffield, and yet I'd never orienteered on it before. It's a great little area, and the western half seems especially suited to a Middle distance event. With Sal as Organiser I knew we'd have a very well organised event, and the DVO team did a great job on the day. Marcus was a relatively novice planner, but I thought he came up with some great courses! After a few changes I think we got the course lengths about right in the end, with most courses being won in times around the 30-35 minute target. (Short Green had a couple of particularly fast times, but only because some M55s had chosen to "run down" on a shorter course). Thanks, also, to Richard for the new version of the map, and some relatively late updates that were necessary as a consequence of where we took the courses towards the end.
Apologies to the early runners who found the control boxes hadn't been "woken up". That was my fault (for failing to take an e-card with my on my 7.45am run around the 59 controls). The early runners will also have found the patches of deep bracken slowed them down more than late runners, but there was nothing much we could do about that! The bracken was somewhat lower today than it was when I first looked at the control sites. Some runners had to start at 30-second intervals on Green, which I had hoped wouldn't have been necessary. The number of entries was more people than we expected, which is great, but caused some concern about the possibility of long queues waiting to start.
I hope you enjoyed your runs, and thanks to those of you that gave us feedback at the end. If you're running at Burbage tomorrow, good luck, especially with the boulders!
Martin Ward, SYO.
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