Summer League #11: Farran Forest Park Tuesday July 19th Relay Race Results and Report

Post date: Jul 20, 2016 9:12:51 PM

On Tuesday night Farran Forest Park was the destination for the final event in the CorkO 2016 Summer League. Our league kicked off eleven weeks ago on an extremely wet Tuesday evening in early May but thankfully the conditions for our Summer League finale were a lot more pleasant. The weather reports early in the week indicated that Tuesday was shaping up to be the hottest day of the year to date and Met Eireann even had a high temperature weather warning in place on the day. Their forecasting was accurate and the glorious sunshine meant the park was exceptionally busy all day with picnickers, walkers and adventures trying out the Zipit Experience. Orienteers added to the bustle in the park as they began to arrive to battle it out for the title of 2016 Summer League Relay Champions. The ten previous events in the league were all about individuals pitting their orienteering skills against one and other but on Tuesday night it was all about team work. To make our closing event a bit more social and fun the format was a two person relay race. The race commenced with a group start of each team’s first leg runner. So between registering and the race getting under way competitors had ample opportunity to meet and mingle with fellow orienteers. Furthermore, to celebrate the end of a very successful and competitive summer of orienteering the evening concluded with a BBQ and prize-giving ceremony in the National rowing centre.

The orienteering relay format was new to a lot of participants and the event planner designed the relay courses such that each team would complete a Short (1.9km) and a Long (2.9km) leg. The aim was to encourage many of our regular Long course participants to team up with some of our frequent Short course contestants. Once entrants realised that there would be no pressure on anyone as the main goal was socialising and fun orienteering everyone embraced the spirit of the evening. In total 42 and a half teams competed on the night. While many came with pre-arranged teams others were paired up on the night. We tried to keep the teams as fair as possible. Analysing the teams it is remarkable to see so many family combinations with siblings, parents and siblings and spouses all forming teams. This proves just how well the sport of orienteering is suited to families and participants of all ages. 

Unfortunately, it took a little longer than expected to get all the teams registers and we thank everyone for their patience during this process. The playground proved an exciting warm up area for many of our younger orienteers while others availed of the opportunity to finally meet the orienteers they have been competing against throughout the league. Once the final team was registered all first leg runners were summoned to the start line and the maps were distributed to the relevant teams. Competitors were briefed regarding the start, finish and handover process and following this the relay race got under way.

In the end the group start didn't have the same level of exuberance of a typical “race” and competitors didn't exactly sprint out of the blocks. With four different courses and four different first controls it took a few seconds for contestants to get their bearings before sprinting off in the correct direction. For others that decided to map read on the move some sharp u-turns were observed. None of the controls sites were too tricky to locate and nearly all were accessible by paths. Between the four courses just 16 control sites were utilised in Farran so many of these were shared between the various courses.  For instances control 214 located on a thicket close to the tranquil waters of the river Lee and Inniscarra Lake/Reservoir was utilised on all the courses. This meant that competitors exited this control in one of four possible directions either eastwards towards controls 213 or 208 or in a south west direction towards controls 200 or 210. In a relay race it can be easy for competitors to get distracted by the sight of other orienteers and follow them rather than read the map. Given the relatively small area covered by the map on Tuesday and the varying direction of the courses contestants paths would no doubt have crossed several times in the wood. Therefore it was very important for participants to pay attention to the map and their control codes and not to get carried away following fellow competitors.

The resident deer population had a great view of all the orienteering action as competitors ran adjacent to around the deer enclosure. Meanwhile all the second leg runners waited patiently at the finish area for their team mates to arrive. All courses had a common final control which would bring competitors into the taped finish shoot to hand off to their team mate. Some teams operated some very efficient handovers while others were a little more lax in this area and lost previous seconds.

Basked in the evening sun this beautiful and majestic park proved a fitting setting for our relay race and following a very competitive race the 2016 Summer League Relay Champions were the father and son team of Eric and Alex O’Connor. They completed both their relay legs in a combined time of 28 minutes and twenty seconds. The impressive running from this pair means they received our fabulous first prize which was sponsored by Zipit Forest Adventures. So Eric and Alex will get to return to Farran Forest Park and transverse it from the tree tops and along the various zip lines as they experience the exhilarating and challenging Zipit aerial trails. All those participating in the Zipit experience on Tuesday certainly looked like they were having fun.

There was an exceptionally close contest for the relay runner up spot and a mere second separated the next two finishing teams. Team 6 just edged out Team 7 on the night. So the runners-up were Riina Komi and Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan, they completed the course in a time of 31:12. Third place went to Team 7 which had Buggy-O competitors Danny and Oisin O’Hare complete the short leg and Frank O’Brien in action on the Long leg. Three teams were randomly picked for some spot prizes and the lucky winners were

Michael Moylan and David MoylanSusan Quirke and Paula CollopyThree Times Slower and The Barriscale Family Thanks to everyone who participated at the event. We hope you enjoyed the novelty of the relay format. Full team results are available here.

Rebecca Dwyer was our roaming photographer on the night and she snapped all the action at Farran on Tuesday including the relay race, BBQ and prize-giving. These photos have been added to the Gallery page on our website and can be viewed here.

This week we extend a big thanks to Sharon Lucey for planning four testing and fun courses. Thanks also to Liam O’Brien and Eibhlin Cleary for assisting with registration and data entry. Thanks to Dave O’Donovan for helping explain the relay format to people and thanks to Donal Burke for bringing along the registration tent on the night. Thanks also to Una Buckley for taking t-shirt size orders and on such a warm evening it was a welcome relief to have some water at the finish line so thanks once again to Gerald Duffy for providing this. We are also very grateful to Gerald Duffy, Jens Waechter and Dermot Murphy for taking care of control collection. We are extremely grateful to Coillte for use of this fantastic amenity for our event and to the local park ranger Pat Malone for raising the barrier at the entrance to the park which gave us free entry on the night.

Huge thanks also to the folks at the Zipit Forest Adventures for sponsoring the fun Relay competitions and giving us a fantastic prize to award on the night.


Following all the relay excitement everyone only had to walk a short distance down to the National rowing centre to enjoy a very tasty BBQ in a stunning location which offered panoramic views across the river Lee and the Inniscarra Lake/Reservoirs. We are very thankful to Mick O’Callaghan and all the catering staff at the rowing centre for the fantastic food and friendly service. When everyone was suitably stuffed the summer league prize giving kicked off and our worthy champions and finishers received their prizes.

If you didn't manage to achieve one of the top places in the league don’t worry, as all league finishers will receive a specially designed t-shirt. Similar to last year to avoid waste and ensure that you receive a t-shirt that fits you we will order your desired size. So if you haven’t already specified your size please let me know ASAP as we will be placing the order this week to ensure the t-shirts arrive in time for distribution to finishers at the first of our Autumn league events.

After all the excitement of the 2016 Summer League we will be taking a short break for a few weeks but will be back in action again on Tuesday August 30th in Currabinny Wood for the start of our Autumn league.