Summer League #11: Farran Forest Park Tuesday July 21st Relay Race Results and Report

Post date: Jul 23, 2015 9:3:5 AM

The finale of the CorkO 2015 Summer League took place on Tuesday evening in the resplendent surrounds of Farran Forest Park. Luckily, the heavy showers that have now become a feature of the Summer of 2015 had passed through Farran Forest Park in the late afternoon and we were fortunate to experience a fine fresh evening for our relay race.

Upon entering the park some may have been momentarily distracted by an apparition in the sky, was it a large bird, a small air craft or superman? It was in fact one of a number of people enjoying the Zipit experience. The longer aerial trails on this treetop adventure include several zip wires across the large car park area. Several Zipit adventurers were sighted zipping across these wires above the car park.

At most of our events orienteers usually compete as individuals so to make our final Summer League event a little bit more social the event format on Tuesday night was a two person relay race. The group start of all first leg runners also provided an opportunity for competitors to meet and mingle before this fun relay race got under way. 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 there was some trepidation starting out. The event planner designed the relay courses such that each team would complete a Short (1.6km) and Long (2.2km) leg. The intention 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. Although some teams did debate long and hard over who should get the slightly longer leg!

In total 40 teams competed at the event. While many came with pre-arranged teams others were paired up on the night. In the interest of fun and fairness several of our Long league event winners were introduced to and partnered with some of our keen junior and Buggy-O league competitors. Looking through the results it is remarkable to see so many family combinations with husband and wife pairings, sibling teams, father daughter teams, father son teams, mother daughter pairings and mother son teams. This really reinforces just how well the sport of orienteering is suited to families and participants of all ages.

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 young orienteers while others availed of the opportunity to meet fellow orienteers who they have been competing against throughout the league. When the final team was registered all first leg runners were summoned and the maps were distributed to the relevant teams. Our planner gave a briefing regarding the start, finish and handover process and following this the relay race got under way.

Despite there being four different courses most competitors in the mass start took off in the same direction. However, only course C had its first control at the bottom of the hill while all the other courses had their first control to the West or East of the start kite. The more diligent orienteers in the field took the time to establish their precise location before heading off while those that blindly followed the masses had to do some route recalculations when they comprehended their exact location.

All four courses were confined to the area around the deer enclosure, car park and shore line and with paths leading to most controls sites the going was fast and furious on the night. With many control sites common to several courses the key to relay racing is to focus on your own course and not be distracted by fellow competitors heading off in different directions. Alternatively, if you can quickly ascertain which runners are also competing on your course and if you are confident in their navigation skills you can opt to follow them around!

With all four courses having a common final control the majority of second leg runners waited patiently around the changeover area while keeping a watchful eye on the final control. All finishers received encouragement from their partners and fellow competitors as they raced up the hill to the finish. Sadly, some teams didn't execute the most efficient handover. Some were caught by surprise when their first leg runners returned sooner than anticipated and were called for repeatedly until they eventually appeared. Looking at the results these vital seconds would prove decisive. Even our junior participants got caught up in the excitement of the race and were seen running fast once tagged by their team mate. The shorter courses allowed the faster competitors to push even harder than normal which left some weary bodies at the changeover area.

All seemed to enjoy the relay action on the night and following some cross checking of the results the title of 2015 Summer League relay champions went to Conrad Daly and Cian O’Mahony who were first home completing both legs in a time of 25:25. Conrad was also the Summer League Long Course Mens Champion and so he asked that the fantastic Zipit vouchers he was due to receive be given to the best junior team on the night. So the sibling paring of Frank and Norah O’Brien who completed the relay course in a combined time of 29:43 and finished 4th overall were the recipients of the fantastic Zipit Forest Adventure experience. They will both get to return to the park and see it from a different perspective on these exhilarating and challenging aerial trails.

The runners up on the night were Dermot and Desmond Murphy they completed the course in a time of 28:13. A little over a minute behind them was the father daughter team of Steve and Maeve Perkins who finished in a time of 29:11 narrowly holding off the challenge from the O’Brien siblings. Incidentally, the fifth and sixth place teams were husband and wife pairings. Frank and Norah were a meagre 45 seconds clear of their parents Claire and Liam on the night thus giving them the bragging rights on the journey home. While Fiona and Daithi Power might have surpassed some of the O’Brien family if Daithi had been a bit more alert in the changeover area!

A few spot prizes were also awarded to the following teams on the night:

Clare Nuttall and Eadaoin Morrish

David Brett and Maeve Brett

Klara O’Callaghan and Eric O’Connor

Thanks to everyone who participated at the event. We hope you enjoyed the novelty of the relay action. Full team results are available here.

Some pictures of the relay action, local residents, Zipit trails and the Summer League prize-giving have been added to the Gallery page on our website

This week we extend a big thanks to Sharon Lucey for planning four testing and fun courses. Thanks also to Dave O’Donovan for his assistance on the night and thanks to Jim O’Donovan and Bobby O’Connor for setting up the tent for registration. We are also very grateful to Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan for assisting with control collection.

We are extremely grateful to Coillte and 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 walked the short distance down to the rowing centre to enjoy a very tasty BBQ in a stunning location which offered panoramic views across the lake. 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 2015 Summer League we will be taking a short recess for a few weeks but will be back in action again on Tuesday August 25th in Currabinny Wood for the start of our Autumn league.

Enjoy the break!