Summer League #9: Tracton Wood Tuesday July 8th Results and Report

Post date: Jul 09, 2014 5:5:2 PM

The ninth and penultimate competitive event in the CorkO 2014 Summer League took place in Tracton Wood near Minane Bridge on Tuesday evening. Tracton Wood has been absent from the summer league calendar for the past few years and we were delighted to return to this rather unique location. Another superb summers evening enticed a large crowd to get outdoors and enjoy an orienteering excursion in the wood.Several of our summer league stalwarts couldn’t make it to the event as they were busy assisting at the Cork City Sports which was in full swing at the track in CIT on Tuesday evening. Nevertheless, many new summer league supports travelled from as far afield as Coachford and Thurles to attend the event. It was also fantastic to see so many local orienteering aficionados attending the event and it was marvellous to witness their excitement at their achievement of having finished. Some of these families are presently hosting children from Chernobyl and on this visit they too got to experience a woodland orienteering adventure. We were also pleased to welcome some visiting WATO orienteers to Tracton. We hope you all enjoyed the evening.

The clear felling of the upper section of the wood really deterred us from visiting this site in recent years. However, much of this area has now been re-planted and the forest as a whole has begun to mature and recover from the impact of the machinery which ravaged it during the felling process. The wood has become a very popular location for mountain bikers and many were waiting eagerly to enter the wood when we were finishing up on Tuesday evening. These bikers have put a good deal of labour into constructing bridges and custom trails throughout the wood. While the undulating nature of some of these trails allow the bikers the thrill of getting airborne during their cycle they don’t afford the same degree of momentum to a runners flow and are best circumvented.

The continued dry spell meant that the majority of the tracks in the wood were very dry and this combined with the soft cushioning of the forest surface put a bounce in one’s step when traversing many of them. This additional spring was the push needed when ascending many of the steep sections of the wood. The first control on both the Long and Short courses brought competitors along a lovely trail adjacent to the river’s edge before commencing the unavoidable climb to subsequent controls. Control three on the Long course took competitors to the highest ground on the Western side of the map and this was followed by a fast descent down the forest valley taking controls 4 and 5 in en-route.On the Long course the leg from 6 to 7 offered multiple route options. Several risk takers in the field took a chance on the straight line approach to control 7 which required finding a route along the river which was surrounded by slow run. Others picked one of the safer but slightly longer routes either along the tracks through this re-planted ground or along the higher trail around the perimeter of this area. Looking at the splits it seems this gamble paid off for some contenders. For others the scenic views of the valley below was a small consolation for longer split time!From the post run discussions it seems that control 8 on the Long course which also doubled as control 6 on the short course proved tricky to locate. This control was situated on a bridge on the lower of two parallel paths which crossed through an area of slow run. Anyone who approached it via the high path from control 7 would have had difficulty distinguishing these tiered paths in the surrounding undergrowth unless a fellow competitor happened to be running along one of them. Furthermore, avoiding cutting through the undergrowth necessitated a bit of zig-zagging along these paths. Attacking this control from the low side was probably a better route choice but still required meticulous reading of the path network on the map.A few steep climbs awaited competitors on their return trip through the forest valley and back to the finish most notably the ascent to controls 9 and 11. The high trail along the Eastern sector of the map provided lovely running terrain on the leg from 11 to 12. Some care needed to be taken on the sharp drop to control 13 at the end of this trail. The planner designed some taxing courses which combined with the strenuous nature of the terrain really challenged all who participated.With Cillin Corbett away on holidays this week many were hoping to capitalise on his non-attendance and improve their own league position. However there were still 57 other competitors on the long course to contend with on the night. In the men’s league the two main challengers for the runners up spot in this year’s summer league were both in action at the event. Both really pushed themselves on this physically demanding course and at the finish there was just 47 seconds between them. It was John Chandler who claimed his second summer league event win when he finished the 4.3km course in a time of 29 minutes and 44 seconds. It may have been eight weeks since his last event win but this win strengthens his hold on the runners-up title by reducing his points total. Despite another very steady run from Conrad Daly he had to be happy with second place on the night having completed the course in a time of 30 minutes and 31 seconds. It also improves his current points total which will surely see him on the podium during the summer league prize-giving. Donal Murphy took third place at the event with a time of 33:47. Sadly, further down the field a few other competitors who turned up with the aim of moving up the leaderboard didn’t handle this added pressure so well and failed in their attempt to improve their current league standing.

In the ladies league the attendance of the Perkins family at the event really dashed the hopes of those in contention for the ladies league runners-up spot. These siblings made a lasting impression on their 2014 Summer League debut by taking two podium spots at the event. Emer Perkins took the event win when she completed the course in a time of 41:28. Sharon Lucey narrow held onto second place this week when she finished with a time of 44:14. Sharon was just 9 seconds clear of third place finisher Meabh Perkins. Meabh punched all 13 controls in a time of 44:23.On the Short course Jamie Latimer was looking to improve on his 20th place finish at the Doneraile event with the hope of moving himself comfortably into the Short course league runners-up spot. Jamie managed to handle this extra pressure with easy and reaped the maximum benefit from the event by taking the Short course event win. He completed the challenging course in a time of 46:49. This week’s Short course was a good deal more challenging than normal as was reflected in the winning time. Sienna Bosonnet was hot on Jamie’s heels as she visited all nine controls in a time of 47 minutes and 16 seconds. Sienna’s sister Chiara took the final podium spot with a time of 51:53. This result will also no doubt improve her overall league total.Well done to all who took part at the event. Full individual results with split times are available here.As usual some photos from the event have been uploaded to the Gallery page of our website which is accessible via the following link.If you have any photos from the event that you would like to enter into our photo competition please do send them on. A sum of money was found in the wood and handed in at download. So if you have a hole in your pocket and were missing some cash at the end of your run do get in touch.

Massive thanks to John and Grainne Lynch for planning and organising the Tracton Wood event. They both did a fantastic job. Thanks also to Cillin Corbett for controlling the event and to Brian Corbett for updating the map to reflect the changes in the wood since our last visit back in 2011. Thanks also to Ben Gearey and Rob McEvoy for their assistance with registration and download.

Next week we will be venturing East for the tenth and final competitive event in the CorkO Summer League which will take place in Curragh Wood near Midleton. The steep terrain at Curragh will present similar physical challenges to the landscape at Tracton. For directions and woodland trivia check out the following link.

Remember this will be the final competitive event in the 2014 Summer League so if you have an orienteering nemesis you are trying to overtake in the league table don’t miss your last chance to surpass them. However, if you are still chasing a summer league finishers t-shirt fear not as following the Curragh event there is still one other fun event remaining for you to attend and earn this memento.

Hope to see you there!