What are orienteers really thinking about when competing?

Post date: Jun 08, 2012 9:9:12 AM

What do you think about when out orienteering....are you planning ahead, focusing on running faster, memorising the codes, admiring the views, wondering where fellow competitors are going, thinking of beating your orienteering nemesis, planning your supper or simply enjoying being outdoors!

Well Rob McEvoy (seen opposite in action at the Hungarian Sprint "C" Final, September 2011) has kindly written an account which provides a good insight into his mindset during his winning run in James' Fort. It makes for interesting reading.

"James' Fort is so open and fast that this was always going to be a quick race. I started near 7pm and I knew Josh had done 21-ish minutes so the plan was to aim for an ambitious 18-minute run.1. There was a route choice to the first control so picked the beach option, as I thought it might be busy in front of the pub. Ended up yelling at people to watch out as I thundered up the narrow path to the beach. 2. Was unsure of routes through the fort so decided to go the long way around. Probably a bad choice but don't seem to have dropped that much time. Gerald later told me that he went directly up the crag through the green and in to the fort, he had the fastest time on this leg, but I didn't fancy this route as I know how easy it is to get stuck in green (after last week's escapade at Watergrasshill!). 3. & 4. Spiked 5. Used the paths around the fort but went out of my way a bit to access them. Failed to notice a short path on the map that would have been a more direct way to access this "ring road", dropped 30 seconds to Josh as a result. Prayed that there would be a break in the veg at the Eastern tip of the fort, to let me out, and there was. 6. & 7. Spiked 8. Had already decided to use the path (Motorway) to the North of the fort so just put the boot down on this leg. This was actually the longest leg on the course and I flipped over the map and planned all the remaining legs and I motored along. Quick look at the watch, 8:30 elapsed, on target! Elephant tracks to the control (a signpost), though it seemed to be in the wrong place on the map relative to the nearby ruin.

9. Down the hill again. Some tracks trodden through the green where some poor souls had ventured through the brambles, that would have been a very bad idea.

10. And back up the hill. Bad route choice after that, plan was to take the East-most tunnel in to the fort, but taking the West-most would have been the best way to go (although Gerald lost part of his scalp doing this). I was a bit confused when I got to near where I thought the tunnel entrance was, as I hadn't visualised what the area would look like. Took off up the narrow trail and on to the fort's Eastern rampart, which is where my tunnel entrance actually was. No need to use the tunnel now as I was in the fort.

11. Headed out of control #10 in the wrong direction, realised it after about 5 seconds but if you look at the Routegadget this is where Josh passed me. #11 was a butterfly control.

12. Spiked

13. Plan was to take the "ring road" again and emerge to the South of the control, but finally noticed the little path (slip road!) as I passed by. On the map it's obscured by a veg change. Met the Short course winner Sean Bosonnet at this control and we raced back up the hill after punching it.

14. Another glance at the watch told me I'd about 3 minutes to get myself back to the finish, so put the boot down. Straight through the fort, this is where I got back ahead of Josh because he went the long way around. I only gained back about 15 seconds though, he must have been flying.

15 (& 16) & Finish. Bang bang bang. Even punched an extra control at an earth wall corner on the way back, just in case! Made it back with just 18 seconds to spare, some small consolation for the 40-second defeat I suffered to Josh in our head-to-head in Galway last weekend :-)" by Rob McEvoy (Team UCC)

Since Rob and Josh have both uploaded their routes to Route Gadget it is possible to recreate the 2012 battle at James' Fort. So the video below allows you to watch them chase each other around James' Fort. It really was so close and this demonstrates the benefits of efficient route choice.

I hope this account gives you something else to think about next week while out on your run!

Short Course Race Report

Joe Bosonnet seen below running at full speed up the hill to control number 5 on the Short course has also provided an account of his run at James' Fort. It seems the dry moat may have cost him a podium place but he had a great run nonetheless.

"Nice flat course at James’ Fort in a lovely summers evening. Found number one ,two , three, four, five and six easily. But I made a map error on number seven and eventually found it after nearly four minutes. Found eight without any problems but again made a map mistake on number nine and found it after three minutes. Nice steep hill going down to number ten and I had fun running down it! Ended up coming fourth with a time of 16:21.I have to say fair play to my brother Sean for racing around the course in his buggy and finishing first in a time of 15:30! Looking forward to Curragh next week! " by Joe Bosonnet (Team Bosonnet)