Fortunate circumstances occurred this year, allowing a meet director with Irish ancestry the opportunity to run an event on the best day of the year! I felt I needed to try something to celebrate the holiday, so I ditched plans for normal advanced courses, in favor of something a bit more whimsical, fun, and tricky. I set regular White and Yellow courses, which were poorly attended due to the driving rain that poured on Spring Lake all of the night before, and right up until about 10AM the day of the event. Those who did come out had a merry time of it though! Below are the complete results.
For the other three courses, I kissed my Blarney stone, threw a four-leaf clover in the air, and made something different and special happen. I set three courses, Shamrock, Leprechaun, and Blarney. All three courses contained a couple of advanced difficulty control locations, along with some that would "normally" be considered orange or yellow level. These were no ordinary courses, however.
The Shamrock course looked normal, except that instead of a typical 5-color orienteering map, participants were faced with a map colored completely in Green. Where were the thickets and the meadows? Only the wee folk knew.
The Leprechaun course had the normal looking map with all the correct colors, but my own Leprechaun had removed all of the trails and roads from the map. Doing this certainly made the course look and feel much more technical than it would normally. This was a good test of people using alternate navigational aids to find the controls.
The Blarney course was my favorite, though. It was the longest course, and consisted of several twists. First, it was a Phantom-O, where some of the controls on the map were not actually there in reality. O'ers had to have confidence in their own navigational skills to decide to move on, or to run around in circles looking for a control that wasn't there. To make things even more challenging, the map was reversed, i.e. a mirror image, i.e., east was west and north was south and turning the map around didn't help! The map legend stated the scale as 1:1,000,000, and said the contour interval was 500 meters. Place names were also added, so that participants journeyed from England to Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Emerald isle itself, all while rounding the Irish Sea (Spring Lake). I enjoyed watching the confusion of people starting the Blarney course, and enjoyed their comments afterwards.
Irish orienteering rules were in effect, which meant time could be taken off your result for the best excuse I heard for why you had so much trouble on your course. Three winners were determined. See if you can guess who they are via the results.
St. Patrick himself showed his love of our sport by banishing all snakes from the park for the event. He did however provide us with a five minute hailstorm in the afternoon which turned the ground white. Very cool!
I want to thank all of the people who braved the elements and came out and helped, even though some of them weren't Irish. Gary Kraght, Judy Koehler, Joan Roos, Idell Weydemeyer, David Meredith, David Barr, Dwight Freund, Bill Papendick, Alan Jones, and a couple of other whose names I've misplaced all made the event a success. I especially want to thank the map printer, George Minarik, who not only printed all the maps, but also added some of his own clever ideas to make the Irish-O course events more tricky than I had envisaged.
White Course 1 David, Jack & Tom Kendall 35:32 2 Maloney group (2) 40:15 3 Robert, Kyle, Sam & Jack Spillane 64:40 4 Lauren Wemmer and Kristen 72:35 5 Bob Fisher & Emma Remer 80:20 6 Dalton & Mary Young 85:34 Yellow Course 1 Wyatt Riley 27:37 2 Jim Keller 63:32 3 ROTC CA-011 76:05 4 Eillen, Paul, Emma & Darren Wallace 76:32 5 Donna La Graffe 85:47 6 David Phife 99:20 7 Garry Mainerich, Deanna & Allisa Wilson 131:08 8 Leo & Helen Lara 138:54 Cassie Beals DNF Shamrock Course 1 Vladimir Gusiatnikov 23:23 2 Vivian Lee 32:21 3 David Meredith 67:00 4 Seth Martin 71:59 David Barr DNF Leprechaun Course 1 Istvan Havasi 34:30 2 Gary Kraght 38:34 3 Vladimir Gusiatnikov 44:15 4 Vivian Lee 47:00 5 Dwight Freund 61:26 6 Jay Hann 64:25 7 Terese Karras 66:44 8 Rosemary Johnson 69:47 9 Joan Roos 71:45 10 Judy Koehler 79:30 Blarney Course 1 Slava Akinin 44:02 2 Vadimas Masalkovas 47:49 3 Vladimir Gusiatnikov 48:25 4 Wyatt Riley 48:59 5 Nik Weber 51:20 6 Rex Winterbottom 58:31 7 Andrejus Masalkovas 61:00 8 Doug Masiel 74:35 9 Brent Russell 98:01