It was a dark and stormy night... ok, enough cliche!
I must say I never enjoyed control pickup more in my life. I didn't previously get to run the courses at night, I was scouting them out and figuring out placements. So getting to run it and experience what the others had experienced was quite a pleasure.
The conditions were dark and wet. Mother nature had nourished the earth. Puddles and wet vegetation abounded, and the little ditches flowed the runoff from the incessant sprinkling. I ran free and unhindered in the quiet hours before dawn. And I picked up controls.
Amazingly, 14 of the 17 pre-registered entrants showed up. By 8:30 we had congregated and then we walked down to the center of the oval for an impromptu starting routine. For the three courses, I had three piles of maps with a line ending up at each. We started people every minute until the lines disappeared. That only took 5 minutes.
I sat and pondered the weather while they all ran off. They were hunting down PVC pipes spotted with reflective squares. Thanks to Evan Custer for the control suggestion. I employed a different kind of punching system, each control had a point value, and at the finish the contestants were to report to me the sum of those values.
Some people had a little trouble remembering to keep track of the running point total. I would guess that being used to punching and moving on does not help! However, I thought at the last minute it'd be easier than having people write codes on a piece of paper in the rain, though.
There were three courses. Two were advanced courses that had the same controls but started at different points in the loop. They measured 6.03km and 6.27km. I arbitrarily gave 6.27km runners a one minute handicap. The other course was a 4.70km intermediate course.
Both courses had some long legs, as each had only a few controls. I tried to send the advanced people out across the grass and trees and not along line features. Many of the controls were concentrated in the northern part of the map where the land is undeveloped. The intermediates had a few controls out in the bush too, but they didn't have to venture as far.
I was impressed with the results. Everyone got back within 80 minutes, and seemed to find there way in the dark pretty well. We had a first-timer, Mike Springer, win the intermediate course in a sharp 35:15. Now he's looking forward to checking out some wilderness orienteering at Indian Valley. Per Magnussen, Jorg Hofer, and Lans Taylor ripped through the advanced courses with very speedy per/km rates. Per managed the best- 5:09/km- and that was with a full stomach. Apparently he remembered about it just a few minutes before he left, and that was after he had downed his dinner. Fortunately, he didn't up it. (I think.)
Advanced results, 11 controls, 6.03/6.27km. Name Course Time Time w/ handicap Rate per km 1. Per Magnussen Adv-6.03 31:05 31:05 5:09.29 2. Jorg Hofer Adv-6.03 33:07 33:07 5:29.51 3. Lans Taylor Adv-6.27 34:27 33:27 5:29.67 4. Tapio Karras Adv-6.27 42:11 41:11 6:43.67 5. Thorsten Graeve Adv-6.27 49:40 48:40 7:55.28 6. Syd Reader Adv-6.27 52:35 51:35 8:23.19 7. Tony Pinkham Adv-6.03 53:23 53:23 8:51.18 8. Manfred Kopisch Adv-6.03 59:08 59:08 9:48.39 9. Trevor Pering Adv-6.03 70:33 70:33 11:41.99 Intermediate results, 9 controls, 4.70km Name Time Rate per km 1. Mike Springer 35:15 7:30.00 2. Rob Lewis 47:53 11:27.66 3. Janice Litvin, John Hensley 60:35 12:53.40 4. John Pagenderm 65:33 13:56.80 5. Steve Beuerman 65:47 13:59.79