Archive for May, 2013

The White Peak Marathon goes from Thorpe (near Ashbourne in Derbyshire) to Cromford along two former mining railways converted to cycle paths. You are taken by bus to Thorpe and start on the Tissington Trail, then at 11 miles after 160m of gentle climb you U-turn onto the High Peak Trail with a descent of 250m, mainly down the three ‘inclines’ after 22 miles. The ‘Altitude profile’ on ViewRanger on my i-phone shows this rather well!Image

I did the 2012 race in 3:56 and the only split I can remember is 21 miles at 3 hours. That the last 5.2 miles took 56 mins shows a dramatic slowing (from 8.57 minute miles to 10 minute miles) and I do remember walking 3 or 4 stretches. This year I was joined by my husband Dave on his 1st marathon. He’s often run the distance in fell races but never on the (relatively) level!

I went off faster and he caught me at 2 miles, I never lost sight of him and got a boost at about 9 miles and overtook. The trail meanders gently uphill and the mist was blowing into our faces. The psychological advantage of this was that you couldn’t see runners a mile ahead of you like you could last year. This is always a bit demoralising!Image

Running a marathon is all about fractions – soon you are at 6 miles, which is nearly a quarter, then 10 miles, then half way. A half marathon runs in parallel but starts at the same time as the full. I crossed the half marathon Start line at about 1:45 so was pretty pleased with that.

However at about 17 miles I began to feel my fingers going numb so I had my boiled eggs, a seed bar and dropped my glucose powder and Nuun (electrolyte) tablet into a cup of water at the next drinks station. Dave was carrying his Platypus but I didn’t carry a drink as there are 7 water stations, one of which you pass twice!

I felt a big improvement but Dave and many others were still passing me. I passed the 21 mile marker at 3hrs 2 mins, a bit slower than last year but still running and going particularly well down the inclines. The bit from Harborough Rocks is home territory but certain sections still drag!

I passed Dave on the final and longest incline and thought he would get me on the last ¾ mile section along the canal and although he didn’t, he was less than a minute behind. I was pleased with 3:54:14 – 2 mins faster than last year!

Matlock Athletics Club did a great job at organising a friendly race and a goody bag and mug at the end with a pun on ‘Swift Half’ and ‘Complete Satisfaction’!Image

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I volunteered to coordinate the Middles on Stanton Moor about 18 months before the event and by then DVO had been negotiating with various landowners for 6 months, partly to try and include Hill Carr Wood in the competition area. DVO had hosted the 2011 CompassSport Cup Final at Longshaw and the Club gained a lot from the experience, including having the same Safety Officer for the Middles.

Hill Carr was not to be and by 12 months before the event, John Duckworth (the Planner) and I had identified the Assembly and ‘final’ parking. Something to work with in conversations with DVO Team Leaders, British Orienteering, English Heritage and local groups. The coordinator’s role is really to keep track of what’s happening as briefed by Team Leaders!

My husband Dave was Assistant Coordinator and we competed in the 2012 Sprint and Middles, both hosted by EBOR, to get a feel for the size of the event and pick up some tips.

I met the Sprints team at the BO Event Officials Conference in September and this was useful as we had to liaise over equipment and bibs etc. The Conference also made me think about what makes for a user-friendly event. It was around this time that fees were agreed and entries went live on Fabian – a major milestone!

The track to Assembly in early April. Competitors' cars were parking elsewhere, but traders vans, Portaloos, commentary and officials' cars needed to drive through here

The track to Assembly in early April. Competitors’ cars were parking elsewhere, but traders vans, Portaloos, commentary and officials’ cars needed to drive through here

The 8 months of rain followed by 2 months of snow meant that we ‘lost’ the parking field in January and made other arrangements for parking and bussing. The BO mini-site was a great tool for letting people know about this. Then, on the Wednesday before the event, the farmer phoned and said we could use the original field – so yet more changes but well worth it! I dread to think of the chaos this would have caused in the days before email.

Time definitely passes quicker on the weekend of the event. A dozen club members made-ready the Assembly area on the Saturday, catching occasional glimpses of John and Tony Carlyle (Controller, AIRE) disappearing into the forest. And at 7:15 on Sunday the traders began to arrive, followed quickly by competitors.

A lot of thought had gone into the arena start and the requirements for running a timed start while accommodating EOD runners. On the day, everything went very smoothly and I know that John and Tony were as relieved as I was when the first finishers came through. There were 1105 runners across the 13 courses, with anticipation building as the Open classes started in the second half of the start window.

It was great to finally relax chat with old friends at the event – as well as to my brother who had driven over from the Lake District to ferry equipment in his van. There were a couple of issues to talk through with the Controller and it was great to have someone as experienced as Tony to advise me. Soon it was time to set up for the Prize Giving and again DVO helpers (see photo) and the commentary team did a great job.

Just some of the 96 DVO members who helped on the day and before

Just some of the 96 DVO members who helped on the day and before

It was amazing how quickly everything was dismantled and put away before the first drops of rain. I really enjoyed working with everyone to put on a successful and safe event that finally came into being after so much emailing! I also got a good insight into the usefulness of the Rules, which I’d not really considered much in 25 years of orienteering!

(This was written for Orienteering Focus shortly after the event.)

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