Sunday, 31 October 2010

Full steam ahead - October 30th

* After some weeks of introductory events after the summer, the competition season gets into full swing this weekend with Munster and Leinster league races on the dunes of Banna, Co. Kerry (where Sir Roger Casement landed from a German submarine in 1916) and at Brockagh, Co. Wicklow, and a Cork Autumn League event at Rostellan, near Whitegate.

* Highlights of November include League events in Leinster on the 7th at Three Rock Wood, near Dundrum, in Munster at Davmore, Co. Waterford and in Ulster at Slievenagore near Newcastle in the Mournes (on Saturday 6th). The same weekend sees the Senior Team travelling to the south of England for the Senior Home International (see more below). November 14th sees a sprint event at Castle Lough Woods, on the shores of Lough Derg, Co. Tipperary, where Bishopstown use the area of a previous Munster Championships.
Schools events feature too, with St Anne's Park in Dublin on the 17th and Farran Forest Park, Co. Cork on the 19th.
Provincial Leagues dominate the weekend of the 20th/21st with Portglenone, Co. Antrim on Saturday 20th, the Vale of Clara, Co. Wicklow, Torc/Muckross in Kerry, Colligan (Co. Waterford) and a County league at Farran, Co. Cork.
The 30th sees Western Eagles staging the Connacht Championships at Portumna, Co. Galway - a flat, forest with good detail and fast running (but plenty of ticks in previous years). Lower-cost entries available until 5th November. See details here.

(Photo: Neil Dobbs (WATO), who features on the JK 2011 entry form)

JK 2011 Preview
The biggest orienteering competition to visit these shores is just around the corner. For years we have been travelling to England, Scotland and Wales at Easter for the Jan Kjellstrom 4-day orienteering festival, the premier British orienteering competition, eatsblished to commemorate the young Swedish orienteer who helped establish the sport in Britain. (Jan was the son of Alvar Kjellstrom, the founder of the Silva compass company). Now it's coming to us: next Easter in Belfast and in Co. Down.
You have no excuse: if you aren't running, you are needed to help (and even if you are running your help will be much appreciated!).
Something like 2000 runners from Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and beyond are expected, and the organisers are laying on a full programme for them.
The festival kicks off with a sprint race on a new map of Stranmillis College and surroundings, in Belfast, on Good Friday; then an individual race in Co. Down on Saturday, followed by another individual race at Slieve Croob - again in Co. Down - on Sunday and a relay on sand dunes at Tyrella, Co.Down on Monday. In addition to these events there will be training opportunities in the days before the JK and in the week between the JK and the Irish Championships in Wicklow.
All the NIOA clubs are involved in the organisation and a large number of volunteers are needed: event co-ordinator Harold White is urging all all Irish O-clubs to help.
Visit the JK2011 web site here for updates. Entries are already open, so get in there!

* Entries open
On-line entries have opened for some major events:
JK2011, Easter in Northern Ireland. See here. Cheapest entries up to January 30th.
Irish Championships, May, in Co. Wicklow. Details here.
World Masters O-Championships, Hungary. Details here. Lowest cost entries up to October 31st.

*   SHI Team
The Irish team to compete at the Senior Home International in Southern England on November 6th and 7th has been selected. Will the Seniors emulate the Juniors and beat Wales, or will the follow the Veterans and be beaten by the Welsh? The team will be:
M21: Darren Burke, Gerard Butler, Seamus O'Boyle, Colm O'Halloran, Marcus Pinker and Ruairi Short.
M20: Niall Ewen, Conor Short, Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan
W21: Aislinn Austin, Rosalind Hussey, Ruth Lynam, Niamh O'Boyle, Toni O'Donovan and Faye Pinker.
W20: Fiona Hill, Olivia Baxter
The relay event will be held on Saturday in Pamber Forest, while the individual competition will be held as part of the November Classic in New Forest, Southampton. Details here.

*   Controllers'Course
Belgian event controller Rogier Vanaken came to Ireland and gave an interesting course for Controllers and prospective controllers at the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel near cahir, Co. Tipperary, on October 16th. He has wide experience as a high-level IOF technical advisor and travels to many countries to help run major international competitions.
About a dozen orienteers from clubs in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Galway attended the lectures and discussions in the hotel and then made their way to Toureen Wood in the Glen of Aherlow for the practical sessions.
Rogier brought the group up to date on new IOF rules, dealing with control placement, electronic timing, organisation and the functions o the controller (ot "technical advisor"). He also covered some of the differing requiremants for sprint, classic and relay planning.
Did you know, for example, that a control should be placed at least 1 metre from the feature, to allow competitors to get in to punch, that the first control in a course should be fairly easy to avoid runners bunching up while they search for it; or that  you can put a control in a pit or depression if it is close to a clear attackpoint (otherwise it has to be on the edge or top)?
He said that the main function of the controller/technical advisor is to help the planner to get the best courses for the competitors.
A course like this is a prerequisite for anyone aiming to be an IOA controller.
You can read the IOA Rules on the IOA web site here, and the IOF Rules at here. The IOA Rules are currently being updated but the basics remain the same.

* Planners' Course
Graham Nilsen from Great Britain (one of the controllers for next year's JK O-festival in Northern Ireland) is giving a course planning course on Saturday December 4th in Dublin. The course will be at Bewley's Hotel at Newlands Cross (between the M50 and the M7/M8 Cork/Limerick road).
Graham has written the book (literally - here is the link) on course planning and the course should be an essential part of every planners' toolkit.
There's a Leinster League event on the Curragh (about 20 minutes from the hotel) the following day.
Details from IOA soon.

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