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About SYO

South Yorkshire Orienteers have over 200 members ranging in age from 5 to 85. There is a wide range of ability and experience within the club from beginners to elite orienteers, who represent Great Britain all over the world. We offer a friendly and informal welcome to the sport - supporting adult and junior beginners and more seasoned orienteers alike with coaching and a programme of regular events.

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What is Orienteering?

Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport. The aim is to navigate between control points marked on an orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time.

It does not matter how young, old or fit you are as you can choose the course that's right for you and run, jog or walk it at your own pace. It is excellent for adults wanting to shape up, add some excitement and mental challenge to their running and meet new friends. It is also ideal for families as everyone can take part at the level that's right for them and it allows children to develop independence, confidence and decision making skills.

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The 2018 Peter Palmer Relays

Published Thursday, 13 September 2018 22:08

1st leg mass start

The Peter Palmer Relays are an annual junior team event held partly in the dark and partly in daylight. During the autumn of 2017, SYO received a slightly desperate email asking whether we would consider hosting the event as no other volunteers had come forward. As we have such a strong junior membership and knowing how much the juniors benefit from it, we soon agreed. Nick Lightfoot kindly stepped forward as planner and without remembering ever agreeing Jacky Dakin was suddenly wearing the organiser's hat!

Fast forward 10 months and the weekend of the Peter Palmer's was almost upon us. The doorbell rang constantly as headlights, a new generator, a big screen, batteries, maps and goodness what else arrived and the dining room was a hive of activity as Pete tried out the radio controls and results screen! No doubt the Lightfoot & Dakin houses were in a similar state as Nick bagged the maps and Jacky gathered all the paraphernalia required for organising the event!

Saturday 8th September dawned - the day of the Peter Palmer’s - but first only the matter of the Saturday Series 1 event at Endcliffe Park to get out of the way. Pete & I looked at the weather forecast and breathed a sigh of relief - it's due to rain, numbers will be down. How wrong we were! 549 runs, hundreds of new registrations, torrential downpours and resolution of a conflict at a wedding venue later it was finally over. Thank goodness for the many club members who stepped up to help, some for the first time, in very chaotic conditions.

By 5pm the cars had been loaded up with equipment and we were off to Tankersley in north Sheffield. The organising, planning and computing teams headed off to build the arena in the woods while Amanda and I established ourselves at the sports hall for meeting and greeting, not only all the SYO juniors, but also the club teams from around the country.


Eventually all 31 SYO juniors had arrived and laid out their sleeping mats and bags in our designated area in the hall; so we headed up en masse to take a look at the woodland arena so we knew what to expect in the morning. Then it was time for the 5 a-side football and banner making competition. Conveniently the Paces campus happens to be situated adjacent to state of the art 3G floodlit pitches so Paul was able to organise a fabulous football tournament complete with prizes.

After an hour of frenetic competition, it was time to gather for a team meeting. After handing out dibbers, numbers and going over important final details, it was time to celebrate Dom’s birthday with large slices of chocolate cake. Then the juniors climbed into their O kit ready for a quick get up and it was time for lights out.

In next to no time, 4.15am arrived and the first of the alarms were ringing. It was a hive of activity as people grabbed their belongings and adjusted their headtorches. Jenny, Amanda & I headed off to the arena with the 1st and 2nd leg runners, while Paul remained in the hall to hustle later runners up to the start at the right time.

SYO Juniors 1st leg

The juniors quickly donned their facepaint and our 1st leg runners – Ryan, Max & Jamie - lined up ready for the mass start. The arena looked fabulous with fairy lights decorating the download tent and tea lights lining the run in. The minutes ticked down and suddenly it was 5am and the 21 first leg runners were off into the dark!

From the first moment Nick agreed to plan, he had a strong vision of what he wanted the 2018 Peter Palmers to be. In his mind it was absolutely vital that the relays were made as exciting as possible with live commentary, spectator run-throughs, radio controls and live results. He certainly achieved this with Pete, Jacky, controller Ranald and the rest of the team’s help and this really added to the wonderful atmosphere.

SYO Supporters

Within 10 minutes the first runners were through the radio control and excitingly included in that pack was Ryan running the first leg for SYO Killer bees. Thirty two minutes later WCOC 1 were back handing over to their 2nd leg runner and five minutes after that Ryan appeared handing over to Dom in 6th place having had a very good run. Dom then had a flyer gaining the fastest time on leg 2 and handing over to Sam C in 2nd place. Sam also delivered a fantastic run with the 2nd fastest time on the light green leg retaining SYO Killer Bees 2nd place. Next up was Imogen who also ran very well to clock the 2nd fastest orange time. She handed over to Alexandra and Freya, who were both 1st time Peter Palmer runners. Leg 5 is a yellow course and up to 3 runners can run at once. Unfortunately our 3rd yellow runner, Ciara, broke her finger badly just before the competition so couldn’t take part. Seventeen minutes later Freya was back to hand over to Euan on last leg. We were still in 2nd place overall but in first place on the Joan George (the competition for younger teams). As Euan appeared twice through the spectator run-through it was clear that WCOCs 2nd team were hot on our heels. Would Euan hold him off? Sadly it was not to be and they appeared in the finish run in together with WCOC 2 crossing the line just in front of Euan. However there is always a nervous wait at download, as it is vitally important to visit all the correct controls and unfortunately in this instance WCOC 2 had missed a control. SYO claimed 2nd place overall (behind WCOC 1) and first place in the Joan George competition.

Mini Mass Start

Meanwhile the competition continued. How were SYO’s other teams doing? In the main competition SYO Bumble Bees were now up to 8th, whilst the Worker Bees were in 19th place. Over in the Daybreak Competition (a new 4 leg relay starting at dawn) our Honey Bees and Carpenter Bees were in 2nd & 3rd places respectively. Sadly the Bumble Bees had a mispunch on last leg (interestingly at the same control as WCOC 2) but the Worker Bees pulled up to finish 16th. In the Daybreak the Honey Bees (Isobel, James, Oliver, Emil & Alfie) finished in a brilliant 2nd place with the Carpenter Bees (Joe, Josie, Carys, Claudine & Toby) in a fabulous 3rd position.

Waiting for incoming runners

Well done to all the juniors who took part, particularly those who were taking part in their first Peter Palmers. A special mention must go to Jamie & Max for stepping up alongside Ryan to run the very nerve wracking pitch black night leg; also to Matthew who ran a very good time on leg 2 and Alfie who managed the red leg in a good time with very little orienteering experience. The prize winners all received a good supply of chocolate which hopefully they shared amongst the whole team!

SYOs Daybreak prizewinners

So it just remains to re-iterate our huge thanks to Jacky, Nick, Pete, Ranald (from DVO) and the rest of the SYO helper team for a fabulous job done. Thank you also to Rob Lines for the photos. The 2019 Peter Palmers will take place in the South East on the 7th & 8th September, where we shall very much look forward to just competing!

SYOs Killer Bees

Podium Success at the British Sprints & Middles

Published Wednesday, 12 September 2018 15:12

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The British Sprint & Middle Champs were held over the weekend of 1st / 2nd September in the south west. Many members travelled to compete with a large number achieving podium success over the weekend.

The Sprint Champs was held at Bath University on the Saturday with the qualifying heats held in the morning and the finals in the afternoon. SYO members performed exceptionally well producing 10 medallists. Congratulations to:

M10 - 1st Robbie, 2nd Joseph
M12 - 3rd Conrad
M14 - 3rd Euan
M50 - 1st Bill E, 3rd Martin
M70 - 1st Peter G
W10 - 1st Anna, 3rd Ella
W12 - 3rd Freya

Well done (and commiserations) to those that just missed out on a medal in 4th place - Max (M14), Colin B (M70) and Imogen (W14).

M W10 prize winners

Sunday saw the turn off the Middle Distance Championships at Stockhill in the Mendips. SYO members saw even more success here with 13 medallists. Well done to:

W10 - 1st Ella, 2nd Anna
W14 - 1st Imogen
W50 - 2nd Jenny P
W65 - 3rd Judy
M10 - 2nd Robbie, 3rd Oscar
M14 - 1st Euan, 2nd Max
M40 - 2nd Andy P
M50 - 1st Bill E, 3rd Martin
M70 - 2nd Peter G 

Again there were 4 club members who just missed out on a medal, finishing 4th - Pete T (M40), Pauline T (W45), Nick L (M55) and Freya (W12).




White Rose 2018

Published Friday, 31 August 2018 17:51

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Over the August bank holiday weekend, a large contingent of SYO members travelled to North Yorkshire to take part in the annual White Rose competition. This year the 4 day event was held at Duncombe Park, which provided a stunning setting for the event campsite. As in previous years the races were all held within walking distance of the campsite, with the added bonus this year of the lovely town of Helmsley being within a stone’s throw.

The weekend began on the Friday night with a 30 minute night score around the parkland of the Duncombe Estate. A few keen SYOers took part and there was a well-deserved victory for Oli in the Vet’s class, a 2nd place for Chris L in the Senior class and a 3rd for Paul B in the Super Vet’s class.

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Saturday saw the start of the main competition; the results of which are obtained by adding together the time taken on the Middle and Classic distance races. First up was the Middle Race through the wooded slopes of Duncombe Park. The latter part of the courses in particular offered a technically challenging control pick through World War 2 remnants. Later starters benefited from the elephant tracks trampled through the nettles and bracken by those first out in the forest. (In an orienteering first I was even offered a very tempting glass of red wine by 2 elderly gentlemen relaxing by the river, as I emerged from head high bracken. Not sure what that says about my general racing demeanour!)

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Next on the itinerary was a wonderful sprint race in the late afternoon sun around Helmsley Castle. Hundreds of orienteers charging around the ramparts was a fabulous sight. Winning times were super quick and there were some excellent results by our members. It is particularly nice to see some of our newer members sweeping up the prizes. Well done to:

Young Junior Men – 1st Lawrence, 3rd Sam T
Young Junior Women – 2nd Anna
Junior Men – 1st Euan, 2nd Sam C
Junior Women – 2nd Isabelle H
Vet Men – 1st Andy P
Vet Women – 2nd Amanda
Super Vet Men – 3rd Steve
Ultra Vet Women – 1st Judy

Overnight there was a dramatic change in the weather and Sunday dawned with dark grey rainclouds overhead. Before long the rain was bucketing down and it didn’t stop all day. This didn’t deter most people though from heading out to the start of the Classic distance race. Like the previous day early starters were hampered by the summer vegetation, although the planner made the best of the ominous sounding “Windy Pits!” Running at the same time as the Classic race there was also the trail orienteering competition, although long start windows meant ‘keen beans’ could manage both competitions.

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Although the trail orienteering competition didn’t produce any SYO winners, there were plenty in the overall competition. Again, it was fantastic to see many of our new members and very young juniors collecting their White Rose mugs on the podium alongside our normal prize-winners. Congratulations to:

M10B – 1st Stanley, M14A – 1st Sam C, M16A – 1st Euan, M21L – 1st oli, M35L 3rd Matt, M40L 1st Andy, 3rd Pete T, M45S – 1st Tony, M65S – 1st Neil, W10B – 2nd Hannah, W10A – 1st Charlotte, W12A – 2nd Anna, W14A – 1st Freya, 3rd Alex, W16A – 2nd Isabelle, W21S – 2nd Rose, W40L – 3rd Jenny J, W40S – 1st Louise, W50S – 2nd Robyn, W65L – 1st Sheila, W70S – 1st Monika.

In the Water Trophy, which is presented to the family with the best results over the weekend, Pete, Euan & Freya Tryner picked up 2nd place. The podium places in the quiz were a clean sweep by DVO (perhaps we need to work together better as a club next year) and sadly there were no SYO winners in the photo O competition either.

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As the rain continued to fall some less hardy members headed for home but a fair few brave souls stayed a further day for the team competition. The Guillaume / Preston family got a well-deserved 3rd place in the ‘plus 1 women’ class and Paul B & Mo picked up a 3rd in the hotly contested ‘160+’ category. In the M/W12 minus class Alex J, Stanley, Will P and Hannah all collected mugs!

Many thanks to Steve Rush for the fabulous photos. Next year the White Rose will be based in Scarborough for a more ‘urban feel’ and will come at the end of the ‘Race the Castles’ week that will begin the previous weekend in Lincoln and South Yorkshire. Put the date in your diary!

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