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planetFear Ultrasprint at Graves Park

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Sat 14th Jul 2007

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Sheffield's Cliffhanger festival also played host to the UK's first Ultra Sprint Orienteering Competition supported by planetFear this weekend.

Conceived and planned over by Oli Johnson the event was actually run on the day by South Yorkshire Orienteer's as Oli was away on his honeymoon.

Based on the Orient-Show concept developed in Russia and France the races were intricate, intense and very fast with a high number of controls packed very tightly together; the final had 33 controls in 750m! The scale was 1:1000 so everything happened very quickly and it was possible to run of the map in seconds.

The blurr is Aidan Smith, of SYO clearly moving faster than anyone else in this heat. Clare Leventon on her way to an impressive result in the Ultra Sprint, beating most of the men and coming 8th overall.
Photos © Lawrie Phipps, click to enlarge.

In the initial group stages and finals competitors had to race through a complex maze of crash barriers before heading into Graves park woods, on their return it was a case of finding you way back through the crash barrier labyrinth to the finish.

The complex navigation caught a few by surprise with punching the wrong control resulting in disqualification.

The final was contested by Marcus Pinker, Mike Sprot, Rob Baker and Neil Northrup running against each other in an exciting head to head match. Mike continued his impressive form this season to win by a convincing margin. Marcus's steady approach saw him home in second and Neil managed to get back in third place despite Rob's attempts to tackle him to the ground... not your normal orienteering race but certain in the spirit of great fun event.

We understand that there are already plans to expand the involvement of orienteering in next year's festival so watch this space for details.

Here is a video of the last part of the Ultrasprint final: http://www.inverlorne.plus.com/ultrasprint_final_last_part.AVI

Clare Leventon beating Rob Baker to the central butterfly control in the semi finals Speedy Neil Northrop running so fast that he forgot the final butterfly loop in the final! Mike Sprot overall Ultra Sprint winner collects his prize from planetFear's Shane Ohly
Photos © Lawrie Phipps, click to enlarge.

Venue Details

Graves park is Sheffield’s largest park and arguably provides the widest variety of orienteering terrain.  As well as a good path network and open spaces, there are wooded valleys, steepening at the west, with old mineral workings providing a small area of interesting contour detail.

Non-orienteering attractions include a café and a rare-breeds animal farm.

Safety & risk

A comprehensive risk assessment will have been carried out by the organiser, but participants take part at their own risk and are responsible for their own safety during the event. If a competitor has a pre-existing medical condition that they think should be declared, please complete a medical form at enquiries. The sealed envelope will only be opened in an emergency.

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