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Race the Castles 1 National Urban Event at Sheffield City

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Sat 17th Aug 2019

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View RouteGadget
Splits Analysis:
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Results and Routegadget now posted - see links above.

Photos courtesy of Steve Rush are on flickr, thanks Steve.

Lost Property

  • One EUOC running vest, small (Louise Adams?)
  • One pair of Saucony Run Anywhere trainers, grey and red, size 9.

Contact the Organiser at martinandlesley [at]

Organiser's Comments

We'd originally planned to have the first Race The Castles event at Mam Tor, and Ian Cooper had made good progress with a new map. I'd had several visits to the Peaks to work out the logistics of parking (in Castle-ton), the routes to starts, etc. It was pretty disappointing to find out that National Trust wouldn't grant us permission to use the area. At this time of year we had little alternative to instead move the venue to Sheffield, and make it urban.

Pete did a great job with the courses and John was a very diligent controller, making lots of helpful suggestions and spotting omissions that helped ensure the event ran smoothly. Thanks to them both.

I was pleased we got use of the Hilton Hotel room right adjacent to the quay - it made for a very good assembly area, with very close parking. Sorry that the nearest public toilets were some way away from there.

Unfortunately control 41 became very difficult to see when it got blown (or thrown?) onto the wrong side of the wall adjacent to the multi-story car park. Some competitors were affected, but it was rectified reasonably quickly.

The "out of bounds" steps also caused some difficulties. We made them out of bounds because (a) they would have been very slippery in wet weather, and (b) they are narrow and runners would have been trying to go both up and down them. We put additional tapes on them part way through the event, in order to make it clearer that they should not be used. Two runners who did use them before then have had their split times extended for that leg so that they gained no advantage and received a slight penalty.

Thanks to the team of SYO helpers that did a great job, and Lesley my assistant Organiser who took over later on (which meant I was able to get a run myself).

Martin Ward.

Planner's Comments

I'm a big believer in planners, organisers and controllers comments and remember the time when I first started orienteering where an essay from each would accompany the results when they dropped through the letter box a week later.

So first off I have to say urban isn't my thing.  I guess my relatively low running speed means that once I've picked a route the execution is fairly straight forward which means there is lots of time to focus on how much all this running is hurting...
Now woodland and fells are much more my thing so was looking forward to planning on Mam Tor... which after permission was revoked became Sheffield...  After debating various dubious castle connected bits we decided on the tenuous link to having the start near the site of Sheffield Castle which they are excavating a bit at the moment.  It seemed we could get both a yellow and light green for the juniors as a proper urban course so away we went...
The rest of the courses sorted themselves out but after a few knock backs with permissions the shape of some of the courses changed and it is surprising how moving a control site just a few metres impacts the route choice.  Thanks to John for his patience in controlling, i tend to be fairly laid back and he was very good at spotting the issues that my approach failed to see...
I hope you enjoyed your courses and thought they were fair, one of my pet hates is needing to understand the control descriptions to plan your route.  For me a map and compass should be enough to navigate to the control.  There were a few legs where you really needed to understand the map but hopefully there was enough information.  Some of the tricky multi-level stuff is hard to show and we pointed out a few things in the information at prestart.  The multi-level symbol itself needs some finessing to make sure the stripes are clear enough.  There were a couple of minor problems on the day which i hope didn't impact your run or enjoyment, it is way harder in an urban race to get everything right...
And wasn't Victoria Quays nice! I would have to confess that I'd lived in Sheffield for at least 5 years before I knew of it's existence.
To those that are going to other events in the Race The Castles series have fun, the indoor event next week seems to be popular in our household.
Pete Tryner

Controller's Comments

It’s been about 15 years since I left SYO so it was great to work with some old faces again (and some new ones). While it was a shame that permissions for Mam Tor were lost, I believe Pete’s Sheffield courses were high quality and had plenty of route choice – this can be seen in Routegadget. Admittedly the map was a bit busy in some key places and I think for the future it’ll be worth simplifying and exaggerating things in those areas to ensure that things like underpasses are clearer. Hopefully the majority of you saw the on-the-day information where we blew up these sections to clarify things.

We managed to encounter the usual range of logistical issues – construction work (one control was removed from the LG on the Tuesday), permission being retracted for one area the day before the race (the one that should have been on a statue and was on nearby steps instead), and one local council person snipping one of our gripples so he could remove one of our controls. Luckily for this case I managed to spot him walking off with him and negotiated its final location which was attached to the grate at the foot of the tree. This cost me 20 minutes so I only go to the start to give the go-ahead just as the first starters were entering the start-lanes … whew!

John Kewley





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