Sarum Galoppen and SCOA League Event 2016
A glorious still, sunny autumn morning greeted runners to the 2016 Sarum Galoppen in Collingbourne Woods. The sunshine glinting through the trees onto the Beech leaves carpeting the assembly area gave no indication to the eager competitors of the hard struggles that lay ahead.
As with many woods in the South, the summer had encouraged considerable bramble growth underfoot which, coupled with the prolific brashings resulting from extensive forestry work, turned what used to be fast terrain into something of an arboreal quagmire.
The expressions, both verbal and facial, of runners coming to Download made it pretty clear that no one had found their course to be easy. On the plus side the weather stayed fine and there was a good turn out with over 300 punters, no doubt because the Galoppen was also badged as a SCOA League event and an absence of local competing events.
The good turn out made the courses very competitive and on the top Brown course Clive Hallett (BOK, M50) took first place some 2 minutes ahead of Sarum’s Ben Chesters (M35). Chris Huthwaite (M45) won the Blue course for Sarum and David Oxenham (M60) took second place on Short Green behind Angus Thompson (IND, M50). Sam Johnson (Devon, M14) won the Green course, Louis Nieuwoudt (IND, M14) Light Green, Bobby Godley (IND, M13) Orange and Robin Inness (BKO, M12) the White course. Overall there was a big turnout from Sarum with most hoping to hone their skills and fitness ahead of the looming Compass Sport Trophy final.
Inevitably there were some glitches. Several runners returned worried that one control hadn’t ‘winked’ at them; in fact control 45 doesn’t have a light to flash, so they were delighted to be told their visit to the control had been successfully recorded. Later on it became apparent that control 63 seemed not to be registering on EMIT bricks but most had successfully recorded the control with the backing card punch – a warning to those of us that don’t usually bother with the backup. What was interesting was to see the latest generation of EMIT bricks which incorporate a vivid LED light that flashes on registering with the controls; something to ask Santa for perhaps?
Brashings take their time to rot down but perhaps we can hope that Collingbourne will gradually return to a more friendly state.
Full results, Route Gadget and Splitsbrowser can be found here.
All Photos by Shane Wilkinson. More photos in Gallery.