Thanks to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation Sarum had permission to use Ministry of Defence land near Tidworth to host this year’s Caddihoe Chase. Despite the rather unpleasant weather forecasts over 320 Orienteers braved the inclement conditions to compete in the two day event. The first day turned out to be rather more popular, possibly because it doubled up as the SWOA long distance championship.
The areas used, Perham Down on Day 1 and Sidbury Hill of Day 2 have their limitations but courses planned by Sarum’s Ian Peirce, on Day 1, and Paul Lane, Day 2, made the best of the challenges on offer and took runners through the varied terrain and vegetation. Some of us could have done without the added difficulties of dense undergrowth and slippery chalk slopes but, hey, that’s what orienteering is about.
The start on Day 1 was rather more that the advertised 300m from assembly but that ensured everyone was nicely warmed up; apart from the Start Team that is. The morning rain ensured runners came back well covered in chalky mud and adjustments had to be made to the finish run in to avoid accidents. As to the races, Sarum’s William White had a fine run to take the top prize of M21 Champion just over 2 min. ahead of club mate Rob Ashton. Sarum’s Peter Hambleton was M75 Champion with Joan Hambleton runner up in W75 less than 2 min. behind winner Claire Fletcher of BOK. It was good to see some of our young juniors turn out to experience what, for them, must have been a challenging experience.
One runner collapsed when on his course but, fortunately, was discovered by one of Sarum’s running medics. Thankfully he recovered sufficiently and, with the help of friends, was able to return home. We wish him a full recovery.
Day 2, on Sidbury Hill, started with more torrential rain and wind that gave the Start Team a second chance to get hypothermia but this eased off later to make life a little more bearable and some later runners at least were able to run in sunshine. The chasing start requires a different approach to normal to ensure that runners go off in the correct sequence and time interval. The use of a punching start on a chasing race did puzzle some but it does mean that race times are accurate and some adjustment can be made to avoid later runners waiting in adverse weather. Watching the early strategy of runners just a few seconds apart was interesting.
The best Sarum result over the two days went to Rob Ashton who was second overall in the M21 class, just missing out by 3 min. having run a total of 21k, climbed 600m and visited 53 control sites over the two races. Many of the Sarum runners on Day 2 were also helpers and those exposed to the bad weather, especially at the Start, were not in the best condition to run competitively.
Thanks to Organiser Dan Gallagher, Planners Ian Peirce and Paul Lane and Controller Bernie Fowler for creating the event. Thanks also to Sharon Gallagher for running the memory string course over both days despite there being so few takers. Finally thanks to EMIT, NWO and BADO for the loan of equipment and to the amazing band of Sarum volunteers who made the event possible. Please can we have a rest now?
Full results are here.
Hope to see you at the Sarum Galoppen and SCOA League event at Hamptworth on October 28th.