A dark, chilly November night was brightened by the headlights of Orienteers who took to the streets of Salisbury to compete in a Wessex Night Orienteering League event organised by Sarum Orienteers. Sarum’s Ricky Thornton planned the challenging courses which required runners to visit control sites scattered throughout Salisbury’s Medieval street network and beyond. Runners had to collect even numbered controls before changing over to odd numbers, via one of two crossover controls, or vice versa within a time limit of one hour, which required careful route planning. There were bonus (5 per minute under the hour) and penalty (10 per minute/part of minute over the hour) points to consider and these played a part in the final results.
An excellent turnout of 71 saw SOC’s Robert Finch take the honours by collecting all controls in 51:45 minutes (60 bouus points) to give a score of 560 points ahead of Nick Jarvis of Southdown Orienteers and Sarum’s own Dan Cope and Alan Finlay each with 525 points. In all seven runners managed to complete the clean sweep in under the hour and collect the maximum 500 points.
As an alternative classic score race runners could try to visit all the control sites in any order within the one hour time limit. Sarum’s Elara Jacobs (Age 8) topped the table scoring 480 out of a possible 500 but losing 20 points for taking just over the hour. She still headed the table with 460 points ahead of club mates Mary McCormack (430 points) and Jamie Harris (390 points).
Ricky’s courses started and finished in Brown Street Car Park immediately adjacent to the Bell and Crown Pub who kindly provided accommodation for Registration and Download and room to leave kit. Runners were able to leave orders for food before running to have it ready for serving on their return – what a great idea.
These are early days for the current Wessex Night League but, in the Open Class, Sarum’s Dan Cope currently leads with 2338 points ahead of club mate Alan Finlay (1914 points) and Alan Blanchflower of Wessex (1817 Points). Dan Cope is also current leader in the handicap class.