For the second year in a row, I went across the Channel to the ASOM (Awesome Sprint Orienteering Meeting) weekend – this time being held in Ostend. Before the main sprints on the Saturday, there was an interesting 2-person sprint relay event on the Friday evening. As I had been up since 5am, by the time the event happened at 8pm I was almost beginning to regret partnering Chris Branford. But it was a lovely evening, with a fresh breeze and the location was Fort Napoleon, just down the road from my campsite. The format of the event icorporated 4 short (1.3k) courses, all printed on one A3 map.
The men had a mass start and ran course 1, then handed the map and SIAC dibber over to the women, who did course 2. And so on. It was all pretty fast and furious, especially as there were some really elite runners there. It was quite a complex area, as you can see, including a large sand dune with energy-sapping loose sand to negotiate.
Chris and I were going pretty well until he appeared to be long-overdue on course 3. On handing me the map and dipper, he apologised for messing up. It turned out that he had set off running course 4 and hadn’t realised his error until quite a few controls in. He then went onto course 3. Hence the long waiting time for me! What made it worse was that he actually then missed one of the controls towards the end on the proper course! I really didn’t mind as I had just enjoyed the whole experience. By the way, Lynn, Chris’s wife also miss-punched so she and her son Simon were also disqualified. A good start to the weekend!!
The following day was a scorcher, as in England, and as the first Sprint event wasn’t until 3pm, the heat had REALLY built up by the time we were running. Probably about 35 degrees. I was NOT looking forward to it! I really wilt in the heat and the energy just drains from me. But I set off intending to gently jog around and focus on being accurate. The location was a residential area of Ostend but with some nice park areas.
There were no really tricky controls, although I wasted 30 secs or so on control 13. I had looked at the control description to check which fence corner it was (inside NE corner) but for some reason, as I approached it, I convinced myself that it was the other side of the fence, so ran too far round the corner. But apart from that, I had a pretty clean, though slow, run and finished 9th out of 23. So quite pleased with that. Though it took me ages to cool down and recover.
We than had to wait over 2 hours for the second Sprint at just after 6pm. Heat had built up nicely! A different Start and map, this time.
Again, not particularly tricky controls but I managed to mess 8 up badly. The reason? Leaving the control at 90 degrees in the wrong direction, having not set my map correctly. It took me a while to realise what I had done and relocate, but by that time I had wasted about 3 minutes. And that was enough to knock me down the results to 12th place. Annoying!
On the Sunday, the City Race took place and I was delighted that the temperature had dropped by about 13 degrees! Perfect. I haven’t got the map of the course yet as I forgot to pick it up (they had collected in at the Finish) but it was again a race around a residential area of Ostend, but no parks. My ”rival’ Lynn Branford started 3 minutes after me so I was hoping not to see her until after the Finish! I wasn’t doing too badly until control 11 when, having totally mis-read the map and overshot the turning to the control, I eventually re-located and saw Lynn running towards me. Bother! From then on, we were neck and neck for a couple of controls but then she pulled away and my energy levels dropped so I was virtually doing a fast walk, yet alone a jog. So Lynn beat me by nearly 5 minutes and came 9th. I was 13th out of 21. But I was somewhat heartened when I saw that one of the top runners in my class, Liz Godfree, had messed up even more than me on control 11! I had taken over 5 minutes and she had taken 19!!
The total time for all three events over the weekend (2 sprints and city race) were added together to give final positions. Lynn came a great 7th and myself 10th. So midway in the table.
The whole weekend was thoroughly enjoyable, and followed it up by a couple of days sightseeing in Bruges and Ghent. Lovely cities. Highly recommended if you haven’t already been to them.