Thursday, November 22, 2007

A cool evening with threatening skies didn't deter a huge Summer Series crowd at Wollstonecraft last night - at 250 odd entries, our biggest this season by a long shot. Rob Spry had engineered an excellent course taking in, as anticipated, a circle of Berry Island and a rewarding stretch to the west. The clean sweep 'kicker' were a sparse group of three 10 pointers to the east that would have been the undoing of all but the best runners. Those with local knowledge also gave the Gore Cove bush tracks due respect - they are suprisingly slow with lots of turns and upsy-downsy stuff.

Andrew Hill returned to the top of the board last night with a strong run to all checkpoints in 48 minutes. His resulting 570 was just ahead of current Open Men's leader Wayne Eliot, who ran a very strong 550. This scoring indicates almost perfect course setting with the lead runner just falling short of the 600. Great stuff! Mace Neve was on the board for 390 in OW, but there may have been other later results in the low/mid fours. Gordon Wilson again ran well in Super Veteran for 490 - an excellent run across all groupings. The Masters and Veterans were also pumping - Larry Weiss with an excellent 500.

Despite the tempting points to the west, an early run south was probably the most productive. Getting Berry Island and the bush track behind you early, not to mention confronting the 'tidal route' from 24 to 11, allowed plenty of finishing options from the big spread of western pots. The anti clockwise scenario, which most runners seemed to favour, ended in the low point returns via #2 or via #20 - lots of late puff without much late pencil!

Many runners reported difficulties with the location of several controls, especially #9 on the bridge, and may have lost time as a result. We are urging all setters to be clear with pot location to avoid these problems in the future. It is not a hide and seek sport.

Next week we move to Shrimptons Creek at North Ryde with Tim and Bryony Cox on the footplate. Although this is runners territory, route choice can bring down the speedsters here as working an optimal loop can often be difficult. Good running, especially on the connecting parks and bike tracks make this a beauty. Plenty of parking, and there are toilets on site! The 'Ranch' pub adjacent is also good for a post-run roast dinner (and a cleanser of course). Don't miss it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another great Summer Series event last night on the 'Devlins Creek' map - with webmaster David Noble in charge of proceedings, and the corn flakes start box (an irreverant and wonderful Big Foot invention, much appreciated by all starters).

Around 180 punters pulled on the T shirts and enjoyed one of the best runs of the season so far. The control spread tempted runners to head off almost equally to the north or south and work through a loop across the M2. David had added a new area to the south-east of the old map and included an excellent and frustrating loop of controls there. The stiff pull up to 28 or the dash to 19 on the way to a bushy 29 and the time sapping loop to 27. Much time was lost here although the smart money worked 20,28,29 and then back via 19 and the footbridge - ignoring the southerly 30 pointer.

There was also interesting action to the north, with #12 pulling runners west into various loops via 3 and 24. The track run south of 30 to the road bridge proved a smarter option for some, bringing into play the tempting loop of 25,26,16 and 17. All good stuff, with the bush tracks slowing K rates for the unwary.

Veteran Mike Burton managed to grab the silver with 500 points, ahead of Ben 'the beanpole' Rattray (490), both suprisingly shading the late starting Andrew Hill 's Ford' (480). Andrew may have found the gathering gloom in the bush sections to his disadvantage, or he might have just have missed the optimum flow. Such was the quality of the setting that it was hard to work an economical loop - Glenn Horrocks 'movie' swept the 10plus K's in an awkward kidney shape but was very late back for all controls but only 410 points. A good work out none the less.

Other results of note were Edwina Hatch with a blistering run in Masters class for 440 points - her best result to date. Joanna 'lake' Sinclair was also up there with a respectable 390, one out, one back from the flying locomotive and Super Veteran champion, Gordon 'the blue engine' Wilson, on an even 400. The mid to high 400's proved to be a tough ask, although lots of the old blokes got cuddly in the mid three's.

A great start location and a beautiful evening. We will return!

Next week we move back closer to the city to another old favourite - Smoothey Park at Wollstonecraft. Rob Spry is chief pot hanger and promises plenty of action in this spectacular location. Look to ooh and aah at the views from Berry Island as we mix running the roads and cool creek tracks. Expect a big roll up, and come by train if at all possible - parking is very limited at the assembly area, especially early on.

A final point - reporting to the finish. All competitors in the Summer Series MUST report in after their run - even if you have abandoned your course. A runner at Beecroft last night failed to finish leaving the organisers to wonder if he had been injured and was still out, possibly in the bush. Thankfully his entry card had a mobile number on it, the call revealing he had just given up and gone home. So to save organisers from any extra work and anxiety, please make a note of this requirement to ALWAYS report back.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Firstly, for all those anxious SSS fans wondering where event 4's results are.....don't worry, they are coming! Course setter James has been distracted with a muddy mountain bike venture and has only just got his hands on the cards and the laptop. Should be up soon.

Now, to event 5 last night. And another grey, overcast and damp evening. This time Dave McKenna had the starting gun at (for most) a new venue - Cabarita Park, near Concord. An excellent, multi pavillioned assembly area greeted around 185 odd runners (a record attendance for the area), many who had never seen this splendid Sydney riverside spot before. The map was at 1:7500 scale so coverage to the far pots needed to come into calculation - and did for the fast stallions. The main part of the map included the large redevelopment of the old AGL Mortlake gas works, now called Breakfast Point. Like event three at Abbotsford, running amongst this intensive apartment development was challenging and fun. Dave set several controls in spots that qualified as 'real estate tour' checkpoints.

It seems most runners headed North via 3, 20, 16 etc and looped around the wonderful riverside views at 21 and 28 before tackling a return (often via #1 and #2). Collecting the 'internal' apartment checks resulted in a variety of routes with either #4 or #7 not making the cut. The fitter bods swept west to collect 29,27,8 and 6 with the A team stars cracking on to the elusive 22, 13 and 14.

Generally the area was flat and the was accelerator down - high scoring resulting in this sweet combination. Ben 'dit like Beckham' Rattray took out the empty water bottle award with a clean 600 in 43 minutes, almost a minute in front of WHO star Andrew 'in pencil' Hill. Glen 'hold me' Horrocks also ran a respectable sweep for 580, shy of the sash by only two minutes. Others to catch this punters eye were Warwick Selby, a great 500 in the Super Veteran group, and Russell Taylor, also a big 5 run. Many of the top scorers managed their prodigious feats even after losing time searching at #22 - the 'thicket' having grown somewhat since the map was first produced. Another control to take my fancy was the lonely pot at #6, sitting quietly on the grass seemingly not attached to anything - amazing it lasted the night (unlike #23, last seen floating off the end of the jetty and only revealing one of its two letter codes (an 's' as I remember).

Several runners were not across the out-of-bounds area, and found themselves on the wrong side of rather high fences. One or two admitting to 'tunneling' under the wire, rather like a world war two escape! Despite this, the area provided a good run with the street and apartment sections needing concentration to avoid 'down-the-wrong-street-itis'. We will be back.

Next week Dave Noble (our webmaster) is in charge at Beecroft/Cheltenham. This is a great area, hillier than 'The Punt', but with a bit of bush track action and the intriguing section under the M2 to reward attendance. The map has not been used for a few seasons but has always been popular - a new mapped section will only increase the fun. Join us!

Finally, I should also mention the 'Socialgaine' on 18th of November at beautiful Port Stephens. This is a six hour event in a magnificent area, and in the same general format as the Summer Series - study your map before starting and get as many controls as possible. Entries close on 12/11 so get in quick. Info at

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We anticipated a big roll up with daylight saving finally kicking in, and weren't dissappointed. Last night's ripper at Macquarie Uni had the numbers men working up a storm on the abacus - 220 maps gone for around 210 entries. A record at this venue, and for such an early series event.

The overcast weather made for comfortable running, and James Lithgow's challenging course made for puzzling running. The controls were split in two distinct halves, with a 'river' of low/no points in between. The question was always how to add a bit from one side to all of the other, and how to make the inner points to the west (26,7,4,13) work with a looping run around the outer tempting ring of 30 pointers. Resolving this gave a wide variety of route choice and saw the always delicious runners 'going everywhere'. Plenty of action for the push chair brigade (10,2,24 etc.) and the champions - who got a dollop of bush track action with #30.

Best score on the night was 580 points, I think by more than one runner, with Andy Hill's 'Hoist' not seeing the elusive 20 and returning early. There were several other competitors who were back early, unable to get the sector flow right (or in my case, remember to look at their watch!).

The Uni grounds are always good running, and as previewed, James obliged with a sculpture control (#22) and a puzzling car parking building checkpoint (#17) - the latter giving the odd speedster a bit of location grief. All good stuff at this popular venue.

Next event will see SSS competitors run a new location - Cabarita Park and sourrounds. Dave McKenna is on the pencil for this extension of the old Rhodes map that takes in the former AGL gas works. The area boasts excellent park and harbour side running - and is almost dead level. I guess we can also expect a bit of fun amongst the 'lifestyle' apartment developments, rather like Steve Flick gave us at Abbotsford. Should be an excellent outing, with dinner at the Concord Italian restaurants close by an added incentive. Be there!

Previous News