Thursday, October 10, 2013


Bennelong's Chris Cunning(running)ham proved true to his name with a great outing last night at Forrestville Oval - home of the Forrestville Ferrets Rugby League Club. The hymn sheet, at A4 in dimension and designed for handling in the upright direction, was an almost completely new map - being much 'newer' than I had alluded to in my pre season come on. Older orienteers might recall chunks of 'Bantry Bay' in the southern section, where Railway Commissioner Bluett had deployed the green tones, but north of the oval was all new, and besides, the old 'What's New In The Bantry' had never featured in a SSS programme before. What a treat!

The Tezza had opted for 1:7500, and the NPWS opted for a controlled burn - thus rendering the much anticipated and dreaded 'Natural Bridge' plunge out of bounds. So much for map titles. For those that are curious, the 'bridge' was over the creek on the bush track below #3. It was an invitation Contour Kate would have been proud of. So, no bridge to link #11 and the wedding lookout at #29 (Netty & Mike Billinghurst, and in a 'Feet' tradition some time later, Tracy & Sticks), although this apparently didn't stop a couple of our stallions from going cross country. Reports of 'The Professor' and 'The Cannon' going 22,11,13 to 12/24 via the mid green are coming in via wireless and twitter feed. Brave lads.

Those runners recently returned from a week of bush orienteering in the ACT, would have looked at their A4's, and immediately opted for a southern flog to 'The Alter' at #29 and back. The dry crackle of leaf under boot reinforcing the joys of bush orienteering. Trouble was, this doesn't seem to have been the optimum route. Darn it! It looks like the bushies will have to retune, and come to grips with volley on macadam rather than going the eucalypt nostril and sandstone cling.

Even though most runners headed off south to #24, the majority then broke wind as they turned to port and worked up to #30 and points north. This led to a full basin cut across the top of the map and some interpretive reading of the A4 on the way home (singing 'Westering Home' in a Scottish brogue). In many ways this anticlockwise circle was fairly flat, something not apparent to those clutching podium memories and transfixed with the Natural Bridge. Look how nice 25,26,20,10,21,18,1,14 works before selecting the path home - all the while hoping there is petrol left for a 22 'Larry' and a fiver prior to beeping under the blue and green.

Ah well, as Bing sang, 'memories are made of this'!

A further few brief observations (Pork Pie is on short reporting rations, being in a dizz with this Sunday's NSW Sprint O Champs at Pyrmont - which you have all hopefully entered, or are coming to).  The lower loop led to a wonderful tempter in the east, with 27&16 looking a bag full. Easy peasy until you began the scribbly track, and realised minutes had turned into hours. An excellent sucked in section. Number seventeen also fanned the flames of runner madness, as the stringmen struggled to make it fit. Perhaps a pity 'Connie's Track' didn't lead all the way up there, as this would have added more scratching to the already flea bitten runner scalps. Number 18 also had that non loopy sniff about it, a couple of tens needed commitment (6,9,10), #11 looked too far, and a classic control in #13 that had the O-Suit crowd weeping into their Reschs. The Sydney bush has that effect, and master Cunningham miked it big time.

So, in summary, an excellent and well set course that proved tougher than the 1:7500 scale suggested. 'Sherlock Forest' looks like he took the lollies with 550 points, well clear of a squad car of Open fancies (Andy, Steve, Tommy and The Gunner) on 520. Aidan Dawson followed up his excellent Championship form in the ACT with a tidy JM win (500 in 44.20). 'The Pencil' (390) also had a goodie, and will no doubt be inspired by his fellow Blue. No time to analyse much further, other than to note 'Miss Sprint The Bay' put the foot down to win OW with a nifty 480, Heiko began modestly, Mike Free enjoyed a good run (with amazing iPhone attachment), and Sir Ronald of Lower Broad Bean pipped 'The Principal' in his first immortal outing. Jimmy worked the Culoul Creek T Shirt into a sop walking to an equal win with 'The Paving Stone', while Mel was noted running into the fours. Great to see The Gledhill's, great to see Brian and his bride, Bev in the All Blacks outfit and The Murphy's. What a team. What a sport. What an evening!

A good roll up, with momentum building. Great to see all the SSS addicts on show - some sporting new socks and beards! Also good to welcome Netty & Mike Billinghurst back to Sydney - on hols from the UK, and hopefully remembering how it was. The Billo's were early supporters when they lived here, maybe even before SSS was called that.

Top work Chris and Terry, and the BN help desk. A nice new addition to the SSS area stocks, and one we will no doubt return to. The horrifying plunge to the bridge is already inking a place in next seasons programme. You can almost here the penitents whisper 'We need to suffer'!

Next week, week three if you will, sees us at an unknown location. Well, an unknown name at least. This is another well loved spot, where runners can enjoy cool bush tracks, and momentary lapses in their task - dreamily thinking they are at the tennis in Melbourne twenty years ago before realising it's just a street name. Cunning running mixed in with Big Feet baby sitting - what could be better!. Pester Andy about the 'murder', but make sure your there. It promises to be HUGE.

AND, under threat of Pork Pie excommunication, please make it to Pyrmont on Sunday morning for a unique confection of sprint-O and coffee. Or was that sprint-O and Reschs? Or maybe sprint-O with an apres-O lunch at The Zebra Lounge or Sugaroom. All possible in one of Sydney's most unique and hidden gems. Be there to watch, be there to run. No excuses!  


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