Today’s heroes are the volunteers, who turned out in force and without whom the event would not have been possible. So a big thank you to all of you from me. I think that our new Event Centre worked very well. There was plenty of room for everybody and the facilities were first class. On top of which it’s proximity to the starts and finishes made life easier for both volunteers and competitors. Overall I was happy with how things went, but we can’t rest on our laurels and must look to constantly improve wherever we can.
I was pleased to hear so many favourable comments about the courses at the finish. Myself and co-planner Jon, have spent many hours pouring over the maps and visiting Norwich city centre, traipsing around the many alleyways and yards over the last few months. Norwich has many of these yards and small streets, as I expect many of you found out, so it does lend towards a good area for an urban event. We also extended the map this year to a different area of Norwich, and also tried to find control sites that had not been used before, and hope we succeeded.
Only the one problem arose (that I am aware of), when an irate dog owner rang us in the morning to say his dog did not like the ‘orange and white thing’ stuck to a tree at the front of his garden. We promptly moved it to another tree just round the corner. Do not think anybody (on the junior course) noticed! Also surprised to see so many people in Chapelfield Park when we went to assemble the start. Turned out they were ‘Pokemon hunting’. Hopefully nobody bumped into any Pokemon.
Thanks to my co-planner Jon for doing all the map work. Much appreciated, and thanks to Phil, our controller, for keeping us on the straight and narrow, and thanks for everybody who turned up this weekend, some from clubs many miles away. Hopefully you enjoyed our events in Norfolk, and hope to see you again another day.
The Other Co-Planner’s Comments
Norwich offers a wide variety of urban terrain, which hopefully we used to provide challenging courses. In previous years, a number of controls have been used in succession around the castle. This year, on some of the courses, we tried to make things a bit different by only having a single control within the castle gardens, so you went in-and-out, but visited the castle area a couple of times on a course. In many ways, working out to how to get in and out of the castle gardens is more difficult than navigating from point to point within them.
Looking at routegadget, I can see that a pleasing number of different routes were taken particularly when crossing the “Out of Bounds” road (Grapes Hill) and crossing the river. When crossing the road, you had to weigh up whether to go North to the underpass or South to the bridge. Slightly more climb back up the hill for the Northern route, but you have to run quite a long way to get to the entrance to the foot bridge. If you went North, do you use the steps either side of the underpass, or do you use the ramp to keep up speed. Looking at running times, there was only 10s of seconds difference between the different options – you just needed to be decisive. I was quite surprised to the see that a number of people went South over the bridge, and then all the way down to the underpass rather than taking the road running East West and approaching the control from the East.
Courses 1, 4, 6 & 8 all had Control # 223. I can see that about 50% of you went into the 1st courtyard (Bagley’s Court) before finding the control in the 2nd courtyard. For those of you that read your control descriptions prior to making the mistake, I can only apologise. Originally we had intended the control to be on a well in Bagley’s Court, the eastern most of the courtyards. However in seeking permissions we were told that there was no guarantee that the gates would be open on a Sunday (and in fact they were shut when the controls were being hung). So, we decided to move it to the next courtyard along (to the west). The best position would have been next to the imapssable wall between the 2 courtyards (control description “northern end of wall, west side”, but either it didn’t enter my head or when I was looking around there was nowhere to hang the control. Anyway, we put it on a grill about 3 metres from the wall. I decided to use “Building, South Side” as the control description, but this was at best ambiguous, as there was a “Building, South Side” in Bagley’s Court as well. I knew the control description was not ideal, but thought that from the centre of the circle you could see it was in the eastern courtyard. Obviously not, as so many of you made the mistake.
We plan to give Norwich a rest next year, and hold an event in Kings Lynn, which hopefully will provide as great a challenge as Norwich. One thing is for certain, there will be less climb!
My thanks to our controller, Phil Halford (SUFFOC), who made many constructive suggestions to improve the courses and helped us to put on “urban courses” for the juniors. And lastly, thanks to Steve. Whilst I was beavering away at the computer, he was sorting out the many permissions that are required when putting on an urban event.
Urban environments inevitably produce a great number of possible control sites and the planners task is to investigate opportunities and design courses that are both enjoyable and challenge runners within a safe environment. The success of the Norwich event was the result of the meticulous planning and organisation which was put in over a number of months. Every effort was made to ensure that each course achieved the aims of the planners. It was therefore very pleasing the hear the many complimentary comments from runners who clearly had had a most enjoyable time around the streets and alleyways of Norwich. The attention to detail of the planners and organiser and the invaluable work of the helpers helped to make my job very straight forward. I am sure that runners will be looking forward to their next visit to Norwich.