Success at Something New – British Mixed Sprint Relays
This was going to be something new – but how was it going to turn out?
The new was the first running of the British Orienteering Mixed Sprint Relay. Rarely do we see mixed, male and female, girl and boy, relays in orienteering so its introduction in 2021 – a couple of years later than planned was greatly anticipated.
First up on the Saturday in August was the mixed sprint relay. Amongst a number of new features was the fact that the relay was being held before the individual sprint race. Skelmersdale was the venue for the weekend which seemed appropriate for it to be hosted by an (old) ‘New Town’.
For the relays HH had entered just two teams. Off first was the Ultra Vet (65+) relay. Alan Rosen led off and returned 15 minutes later in 3rd place. Janet followed and upped the HH heartbeat by returning in first place in a time of 13 minutes. Mick Smith was anchor leg – could he hold off a strong SLOW (!) team with Alan Leakey hard on his heels. The answer was a resounding ‘yes’ – Mick came in a couple of minutes ahead of Alan giving HH a gold medal in this inaugural event.
And our second Ad-hoc team did not disgrace itself coming in a creditable fifth with Ben leading off and coming in third place just one minute behind the leader. Neil worked hard to maintain that place and Helen brought the team safely into the fifth place.
All in all, from a club perspective the first running of the mixed sprint relays was a success and let’s hope that future years will attract a few more HH members to compete in a new twist on our sport.
Sunday in Skelmersdale brought a return to more a traditional form of racing – straight individual sprint racing. Once again it turned out to be Janet who was to show her speed, technique and experience by winning the W65 class by just 49 seconds. Not surprising Alan and Mick also showed their class in this form of racing with Mick (M70) finishing fourth, just 22 seconds from winning a medal and Alan (M65) finishing 7th.
Another fine performance in the individual event came from Ben who raced to a second place in M16 a mere 27 secs behind the winner.
Helen (W45) finished a good 7th and her son Theo (M10B) finished in second place despite having to stop to ask the photographer to fold his A3 sized tablecloth (map).
Congratulation to all our competitors and as I said earlier, perhaps we’ll see more HH’ers attending the event in future years.
Many thanks to Wendy Carlyle for permission to use her photographs of the event: