Welwyn Garden City Race

Welcome to the Welwyn Garden City Race, a regional urban orienteering event planned as part of the celebrations of Welwyn Garden City’s centenary in 2020.

For WGC residents, this is the Centenary Map Challenge – take part at your own pace and explore parts of the area you may not know! WHBC entries are subsidised, to celebrate the centenary.

For frequent orienteers, this event is also part of the UK Urban League and the Southern England Urban Orienteering League.

Quick Summary

Newcomers Experienced
All you need to do is navigate your way to a series of points (“controls”) shown on a specially-printed map we give you.

  • Wear suitable clothing for the forecasted weather. Shorts are OK
  • Wear lightweight shoes. Trainers are fine.
  • Park at (or go to) Oaklands College AL8 6AH
  • Don’t bring your dog – they aren’t allowed in the college grounds, or the business park where the start is.
  • One of our helpers will take you through what to do
  • Collect your SI (timing) card and race number. You must wear your bib throughout your course
  • Allow around 45 minutes to get ready and walk to the start
  • Free parking for around 80 cars at Oaklands College AL8 6AH. Adjacent public car park £1.10 all day. Or use trains and buses.
  • Dogs not permitted in College grounds, or in the Business Park where Start is.
  • Full body cover not required
  • Steel studs not recommended. Trail shoes preferred, trainers OK.
  • You must collect and wear a number bib from the Event Centre.
  • Loose control descriptions at start.
  • Start 1100m from event centre, 4 minute start process. Please try to be within your start block but we will be flexible.
  • SIAC enabled but you must punch start & finish.
  • 2 finishes (course 6/7 and rest) near Event Centre
  • College Car Park must be vacated by 16:00

28 April: These are now Final Details. You can print them using the blue ‘Print this page’ button at the bottom. Any changes from now will be summarised here, so please check back before you set out.

1 May: Mapping notes and legend added.

6 May: How to find your bib number. Mandatory crossing points.

Why not make a weekend of it? One of our regular Saturday Series events takes place the day before in Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage. Mainly open parkland, but some woodland sections on longer courses. Ideal for a warm up for Sunday. Courses White, Yellow, Orange, Light Green and Short Blue. Entries are open on SI Entries until the day of the event. (Subject to map availability).

BEFORE YOU SET OFF Welwyn Garden City Race is an urban event, mainly on hard surfaces. Rough ground and dense vegetation can be easily avoided, so full body cover is not required. Some steep slopes may be encountered on courses 1 to 5, which can be slippery if wet. Steel studded shoes are not recommended, as they may be slippery on hard smooth surfaces elsewhere. Trail shoes are ideal, but ordinary trainers will suffice.

The weather may be hot at this time of year. Please check the weather forecast. Wear sunscreen on vulnerable exposed skin and dress accordingly.

If you need to change your course or time for any reason, please do this (subject to map availability) before you arrive using the link provided in the confirmation e-mail when you

We will not be providing drinks, or other refreshments, apart from tap water, or drinking water from a drinking fountain in the College refectory. A local Scout group has asked to be present to sell tea, coffee and cakes for charity, but this has not yet been confirmed. Otherwise, there are numerous catering outlets in the town centre, a short walk away from
the Event Centre, providing a range of services from drinks and light snacks to full meals.

EVENT CENTRE Our Event Centre is at Oaklands College located on The Campus in Welwyn Garden City town centre at postcode AL8 6AH. The Campus is a large gyratory system where all main roads leading into the town centre meet. On the NE side of The Campus, look out for the college sign. Take the next turning left along College Way. Our car park is off the first corner of College Way. Parking is available for around 80 vehicles at the event centre. The car park is barrier controlled and will be manned from 09:00 until 11:30 only.  You must remove your car before 16:00.

Although there is ample space in the adjacent public car park (Charge £1.10 all day), public transport is an excellent option for travelling to Welwyn Garden City. The train and bus stations are both within easy walking distance from the event centre. After 09:00, three trains per hour arrive from central London and one per hour from the north. (Replacement bus service earlier). Numerous bus services serve Welwyn Garden City from around Hertfordshire.

Race numbers and hired dibbers can be collected from the college refectory, which is adjacent to the car park.You may leave bags at your own risk in the refectory if you use public transport, or cycle to the event. Toilets and drinking water is available in the refectory, as well as download when you finish your run. A car key drop box will be provided at download.

You must collect your race number from the event centre before going to the Start. Your number is your Participant Number on SI Entries. You can look up your number in advance, on the Entry List at SI Entries. A list of numbers and names will be available in the event centre.

DOGS Dogs are not permitted in the College grounds, or the business park. Although dogs are allowed elsewhere, it may be simplest to leave your dog at home.
COURSES You may enter any course, except that unaccompanied juniors (under 16 on the day of the event) may only enter courses 6 and 7. If you are competing in UKUL or SEUOL, enter the course for your class below.

Newcomers: Don’t feel you have to enter the course for your age class and compete against the experts. We recommend “Course 6 other” for families or people walking, anything up to “Course 2 other” for fit runners used to map reading.

Course Classes Optimal
Climb Controls Scale Map Descriptions
1 M Open 11.5 km 130 m 26 1:4,000 A3 2-sided Pictorial
2 W Open, MV (40+), Newcomer Long 8.8 km 100 m 18 1:4,000 A3 2-sided Pictorial
3 WV (40+), MSV (55+) 7.8 km 75 m 17 1:4,000 A3 2-sided Pictorial
4 WSV (55+), MUV (65+) 6.4 km 45 m 16 1:4,000 A3 2-sided Pictorial
5 WUV (65+),
MHV, WHV (75+)
4.9 km 50 m 14 1:4,000 A3 Pictorial
6 MJ, WJ ( 16-),
Newcomer Short
3.7 km 25 m 16 1:4,000 A4 Pictorial
7 MYJ, WYJ (12-) 3.0 km 10 m 19 1:4,000 A4 Text

*The “Optimal running distance” assumes you pick the shortest route every time and execute it perfectly.

ENTRY & FEES Entries are now open at SI Entries. You must enter online. You may choose a 15 minute start block between 10:00 and 12:00. If you are early or late for your block we will fit you in. Allow 20 minutes to get from event centre.

To ensure a place on your preferred course, enter by 1 May. We will commit to numbers of maps then, and keep entries open while maps and start slots are available. If you need to change your course or start block, please do so on SI Entries ahead of the event, using the link they sent you.

British Orienteering members: Adults £10, Juniors £4.
Non-members: Adults £12, Juniors £5.

If you don’t have your own SI/SIAC timing card you need to hire one. SI dibber £1 hire, £30 if lost OR  SIAC “contactless” card £2 hire, £65 if lost.

WHBC residents: enter “WHBC” in the discount box. Your postcode will be checked if you are claiming residents’ discount! Your subsidised entry includes a SI dibber, if you need one. By claiming this discount you agree to accepting emails about future events from us (only us, we won’t pass on your address) which you may cancel at any time by clicking the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.

PUNCHING SIAC touch-free electronic punching will be enabled. SI ‘dibbers’ may also be used. All runners must punch the start and the finish.
START All competitors must wear a numbered bib, which should be collected from the event centre before heading for the start. Your number is your Participant Number on SI Entries. You can look up your number in advance, on the Entry List at SI Entries. A list of numbers and names will be available in the event centre.

There is one start for all courses. First start is at 10:00. Last start is at 12:00. The walk to the start is approximately 1100m, crossing minor roads. The start is located inside a business park you get to via a pedestrian gate and a short narrow footpath. Competitors will be running in the opposite direction. Please give competitors on their courses priority.

Call up is at -4 minutes. Allow 20 minutes from leaving Event Centre before your proposed start time. Please try to keep to your allotted start window to avoid congestion. An area has been set aside for warm up close to the start. SIAC is enabled, but all competitors must punch conventionally at the start and finish, for safety check reasons.

The event takes place in a public area. Please be courteous to other users to avoid jeopardising our future use.

MAP 1:4000 map to ISSprOM 2019-2 standards with 5m contours, A3 for courses 1-5, A4 for courses 6 and 7. It has been surveyed and drawn for this event by Simon Errington.

A black cross is used to show a fire escape. These are very obvious metal staircases around some of the buildings in the Business Park near the start.

Courses 1 to 5 will need to use tunnels mapped using the revised IOF symbols. A row of black triangles is used to show a tunnel entrance, and striped colouring indicates an area where you can run at two different levels. In this example you can run north to south or south to north over the bridge on the top level, or you can run west to east or east to west through the tunnel on the bottom level.

Maps will not contain a legend, but all used symbols are shown at the bottom of these details. Please ask a helper at the event centre if you need to check what the map symbols represent. The full ISSprOM 2019-2 symbol set is also available from the Maprunner site.

Control descriptions are printed on the map and loose descriptions are available at the start. If you take a loose control description sheet, please take care not to lose it and create litter, readily linked to our event!

FINISH There are two finishes. The junior finish is around 200m from the Event Centre via the edge of a public car park. The route will be taped throughout. The senior finish is adjacent
to the event centre car park. All competitors must punch conventionally at the finish for safety check reasons. When you finish, please make your way directly to download.Courses close 14:00. You must report to download by then so we know you’re back safely.
SAFETY Orienteering is an adventure sport. You take part at your own risk and are responsible for your own safety. A full risk assessment has been carried out.

Take care crossing roads. Unaccompanied under 16s must run course 6 or 7, which have been specially designed to avoid virtually all road traffic. On courses 1-5, you must use the mandatory crossing points to cross the railway and the busy main north – south road.

If you have any medical condition that may be needed in an emergency by medical staff, please write this information on the reverse of your race bib.

We are continuing to operate within current government Covid guidance. We advise you to avoid close contact with others, wear a mask indoors and wash your hands regularly and before eating.

First aid for injuries is available at Download. At least one first aider will be available at all times.

If you are travelling alone, we recommend you to leave something personal in the car key drop, together with contact details in case of emergency.

DOWNLOAD Remember to download, even if you decide to retire. This is an essential part of our safety check procedure. All finishers will be awarded a celebratory WGC Centenary medal.

Interim results will be published direct to www.herts-orienteering.club every few minutes during the event. There will be no printed results (apart from your own splits) or WiFi available.

Full results will be published on the same page and further analysis will be available at Routegadget.

Planners David Hodson & David Dixon
Organiser Roger Moulding
Controlling Hedley Calderbank

All of whom live in WGC, most of them on the map!

WGC100 Ebenezer Howard began work on Welwyn Garden City in 1920 after financial failure of his first attempt to create a ‘Garden City’ in Letchworth, a few years earlier, His vision was to create a town that was a mix of town and country, with wide tree lined roads, well spaced housing and industrial premises to provide employment for the population.

Housing was built to be a mixture of private and rented publicly owned properties to avoid creation of crowded ‘ghettos’ of poor inhabitants, as were common in large cities of the time. Blessed by a strong team of designers, led by the town’s long serving chief architect, Louis de Soissons, a building style was created, including the typical mock Georgian windows and a circular feature window. Most were built in local red brick, but innovation was permitted and some of the original houses were built in concrete. Although more recent properties have partially moved away from this style, there remains a strong planning requirement to build in keeping with the original designs in the central conservation area.

Welwyn Garden City was built straddling the East Coast Main line at the junction of two, now closed branch lines to the east and west, the town’s new station, quickly became an important stopping point in the suburban rail network radiating out of Kings Cross. Today the station is part of a town centre shopping mall, with fast direct trains serving central London in around 25 minutes. Easy connections, via Thameslink, link Welwyn Garden City to much of South London, Kent and Sussex as well as Cambridge, Peterborough and towns and cities throughout the eastern side of Britain.

Legend Map legend
The small print

Event registered with British Orienteering, no 79255.

Orienteering is a great sport for youngsters. If you bring children, please help us to keep to our safeguarding policy and British Orienteering’s photography policy.

Your personal data is used for results and insurance, see our privacy policy.

If you have to cancel for a COVID-related reason, write to entries@herts-orienteering.club and we will give a full refund. If we have to cancel the event we will offer a choice of a full refund or a voucher for use at a future HH event. That choice will be sent to the email address used for the original entry. If you do not reply by the deadline, the default is a voucher.