Ashridge, 25th February 2024

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Organiser’s Comments

I hope everyone enjoyed running in Ashridge today. From an Organiser’s standpoint, everything seemed to operate as smoothly as we’d hoped, due entirely to the efforts of the very competent HH helpers who turned out in large numbers to provide all the manpower required to stage an event of this size.

We had a small hiccup on Friday when the main field was very wet indeed after two weeks of rainy weather and we decided to divert some of the car parking to the hard-standing in the nearby farm.  I hope those of you who were switched there were not too inconvenienced by the change.  As it was, the weekend was nice and dry, the field did improve considerably and no-one got stuck today!

Thanks to the Real Christmas Tree Farm for the use of their field and the National Trust for access to the lovely woodland of Ashridge.

Dave Tookey

Planner’s Comments

Simon’s map is the real star of the show – you could pick off the patches of bramble as you passed them, if there was a gap shown you could get through it, if there was a narrow band of hatching you could try your luck, as a gratifying number of you did.

The map enabled a semi-urban style of planning for some legs especially in the north of the area, challenging you to find a route round almost impassable obstacles, to look for narrow passages not just main paths. I also tried to give everybody a decent run on a bearing in the white near – but not too near – the main road.

It was interesting to hear the number of people at the finish saying “good run, apart from 1”. Yes, you all had a short, fairly technical first leg. It was probably one of those days for starting steadily rather than going off gung-ho as too many (me included) often do.

My apologies for the synch error on 114 (or 152) which led to negative splits for some on Short Brown. I thought I had synched them all the night before and had triple checked Start and Finish to make sure you got a valid time.

Also, some of the courses were a bit long (better in my opinion than the other way). The mud added some time – the courses were finalised 3 weeks previously when the going was good-to-soft and mostly dry weather was forecast up to the event. The mystery is that not all of the courses were too long, given that the course length ratios were pretty well spot on. Going by winning times, it was Black, Brown, VSG that seemed to be too long. Still working out why, so that the next planner on the area can learn.

My thanks to Simon again for the map, to Mark who has a lovely style of working as part of an integrated planner-controller team, to hangers and collectors who were pushed a little out of their comfort zone, and to those of you who were kind enough to say that you had enjoyed the courses. The best comment was that the planning meant it didn’t feel like Ashridge.

Photos – more here