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I hope everybody enjoyed today, certainly the people I spoke to seem to have had a good time. Heartwood is a very young forest, still growing up, which means courses had to be planned to look after it, avoiding tender young trees. This resulted in a lot of path running for all courses and not as many technical challenges as I would have liked for the longer ones. Still, the forest is growing up and the area towards the end of all courses was a taster for what we can expect to see in coming years over a much larger part of the map; it is great to think that a fantastic new forest orienteering map is appearing before our eyes.
Times were fast, the winning junior runners set some blisteringly fast times. We can expect some great competition in the season ahead. The White and Yellow course winners ran sub-6 minutes per km even with the uphill at the start. The winner of Orange was just as fast round the tracks. Just as importantly we saw a really good turnout for our first Schools League event for the year with almost 200 competitors getting round successfully.
My thanks to Simon Errington for being a much-needed controller, notwithstanding his travel commitments, and for being happy to make a last minute revision of the whole map to bring it up to date (those trees are growing up quickly!).
Organising at Heartwood was straightforward with the Woodland Trust team being supportive of our use of their land. Pre-registration for maps was helpful in identifying that there were unusually large numbers of juniors planning to come, which allowed us to increase the numbers of maps in the last couple of days before the event. Having the overflow car park opened allowed us to manage the volume of cars and ensure the impact on the members of the public also using the park was kept to a minimum. We were fortunate with the weather, 24 hours later might have been a different story. Thank you to the volunteers – we had a full set of helpers which made the event run extremely smoothly.