Long Mynd Long Orienteering

A bit late, but I thought I’d report on my run at the weekend too. While Rachel was running in the Stretton Skyline, doing 21 miles, I opted for the Long Mynd Long Orienteering race, a mere 20km, but covering some of the same ground. I need the navigation practice as my orienteering has been a bit rusty recently.

The Long Mynd is covered in heather, with very steep valleys that at this time of year are head-high bracken, so using paths where possible was very much the order of the day. The heather varied from very short to waist deep, so occasionally you could go off-path, but you never knew when you’d suddenly find yourself back in the deep stuff.

My run at the Long Mynd Long Orienteering
My run at the Long Mynd Long Orienteering.
The red lines show the race route, the wiggly 'worm' shows where I actually went. 20.1km instead of 15.5.

The real reason for this post is to show off a cool piece of software called QuickRoute, which I used to produce the picture. It takes a GPS route plus an image of the orienteering map (or any other map you wanted to use), and lets you match the two together to show where you went. The colours along the worm show how fast I was running at any given time. QuickRoute is freely available, and I found the output quite revealing about where I went wrong in my run (not too often, on this occasion), and where I should have been running faster (all too often, on this occasion).

Back to the actual race: It was a quite changeable day. At times I was very warm and was glad I was carrying water, which I don’t usually do for orienteering. At other times it rained on us, but it was lovely running around the hills, and up and down the valleys. I had a bit of an advantage having run the Long Mynd Valleys Race a couple of times as I knew some of the fast paths. It did get me into trouble a couple of times, too, as paths that are clear and fast in February had vanished into the bracken at this time of year. I ended up third, which I was quite pleased with. However, I was about half an hour slower than the winner! There’s clearly plenty of room for improvement!

All in all it was a lovely day out, and I even finished in time to cheer Rachel on as she ran past the finish.

4 thoughts on “Long Mynd Long Orienteering”

  1. Assuming you have to go to the controls in order, would it have been quicker to have run back past #1 when going from #3 to #4? This would have avoided the longest ‘red’ section of your “worm” climbing back up to #4. I guess a cool bit of analysis would be to see the winner’s “worm” alongside yours… I wonder what route choice differences there would be! Or do you think they just ran and navigated faster?

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