Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pin Punches: An Endangered Species

Tomorrow's event at Chobham Common will mean that I have gone a whole year (and 55 events) since I last used pin punching. The graph shows how pin punching has almost died out at events I have run since I first used Emit at an event on 28th June 1995 in Norway. The only upward trend on the manual punching curve was in 2004 when I ran several of the Sydney Summer Series races which still use pencils to write on control cards! The start of the SI take-off was the Scottish 6-Day in 1999, after which most of Great Britain bought SI equipment. The apparent recent rise of Emit has two main causes. It is now used widely in the South Central, so that gives me five to ten races a year. It is also used at various overseas multi-day events I have been to, such as the WOC spectator races this year. My guess is that future years will see a fairly steady trend of SI above Emit, with the odd rare pin punching event.

Out of interest I've looked at when I last used pin punching at various types of event:
  • Badge Event: Virtuous Lady (DEVON) on 28 May 2000.
  • National Event: Brown Clee Hill (HOC) on 26 March 2000.
  • JK: Winterfold, Hombury and Pitch Hills (SEOA) on 4 April 1999.
  • British Championships: Graythwaite (NWOA) on 8 May 1999.
This weekend is also exactly 9 years since the first use of SI at a race in Great Britain. This was at the short race at Euromeeting 1997 held in the Lake District. I was one of those helping out behind the scenes and trying to work out what to do to make the system work, whilst the world's elite runners went through the same experience out in the forest. Everybody coped OK and the rest is history, as shown by the graph. For those desperate for more information I wrote a CompassSport article in 1999 that outlines the history of electronic punching in Great Britain.

1 comment:

Robin Smith said...

The SOFA summer series still uses pin punches!