Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Oxford City Race: The first of many?

Last Saturday nearly 300 orienteers experienced the delights of the Oxford City Race. In perfect weather we got a chance to run round all the tourist sights, scattering tourists as we went, and even managed to run through some of the colleges. As you can see, running under the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford is a bit drier than it would be if you tried it next week in Venice. The race demanded constant map reading and decision making, especially in working out how to get in and out of the colleges. There are a few more photos here.

Everybody who took part came back demanding more races like this, as you can see from the discussion on nopesport after the event. Oxford University Orienteering Club are going to be under great pressure to stage another such race, or even make it an annual event. Cambridge are likely to feel they have to do something similar. There is already an annual York City Race. People are beginning to see the attraction of sprint races in urban parks and university campuses. Perhaps Oxford will be the race that starts British orienteering off in a slightly new direction.

And finally... Whenever people start talking about annual events I always remember going to APOC 1990, based in Kamloops in Canada. After a race in the morning we went to the nearby town, which had decided to put on some suitable entertainment. This was advertised, in supremely optimistic fashion, as the "first annual Savonah Beach Festival". Many of us have often wondered if there was ever a second annual event.

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