Sunday, 24 June 2012

Wattle Park street event

There is no Sunday event this week, so I head off to nearby Wattle Park, just 6 minutes from my front door, to dip my orienteering toe in the very popular Saturday afternoon Melbourne Metro street series of events. These events are held round the city on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, the weekdays events being after dark.

The event is a Score event of 20 controls with time limits of 60, 50 or 40 minutes. I decide to opt for the 50 minute class. High control numbers score well, lower numbers are not worth going far for. I guess that I can reach about half the controls in the time allowed, so plan a course via 18, 19, 17 and 20 to maximise my points score.

We set off on the mass start signal and almost immediately I find a boggy path and my shoes get wet. A loud squeak develops in my left heel, although it is silenced when I raise a trot. Walk and the squeak returns. Only one thing for it, I suppose. I head out into the streets around the park, using the grass verges to protect my hip replacement. The streets are very quiet. Most folks are huddled indoors in the 12 degrees of a Melbourne winter.

The control sites are easy to find and I punch my card carefully at each one. After 20 minutes, I turn and head for home. It looks like I will reach the controls I'm after. I punch the finish flag with a few minutes to spare and my score adds up to a satisfactory 44 points.  An excellent training run of about 6.5km with 100 metres of climb. Turn up with 20 minutes to go, pay $4, and away you go. This brilliant scheme brings orienteering to where the people are. Hopefully, in time, some will want to travel to more challenging events further afield. I can't wait for the next one!

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