Doherty Returns to Winning Form

Published in Reports on 14th April 2008

Cratloe Woods was the venue last Saturday morning for a day out on the trails. Twelve orienteering virgins took a crash course in map reading before heading out to get lost on the wooded hills. Gary Doherty made a fine return to running after a few months forced abstinence and single-handedly dragged his team to first place … at least that was how Gary described it.

Derek Conerney showed that he’s not just a pretty face, by impressing us all with his knowledge of the sport. He showed us how to point a map in the right direction (a feat that some people never quite mastered) and then proceeded to bamboozle the assembled crowd with a list of far-flung terminology. Soon we were all ‘thumbing’ our maps, discussing control locations, debating the pros and cons of undergrowth running, learning the difference between a knoll and a pit and trying to figure out what the hell a contour is. Derek somehow called order, formed teams and set us off before we forgot what we’d just learned.

The race starts with one member from each team setting out to find the first control. A mad uphill rush takes all four to the control where they barge each other out of the way in order to punch their cards. And then it gets interesting. Each person is carrying a different map and is following one of three different routes, so they dart off in different directions hoping that they have some idea where they’re going. The idea is to visit a number of controls in order, punching your card as you go, before hopefully making your way back in one piece. The teams go off in waves, one member at a time, so that nobody has any clue what’s going on. With me??? We had no idea either!

Suffice it to say that everybody managed to screw up in one way or another. In order to show that I’m completely politically incorrect I will of course single out and then name-and-shame the worst offenders.

James L managed to get lost before he even started. Having listened carefully to all the instructions he promptly headed south at the very first decision point when he should have been going north. And that was before the race even began.

Frank Burke decided to confuse the opposition by selecting an off-trail short-cut that proved to be rather longer than he expected. Alan Burke showed himself to be equally devious by taking the same option but still claims that it was faster! Alan made up the numbers by running two legs of the race. Some people suspected that there was something out there in the woods that attracted him out a second time – but whatever it was he was fast!

Gary Doherty not only claimed to have dragged Alan to victory, but also unashamedly tried to push all his opponents to the ground before the first control. Win at any cost!

Pauline was petrified heading out. Nobody’s sure if she was more scared of the hills, the map-reading or her team-mate Frank. In any case she survived Gary’s rough stuff and made it back in one piece still smiling.

Marie, Brian and Johnny ‘Che Guevara’ O’Connor were all boringly competent. I have nothing on them, so please feel free to add a comment below and make up something outrageous.

Dave ‘The Sump’ didn’t let us down when it came to entertainment value for money. He managed to arrive back at the finish line in double quick time only to discover he had only found half of the controls. Like a puppy with his tail between his legs he had to turn around and head out to find the rest.

But the Orienteer of the Day Award without doubt goes to Brian Brutes. Brian never did make it back. As far as we know he’s still out there running around the woods and loving every minute of it. We believe that he gave up on the controls early on, threw away the map, eat his punch card for energy and just kept running. If you go down to the woods today…

Alan B (9 min long leg)
Gary D (9 min med leg)
Alan B (5 min short leg)
Total 23 min

Brian OC (12 min long leg)
James L (5 min med leg)
Maria (7 min short leg)
Total 24 min

B’day Boy Delmer (9 min long leg)
Frank B (8 min med leg)
Pauline (8 min short leg)
Total 25 min

Brian Brutes (12 min long leg)
Dave Sump (11 min med leg)
Johnny Che Guevara OC (7 min short leg)
Total 30 min