OMM 2016: Race Controllers Comments

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OMM 2016: Race Controllers Comments

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Dave Chapman

Race Controller

My first observation is to remind those of you that have competed on previous KIMM/OMMs at Galloway that this year’s location was indeed Galloway.  You probably worked that out from the underfoot conditions but you certainly didn’t work it out from a comparison of the weather; for the first time the event has been here the weather wasn’t atrocious!

Thanks to Ian for planning a great set of courses with plenty of route choice for everyone. We really tried hard to get the winning times closer to target than they have been for the last few years and I can see from the results that we achieved this, which was a particular challenge when you consider the difficulty of the terrain.

C and D courses are often regarded as the standard introductory course, but there are always a lot of teams on these courses who take a lot longer than the winners and maybe the Short Score should be regarded as the best introductory course (after the OMM Lite of course).

The map was of the usual high quality from Harveys but unfortunately the encapsulation wasn’t. Stuart has covered this issue in his report so I’ll just add my apologies for this.

I wonder if you have considered how much effort goes into the setting up of OMM Courses?  Ian has spent many days walking the hills considering route options as well as control locations and I’ve done a few as well; we’ve both spent a lot of time at our computer screens reviewing courses as well. I have a core group of “assistant controllers”, known as the Hill Team, who spend 4-5 days in the area at the start of June checking out proposed control sites to ensure the map is sufficiently accurate to ensure they can be found in poor visibility. The Hill Team and the Planner, together with a few local helpers take 4 days to put out and cross check all the control during the week leading up to the event, and of course spend a good few hours on the Monday afterwards getting them back in again. I’d like to thank all those who helped set up the hill competition.

Similarly, I want to thank the Hill Marshals who spent the weekend at a control point for your safety; some of them return every year. I heard a few positive comments about the friendly reception competitors received, and some marshals were involved in assisting retiring competitors. A key part of that role is bringing in as many controls as possible on Sunday afternoon – so that we can interrogate the boxes to localise any search for missing competitors. Thankfully this was not necessary this year.

There were 2 issues this year for which I need to explain the background and the decision.

The first relates to the final control on Saturday. Each of the linear courses had one of 2 controls close to the O/N campsite and although the controls were 230m apart and on different features a few teams on Elite, A and C punched the wrong one which would normally lead to disqualification.

There are probably 3 contributing reasons for this mis-punch. The first is that the 2 controls were either side of the run-in path and all those who mis-punched did so at the first one, which was visible from the path. The second factor was that the first control was DM and the second was DN. The third reason is that maps were somewhat difficult to read due to the delamination issue.

When told they had mis-punched teams were advised that they could go out again and indeed some did so but others couldn’t face the extra effort, and some didn’t spot they had mis-punched until they had erected their tent.

On Saturday evening the Event Director, the Planner and I, with advice from Jen Longbottom, spent a lot of time debating the rights and wrongs of the situation; competitors should read their descriptions, the controls were well apart on different features, but using DM and DN for the final controls when competitors were exhausted was a mistake, and we didn’t know if everyone’s maps were legible. Ultimately I concluded that it would be fairest all round if I reinstated anyone who had mis-punched but gave them a 10-minute penalty. The time of those who had gone out again to punch the correct control had the extra time taken re-credited before being given the 10-minute penalty.

The second issue was the points allocation of 2 controls on Sunday. Long Score maps showed DW at 20 points and CW at 40 points but the Control Descriptions on the maps showed them at DW – 40 points and CW – 20 points. Similarly, on Medium Score DW was worth 20 points on the map and 40 points on the Control Descriptions.

The vast majority of teams use the points allocation shown on the map to aid their route planning so I deemed it appropriate to use the points allocation as shown on the map and arranged for this to be implemented which is why some of you will have a different score in the results from the one on your splits.

This issue arose because the production of Control Descriptions had the reversed allocation of points between these controls and I can only apologise to those teams affected whether this is those who have lost or gained points or those who made their route selection having read the CDs.

You will have noted that start times on Sunday were somewhat earlier than in previous years. This was a lesson we learned last year when a number of teams were caught out by the 16:00 course closure (which I implemented for safety reasons). I trust that the piper helped you to get to the start in time.

Whilst on the subject of safety, I had a few reports from Hill Marshals of teams where only one partner visited the control. This is in direct contravention of the rules of the event which require teams to stay together and is a definite safety issue – if you aren’t together then you aren’t looking out for each other. There were two teams where only one partner went to the control and without a rucksack and these teams have been disqualified.

Finally, thanks to you, the competitors, for entering and making all of the hard work worthwhile. From the feedback I’ve seen most people enjoyed it.

I hope to see you all next year which will be our 50th anniversary.

Dave Chapman

Dave Chapman

Race Controller

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OMM 2016: Event Directors Report

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OMM 2016: Event Directors Report

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Stuart Hamilton

Event Director

I hope that all of you arrived home safely following the event and that the well-earned satisfaction from undertaking something both physically and mentally challenging is balancing out the aches and pains from your exertions.  It is a great time to reflect on the event, publicly recognise some of the work that goes on behind the scenes and address some issues.

I would like to start by saying a huge thank you to Ian Turner and Dave Chapman who have spent weeks on the Galloway Hills (often in much less pleasant weather than we enjoyed for the weekend of the event) carefully crafting the courses and arranging the access permissions to allow us to roam the hills freely.  Every area presents its own challenges and the feedback we have received so far suggests that the courses offered the right level of route choice and challenge commensurate with the level they are pitched at.  Dave Chapman was ably supported by a team of hugely experienced ex competitors which he mentions in his report, however it is humbling to be sat in a room with over 200 years of experience on the OMM and to be able to use them as a resource.

Every year the OMM moves to a new location and this presents some organisational and planning considerations for myself and the team.  This was the first year since 2008 that we have used a tented Event Centre and I hope that you enjoyed the ‘Castle on the Hill’ setup that we opted for.  Archie McNeillie (Forestry Commission), Huw Jones (Landowner), Willie Laurie (Farmer), Meta Maltman (Chair of Glentrool Community Association) and Jen and Fran (Glentrool Caravan Site) could not have been more supportive of the event, without their support and that of the local community, it would just not be possible.

The overnight campsite was located at Caldons, surrounded by some of the most ancient oak woodlands in the UK and is sandwiched in between several designated areas.  David Broom has been a long-time supporter of the event, both as a competitor and hill marshal, but over the last few years has been instrumental in guiding our best practice with regards to our environmental and ecological policy making.  Prior to the event David conducts a full assessment of the event area which subsequently informs our course planning choices, an assessment which is then repeated following the event over a 12 month period.  The evidence generated over the past four years has shown that the event does not have any lasting damage on an area, giving the OMM much less restricted access to areas with significant designations.  By working very closely with Scottish Natural Heritage we could open large areas of the fells to the event without restriction.  I hope you enjoyed the flat, scenic and sheltered location this year, perhaps next year it may be a little more rustic!  Love them, or hate them, it is hard not to imagine the haunting sounds of the bagpipes echoing around the same valley in centuries gone past and it is a truly special way to see the dawn break in the Scottish mountains – thank you Jonathan and well done for finishing the Elite Course in the 1st Veterans position.

I know that there was an issue with the quality of the encapsulation on the maps this year and we are in the process of working with Harvey Maps to discover why this happened.  Dave Chapman has addressed other course issues in his report.

I had the immense privilege of presenting entry to the 20 Year Club this year to Andrew Fishwick who works on the registration and communications elements of the event.  Alongside this I presented membership of the 40 Year Club to Jen Longbottom, Stan and Verena Johnston and Thomas Williamson.  Without their support and a small army of those volunteers behind them, the event would not happen.

You can see the different teams that support the event in the event programme as well as on the website so I shall not list them all here but I will say that each one of the team leaders come on several pre-event visits and take at least three days annual leave to come and support the event – enough said!

Well done to those of you reaching the milestones of entry into the 20, 30 or 40 Year Club, full details of which can be found on the website.

We changed the allocation of start times this year to category teams (female, mixed, vet) first with those teams competing in the overall category getting the later times.  This is to allow maximum time on the hill for those teams that are statistically slower and seemed to work well on Saturday.  On Sunday morning we ran a chasing start lane for the linear courses for the overall category but not for any of the others as these teams, if they had not made the chasing start, already had an earlier start time allocated.  We also ran the chasing start lane in parallel to the main body starts to maximise the time on course for all teams.  Those teams that finished late on the Saturday were put into the first start window prior to the start line opening fully so that they also had maximum daylight to complete the courses.  It was an oversight on my part not to run a ‘chasing start’ for the top score teams as this delayed the prize giving, particularly for the Long Score, so we will address that for next year.

As many of you know, the OMM is run on a not for profit basis and so the focus on the planning and organisation always comes back to the same question – ‘what would I want as a competitor?’  and I openly welcome your feedback in whatever form that may take so that we can continue to improve your weekend.

My final point before signing off is to say thank you to you.  I have received a letter of thanks in from Mrs Bourne who lives in Caldons House on the overnight campsite.  She was incredibly complimentary about the conduct of everyone on that site and impressed with the complete absence of any litter once we had left.  There have been no issues with residents or landowners, for which I thank you, and as we stand the OMM will be welcomed back to the area with open arms.

Preparations are well underway for the 50th OMM taking place in 2017 and I am looking forward to celebrating this event with you all, wherever that may be.

ADDITION: 22nd December –  Mapping Statement

We have been working closely with HARVEY to investigate the encapsulation issues experienced at OMM 2016.  HARVEY discovered that whilst the finish to the encapsulation was changed from that used in 2015, (gloss to matt) to give a better handle and improve the readability of the map, this had no impact on the durability of the encapsulation.  HARVEY said „the cause of this was found to be a fault that developed during the encapsulation process and that was undetectable until use.“  This only affected a proportion of the maps, which is why the degree to which some of you experienced durability issues, varied so greatly.

HARVEY and OMM work continuously to find solutions that make for a good competitor experience.  HARVEY has many years’ experience of printing maps on plastic and other materials. Harvey has now developed a different process in order to deliver a lighter, more usable, durable map option.

We’re excited to roll out this new mapping, some of you have already used this on the OMM Lite and Bike North Yorkshire 2016, and you will all see it at the next event.  In the meantime look out for some videos of us doing our own confirmation testing.

We would like to apologise to those of you who had your OMM 2016 affected as a result of these production issues and look forward to seeing you soon.

stuart-hamilton-omm-copy2Stuart Hamilton

Event Director

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RESULTS: OMM 2016

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*OMM receives no renumeration from R & R’s service.

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OMM HEROES: Wendy Dodds – 42 OMM’s and counting

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WENDY DODDS – 42 OMM’s and Counting

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For the majority of competitors, completing one OMM event is a huge effort and a remarkable undertaking, for those who have endured everything that the last weekend in October has to offer, one is never enough.

If you’re one of those people that has done enough OMM events that you’re well into double figures then you might have your sights set on the OMM ‘20 Year’ and ‘30 Year’ clubs. These special clubs, recognisable by their 20 and 30 Year club jerseys, symbolise a huge achievement. There are now quite a few competitors to have achieved such a milestone and this year will be the 49th edition of the OMM and also the 43rd OMM event for Wendy Dodds…just let that sink in for a moment for the incredible accomplishment that it is.

Wendy completed her first OMM, then the KIMM, in 1972 and since then she has completed a further forty-two events, missing only two: in 1982, she was in New Zealand and in 2003 when she was en route to Namibia…I think we’ll let her off!

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Image courtesy of Ian Charters

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MOTIVATION

We asked Wendy what motivated her to enter her first OMM and what inspires her to come back each year?

W: In 1972, Val Pacey, a top orienteer, suggested we enter as no women’s team had ever done it (a women’s team started in 1971 but DNF). The start was at St Mary’s Loch in the Borders and we stopped and had a picnic lunch on day one. I took a spare pair of shoes, a toothbrush and a small towel – not my lightest pack, and I’ve never taking these items since!

I enjoy going to new areas with new navigational challenges; I’ve not won many running events, setting only a few race records over the years, so I make up for it by doing multiple events & setting ‘completion records’ instead! As the KIMM was my first mountain challenge I’ve had longer to ‘notch up’ my events.

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MEMORIES

With 42 OMM’s under her belt Wendy has completed the OMM during some of the toughest years to be seen:

W: “Memories – too many! I’ve been fortunate to have many good running partners and there have been lots of favourite years so it’s impossible to select a single one…although beating two top female (and younger) orienteers in the Elite at Rannoch was rewarding.

The one that did not go to plan: 2008 when we moved up to the Elite and arrived at the overnight camp before 3pm, only to learn that the event had been cancelled and, as a result, were not to be allowed to complete day two after having been through the worst of the weather! Of the Elite and A Classes I’ve done, they were all good, but I’m most pleased with a chasing start on day two on Arran. It must have been going well as we were less than an hour behind the leading men in A Class on day one.

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Image courtesy of Stephen Wilson www.granddayoutphotography.co.uk

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ADVICE

Wendy particularly enjoys the long distance fell races and being in the mountains. She also recently completed the Ultra Tour of Monte Rosa as part of a three-day race and with 42 OMM events under her belt she has more experience than most.

When asked what advice she would pass on to those starting their first OMM:

The most important thing is to select your running partner carefully. It is far more important that you get on with your partner and are psychologically suited than being physically similar. For this reason I would advise against finding a last minute partner unless you know them well enough to be sure they can look after you when you’re cold/tired/hungry. You have to be sure that you can do the same for them whilst also being at close quarters in a one-person tent.

More often than not, I have competed with far more able folk than myself and been carried along. Ideally you should go for some long runs together and practice your navigation together. It’s important to have a ‘game plan’ for how you share the route planning and navigation and kit needs to be a balance of light, warm and comfortable equipment, agreeing with your partner what you are taking. Good communication on the hill is important and it is important to keep checking your location in bad weather. When you get to the start, set off slowly so you get used to the map and navigation and above all enjoy the weekend!

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Thanks to Wendy for taking the time to talk to us, she certainly is an inspiring lady and has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the OMM. We look forward to catching up with her again at the Friday night pasta party in Glentrool.

See you all in October.

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WIN!! 5x Pairs of GoPods – RESULTS

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WIN!! 5x Pairs of GoPods for your team

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This week we ran a competition to win one of 5 pairs of GoPods for your team. Every team that entered the OMM event before the 7th July was entered in the draw and the 5 winning teams were chosen at random by the lovely Debbie and Linda in the OMM office.

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IMPORTANT DATES:

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OMM 2016 LOCATION RELEASE – 25th JULY

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ENTRY FEE INCREASE – 2nd AUGUST

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GOPOD WINNERS:

Chris Smart – Long Score
Katy Rehal – C Course
Tim Pitcher – Elite
Emma Watts – C Course
Paul Bridge – Medium Score

All winners have been notified and will be able to collect their prizes at the OMM event.

Thanks to everyone, please keep checking your emails and social media feeds for updates and we look forward to seeing you all in October.

Team OMM

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BBC Adventure Show to cover: OMM 2016

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BBC ADVENTURE SHOW EPISODE TO FEATURE OMM 2016

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WATCH THE PREVIEW HERE

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The Adventure show, now in it’s 12th year covers Adventure races and sports from Scotland and the rest of the World. Each 1 hour long episode features showcases the competitors and challenge of competing in the event. This year we are pleased to announce The Adventure Show will be covering OMM 2016 for one of it’s episodes.

We’re looking forward to having the team from the Adventure Show come and compete in the event along side the main field of competitors. The team, mostly ex-OMM competitors are looking forward to this years event in South West of Scotland on the 29-30 October.

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The Adventure Team will be on site all weekend capturing the ELITE CLASS race and covering the stories of the competitors throughout the weekend.

OMM and the Adventure Show team are currently in the planning phase for the episode. We’ll keep you updated as things develop and as we get closer to October.

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