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Andrew Cox wato2@eircom.net

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Big Weekend


An early Ryanair flight to Edinburgh for the Burns Weekend and two days of interesting orienteering. Airport to accommodation very easy...Premier Inn at Haymarket...bus from airport stops nearby. Check in early and change for short journey to the Commonwealth pool to check in for the first event. A Street O, part of the Scottish Urban League. For those who have never tried it...you should....looks easy but mistakes can cost a lot of places.

Entered for M40+ class on the Long course. Start at one of the entrances to Holyrood park...the course winds its way through Edinburgh Southside....along streets, into courtyards, up and down stairs, around monuments and even up a spiral staircase...trying to avoid high walls that impede progress and running into pedestrians out shopping around the street corner. Local knowledge and previous experience in previous years were an obvious advantage to those who had it. Laura and I were less fortunate. I was pleased to finish the 6.3 km in 56.24 which was only 9 minutes behind the winner, 23rd out of 54 entrants in the class. Laura was happy to finish the 4.7km in 68 minutes as she is only just getting used to running the longer distances. The finish was up the steps at the Pool!

Day 2...another clear sunny cold day as we headed off to Arthur's Seat in the heart of Edinburgh. Reached the start and found a long line of people queueing to start on all the courses except the Brown. Instant decision to get my moneys worth. Certainly 1 hour and 54 minutes later I was wondering if I had made the right decision. 8 km and 750 metres of climb (320 metres more than the Blue) told the story. Some of the controls were technically quite easy but mixed in with some difficult and long legs plus the climb, this was a challenge. Looking at the results at the finish I was depressed, having been beaten by an M60. Wait, not so bad...he was the mapper! He only beat me by 6 seconds. The winning time for the record was 1 hour and 10 minutes. Once again local knowledge would have been a big help...this is an area used by people living in Edinburgh. Also used last year and for the World Schools championship recently.



I would recommend a Club trip to the event next year. It has something for everybody and oh, yes the shopping on Princes Street, the Art Galleries and Edinburgh Castle can all be squeezed in.