Forest of Dean Galoppen
SW League (3 of 9)
Nearly 20 of us took on the challenge of the varied terrain at Brierley on a cool, dry and quite bright day. Pete Shirvington was top of the class, finishing mid table on Brown. Results, Event page, Photos, League tables
Brierley has very steep slopes and valleys cutting through it and even platforms to remind us of parts of the Quantocks.
In between tricky technical bits inevitably made of former mine workings and slag heeps, there were connecting legs involving long distances and plenty of route choice. One of our runners on Brown ended up running off the map (not Andy or Pete!).
Pete even managed to liven up a long leg stretching most of the width the map, by reccying later controls that lay within those tricky mine areas. Pete felt he was moving well so was astounded to see that the winner had finished nearly half an hour ahead of him! That was elite orienteer Ben Mitchell of Swansea Bay OC, who on 53 minutes was more than 10 minutes ahead of the usual duopoly of Ben Chesters and Clive Hallett. Last season's QOFL winner Peter Ward of North Glos OC took advantage of running on home terrain to beat Ben and Clive too. In the league, Ben leads from NGOC's Peter, while QO's Pete is 9th.
Besides Pete's, there were other notable runs from Matt Carter (Blue) and Roger Craddock (Short Green).
Matt handled the step up in distance from Green well, finishing in 70 minutes, just outside the top half of competitors. He was the top QO on Blue, unless you count Brett Craddock, one of Roger's two sons making the journey. In similarly steep and technical terrain to the Lake District, this should bode well for Matt, who's signed up for five days running Blue up there next summer!
Roger himself finished in the top third on Short Green, within 15 minutes of the winner, and saw off a few runners decades his junior.
Tony Hext has regained consistency of late and again got round Green in around an hour, as did Robert Green. Amazingly, their times were double the time of the winner, an M16 from Devon OC. Tony now sits third in the Green league.
Amazingly, we had representation on every course. This was due to several JOG regulars being present.
One was Martin Lewis, continuing his step up to Light Green. In a stronger field this week, he couldn't reprise last week's success at Mount Edgcumbe but should only benefit from the technical challenge he faced on Sunday. The Carters were making their Galoppen debuts and on the Yellow and White courses, both the girls had solid runs without eclipsing their dad's success.
Mercifully, the terrain appeared to have escaped the attentions of the local wild boar population and was free of the churned up mud that accompanies these rampant porcines. See the link to an article below, brought to our attention by the December version of SINS (the newsletter for our region).
This event qualified most of its runners for ranking points- see them here. Pete's impressive run should earn him enough points to climb into the UK top 1000 for the first time. Well done Pete. For more on the scheme, click here.
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