The Joys of Organising   2 comments

7:30 I meet Ziv at a gas station, and we set off in the ISOA van to Odem forest. Ziv is the secretary-general of our federation, and he planned the first day of the event. We're placing the controls for Friday. The forecast is gloomy – today is rainy, Friday is supposed to be slightly better, and Saturday worse. Cancellation is not an option.
8:30 Ziv has prepared the controls in small piles, by area. We set out into the forest in a drizzle – there is almost no mud, and the control placing goes quickly. His marking tapes are all on high branches ("to keep the animals from eating them"), so we have extra work moving them lower down so they don't disclose the controls.
9:20 While jogging back from a set of controls, an large gazelle (I think) goes past me at very high speed. Magnificent!
10:15 We finish Friday's controls, and drive to Saturday's assembly area to look around. The track leading there is in good shape despite the rain. The area is a group of empty artillery emplacements (for use only in an emergency), and we decide on the final placing of the tents and the finish line. We also decide to place 9 of Saturday's controls while we are here – the ones furthest away from the assembly. Ziv wants to take pictures of some controls in the forest, but in the end we forget.
13:00 I'm already back at work, and reporting on the situation on the website. Maybe it's called the "Middle East Championships", but the terrain and climate are definitely European.

7:00 We leave home with an overloaded car: Alon (6 months old), Roni (competing in D21A), and myself (main organiser). We'll be sleeping in a "Zimmer" (B & no B) tonight (it's too far to drive there and back twice), so we have half the house with us.
8:30 Arriving at the assembly area – Ziv and some of our club members have already set everything up, and it looks like we'll be having a relatively dry day. He's not entirely happy with one of the controls from Wednesday, so I set out to check, and have a look at some others as well, to make sure they haven't been stolen (not much chance in this weather). Beautiful forest.
9:30 Roni sets out on her course (the official starts are from 10:00), and I'm in charge of Alon, who is bundled up in 3-4 layers of clothing but looks happy. Orienteers from other clubs are streaming into the assembly field.
10:00 Roni appears at the spectator control – we're both there, urging her on. She's not training regularly (she runs when she feels like it), but her time is fast and she's in a good mood.
10:30 Roni has finished in under 9 mins/km and taken charge of Alon. I strap the headcam onto my head and set out into the forest to see what's happening. There are orienteers streaming in all directions, mostly the right ones, and I pick people at random and run after them with the camera for a short distance. It's good interval training.
12:30 Back at the assembly area, lots of orienteers have finished and enjoyed Ziv's courses and my map. I emphasize that tomorrow is tougher, and organise the master maps and controls for the other two control placers from my club – Eyal and Dan G. Meanwhile, I'll take Roni and Alon to the lodging and return to place the remainder of the controls, and the other club members will take care of wrapping up today's event.
13:45 As I drive back into the forest I see Eyal and Dan's cars in logical places on the main track, so I know they're at work. I also see a small tent in one of the artillery emplacements – I discover that three of our ex-Russian orienteers are saving on the accommodation costs and camping out! Obviously the Golan Heights in winter is nothing compared to the conditions where they grew up.
14:15 Near the top of the hill, a pile of controls in hand, I meet a small pack of wolves. Really. When they see me, they get up and wander away. I'm glad that I have these metal control stands with me – they might be useful as weapons, just in case…
15:15 Dan G. reports a problem with control 32 – he thinks the marking tape is on the wrong tree. I promise to check it in the morning. I'm already back at our lodgings, 15 minutes drive away.

8:30 We arrive back at the assembly area, in thick fog and light rain. Alon is sleeping, and I head off with a car down the main track to put out the drinks controls and check on no. 32. I move the control by about 10 meters – I suspect that I changed the planned location slightly when checking the course, but forgot to update it on the computer.
9:20 Roni sets off again, and I'm in charge of Alon. This time I have lots of help from all the lady orienteers around us, and he loves the attention, so I can leave him and wait for Roni at the spectator control in the rain. She passes through (and finishes) on time, with a good result.
11:30 I'm tracking orienteers with the headcam in the forest again, and the weather is getting worse, but everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. At times, the fog is so thick that you can't see the last control from the finish, 90m away. And the light rain is getting heavier.
12:45 Roni has won D21A, and also beaten all of my category – H40. Orienteers are arriving at the finish, drenched but smiling. European terrain and conditions, as promised.
13:15 Nearly everyone is back after a tough race, and we decide to cancel the prize-giving ceremony and hold it on some other occasion. I parcel out blocks of controls to be collected by club members, and then I'm left with 4 controls at the top of the hill. I set out at a sprint in a downpour, and as I reach the top it turns into hail (note for the future – oak trees are useless as protection against hail). I run back with the controls down a dirt track, which has turned into a river.
14:15 With an extremely well-behaved Alon as our excuse, we head home before all the controls and equipment are collected. On the way we are informed that all is finished, and another event is safely over.

I've worked over two years on the map of Odem forest, and this was a fitting climax. We were unlucky with the weather, but still over 300 orienteers participated in two days of unforgettable orienteering, and everyone finished safely.
Undoubtedly, the best part of organising an event is when the orienteers are finishing, confirming that no controls were misplaced or stolen, and saying a good word or two about the map and/or courses. To all of them I can say: It's my pleasure!

Maps and comments from various orienteers:
Zeff Segal
Itay Manor (in Hebrew)
Ronen Shurer (in Hebrew)
Guy Sabo (in Hebrew)
Gilad Ayali's movie (Roni and Alon are at 1:15)

Posted 23/11/2011 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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2 responses to “The Joys of Organising

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  1. Oded Verbin writes:thanks for the interesting organizing summarythanks for the not less interesting maps and courses it was a great championship in one of the best maps and terrain in Israel!

  2. Anonymous writes:Excellent map (and you are right to schedule another mapping session to shade the forest in the right tone of green on the eastern part). I had a terrible race and was frustrated I could not blame the map for it… 🙂

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