Monday, 19 March 2012

Success for Leeds University Orienteers in BUCS debut

The University's Orienteering Club made a bold appearance at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Orienteering Championships last weekend, finishing 8th in the overall table. For a club that formed only last October, the result was hailed a success.

The BUCS competition was fought through individual and relay events staged in the South Lakes. The individual race on Loughrigg Fell last Saturday pushed the Leeds team to its limits, with heavy rain and poor visibility blighting their chances of an easy race. Veteran orienteers Jack Wood and Stuart Clayton put in a solid effort, finishing 16th and 51st respectively, out of nearly 80 runners. Another Leeds pair, Adam Connell and Ashley Stratton-Powell, teamed up to finish the course despite the appalling conditions.

"It was a tough weekend and we all worked hard. It was really rewarding though to put all of our nav skills into practice. I’m dead pleased with the final result.” Club member and competitor, Josh Hammond

Adam Connell runs through the drizzle
Ashley Stratton-Powell in high spirits

  A Ceilidh on the Saturday night organised by Cambridge University Orienteers gave the runners a chance to meet their competitors, enjoy a drink and share stories. Though, few race tactics will have been swapped that evening with another day of racing due on Sunday. Fancy dress costumes, a monster buffet and an inter-uni ‘boat race’ livened up an already-memorable occasion.

Old skool



The relay race at Bigland Fell the next day offered better weather and a mass start encouraged friendly competition. The old Edinburgh (EUOC) vs. Sheffield (ShUOC) rivalry continued to dominate the chanting. 

Arriving at Bigland with blue skies

The relay course on Sunday featured a tricky mix of short technical navigation, through woodland, with longer sprints across rough pasture. The Leeds girls team - 'Ladies First' - kept up a steady pace but failed to make an impression on the elite runners competing that weekend (Relay results).

The club's overall performance earnt one 'BUCS point' for Leeds in the inter-university sports table. LUUOC hopes to continue its momentum through the summer and into September, when the club is expected to attract new orienteers looking for a fun adventure sport.

The LUUOC team: Stuart, Kate, Anthony, Rohan, Jack, Carol, Hannah, Ben, Ash, Adam, Rhian, Katie and Shanna

Many thanks to Cambridge University Orienteering Club for organising this year’s BUCS event. Photos by Ash and Ben.

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