Having been on the trails for the last few days, tonight’s event was something completely different.
Night Street League
Night Street League is a winter running and orienteering event. It’s nothing like the computer game ‘Need For Speed’. Although coincidentally there does happen to be a need for speed….
A friend (yes, the one that got me into running in the first place) has been trying to persuade me to take part in a Night Street League event; they run throughout the winter months and are organised by the Manchester & District Orienteering Club. As it happens, my friend had been in charge of the December event in Marple, and so three of us from Stockport Harriers decided to take part as it was local (Marple).
The rules of Night Street League
Night Street League is easiest to be described as ‘urban orienteering’. You are given a map at the start and the clock starts ticking, with the option of a 40, 60 or 75 minute session. Check Points (CPs) are shown all over the skeleton map each with a different amount of points. The CPs are generally identification numbers on street furniture. The idea is to visit as many CPs as you can, get the ID information and get back to the finish within your agreed session time. Points are deducted for any lateness.
So the idea is to plan a route, get the info, get back and not to lose any points!
3 Blind Mice
The three of us are not orienteering experts. Between us we could make sense of the map and the rules, but everything else was a new experience. Only one of us had thought ahead to bring their spectacles. And it was raining so even with corrective eye wear, it was difficult to see anything! Thankfully we all knew the area vaguely which helped when we planned our route.
Our approach. Run out towards some big scoring objects about a mile away, and then work our way back towards the start/finish so we didn’t have a great distance to sprint as the final seconds ticked away.
We think it went OK……
It took us a couple of CPs before we were sure what we were doing and sure we had the map the right way up! As we scurried around, there were plenty of other participants doing the same; easily identified with hi viz tops and head-torches, all carrying soggy bits of paper to write the answers down. Half the time my answer sheet was glued fast to the map which meant there was a lot of stopping and starting whilst I went back to check what it was we were looking for in the first place! Slick it was not. But it was a lot of fun, with plenty of fartlek-style running throughout the hour.
As the final minutes ticked down, we scoured a number of local streets in vain looking for a telegraph pole with a number starting with a 1. It just wasn’t for being found! So in the end, with 2 minutes remaining we sprinted back to the finish which thankfully, was only about 100 metres away from us, albeit not in a straight line.
Well nobody told us we should tot up our score as we went along. So we have no idea how many points we think we have scored. Thankfully there will be results online, but we won’t know until tomorrow. So I’ll cover that in tomorrow’s post.
What I can say is that we really enjoyed the event. Simple to do (once the instructions had been explained) and it doesn’t take up much time. And it was a good and different work-out; actually the track was closed this evening (where we’d usually be on a Tuesday evening). Fartlek is a good training method for playing with different speeds, which is what we were doing. Run to where we thought we were going. Stop and check. Run to where we should be and get the details. Stop and plan next move and off again.
So something completely different. And something we’ll try again at one of the events in the new year!