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If you're looking for a list of upcoming training sessions and races - see the calendar. Beginners always welcome.

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CUOC Turns 50! - Training at Thetford

On Saturday 30th April, CUOC turned 50! Well, not quite. The club actually hit this milestone back in 2020, but owing to two years of restrictions, we decided to just pretend and say it was now. Nothing to do with when we could access Sidney Sussex for a formal dinner. No, no, not at all.

Anyway, our captains Lachlan and Sarah had planned a veritable smorgasbord of orienteering fun to celebrate this joyous day. Unfortunately, their application to Royal Mint for a commemorative coin was rejected, for reason of there being some of 'jubilee' on this year. How disappointing. So, disregarding this completely false story, club members were instead looking forward to a day of training at orienteering's San Siro - Thetford forest. Intricate contours, tricky rock detail, thumping views... Thetford has none of these. But what it did have was some pretty tasty skog and a healthy dose of CUOCers and DRONGOs ready to terrorise anyone unlucky enough to choose that day for outdoor activities.

Your author, after much reflection during the car journey, remarked that the forest felt rather French in some parts. This not entirely unfounded statement was met with ridicule from James Ackland, who is known for his Thetford-bashing and is known to have smeared this forest on many previous occasions. He is to Thetford forest what Alistair Campbell is to low-level conservative backbenchers on twitter. Thank you. Thank you for reading my metaphor.

Accompanied by some truly cracking sunny weather, the orienteers had some fun on a trains exercise on the comedically out-of-date Highlodge map. People should be commended for finding *any* controls, so well done everyone.

Once we had all reconvened, it was time for the real action of the day - the peg race! In a peg race, competitors are sent to do extra controls if they pick up a peg at certain controls, thus the course aims to have a pretty even field, regardless of abilities. The race got off to a shaky start, however, when it transpired that Lachlan had hung the first control in what can only be described as completely and utterly in the wrong place. Not even the right feature. Tut tut. Cue 2 minutes of minor chaos as the orienteers charged ferociously around the forest, hunting for the control and baying for Lachlan's blood. It was DRONGO's Rowan Lee who sniped it first, and from then on, the relay ran more true to form.

The map was slightly inaccurate in places, which definitely increased the fun factor of the training - knowing what the terrain is actually going to look like is just a bit boring. The race continued, and more pegs were pegged onto shirts, leggings, nippl-.... no, don't be so churlish. A special mention should be given to Patrick Pan, for whom this was a first ever experience of forest orienteering! He did extremely well, considering his map was about as accurate as OJ's testimony - well done Patrick. It can only get better.

Your author must confess that James and himself were still recovering from a race the previous evening and thus had thighs which felt they had just been used extensively for HS2 crash resistance testing. This called for an early dip back to the car park, which allowed us the chance to watch a steady stream of runners come crashing out of the undergrowth with a varying number of pegs. DRONGO's Ben Windsor and Matt Vokes led the charge, but it was in fact James Hoad who romped to victory, thanks to his claiming a peg at the first control.

(Nearly) all orienteers made it back for the 4pm notional cut-off and everyone agreed that much fun had been had in the forest. Thanks to Lachlan for putting on the training! As engines spluttered into life and the convoy rolled across the expansive fens towards the towering spires of the old university town, thoughts turned to the next orienteering challenge of the day. I leave you in the hands of Dom to recount the story....

Et voila! The pinnacle of the day had arrived (no offense intended to Lachlan’s previous planning efforts, but he really surpassed himself with this!) So you’ve heard of WOC, WMOC, WTOC… but how about WESOC?! – yes, it was time for the inaugural world e-scooter orienteering champs, utilising Cambridge’s plentiful supply of Voi scooters. Much debate was had as to the name of this specific flavour of ESO: Voi-orienteering, Vo(r)i-enteering, vOi…?

Call it what you like, this could only have been the brainchild of a man who, having had his biked nicked in Michaelmas, took to two (significantly smaller) wheels to whizz around checking control sites for trainings. Teams of three were devoised, and a tense crowd (including many a bemused normal person) watched as the mass start sped off at a leisurely pace of 5mph, courtesy of the pedestrian zone ‘speed’ limits.

Lachlan had been cunning, placing artificial barriers throughout the course, making some routechoices rather cunning. Clearly our outgoing Captain has friends in high places (or at least Voi HQ), as he’d even managed to get the scooters’ geofencing to match up to these barriers – and on account of the “You’re in black tie, strictly no running rule”, there was literally no way through. A particular flowerbed-heavy British Sprints spring to mind as an event that could have done with a bit of geofencing…!

I’ll come clean at this stage and admit that your author has no clue as to which teams were leading, and who actually won – it was all a bit of a coral pink blur! However, in order to win the WESOC, it’s pretty clear to me that you have to be entirely de-voi-d of all fear of falling off your steed. But the main thing to remember is to a-voi-d collisions with (in no particular order) cars, kerbs, and locals – else you may find yourself in-voi-ced for damage (sorry 🙃) Fortunately/remarkably (delete as appropriate) there were no collisions, all courses were correctly completed, and no teams were voi-d (hehe, last one I promise). Only other thing we learnt was that due to the mass migration of the Voi population of Milton into central Cambridge on account of DrongO, our chosen Voi rank actually became full, and so following the instruction of Big Brother Voi, various members had to slink off to dump their scooter somewhere else.

And so it was onto the 50th (+2) anniversary dinner, held at Sidney Sussex College. We unashamedly defer to DrongO’s more promptly published write up for details:

“The food was very tasty and nicely presented. We swapped places between courses to be able to talk to more people. When the eating part was done port was then served, and Richard had organised a fun quiz where you were given a map extract of a CUOC area, and had to identify the area and the mapper. The teams with John O and Ben W in came first and second respectively, which was definitely nothing to do with several of the maps having been mapped by them. Ben W had also collated several pages of memories, news and photos from 52 DrongO members all over the world, which were handed round for everybody to look at. Colin Duckworth then gave a very well thought out speech about a variety of topics relating to his orienteering experiences, including the M25.

Lachlan Chavasse (CUOC Captain), Pete Molloy (CUOC Treasurer), and Ben W (DrongO Captain) then all gave less planned-out speeches, during which Pete told us how CUOC [REDACTED due to allegations of fraud] were going to [encourage] its members to go to Czech Varsity next year. We then took a variety of group photos, and DrongO taught CUOC how to build a human pyramid.”

Celebartions continued in Sidney bar, with some DrongOs even continuing their night in Revs (after a failed attempt to relive their glory days by dashing around Lola's, map in hand!)

Here's to another 50/49/48 years!!

CUOC go to the JK

After a gruelling 3 year hiatus, it’s finally back. The pinnacle of the UK orienteering calendar, the race every serious competitor focuses their training around, with everyone that matters and no one that doesn’t in attendance. That’s right - this weekend marked the hotly anticipated return of the DRONGO Easter Egg Hunt. However, since only one current CUOCer turned up, there’s a slight dearth of content, so this article will instead focus on the supporting act of the JK races, which were conveniently scheduled to take place in the surrounding area of South Wales on the same weekend.

Day 1 saw the ghosts of CUOC past, present and yet to come (more on that later), descend on Swansea University, whose motto is “Gweddw crefft heb ei dawn”, which is Welsh for “straight is great”. This turned out to only be true for the Northernmost section of the courses, which were in a section of parkland so dreary that we might have to use it for a Wednesday training next year. The rest of the area, however, was a sprint orienteering paradise. Large university buildings allowed for technical route choice problems, before a section through the arboretum to throw off those who believe sprint races shouldn’t involve the use of a compass.

Our very own Peter Molloy boshed his way to silver on M20E, which translated to a very handy 5th in the combined M18/20/21 rankings. Exactly 1 minute slower was James, followed by Olly, in a strong 5th on M20E, just 10 seconds shy of the podium. Ben Windsor (alias Mr. DRONGO/Pizza Boy/Wen Bindsor) was the fastest man sporting the soon-to-be legendary DRONGO sprint vest. Grey came agonisingly close to beating Oxford’s very own care home escapee Aidan Smith, who recently competed in his 87th Men’s Varsity match (where - as you may remember - we won). Dom ‘the influencer’ Dakin collected himself some nice scalps on the results list, but this only partially makes up for his disappointingly low count of 2/7 social media logos (yes, you can have LinkedIn on there).

Meanwhile, none of the CUOC women raced, which wasn’t very fun of them, so the only news of note from the Women’s side came in the form of Oxford taliswoman Miss Molloy’s fall from Grace (see what I did there?). Her seemingly fast time transpired to be the result of not actually going to all the controls, which is cheating.

On day 2, former captain and present man with a squirrel on his head Paul Pruzina declared that the ‘real orienteering’ would begin. Before that, though, all competitors were treated to a poster advertising CUOC to incoming freshers. This almost obscene level of organisation could have been the work of only one man (although James did at least pretend it might have been Sarah to be polite). While Mr Dakin’s efforts on behalf of the club are surely impressive, such dedication to the club and forward-planning prowess is frankly unbecoming of the office of the CUOC captaincy, which has a proud tradition of mediocrity. Questions must now be asked of his suitability to the position for which he is rumoured to be a frontrunner.

Out in the ‘forest’, which was actually a big sod-off marsh, the stand-out performance once again belonged to our M20 maestro, Mr Molloy, who massacred the opposition over the reduced-distance course to win by over 90 seconds. Olly lost time early on, but got down to business in the second half to finish in a respectable 6th. Sarah began her JK campaign, taking 38th on Women’s elite, while Beth was 4th on W20L, and Rachel just nipped inside the hour mark for 18th on W21S. On Men’s elite, Lachlan took 45:30 in an attempt to find out how long he would have liked the Varsity match to have been. Dom was 49th in 42:51, a little over a minute down on Grey, who was this time on the satisfying side of the nearest Oxford opposition, showing Tom Wood how it’s done. James had a suspiciously good run for 6th, and would kindly ask you to absolutely not compare his splits for controls 10-17 to those of home clubmate and eventual winner Sasha Chepelin.

Back in the arena, James explained himself to an onslaught of people barely concealing their shock at his placing (and also to Grace, who went straight for the jugular, hence your dear author’s retrospective delight in her Day 1 exploits). Elsewhere, Pete met David Hanstock (Sidney Sussex, 1974), who, presumably recognising his handiwork on one of our… let’s say “ultralight” mesh shirts, revealed that he was the original designer of the CUOC logo. On behalf of former CUOCers Aidan and Paul, who are responsible for recent sartorial atrocities in the club, we wish to apologise for the association of such a fine piece of graphic design with such vulgar garments. Meanwhile, Dom’s poster campaign was proving a success, with various offer holders declaring themselves, which is good. Official press & publicity policy prevents me from naming names, but basically Oxford had better get used to losing varsity matches.

Day 3 was held just across the vaaalleeeeyy (you know how to say it) from the inappropriately-named ‘Big Pit’, which DRONGO have ascertained is actually quite small by mining standards. In amongst the steam railway and big ol’ bits of mining equipment is Pwll Du, brutally stripped of both coal and vowels by a century of mining by burly Welshmen. The area itself is almost entirely mapped as rough open, which makes it difficult to differentiate between the surprisingly fast scree and the stunningly unfast marshes.

Today was a day of military consistency in results for club members. Matthew, Sarah and Rachel all matched their placings from Day 2 precisely. Pete again took the win on M20, but this time with only a perilous 9-second insurance from what is known in the industry as ‘a Gooching’. Olly went from 6th to 5th, and James from 6th to 8th. Lachlan slightly ruined the fun by improving his 59th to 39th, but the conclusion can still be drawn that day 3 of the JK is effectively redundant for those running for CUOC (r(4) = .958 [.656, .996], p < 0.05). Less statistical stories of the day include Lachlan’s 3-minute victory over Dom, which was just enough to overtake him in the combined rankings, and James’ 100-minute slog on M21E, which culminated in a loud reception on the run-in, which was nice because it meant there was some second-hand noise for winner on the day Will Gardner who finished (and I cannot emphasise this enough) just behind.

On the fourth day CUOC emerged once more, in various states of bedragglement, for the relays. 3 days of JKing is tough on the body, so it was absolutely no comfort at all to find that the relays were on a cross-country course cunningly disguised as a military base. Although there was no CUOC team, there were notable performances from various CUOCers, starting with Pete Molloy (who’da thunk it), who shot out of the gates on leg 1 for 6th to give FVO a battling chance of a medal. His team mates blitzed through the rest of the race, but their gallantry was only sufficient for 2nd place in the end. James was somewhat less explosive, finishing 12th, but setting up INT for a handy 4th, courtesy of strong runs from his comrades. SquaDRON GOld came back 11th, with notable performances from Luke (5th on leg 2), and Ben (7th on leg 1, but the more important thing being his impressive-but-not-obviously-effective two-footed fence hopping technique). Olly ran for BOK Massive Attack, who don’t need a military pun, while Sarah took her marching orders from EPOC, and Dom led the charge for an SYO team. Lachlan, Grey and Rachel all decided to dodge the bullet of the relays, and tactically retreated on Sunday instead.

And with that, dear reader, this CUOC JK report comes to a close. Members dispersed back around the country, presumably beginning to make preparations for their Easter-term exam caves (your author wouldn’t know, as you’ll be no-doubt delighted to be reminded). Congratulations and/or commiserations to all as appropriate, and I hope no-one else returned with as much Welsh undergrowth embedded in their hands as I did.

CUOC does Varsity ̶2̶0̶2̶0̶ ̶2̶0̶2̶1̶ 2022

𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘳: 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘢𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘭𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘭𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘳 - 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘶𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯..?

An Easter vac Varsity meant CUOCers converged on the Lake District from the furthest reaches of this sceptered isle. Well, some unnamed individuals fled their captain's summons (or the oppressive legislation of embargos) to destinations as further flung as Spain. The trials of Easter holiday traffic contended with we slowly assembled at Thurston Outdoor Activity Centre on the shores of lake Coniston.

Dom gave us the lowdown on Oxf*rd's (and his) pre-Varsity ̶t̶r̶a̶i̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ cheating, Lachlan was happily reunited with his beautifully cleaned shoes and many wondered whether Oli would ever return from the fell the next day... Soon it was time to venture up to the 𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗽𝗹𝗲 bunks beds although not quite early enough for Oxf*rd's 9.30pm bedtime!

The Varsity Team. L-R: Pete, Lachlan, Oli, Dom, Rachel, Beth & Sarah

On Saturday morning we got up at a reasonable time, ate some cereal, drank some tea, and headed off to the race. Lachlan and Oli promptly went the wrong way but finally our Our 7-strong team of Rachel, Beth, Pete, Oliver & Dom, led by captains Lachlan & Sarah convened in a field. Vitally the sheep were also in the field, and clearly sensing Oxf*rd's weakness - strength does not necessarily come in numbers...

"𝘞𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘣𝘦𝘨𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘳𝘰𝘴𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘮𝘦 𝘍𝘦𝘭𝘭, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘴𝘢𝘸 𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢 𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘪𝘥 𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘯𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘸𝘦’𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮 – 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘉𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘭'𝘴 𝘍𝘪𝘦𝘭𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘛𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘵𝘰𝘯’𝘴 𝘣𝘶𝘪𝘭𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴, 𝘴𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘭𝘢𝘵 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘺 𝘨𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘴𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘨𝘨𝘭𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴, 𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘨𝘴, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘴!

𝘐𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘯’𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯… 𝘧𝘰𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘺𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘣𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘢𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘣𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘚𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘩. 𝘗𝘦𝘳𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘯𝘴𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘳 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘏𝘰𝘭𝘮𝘦 𝘍𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱𝘦𝘥, 𝘢𝘴 𝘚𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦 3𝘳𝘥, 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬-𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘦𝘴 𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘨𝘦. 𝘈 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘨𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘰 𝘰𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘯𝘪 𝘗𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘢, 𝘍𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘏𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘥 2𝘯𝘥, 3𝘳𝘥 & 4𝘵𝘩 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭𝘭 – 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘢𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘌𝘯𝘨𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 ‘𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘦’ 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘢𝘮. 𝘙𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘦𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘉𝘦𝘵𝘩, 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘯𝘦𝘸 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘓𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘯𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 (𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘭𝘺, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘺!) 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘴. 𝘐𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘣𝘰𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘥𝘮𝘪𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳 𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘰𝘱.

𝘔𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘭𝘦, 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘯’𝘴… 𝘗𝘦𝘵𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦, 𝘸𝘪𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘯’𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘺 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘢 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘦, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 2𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘖𝘹𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥’𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘳, 𝘈𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘯. 𝘓𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘭𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘰𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘢 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘳𝘶𝘯, 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘮 3𝘳𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘤𝘩, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘥 𝘢 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘰 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘖𝘴. 𝘏𝘦 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘢𝘴 (𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘐 𝘴𝘢𝘺, 𝘣𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘴) 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦, 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘧𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘶𝘭𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘴! 𝘛𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘋𝘰𝘮 𝘩𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘶𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘰𝘧𝘧𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘦-𝘝𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘦 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘖𝘹𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥’𝘴 𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘴, 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘢𝘷𝘪𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘰𝘯𝘭𝘺 𝘢𝘧𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘰𝘭 7 – 𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘩𝘦’𝘥 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘥𝘺 𝘵𝘰𝘸 𝘰𝘧𝘧 𝘥𝘢𝘳𝘬-𝘣𝘭𝘶𝘦 𝘈𝘪𝘥𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘯 𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘗𝘦𝘵𝘦 – 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘹 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘱, 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘪𝘮 4𝘵𝘩. 𝘖𝘭𝘪, 𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘮𝘦𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳, 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘦 2018, 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘢𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘯 𝘴𝘵𝘶𝘥𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘱 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦: “𝘞𝘩𝘺 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴!” 𝘖𝘯 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘖𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘣𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘓𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘭𝘢𝘯’𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥 “𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘪𝘵 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦” – 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩, 𝘩𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘥, 𝘣𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘖𝘹𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥’𝘴 4𝘵𝘩 (𝘢𝘯𝘥 5𝘵𝘩 & 6𝘵𝘩) 𝘮𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘺 𝘢 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘪𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘳𝘨𝘪𝘯."

Cars slowly left the field, sheep remained. Showers were had and eventually Lachlan persuade people to engage with some culture for the afternoon - i.e. go to the pub. He was most grateful for the teetotalage of many a CUOCer to be chauffeured to the pub. He was less grateful when it came to the boat race - which is about enough said about that. Dinner saw a long awaited return of Wilf's with the highlight surely being the sticky toffee pudding - what lunatics would choose bread and budding pudding is beyond me. prizes were awarded, tankards were filled, and Lachlan drank from Pete's for aforementioned reasons. CUOC memories from over the years were shared and the evening finished with a series of increasingly less adult games across the various rooms of the centre culminating in sucking cereal boxes off the floor - Lachlan was sure to get one back on those DrongOs who beat him earlier in the day. A suitable lack of sleep was had by most - and Dom got to enjoy Ryan's (Oxford) sleeptalking.

The Varsity Relay Mass Start

"𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘴𝘢𝘸 𝘶𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘬 𝘩𝘢𝘭𝘧𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘶𝘱 𝘞𝘩𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘭𝘢𝘮 𝘵𝘰 𝘠𝘦𝘸𝘥𝘢𝘭𝘦 – 𝘢 ‘𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘭𝘺’ 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘱𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘶, 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘢𝘧𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤 𝘷𝘪𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘴, 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘺 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘶𝘯𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘦! 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘦𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘣𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘧𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘣𝘴, 𝘴𝘰 𝘊𝘜𝘖𝘊𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘳𝘢𝘯 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘖𝘜𝘖𝘊, 𝘋𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨𝘰𝘖 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘑𝘖𝘒. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘳𝘵 𝘱𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘴𝘱𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘳𝘶𝘯𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨..." and to laugh at them. Rowan floored it spectacularly on at least three occasions. Many stood still, JWOC relay gold medalists alike!

Controls were collected and we descended the fells and parted ways. Return journeys seemed disappointingly unremarkable. Well done to everyone who came and ran and a massive thank you to Scott and Anne from JOK for all their hard work organising and planning the weekend - we all had a lovely time. We're all looking forward to next year when Varsity goes global - to Czechia!

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