SprintO 2003

SprintO 2003: orienteering, alcohol and a gorilla

When I agreed to plan the SprintO, I thought it would be a doddle...a few courses- how hard can that be? A week before the race I turned on my computer to find an email that put the whole race in jeopardy. Many phone calls and a lot of stress later it was all sorted...hopefully. Fortunately all my fears about what could happen were not realised and on the day the race went smoothly. The area used, Twywell, was new to CUOC and proved to be well suited to the SprintO with some interesting technical parts (even a certain top female runner found it tricky!). It was also quite physical, with lots of short steep slopes, and hazardous in terms of vicious vegetation which had David reaching for the first aid kit on many occasions. There was a lower turn out than expected, but this did not make the competition any less exciting and the format of the SprintO, with its figure-of-eight courses makes it very spectator friendly. ShUOC, with a huge team eventually took both titles with Matt Crane and Rachel Elder winning the men's and women's courses respectfully.

After the official race was out of the way it was time to get down to the important stuff - the Elite AlcO. Niall had managed to organise impressive amounts of Pimms, beer, lager, cider and cocktail which ensured that the race went swimmingly. A certain CUOC member decided a bit of monkeying around was in order, but sadly gorillas aren't renowned for being experts in the orienteering world and he couldn't clinch the title. Neil Northrop attempted to defend his title from last year, but in the end lost out to club-mate Matt Crane who took the double (title that is!). The more sedately paced AlcO followed before everyone piled in minibuses/cars to head back to Cambridge.

Once in Cambridge, everyone split off to be housed by various CUOC members and dump gear/shower. A certain guest of mine (who shall remain nameless) had to shower twice as he happened to mistake the river outside the back of Queen's for a bush and consequently took a brief swim! Despite this, everyone turned up at that classy establishment that is the Curry Mahal for the usual awful curry which is made up for by the awesome naans. Afterwards it was time to boogie to the tunes on the dancefloor and for Matt to accept his prize as winner of the Elite AlcO - a bottle of wine which he duly downed. He even managed to make it back to his seat briefly before heading to the loos - poor lad.

After being chucked out of the party room there was a call for more night-time entertainment so some of us headed off in search of Cambridge's finest (?!) clubs. The men's trophy was lost/abandoned somewhere along the way. A bit of night-climbing on the Town Hall was curtailed by the arrival of a policeman and several people headed to the van of life for some late night nosh. It was decided that the queues outside Fez were too long and eventually everyone decided to wander home to bed (or recover a certain trophy...) and the streets of Cambridge were quiet again. Most people even managed to make it up in the morning to watch the rugby! Many thanks to Niall for organising the race and good luck to next years planner and organiser!

Written by Ali Ingleby

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