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Training Log: Rosstopher

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Monday Apr 25 #

Note

OK Linné held our yearly spring orienteering race on Sunday. It's a pretty cool thing to be a part of such a large and well organized success each year.

Check it out on Livelox (Sunday's race)

The Uppsala Möte is 3 days of orienteering, Friday Night, Saturday Middle, Sunday Long held each year by 3 clubs in Uppsala. The Middle and the Long are handled each year by IF Thor and OK Linné, and we alternate each year which discipline to arrange. I volunteered to help run the results section, where I have some experience. There are a lot of advantages to running an event in Sweden. We have Eventor to register most of the entrants, we have OLA and MeOS, two amazing programs that we can use to track it all, and we have a club that has invested in lots of great equipment so it is easy to build a small network of 12 laptops to run everything. Laptops, printers, split printers, router, switches, cables, SI equipment. Big speakers, a mixing board, microphones.

Most importantly, OK Linné is the largest orienteering club in Sweden (maybe the largest club in the world?) and we have a great number of volunteers to give their energy. On Sunday we built up the arena and hooked up the radio controls (some that send the punches to the cloud via cell phones, which we then download into our database and publish on the live results; some closer ones that use radiowaves to transmit the punches to an antenna hooked up to our network. Then we sent out just over 1150 runners into the forest. When they arrived back we printed out splits, handled the cases where a runner had been registered for the wrong class or had the wrong SI number, and fixed other minor problems as the arrived. We allow day-of entries. About 300 came on Sunday. Those all get entered into the system by a small army of 6-8 volunteers. Also, we tried a few new things this time, a special Challenge Class simple 5k and 10k orienteering courses aimed at fit novices. On Saturday the Challenge Classes had interval starts, on Sunday there was a Mass start. Also, we had a mini 2 hour rogaine sponsored by the Hittaut project. There were 30 controls available and prizes drawn by lottery. Each checkpoint visited increased your chance to win a prize (prizes decided by hastily written excel VBL code).

The day was a great success from our side, and our biggest problems were almost running out of toner (the spare toner was back at the clubhouse, and needed to be picked up) and printer paper (more was speedily purchased). We had one boy that was assigned to an already taken start time (caught, and solved by having him start 3 minutes later instead). We had a few frustrating moments when the direct registration of Challenge Class runners was not working- until we discovered that a quirk of OLA is that each course needs to have an assigned fee before a runner can be registered. Geez.. At the end of the day, we read out the check units to help find who was still in the forest. Each runner must punch the check box as they go to the start. if there is no record of the punch for that check, then our database assumes that they did not go into the forest and so we mark them as No Start. We had a couple of people finish that were marked as No Start... which means they somehow snuck past the Check. One woman managed to avoid download, and we had to call her cellphone to confirm that she was out of the woods.

One last (?) problem in the result list was fixed tonight, when a runner missed getting assigned a start time and thus was marked as mispunched in the final standings. Now resolved.

A lot of work went into the event in the month(s) leading up to the event. We had a few meetings to discuss the work, we tested the equipment several times and worked out the kinks, updated the software and then really devoted a lot of time to assigning start times for 850 people while trying to keep the start window to only 2.5 hours. On Sunday we were home pretty early. Much better than a few years ago in the same location when the database crashed and we had to run the whole competition on one laptop. Each time I help to run the timing at an event like this, I get better and better at it. This time I relied very very heavily on Håkan and Bosse, and direct entries were handled by Jan and Göran.

(the full scope of this kind of event is amazing, vendors, showers, food for sale, child care, string course, parking, streamers and signs set up. Course design, printing, putting maps in bags, talking to the proper authorities, toilets, hauling around equipment, getting electricity to the right places, making sure the equipment isn't stolen during the night, patrolling adults to help if kids get lost in the forest, clothing return from the start. The competition leaders were Johanna and Charlotte, and they were amazing, and did everything.)

It's starting to look like Uppsala will host O-ringen in 2020, and we'll have had a lot of practice putting on great events!

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