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Thornaby & Bassleton Woods

Planner's Comments

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Planner's comments

Update on 16-May-2022
 1.  I'm very sorry if I've caused offence by asking Caroline to ask some competitors to check whether they went through the out-of-bounds area.
 2. I don't believe that any of the competitors at the Thornaby & Bassleton Woods event intended to cheat.
 3. This has reminded me that we can't rely on competitors reading the details of the event information on the web site or reading notices at the Start.
 4. It's also become very clear that, on a leg where making the right route choice has a significant impact, you can't use split times to distinguish between (i) competitors who have correctly picked the optimum route and executed it without hesitation and (ii) competitors who have inadvertently taken an inadmissable short-cut.
 5. If I ever use this type of arrangement again in future, I'll make sure that the out-of-bounds area is marshalled ...... not to catch and report people who have gone through it, but rather to let people know that the out-of-bounds area is there.  I think it's a legitimate planning technique to design a leg so that people who set off along the red line without planning their route suffer a time loss when they subsequently discover that there's a dead end or an impassible obstacle.  (That's happened to me on more than one occasion, including during a Sprint event in Venice.)  However, I really don't want to be in the position of disqualifying people because they haven't been aware that an apparently viable route is, in fact, out of bounds.

Planning courses in a "mixed terrain" competition area offers some interesting challenges.  It's helpful to keep the shorter, less technical courses in the traffic-free parts of the area so that under-16s don't need to be accompanied by an adult ..... but the River Tees runs along the edge of the non-urban area.  And then there's the question of how to make the longer courses as interesting as possible.

Most of the urban area isn't conducive to setting highly technical navigation challenges, and trying to get you off the paths in the majority of the woodland area would simply be cruel, so my main focus was on posing route choice challenges.  In order to enable me to include more interesting route choices in the urban part of the area, I defined a couple of out-of-bounds area.  One of these, on the way to #219, turned what would have been a navigationally trivial leg into quite a tricky – and non-intuitive – route choice, with the optimum route veering quite a long way off the straight line between the controls.  Thank you to everyone who complied with the out-of-bounds requirements and took on the challenge of finding the best way round.  Unfortunately, it's clear from the split times that a few competitors did run through the out-of-bounds area.  We're not suggesting that anyone was deliberatly trying to cheat, but competitors who went through the out-of-bounds area did get a significant unfair advantage, and the Organiser is going to invite people to review their routes and own up if appropriate.

The one part of the urban area that did have the scope for requiring tricky navigation was the 'Colditz' estate in the south-east corner of the map.  I made sure that all the technical courses spent some time in there to give you the challenge of having to make quick-fire navigation decisions in this delightfully complex little area.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks to Chris Mackenzie for his constructive controlling, and particular thanks to Dennis Hooton for creating the new map, being very responsive in making updates and minor corrections, suggesting ways of improving the courses, surveying some additional control sites when I was away in Ireland and helping to put out the controls on the morning of the event.

Alastair Mackenzie