I came up with a compromise to help my son get involved in the street orienteering events. After my initial runs, I decided that I’d like to continue competing seriously in the Northern series. As my son would need supervision around the streets, I couldn’t compete at the same time. I’d rather he be supervised by someone he knows well and we don’t have available someone every Thursday to do this.
So I looked at the Eastern series schedule on Wednesday nights and found that quite a few were not that far away. So for those we can drive to within about 30 minutes, I’ll take him and run/walk around with him.
This week’s event in Camberwell was suitable. Unlike the Northern series, they offered an E-course. It was just a 5 control course which I think was more appropriate than the power walker event. I’d like him to run if he can –this is disallowed in the power walking section – although his running was confined to only the first and last 20 metres tonight.
Once we began and we had a look at the map together, I let him decide the best way to get 5 controls. He was familiar with the symbols for the start/finish, controls, paths, parks, railway lines, crossings, buildings, etc so I didn’t need to explain these. We could safely ignore over half the map and as he decided various options, I helped him work out the routes between the controls. This helped him realise that although controls may look close by, sometimes you would need to go out of your way to get between them.
Based on the map, we decided on this order: 1 – 6 – 19 – 2 – 16. We looked at incorporating #13 or #10 somehow, but this was the route he felt was best. As we’re not really sure how to read contour lines yet, we weren’t able to work out which parts of the course were more hillier than others. I hadn’t had to worry about that yet as my first two events were almost flat courses.
We started in an uphill direction towards #1 but didn’t treat it as a race because I knew we would be the slowest of the E-course participants anyway. Had I been running at my pace, it probably would have taken around 20 minutes. Walking, it took us 45 minutes.
Around the course, my son often said that it was fun and at the end was keen to return. So in that respect, the event was successful. I do want him to be more focussed on getting to controls and the finish line and concentrate his efforts on getting faster and running when possible, but for now, I’m happy he got involved. It will also take some time for him to be comfortable walking around unfamiliar streets and being aware of the type of intermittent traffic he needs to deal with as he crosses roads.
While resting after the finish, we looked at the map to look for better routes. We were happy with our choice but felt that going in the opposite direction from the north might have been better. This would mean getting controls 1 – 20 – 17 – 8 – 10. At home, he was keen to plot the route on Google Earth to determine the distance travelled. We didn’t work out the alternate route, but the course we completed took in 2.8km at a pace of around 3.73 km/h.
The next suitable event isn’t for about 3 weeks and by then school will have returned. Hopefully, we can fit this into his schedule suitably.