16.2 kilometers. 141 controls. And a certain tolerance for rain. That's what it took to complete all the races in the inaugural Sprint San Francisco, December 9 - 11. Not even Saturday's inclement weather could put a damper on things. Indeed, with everyone running the same courses, with a fair amount of time between rounds and with many of us huddled together under the five canopies that had been set up, a great camaraderie developed among our diverse group. From 11-year old Anna Campbell to 80+ year old Nigel Kileen, we all shared a great experience throughout the weekend and got some time to get to know one another. We had competitors from England and Australia, from Vancouver, Seattle and San Diego; people who have just moved to the Bay Area and people who've lived here all their lives; some entrants orienteering for the first time ever, some who've been doing it for decades. It was a fine weekend indeed.
The event started on Friday evening with a Night Sprint Relay at Fort Scott in the Presidio. Lots of map corrections were made on the old map, allowing us to make a couple of decent sprint courses. Teams of two were formed with each team member running two legs, one on each course. The team of Aron Walker and Terence Goldberg came in first. Terence is an orienteer from South Africa who's been in the Bay Area for a while but this was the first time he's made it out to one of our events. Hopefully we'll see a lot more of him.
"[Saturday was] super, super fun! Well worth standing out in the rain all day!"
-- L.H., Berkeley
Saturday's Three-Round Tournament at Golden Gate Park started at 10:00 with four heats of eight people each, spaced three minutes apart. The Round 1 course had multiple butterfly loops, so that while everyone ran all the same legs in the end, different people did so in different orders, so it was a bit chaotic. The top three in each heat plus the next four fastest qualified for the Semifinals. Around 11:45, those who hadn't qualified for the Semis ran the Round 2 course with staggered starts, and then the Semifinals were conducted in two heats of eight people, with the top 3 from each heat plus the next two fastest qualifying for the Finals. The Round 2 course featured a "Score-O box": after 5 normal controls, the orienteers were presented with 8 controls that could be taken in any order before continuing on with a few more normal controls on the way to the finish. Finding the optimal order for visiting the 8 score-O controls proved to be quite a challenge. At 2:00, everyone but the Finalists ran Round 3 in staggered starts, and then the 8 Finalists started together at 2:30. A map exchange midway through the course, located near the assembly area, provided a great spectator opportunity. Jamie Parkinson from Oxford, England came in first in the Final in impressive fashion, earning the $50 first place prize. Will Enger took second and Mark Prior, now based in San Diego, nabbed third. Among the women, Marie-Josee Parayre edged out Lori Huberman for first, while Anne Wilkinson, who moved recently to the Bay Area from New England, came in third.
You can get the flavor of Round 3 by watching Will Enger's head cam video
"The final [Sunday] was the best course I've run all year."
-- J.P., England
The two races on Sunday were sanctioned by OUSA as National Ranking Events (formerly known as an A-meet). These were traditional sprint races with staggered starts, using a brand new ISSOM map made by Matej Sebo. Both the morning Qualifier and the noon-time Final offered multiple spectating opportunities. The 8 fastest men and 4 fastest women from the Qualifier ran in the A-Final and everyone else ran in the B-Final. The A-Final was run first so that everyone else could cheer them on. The most exciting part was when all four women came into view at nearly the same time, heading for the next to last control. The $50 first place prize was claimed by 16-year old Julia Dobson of BAOC, whose time was faster than even some of the men's. Marie-Josee Parayre again nipped Lori Huberman, this time for second place. Jamie Parkinson again nabbed first among the men, with BAOC's Francois Leonard holding off Will Enger for second. Australia's Sten Claessens was not far behind in fourth.
One goal was to use a minimum of volunteers. The meet was primarily staffed by 6 people: Erin Schirm, Dennis Wildfogel, Tori Borish, Jeff Lanam, Trinka Gillis, and Jay Hann, with a little help from their friends.
• Concept: Erin
• Event Directors: Dennis, Jeff
• Course design: Erin, Dennis (relay)
• Vetting: Tori, Erin (relay), Dennis (GGP)
• Map corrections: Erin, Dennis, Matej Sebo (Main Post)
• Permits: Jeff (GGP), Dennis (Presidio)
• Registration: Trinka
• Equipment: Jeff, Jay, Erin
• Results: Western Race Services (Jay)
• Webpage content: Dennis
• Onsite staff: Erin, Jeff, Tori, Trinka, Jay, Dennis
• Their usual thing: Bob Cooley (maps), Marina Keating (insurance), Chuck Spalding (webpage), Sharon Evans (moola)
• Just about everyone present pitched in at the end of each day to help break things down and pack everything up - that really, really helped, so thanks, everyone! Hoping I don't slight anyone else, special shout outs to Aron Walker, Jon Campbell and Gary Kraght.
Western Race Services big screen display of results and start times was a huge hit. Hope we get to see that at future events.
We expect next December's Sprint San Francisco to be the capstone for a year-long North American Sprint Series. The other events in the series will be in Vancouver, B.C., in February, Boston in June and Seattle in September. Plan to get in on the fun!