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A young orienteer choosing to run during the day.

Fadden Pines Day Night Orienteering

The Weston Emus (WE) is a small club dating back to the 70’s with most of the previous members coming from the Mt Stromlo Observatory ANU community. Our oldest member (Hermann Wehner) at the age of 99 sadly passed on in November and so WE plans on running a tribute event on Sunday the 2nd of June located at the top of the Mt Stromlo observatory as a sprint event. Martin (his son) has taken on the duties for producing a map and designing the courses. It will be a challenging new map and a new area for future events. (Hopefully).

WE had provided another challenge, laying the foundation to offer night courses during the Twilight series. With 80 people showing for the day session and 25 people showing for the night, they provided another option for orienteering.

It was a warm day at Fadden Pines, not a drop of rain in sight WE were excited for the up and coming event. Although, on some occasions, there can be a little drama. John Foster (Course Planner), Ingrid Foster and I put out the controls in the early afternoon with plenty of time to setup and sit down for a rest. In the meantime, the pines were invaded by the hundreds of Holy family school children ready to run and play on some of the apparatus within the park. Ingrid having foresight on what some of the little critters can do decided to recheck some of the controls up near the major bike path along Coyne Street. On her return, she reported the worst. Two control stations were missing. With 30 minutes to go before the start, WE were off to the races, that being “Quick, grab the extra control units, with flags and reflectors and re-place the units.” Luckily, on inspections, we were able to find the discarded control units in the nearby bush and fix the issue. Wiping the brow, WE were able to continue with the event.
When you hold these special events, people tend to congregate around with a buss of activity. Peter Miller brought along a huge watermelon and offered it around, our new international coach (Krisztina Gera) also made an appearance and her first event was the night race.

The night race used both the M1 and M2 courses and the feat was to be completed in an hour. Generally, I have trouble finishing the M1 course in the hour during the daytime, but some showed that this night orienteering was quite easy with the first finisher completing in 14 minutes. Most of the competitors were our young elite quad and so it really did turn into a race. As you, peruse the darkness, a line of heads lights seen in single file from control to control. Most of the athletes chose the M1 course so not much for a challenge; just keep up with the fellow in front. Hopefully, they know where they are going. All the competitors made it back within 30 minutes and luckily, for the volunteers, they could be home by 9:30pm. I sensed that most of the orienteers enjoyed themselves with the amount of smiles and laughter at the assembly area. Providing the encouragement to repeat this event, perhaps next year.

Thanks to John Harding for the photos (see Facebook) and of course the WE team.