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2009 – Controller’s Comments

The Event

We were blessed with near perfect weather over the weekend, although I did have a complaint about the downpour at the start on Saturday.  I did not want to make things too easy !

If you look at the web site you will see details that show the relative nature of the courses.  If you look at the results, you will see that the leading teams on the shorter courses were well within the target times.  This does not concern me because there is a very large ‘tail’.  Many teams in these classes participate, rather than compete and I feel that it is important that we give them something that they can cope with.  As you move to the longer courses, the competition heats up and this is reflected in the stricter entry requirements and shorter ‘tail’.

Organising an event in the Lakes can be stressful experience.  There are so many organisations that have a finger in the pie, each with their own agendas.  We must thank Jon Broxap for his efforts in this area.  He met with the various officials and cleared the land ahead of schedule.  Compared to some previous years the permissions process this year was very straightforward.  That was until Billy the Bull and the Pony Trekking appeared on the scene four days before the event.  We toyed with the idea of using Billy’s presence and stampeding horses, to speed you through the fields, but in the end decided to change the route into the Finish on Sunday.  Hence the map corrections.

For Phil Clark, an Elite Mountain Marathon and Fell Runner, this was his first go at planning.  After a slow start, because the lucky lad had to disappear to Tanzania for a while, he started to appreciate some of the intricacies of planning very quickly.  He deserved all the thanks he got over the weekend for the quality of the courses.

Philosophy – Fell Runners v Orienteers

How do you describe a control point ? The Orienteer takes the 100m square defined by the grid reference and defines the description using features in that square only. The Fell Runner uses the grid reference to define the area to concentrate on and then gives a description based on features in the surrounding area. To illustrate this, look at check point 106 GR 214036.  To the orienteer the description is Knoll South most.  To the fell Runner it is Knoll South West most.  In the past I have always used the Orienteer approach but was rather more lax this year.  Do others have any thoughts on this matter ?

Spirit of the Law not the Letter of the Law

As most of you will now be aware, I disqualified the runner first home on the Klets for an equipment irregularity.  I did not consider a silk sleeping bag liner to be a sleeping bag.  If he had had a ‘proper’ sleeping bag, would that have made a difference at the Finish ?  There was 2 seconds between him and the next !  It is possible that a smart lawyer would argue that the liner was, in fact, a 1 season sleeping bag.  However, what I feel is important is that we invoke the Spirit of the Law.  We should all try to uphold this Spirit.  There was hardly a soul that went home from the event not having had a enjoyable weekend.  That is what I, and my ‘Team’, set out to achieve.  So before we condemn the unfortunate runner I would like you to consider the following and whether they are in the Spirit of the event

  • Running on Bedafell, a walkers class.
  • Wife and Baby visiting overnight campsite. (possibly providing extra resources like food).
  • Eating food in the local pub.  You are meant to be self sufficient.
  • Leaving kit, climbing to a control and descending again to pick up kit.  You should never be separated from your kit.
  • Splitting from your partner.  Partner takes a shortcut whilst other goes to control.  You should never be separated from your partner. Discarding rubbish and keeping a dirty polybag as a token. !!!
  • (Carrying a GPS).

All of these I witnessed (except the items in brackets, although that does not mean that they did not happen) during the weekend.  From what I can see there were numerous breaches of the Spirit of the Law.  So did you breach it ?

If I invoked the Letter of the Law, the spirit would be lost.  It is a very fine balance that has to be maintained.  This is where the integrity of the individual is important.  We rely on you to uphold that Spirit.

As a final thought, think MPs and expenses.  They were within the letter of the law, but, what was your reaction ?

Epilogue

My Grateful Thanks to all those who helped make this a success.  To David Johnstone and his band of merry helpers; Jon, Phil and their partners; Phil, Barbs and Jenny; and, of course, Andrew who keeps the computers rolling.

Lastly, if you have a questions regarding equipment, please ask before the next event.  We do get quite a few as it is, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

If you have any thoughts on the above that you wish to communicate with me, please email controller@slmm.org.uk.

Chris Hall

Controller