ust a quick “Happy Christmas” from The Irish Orienteer to all the orienteers out there! The recent weather will make for some interesting running conditions at the Christmas competitions on Three Rock Mountain, Co. Dublin on St. Stephen’s Day (starts 10.30-12.00) and Currabinny, Co. Cork on Sunday 27th (starts 11.00 – 12.45) and NWOC’s score event at Ballykelly, Co. Derry on Monday 28th (registration from 11.15, mass start 12.00).
This time of year usually has some other activities like mountain running (sse the IMRA web site here) or the odd 5 or 10 k race, so make sure you get out and get some fresh air and exercise. Many orienteers do the GOAL mile on Christmas day – see details here. Leinster orienteers might be tempted by the Setanta-organised hike in the Dublin hills on Monday December 28th. Details here, but the orgsanisers need to know numbers in advance.
New Year Resolution time
Now is also the time to kick-start your new training regime in time for some of the great orienteering planned for 2010. Soon the annual TIO preview of major events in the coming year will be published, so you can armchair-plan the year ahead.
Economic decline presents opportunities
The steep decline in the Irish economy in the past year means that many of us don’t have the kind of income we have been used to, and many of us don’t even have jobs anymore. Applications to third-level colleges will also increase as there will be fewer jobs for school leavers.
All of these factors can be turned to our advantage in some way: there are opportunities for local orienteering where we don’t have to travel so much; people out of work may be keen to do some mapping or coaching or other voluntary work; lots of new college students are a fertile ground for sowing the orienteering seed. After I left college I was out of work for a year and I took on the job of Secretary of the Irish Orienteering Association: that was a great chance to do something positive in what was otherwise a very negative situation and it gave me something to get out of bed for in the mornings, so voluntary work does have significant rewards even if they are not financial ones.
Andrew Cox sent me this poem by Jean Tubridy-Fox , composed after a recent day’s orienteering in the Comeraghs. We have a great sport – take a few seconds to appreciate it.
Reflections on Orienteering
Mother, son and dog day,
F52, M14, D1.5;
escape to the Comeraghs,
where new challenges come alive.
Map in hand, clear red line,
fourteen points: ‘Oh this is fine.’
Click the first, confidence soaring
Is it too easy, could it be boring?
Eyes divert to the glorious Falls,
frozen in time as if heaven calls.
Reality check, where’s number two?
‘Compass! You know I haven’t a clue.’
Man running with easy gait,
jumping streams, avoiding wet
‘Hi, can you help us to orientate?’
‘Oh you’re looking for 2, this is 8!’
Wind at our backs, oh what bliss!
Just look at that sea, sun-kissed.
An hour to get to our number two,
How do the others know what to do?
Get on a roll, three to eight,
Don’t be distracted, just concentrate.
This is how to navigate –
We’re flying, on the home straight!
But where the hell is number ten?
Contours, boulders, ankles bending.
Lowland marshland, streams wending
Is the search never-ending?
My heart wants this day to last
It’s not just about being fast;
Win or lose, savour the present
Forget the future and the past.