The group of orienteers stood nervously beneath the chair lift at the Blue Hills. Sly glances at their maps might help to quell or substantiate rumors about the lengthy course promised by the course setter. The spectators were on hand to witness the type of person who would enter an event which promised T-shirts to anyone who finished in under four hours.
The required speech by the starter "start not where indicated on the map.....first control moved because of unsafe conditions....2 hour cut-off at half-way point...good luck.....set..go!"
Off they trotted, only one sprinted to the first control, perhaps their adrenalin tempered by the 13.7 kilometers of orienteering before them. By the third control things began to go wrong. The combination of uphill running and the excitement of orienteering head to head sent several past the control. "Day-glo" Platt led the way out of 3, but a short time later found himself momentarily over his head in a confusing mass of trails, rocky re-entrants and fight. This allowed several slower (slightly) contestants to slip by on the optimum trail routes to the distant (1.6km.) fourth control.
By the fifth control Steve Dentino surprisingly found himself in the lead. But "Day-glo" was closing fast and led into the first drinks stop, control 6. After posing for photographers, a good drink, he was off "hearing the pack of dogs closing in". Mikell put the next two legs of predominantly trail run to good advantage and using Rt. 28, which divides Blue Hills West from East, as the ultimate catching feature, jogged into the half-way point (6.75km.) 43 minutes after the start.
At this point competitors were treated to an awesome display of NEOC event efficiency. Under the direction of J. Karpinski, control cards were checked, times taken (S. Baumann), drinks presented (Mil Plant), maps held and returned (S&H Saeger). Some competitors were so amazed by this gathering that they refused to approach the area, until convinced that it really was the eighth control.
Controls 8 to 11 comprised the competitor's spectating loop. Over the next 600 meters the three dog-legged controls allowed competitors to see who and where their nearest rivals were. This was the last anyone saw of the "Day-glo"'s orange streamers.
Back in the pack, the reporter in the field (JJ Coté) was mixing it up with some experienced orienteers. Trading places was a pack of runners that spanned the gamut of orienteering; Larry Berman, Hans Bengtsson, John Rogers, James Baker, Tony Federer, Macauley Lord ("I'll be back"), and JJ.
As the competitors approached the 10k point, some began to flag, while others became inseparable units. Mark Elgood and Peter Gagarin operated smoothly together through the eighteenth control, followed three minutes later by the Steve Dentino/Tarry team. One third of the total course climb was between controls 16 and 18 (1200 m.). This broke the reserves of runners and allowed others to break away, at least they could tank up at 18 for the final 3km.
The "pack" was gaining members as it moved through the lowlands under Chickatawbut Hill. Errors were becoming common as they moved into the final legs. Even though the controls at this point were fairly easy, the smell of the barn caused many to go too fast, grossly over-running controls (by 800 meters?), sucked over to other course controls, and finally the big let-down, mis-punching the last control.
There were many fine performances, Dave McGraw going nearly the whole way on his own, Sharon Crawford confirming her queen-of-the-woods title, Olaf Tabur again rounding up a young lovely to accompany him on his run, John Zielan carrying a picnic lunch, Jim Plant showing age is no factor and Lisa Spader still smiling after 4 hours and 24 minutes of orienteering.
It was a stalwart group that started out that day, 38 of 39 finished, 36 under four hours (17.5 minutes/km.). The rewards were few, a T-shirt, 2 donuts and cider, but, hey, I would have given even them up, if only I could have run that day.
|7||Fred Pilon||(dsq 1)||wm||47:15||114:43|
|8||Peter Bundschuh||(dsq 1)||NEOC-UNO||51:03||116:00|
|15||Jean-Joseph Coté||(dsq 1)||NEOC-MQ||56:11||120:23|
|20||Sharon Crawford - 1st female||NEOC-MQ||67:28||140:12|
|24||Peter Wilson||(dsq 3)||NEOC||68:02||157:47|
|33||Sara Mae Berman||CSU||80:00||180:11|
|Notes:||dsq 1 -||punched wrong control at #22.|
|dsq 3 -||did not punch #3.|