25/06/2022 HALO Weekend Day 1 - YHOA Sprints - Hull
There were 2 planners involved: Charlotte kindly did the creative side looking for interesting and challenging legs while David did the work on the ground. Compliments will go to Charlotte, criticisms will go to David.
We hope you enjoyed the coastal location for these Sprint races, a change from university campus racing while still able to provide a very low traffic running area.
The order of the race areas was dictated by the tide, low tide in the morning meant that the dock gates in the Marina were not going to be opened. Later at high tide one, and then the other, dock gates come into use creating unpredictable route choices; Victoria Dock Village providing the firm map for the second race.
The new bridge over the A63 dual carriageway meant that we were able to access the Old Town, finishing at the minster. Good fortune or good planning meant that when it became apparent that the High St (cobbled) was to become a TV drama set no replanning was necessary, look out for Hull when “Bodies” is released.
Extensive works have been carried out on the sea defences, completion of this has let us utilise the area properly. The residents of Hull were very accommodating, allowing unrestricted running in the modern areas which have still been linked with unusual path networks. Much enthusiasm to see sport and activity going on was shown during the planning consultations with residents..
Finishing in the park area allowed us to explore the possibilities of what it offered while finishing close to the event centre and download. While it is not excellent that the bowls club has obviously ceased, it does hand the area nicely to orienteering.
The intent of what some see as a reverse chase is multiple. The slowest runners do not have their gaps doubled and come in even further behind the other runners. There is a sense of ‘event’ in having more finishers arriving together. While first-across-the-line is good for an arena and audience keeping everyone involved was the intention with this format. In an urban environment setting the fastest off first inevitably leads to bigger gaps between runners, with little “chase” going on as it might in the forest unless the gaps are small. Past experience is that the second run is not as predictable as simply resulting in net times ending at the same moment. With hindsight, the opposite of a mass start should have involved a gaffled finish to reduce control load.
Feedback received involving congestion at the end of the courses suggests that the intended route choices were not able to separate people but that trains of runners resulted. Safety is always a concern and we should always be mindful of the safety of other competitors and the public. We have taken this onboard and hope that future Sprint Champs will ensure that the issues do not impede on the competition.