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15 -16 MAY 2004




Photo gallery [added 20 May 2004]

Officials Comments [updated 17 May 2004]

          Planner [added 17 May 2004]
          Organiser [added 21 May 2004]
          Controller [added 18 May 2004]

Results [added 12 May 2004]

Prize Winners [added 21 May 2004]

Final details [added 10 May 2004]

List of registered teams [added 10 May 2004]

Flier and entry form [added 01 March 2004]

BOF event guidelines for the Harvester. These provide information about the event, such as the classes, number of people in teams, estimated winning times, and handicap points system. [added 03 Feb 2004]

If you'd like to know more about the venue try the following
      About Pippingford
      Ashdown Forest Guide online
     Ashdown Forest Conservators [added 03 Feb 2004]


Planner's comments
 I hope you all enjoyed running the courses as much as I enjoyed planning them. I think Pippingford Park is the best night area in the South-East, so I would have failed badly if you didn't, especially with such glorious weather.

I had two particular objectives in mind. One was to produce courses that, while possibly strenuous, were not physically unpleasant. I have run too many courses in recent years from which the abiding memory has been brambles, brashings, or some similar nasties. The only real problem of this nature on Pippingford is the heathland on the far side of the valley from assembly, which I thought might be too tough for those running the shorter courses. For this reason, I gave the "5km" laps a long leg through this area, permitting path or track routes.

The other objective was, while providing as much head-to-head racing as possible, to preserve the requirement to navigate rather than follow. In particular, I was determined to gaffle the last lap on the "A" course. This causes some difficulty, as there is only one "12km" lap, and the rules require that each team must collectively have run exactly the same legs by the end of the course. Thus gaffling the "12km" lap means mixing legs and gaffles with another lap, in this case the "9km" lap.

I would urge anyone planning a relay to think about gaffling from the outset. I left the gaffling to the last minute, having previously identified and taped pairs of control sites. This was fine for the "5km" and "7km" laps, which each team ran twice. For the "9km" and "12km" laps, it would have been a lot easier to have a choice of three splits for each gaffle. Having only two meant a 2/3rds, 1/3rds split at each gaffle instead of a 50/50 split. Thus different gaffle combinations occurred with different frequency, and made working out the number of maps for each variation unnecessarily complicated.

I would particularly like to thank Keith Tonkin (controller), Michael Napier (map labels and SI processing) and Alan Halliday (map printing) for coping with my rather late-running planning process. It turned out to be just as well that we were behind, as a final site visit seven days before the event, which was supposed just to be agreeing the start/finish layout, discovered that a stile intended as the second fence crossing point for the longer courses had metamorphosed into an 8ft-high fence. Making substantial changes to courses six days before a major event is not recommended by stress councillors, but we seem to have got away with it!
Thank you all for coming,
Ian Ditchfield, Mole Valley

Organiser's comments

Thanks to all those who came to the event, I hope you all enjoyed the area and the race.

 Ian, Keith and myself wanted to make the event as spectator friendly as possible and the terrain helped in this. The use of the radio (and wired) control units, supplied by Ian and Jon Marsden (HH), and Michael Napier's associated “Ocomm” software, enabled us to set up the changeover tent as we did.

Keith Tonkin supplied the projector for the penultimate control display, thus eliminating the need for the writing of the numbers of the incoming runners on a large board. Of course provision was made for bad weather display, there were 3 more tents available to hold the projector, screen and computers, but these proved unnecessary.

 Thanks to Michael Napier (NOC) for providing the entry and results processing service, being able to leave everything in his capable hands removed one of the organiser’s points of concern almost completely.

My apologies for the siting of the Portaloo units, they arrived before anticipated and were sited by the contractors at the point I expected to meet them. Had I been on site there would then have been 3 near to the camping area, 2 at the Hut and 1 closer to the changeover area.

The biggest problems on the day (night) were caused by outgoing runners not knowing which lap of which team they were running, despite the information being on the bib they had on their chest. This resulted in three teams being disqualified (it would have been 4 but the 3 lap of the short race was the same for all teams). The problems it caused to the other teams and the organising team were even greater and had the Clyde team been fully competitive may have affected the result. There had been a lot of discussion about whether the incoming or the outgoing runner should collect the map from the tree. I opted for the outgoing runner on the grounds that they would be less tired and know the lap they were running, but is seems that I was wrong, in four cases.

My thanks to all those Moles who helped throughout Saturday and Sunday as well as fitting in a run and particularly to Helen and Jackie for sorting out the prize winners so efficiently.

For those of you disturbed by the grunting and snuffling noises below the campsite, it was the badgers what did it!!


Alan and Richard Morriss, Pippingford Park

Major (retd) Steve Thorpe, Commandant, Crowborough Camp and Pippingford ATE

Hugh Prendegast, Clerk to the Conservators, Ashdown Forest

The residents of Pippingford Park

Major Alan Farrington, Army Orienteering Association

Property (Lost and Found)

Found: Mountain Equipment Fleece, Black Hand Torch, Compass

Lost: Yellow Hand Torch

These items can be claimed from t he organiser: Phone 01372-273106

I will be taking them to events up to the middle of June


Controller's comments

Pippingford Park offers quite a number of different terrain types within a small area. The courses were planned to try and offer elements of most of this variety to competitors. We felt that the area was going to be quick and being early enough in the season would avoid difficult bracken. By bringing all courses over 7km through the assembly area we were increasing running speeds as the grasslands offered little physical resistance and lower technical challenge. I test ran an early form of the 7km course at (my) full speed in the day and ran all the moorland sections in the dark on the same routes I expected competitors to take. From this and past results we estimated the overall course lengths. For the A course at night we were aiming at around 7.5 minute kilometres and in the day 6. Early in the race I was getting a little nervous that this may have been pessimistic as despite the course climb the first few teams were slightly faster than this. Thankfully the mist came and added a little more technical difficulty to the moorland slope in Pippingford and the lower sections of Ashdown. Some competitors came back to say the mist was patchy but in places visibility was extremely short. Overall average speeds of just under 7 minutes for the winners of A and 9.5 for B seem fairly reasonable.

The changeover location offered great views over the far side of the valley and it was expected that spectators may see more at night than in the day. The early gaffling on courses meant that spectators saw lights changing direction and crossing over as teams progressed through the first 2km or so to the radio control on the far hillside. To add further interest we also included a pre-spectator control radio alert and placed the control right next to the changeover area. Both planner and organiser felt that the event should be involving and that we offer something to the rest of the team when they were not running. After all The Harvester is a team race. I think they largely succeeded and hopefully have contributed to the great experience the Harvester should be. Of course we were blessed with excellent weather which meant that staying up all night, and being outside, really wasn’t a problem.

A lot of checking went into making sure we were thorough. However, whether you are a planner or controller you do sometimes have some self doubt as competitors are going out that something just may be wrong. Little things can suddenly be magnified into something huge. No doubt there are tales of woe from the event, but also many tales of success. Looking through the results there appears to be more of the latter than the former which is a relief to say the least.

I would like to thank Mole Valley on your behalf for a great event. Congratulations to the trophy winners. Celebrate your success and bring the trophies back next year to try and defend them.

Keith Tonkin, GO

 A Race

Open: (Harvester Trophy)  1st OD Men, 2nd SHUOC Sex Club 7, 3rd SYO

Handicap: (Handicap Trophy) 1st BOK Night Hawks, 2nd BAOC B, 3rd SLOW B

 Sutton Park Trophy:
FVO Flyers

  B Race

Junior: (Happy Harvester)
1st SouthDowns Juniors, 2nd HOC Knaves

Ladies: (Panasonic Trophy)
1st SouthDowns Ladies, 2nd LOK Ladies

Ladies Handicap: (Start Posts Trophy)
1st SLOW D, 2nd OD Women

Handicap: (Devilla Trophy)
1st SLOW C, 2nd DVO Glebe, 3rd SAX Stars in their Eyes




The 2004 Harvester area is the glorious Pippingford Park.

Much of the woodland is runnable

Those of you considering camping will find the site rather pleasant.....


.....with splendid views





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