Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Local events

Some thoughts from over here.

Perhaps the days of the Colour Coded/District event as an 'all things to all men' are numbered. Having more local events, with a smaller target audience (perhaps even a niche market), might be the way forward, and could provide the progression (particularly for juniors) that we currently try and offer within one event type - the standard white-to-brown CC/District event.

So for instance, we have the schools events and park based sprint races catering for the youngsters and inexperienced, the terrain based sprint races and permanent course summer series events for the next level, the terrain based summer series events for the next level etc (the series of middle distance races followed by 'junior squad'-type junior training could be the next level after that).

I like the idea of a variety of people each taking 'ownership' over a 'series' of similar events for which they have a particular affinity, drawing in like minded individuals to assist them eg me with the bike-O events, Paul and I with the sprint races/possible urban races, Will and Martin with the Summer Series, Paul and Rob with night events, Mike H and Phill with the schools events etc etc

If people are encouraged to focus on what they particularly enjoy doing and the event organisational side of things is simplified to facilitate this, I am sure a 'quality' orienteering experience can be offered to those who participate - but everyone needs to recognise that not everyone will want to do all these different types of local events - turnout will, by definition, be lower - but is a turnout of 30 or 40 per event every week or every two weeks such a bad thing compared to 100 -120 at a full blown CC/District event? Certain organisational headaches such as parking would certainly be eased!

As you are all no doubt aware, I am a great fan of variety and some of the more 'novel' formats for O events - New Year Relays, O-Cross etc (I also really would like a series of score events - EBOR used to run a brilliant spring series a few years ago). Speaking personally, after 35 years of colour coded events, I really look to these 'different' types of events to keep my enthusiasm going - sprint races/urban races/Bike-O/Blodslitet etc - even something as simple as the butterfly loops offered at Wallington recently got that event the nod over the more traditional CC event at Swinsty and Beecroft. Am I alone in feeling like this? My impression is that, if you look at the age profile of competitors, the future is different to your standard CC event!

Is the CLOK going to stay young at heart (if not in body) by embracing change, or are we going to see orienteering dying of old age?

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