Leith Hill National Event 1993

Helen organised the LOK National Event on Leith Hill in 1993. I was Entries Secretary and then ran the Finish. Many of you will remember the blizzard that struck during the event, and the temperature was so low that our finish computer clock started running slow. I ended up timing nearly 1400 people on my wristwatch. The following items are reproduced from an article in wrote in Lokation 88.

  • The first letter asking for land permission went out in November 1991.  The last permission was received in November 1992, some time after we had spent a lot of money on the map and survey.
  • Up until 10 days before the event we didn’t have the toilets booked, since the company did not receive the booking letter sent in January.  When contacted by Helen in February they were not sure that they could get the required number of toilets for the weekend.
  • At least six people, including a family of four, managed to pre-enter the event twice.
  • It takes approximately 3 and a half hours for two people to stick down the envelopes for the final details.  These two people were the organiser and the entries secretary.  The job was finally finished at 2.30 in the morning (just ready for the 12.15 collection).
  • You get very funny looks from the check-out staff and other shoppers when you buy 90 litres of orange squash in Tescos.
  • Helen obtained samples of map bags from a local company.  Ronan went to collect 2000 bags only to find that the company denied all knowledge of Helen’s visit, and didn’t stock the bags we had a sample of.
  • At least 20 people phoned to find out if the event was cancelled due to bad weather.
  • Control 711 (pond, west side) was one of the most picturesque sites you could imagine; so much so that both Simon Bourne and myself came back from test running the M21E course telling everyone how wonderful it was.  The only surprise was it didn’t feature on any of the previous versions of the map.  The reason for this became clear in the week before the event when the pond completely dried up, leaving a sticky black patch of mud.
  • John Pratt spent the day in the forest manning a drinks control.  Unfortunately his supply of water ran out.  Undeterred, John drove five miles out to the main road to refill his container.
  • Late on Sunday afternoon, Steve Hayes was sent to check that all the cars that were parked on the forest road had left, and to lock the barrier on this road.  Somehow he managed to lose the key.  After a frantic five minutes spent searching the grass in the finish field with a head torch he found the key again.
  • Two weeks before the event, Helen’s floor disappeared beneath a huge pile of control cards printed and ready to be sent out.  The day after the event the same huge pile of control cards was covering the same floor.  The only noticeable differences were the sprinklings of mud and blood, and roughly 100,000 small holes.
  • A certain elite runner entered early, but enclosed the wrong amount and forgot to include any envelopes.  Steve Bingham’s system rolled into action, and Steve inserted two dummy envelopes, one for details and one for results.  The elite orienteer never received his details, and had to phone up for his start time.  His results at least got delivered the day after they were posted.  Unfortunately they were delivered to Steve’s house.  This was despite the fact that the only stamp on the envelope had already been used once.
  • Of all the deadlines recommended by BOF, we probably only met two.  The final details went out on time, and the results went out a day early.