Date of event: Sun 11th Dec 2011
Level of event: Local (D)
Nearest town: Llanidloes
POW Level D Event at Coedwig Hafren, Llanidloes 11th December 2011
When I first begin to plan the courses for an orienteering event it is not quality of each leg or the technical challenge that gets first consideration, it’s safety. Similarly on each visit to the area to firm up control sites, or make alterations the first thought is “Is the approach to this control safe from every conceivable direction?” With this in mind I spent a few anxious hours waiting for competitors to return to the finish at Coedwig Hafren.
I always knew this Level D POW event was taking place in December and I had practised in my mind cancelling the event due to snow in the weeks running up to the event. In 2010 we would not have got up the roads to the event so I was comfortable with having to postpone the event if needed. I planned the Blue and Light Green courses to be on the short side assuming it might be inclement weather and I did not want competitors out for any length of time. I had closely followed local weather forecasts in the days before the event and knew rain was expected. The afternoon before the event when putting out controls the area was looking good and safe. At 8.15am on the day of the event while putting out a couple of the more visible controls near the river it seemed fine for blue standard runners to cross. Then it started raining.
Should the event have been cancelled? While I sat in the car waiting for the clock to tick round to 10.00am it went through my mind. I did not consider the costs involved with cancelling the event, or the fact you competitors had travelled distance to get to the event, I just considered “Is the event safe to start?” I got this wrong and I should have cancelled the event, as it was not possible to make changes to the courses at the last minute to increase the safety of the competitors. For this reason I am sorry I put you all at risk. I also considered what would I do if I was competing at the event? I would not have minded running in the rain but I would have not tried to cross the river if it meant the water was over my knees. I should not have considered how I would have tried to complete the course but I should have considered is there a risk to other less experienced competitors? There was a risk and the event should have been cancelled.
I made a mistake not highlighting the possible crossing point by the building to the West of the map which would have given safer options than crossing the river. Unfortunately it was not possible to provide waterproof maps for the event. The use of waterproof maps has only been the norm for events for the last couple of years, before then we got by with map bags. The second mapping problem was the quality of the paper we used, it just was not up to the job. For those of you who lost your maps or found they dissolved could you contact Terry Smith by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and course and hopefully a new copy can be sent to you.
I want to thank all those who collected controls; I am so very grateful that I did not have to go back out onto the area at the end of the event. So thank you Kate & family, Clive, Annette and Tudor, Paul and Jenny & Nansi for venturing back out after everything you had experienced while competing.
- Nearest town: Llanidloes
- Grid Ref: SN857875
- Latitude: 52.46854
- Longitude: -3.68381
- Google Map (aerial) - Bing Map (OS)
- Planner: David Pal (Light Green & Blue), Bill Marlow (Yellow & Orange)
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Posted by Terry Smith