Sport and Technology

I am a passionate orienteer ( passionate about orienteering) and on Saturday I ran in an amazing (pun, pun) race in a maize maze in Staffordshire.

I know it sounds a crazy idea but it was awsomely complex. There were two legs of the event. The first course was 0.7 K in a straight line, the second was 0.9 K. The distances actually run were closer to 3 to 4 K depending on route and how lost you became.

I actually took 26mins 44 secs for the 0.7 K course and I was really trying!! The winner took 15 mins 16 secs !

This photo from Walton Chasers Gallery. You can see many other photos of this day/night event here.

The technology comes from the fact that in the event you carry a microchip on your finger and at each of the 15 control sites there is an electronic box  that when the chip is inserted (very quickly) into a hole in the top it records that you have been there and how long it took to get there from the last site. At the finish the data is downloaded at a computer and your results (splits) and position are displayed. Head-up computers in the finish area show the current state of the race as it proceeds.

Another bit of the technology allows you, when you have finished, to go to a website and plot your actually route on the map and then you can run it as an animation. You can also run other routes and even ‘virtually’ compete against them.

To see how this works go to the Maize Maze Day Night Challenge site. If you want to see my route select Qual 2 and scroll down till you get my name.  Then click on ‘View routes’ and then if you want to see me run the course click on ‘View animation’.

Enjoy !!

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