DipDab race report 2023

DipDab race report 2023.

So, it all begins at the start of the year really for this one. Deciding if I’m going to change the format, and when? This event will never be as big as the Beast races, but I quite like mixing things up anyway to challenge people.

The change from doing three linear courses to a 4hr score event was simple really. After last years issues with some runners not getting signal for their app to work was also a pain. And if you cannot find one of the controls(checkpoints) out on a linear course, then that’s basically it for that course as you’d technically be DNF’d. A score course however allows runners to try and work out the route that they can run in the 4 hours they have. And with he added spice of the harder to reach/find controls being worth more points, then it also adds to the head scratching on whether they risk trying to get there or not. So not only do I want to make an interesting course, I also want it to just be achievable to the few. No point making it impossible, yet I see no point in making it simple that everyone completes it with the winners finishing it in half of the allotted time. So it’s also a head scratcher for me, and a lot of running around in the hills checking if timings and control locations are indeed possible. The Brussel Buster in winter is very similar, but a lot safer(to some degree!) as it’s mostly confined to the forestry area. Some would however disagree! 😛

I must admit, I was pretty happy with my map planning this year as on my timed reccies, I’d worked out I’d ran the ideal route choice in about three and a half hours. However, I knew where exactly I needed to go, and run where the worst ground wasn’t! Plus I wasn’t needing to stop at every control to pick up pieces of paper from zip lock bags! With there being 28 controls, even 30 seconds at each would amount to 14 mins, so not a huge amount of spare time!

The decision to make runners lose points for being over time isn’t my idea for sure. This concept is used on most score type events. It’s a good way to stop runners from being out on the hills ‘all’ day, and then us having to wait for hours until they return. Again, it adds a bit of pressure on runners.

So, the thank yous first. Firstly to Rachel for allowing me to organise this one, and her support and brain sharing. Also for her incredible hand painted and gilded winners trophy. It was pretty epic for sure. Carz for her brain sharing too, but I couldn’t share anything to do with the map as she was going to be running it! And yes, I can hold the locations a secret. 😛  As her going wayward during the race proves! Actually, thanks to her and the boys for their help too 😉 Then there’s Martin Everett who took out 10 of the 28 controls to place on the hills on the afternoon before. Huge thanks to those who made cake. My sister Eirlyn, Rhian(pretty platters), and villager Ann Morris. Diolch o dalpen. 😉 Thanks to Eirlyn for helping on refreshment duties on the day too. Then there was those on registration/kit check and number crunching at the end duties. Liz(who was there with runner Kate), Simon, Rhyds, Carz, Martin, and Maggie and Mike, and Rhian. Thank you. 😉 Thank you to Tim Plumb/realtimeracing for sorting the online/timing stuff out. Tim himself was in Glastonbury, so left us in charge!!! Although things weren’t loading up on the day, it will be fully updated in due course. 😉

Thanks also to Kevin(who was running), and Carz and Rhyds for going back out to collect quite a few controls over the following days after! Cheers.

Big Thanks to Tafarn Sinc for letting us hold the event here. It’s really handy being able to use the facilities(electric, toilets, and ‘refreshments’ at the bar!) here, and being so accessible to the hills. Diolch yn fawr.

Ok, the runners. So after registration and kit check prior to starting, there were quite a few runners looking on with some trepidation. For some this was the first time of doing this kind of event, and the added spice of not being able to see the map until a whole minute before their clock would start ticking added to the nerves. Although there are no pairs/teams classes, I’d given runners the option of running together if one of them weren’t that confident of map reading. So the odd few set off at the same time instead of setting off solo at minute intervals. The other good point of starting at the pub, is that once runners were more than about 15 metres away, they were out of sight of the next ones off. So the next runner setting off had very little idea in which direction they’d gone! 😛 Well, it would just be the case of follow the leader in that case.

The forecast for the day was thundery showers, and breezy. So I’d made them carry a waterproof coat as part of their mandatory kit instead of a windproof one in case they got a soaking. One person suggested they should run with a tin foil hat in case there was lightning, but I’m not that sadistic…honestly! Luckily the thunder(and lightning!) stayed away, and apart from a very few raindrops and brief claggy’ness for the very tops of the hills for a short spell, it remained perfect conditions for running in.

When the runners returned, it was a question of counting up the points from the pieces of Tyvek paper they were collecting from all the controls they’d visited. Good job we had the number crunching team to work these out! As it was it worked well, and the results changed all the time. I’d soon heard that local boy John Collier had visited all the controls gaining him the full 800 points! More importantly is that he was back just inside the 4hrs! Could anyone else match his efforts? Well, Neath harriers runner Iestyn Evans also collected the full tally of 800 points! However, because he was over time by 17 mins, it then meant that he was deducted 40 points to reduce his overall tally to 760. Still amazing really as I think this was his first time in the Preselis!  

There were a number of MDC runners taking part, and it was MDC runner Gary Davies who was top scorer in the Male vet 40 category with a score of 630 points.

Just behind him though on 620 points was one of the many SBOC(Swansea Bay Orienteering Club) runners, Kerina Lake, who was not only top scoring female, but was also 1st Female vet40 and 5th overall!

1st Male vet 50 with 570 points was a friend who had travelled all the way down from Brighton! This was Graham Cleminson’s first event for about 4yrs, so it was so nice to see him do so well. I’d met Graham whilst reccieing in the Rhinogs for the Dragons Back race, and this type of event is right up his street. 😉

Just behind him on 560 points in 10th overall was Alan Stone who was 1st Male vet60!

2nd Lady home overall with 480 points was vet60 winner Margaret Reynolds, who was also a SBOC runner. Whilst third female back was Bristolian Meredith Moody who was first Open female with 420 points. (I class ‘Open’ as under 40yrs old!).

Sasha Habgood completed the female vet50 category winners on 390 points, even though she’d lost 50 points for being 21 mins late!

A huge well done to you all really, and thank you for making the effort to travel down and sharing the event amongst others. It’s much appreciated. I’ve had some great feedback from a lot of you. So thank you. It makes all the hard work worth it. 😉

Oo, and what did the runners take away as a momento? Well a sherbet DipDab of course! I still can’t believe that some of you had never even heard, seen, or even tried one before now! 😛 The category winners took home either a mantle brewery ale, or a Gethins’ Pennyfarthing cider. Both local made. 😉  

So I’ve already started thinking about the next one, and what god forsaken places I’m going to place the controls next!!! 😉 Onward and upward, or was it down that gully bend……..again! 😛 Diolch/Thanks.