The series is brought to you by members of Oxford's two orienteering clubs:

Thames Valley OC

Oxford University OC

Review of last season

I’ll soon post some initial details about the new season, but here’s a reminder of what happened last time round.

As Oxford has a sizeable population of orienteers, has a variety of street patterns from the historic centre to modern estates, and with nearly all roads having a 20mph speed limit is probably one of the safest cities to run around, too, I decided to set up the competition hoping that there would be enough interest to sustain it. October 2010 saw the inaugural event of the series, around the streets of Summertown – chosen for no other reason that that I live there – and attracted 14 runners with the top three places taken by Ben Stevens, Alex Fullbrook and Blanka Collis, all names that featured highly in the results throughout the series.

November’s event, planned by Anne Edwards, saw the action move into the city centre. Unlike the rest of the events it was just about possible to get all 30 controls within the hour time limit and three people (Alex, John Owens and Jon Marsden) managed to do this. The final event of 2010 was around the streets of Marston and was planned by Blanka and won by Ben. Hopefully starting from HRR’s base at OXSRAD managed to raise awareness amongst the running community.

The series ventured outside the ring road in January, with Heather Walton planning and hosting the event in Botley. John was the winner in probably the only area where the contours on the map were important. In February we returned to the University Club with the courses venturing further north, planned by Neville Baker and Marie-Anne Fischer. Ben came out on top on a very wet night, with many people having problems with waterlogged maps.

Coming into the final race around the Cowley and Iffley Road areas, the races for the Men’s and Women’s overall titles were very different. In the Women’s, Blanka won five of the six events (and planned the other) and had the title wrapped up well before the end of the season. Marie-Anne won in December and was a comfortable second, while Liz Turner won a tight contest for third spot.

Liz, Blanka and Marie-Anne (left to right)

In contrast, the Men’s competition was a close contest throughout and the lead changed hands twice during the final event. Ben, who could have actually won the title by not running in the final race, was off first and set a target of 460 points after a penalty for being late back. John, who would snatch the title with a win, was next on the road and narrowly edged out Ben with the same score but no penalties to take the lead and put one hand on the trophy. However, John’s hopes were dashed when Alex returned a few minutes later, having amassed a mammoth total of 520 points. As well as handing the series title back to Ben, Alex’s win was enough for him to claim equal second place in the series with John.

OSS 2010/11 Men's podium

Ben, John and Alex (left to right)

The series attracted an average attendance of 16 and a total of 40 different competitors in its first year, but this still leaves plenty of room for improvement – come and join in!

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