Our Classic 15 miles Cross Country Race - The Cut-off Point!

We know it's a tough decision after 9 miles of commitment and effort,
hills and mud, blood sweat and tears...
to be asked to NOT continue on the final six miles
but to return to Orion's HQ.

We're not being arbitrarily callous and heartless.

There ARE GOOD reasons... honest!

Cut-off Point - WHERE IT IS

There's a Drinks Station near the 9 miles point, at High Beach.
(See the 9 mile point on the course map)

TEN minute miling, tho we know NOT an easy 9 miles...

It's ON the course at a convenient point to return
(about 3 'easy' miles) to Orion HQ.
(There are still more hills and deep mud in the 6 continuing miles)

So, from here, runners can follow the course all the way
back to the start, relatively easily.
It's marshalled all the way back to Orion HQ.

Cut-off Point - HOW IT WORKS

This writer has been the BAD guy who imposed the cut-off point
at the Drinks Station.
I'm also always at the start to take NOTE if the race starts late.
(It's never early...)

Any lateness is added on, before I set off from the cut-off point
beside the drinks station, on that final six miles
as a Race Sweeper, removing all the mile markers, all the trail flags,
and telling all the marshalls they are now free to leave their spots.


If there are people in sight running towards the Drinks Station,
brief allowance is made so that they can continue...
We're not totally heartless...
Cut-off Point - WHY WE HAVE IT

MORE THAN 60 Orion people are involved in marshalling
and other duties on this big race day.
We can be spread pretty thinly, as well as SOME racing...

We don't enjoy implementing a cut-off time but in previous years,
in APPALLING weather, we've had people (volunteers, remember!)
out in position for over 4 hours.
Stuck in an often cold and wet spot! Immobile. Unhappy.

In the 1990s, walkers entered to enjoy a leisurely amble along our
nicely marshalled course, but... we're a running club to help runners...

Some of the marshals that runners pass in the final miles
have also been there (or at some other nearby point)
helping when runners first went out.

Any runner who runs on beyond the Drinks Station MUST know
where they're going...

Epping Forest is a HUGE wildnerness - not a tamed Country Park!
It's about 16 miles north to south and 2 across at its widest point.
With countless trees, bushes and misleading trails....
(And I wouldn't want to alarm you but also, perhaps...
dragons, feral panthers... and dead bodies dumped by gangsters...)

It's UNwise to blithely run on, if you don't know this fabulous Forest!

It's not just for the comfort of marshals... it's simply unsafe for
runners who don't know our beloved Forest to be wandering in it,
cold, tired, disorientated and lost in bad weather.

That's why someone sweeps - so that the marshalls know that everyone
who is still IN the race, is being still kept on course.
Until their job is finished. And it finishes when the Sweeper passes.
The Sweeper runs behind whoever remains as last runner in the race.

If there's no Sweeper then marshals would have no idea when their
responsibility ends... was that the last runner, or...
is there another wandering along in 10 minutes ?? etc...

That was how it USED to be: it was VERY unsatisfactory, all round.
And remember...

...Epping Forest will be there long after we have all gone away.
You can do those six miles another time.

Orion Harriers welcomes other runners to come and join us,
on other days in other seasons.

Training in Summer in the Forest can be a delight...
... though we don't guarantee that even then it will be hill or mud-free.

Or warm.