Thursday, 4 April 2013

Building cages - road closures

Before I left for Namibia and now this week, I've been scouting and planning the course for my Metrogaine Jo'burg event next week. It's a time-limited (1hr or 90-minute), night-time, urban (streets in suburbs), navigation (choose your own route between controls) running event.

The area that I'm using for the event has a load of road closures. For those not in the know, this is where suburbs seal most of the roads coming into the area keeping only one or two open with guards to control access in and out. Security.

The ones with two accesses - these are ok and I can work with them; it's the areas with only one road open for in and out traffic that messes with the 'flow' of my course. Some areas have two access points but often one gets closed at 18h00 or 20h00. The 20h00 ones I can use but I'm stumped by the 18h00 entry and exit points.

For ANY navigational event, flow is vitally important. A route from one point to the next should be efficient and it should make sense. Going in and having to turn around and go out the same way is illogical. It doesn't advance your forward progress.

Planning this course has been the toughest of the six events that I've put together because of all the road closures. Nonetheless, the route looks good and it has flow. To me. What the participants do with the checkpoint locations and how they plan to access them... well, that's for them to decide.

As I was travelling around looking for the closures (all of which I mark on the map, which I'll finish drawing tomorrow) and checkpoint options, I had the feeling of being caged. Sure, the suburbs in this area are pretty with well-kept properties but these enclosed suburbs really are just big cages. The wall-surrounded properties are smaller cages and the houses with bars and doors and locks are even smaller cages. There's a distinct lack of people walking around. Drive in, drive out. Lock up. Sad, really.

While I don't live in an enclosed suburb, home isn't much different either. I remember when we had no electric gates (no gates actually), no pallisade fences... That little park down the road that I run around and through most days... Arrrggghhh... they've recently closed some roads around it and added a horrible fence on the main road side. My heart sunk when they started with this. Sure, I can get in via a pedestrian gate and out on another road, but that's not the point. Caged. That's what we are. Yuck!

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