Tuesday, 7 September 2021

Almost time for Find It Checkpoint Challenge

Four weeks ago, my cousin visited the area and asked whether I was organising any events yet. This kickstarted a bunch of ideas that I'd been sitting on for months and has evolved into the Find It Checkpoint Challenge, which I have planned in celebration of World Orienteering Day (8-14 September 2021). 

My first course planning outing.

I've had a blast creating the map, planning checkpoints and learning new things. One of the new things is the MapRun app, which is incredible. I did a lot of ground work initially, learning how to create KMZ maps, the codes used to define type of event, scoring and duration, geo-positioning of the map, uploading to the app system, the app settings, GPS variation and checking control sites. I now have an admin login to post public events and I am proud to be the first event-creator user in South Africa.

Rusty and Rosy have been super scouting companions. The distances putting out checkpoints and testingthe app have been a bit long for Rusts, so I've just had Rosy with me this past week.

I have also learned new way to capture aerial imagery, and I've discovered a means (QGIS) to get contour lines, although I didn't grab them this time - thank you Mark for educating me and doing this for me.

Another aspect of my learning curve included the creation of two videos! The first explains how the event works and the second how the app works.

My video editing skills are capable - I don't get enough practice. I do have many videos that I want to do for YOLO and Vagabond, but I just don't get around to it and I am definitely held up in making these because of confidence, 'getting it right' and putting-yourself-out-there issues. Making these videos for this event has really been good for me because I feel comfortable in this event and navigation space.

 The boost that making these has given me spurred me to finally create a video for Vagabond using my kayak and why I chose this model as the base to educate the viewer about things to consider when choosing a kayak.

With the MapRun app, having physical flags at the checkpoint sites is really not necessary. I have put markers out for those using the paper map but I also find that there is a real kick, especially for beginners, in actually finding something at the location. So, for this specific event, I have put out flags.

I chose this checkpoint position for the stand-alone tree at this location. Well, it was a tree until at least two weeks ago.

I put out almost half of the flags on Sunday afternoon and the rest this evening. This evening I was under pressure to get the flags out before dark. I ran the hardest since July/Aug last year - and I felt great too. 

I'm really curious as to what strong runners will be able to do on the course. It is definitely possible for reasonable runners to get about 23 of the 28 checkpoints in two hours. To get the others... that will take a bit more effort and a tidy route choice.

What was also fun this evening was meeting a chap early on who saw me with a map in my hand and asked, "Is this orienteering?". Oh my heart - someone who actually knows what orienteering is! I extended an invitation to him to give this a whirl. 

And then I saw two running women. I told them that they may see some flags on the route ahead.

 "We've seen two of them already" they declared with big smiles.

They're going to give this a try and will tell their friends. 

Tonight I uploaded the maps and courses to the MapRun server and I've scheduled posts for Facebook for Tuesday evening giving links to download the maps.

I do hope that people will give this a go.

As luck would have it, I'm not going to be here. I head up to Jo'burg and Parys for a few days for some visiting around a feature event, my dear friend Allison's wedding. 

I'll let you know how it all turns out. Cross everything.

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