201810 – Liverpool Urban Results (Updated 6/11)

Thanks to all that made it to Liverpool today for the Urban event at the University of Liverpool. We hope you all enjoyed the event and that some of you managed to get to see the Giants parade through the city.

We’d like to thank the University of Liverpool for the use of the sports hall and all of the willing volunteers who give up their free time to arrange these events.



Liverpool Urban results – UPDATE 06/11/2018
Outline of Jury Involvement
A written complaint was received about the published results in reference to course 5N.
The request was made (with reasons) that the 2 legs that we decided to remove either side of controls 205 are re-instated into the results for course 5N. This was subsequently rejected by the controller so the appellant asked for the matter to be referred to a Jury. Below is the response from the Jury.

Conclusions of the jury in response to the appeal made by Mike Smithard

The jury members were – Liz Phillips (OD), Chris Branford (WIM) and Steve Burge (LOC). They met on 4th November 2018.

The details of the appeal, and the circumstances relating to it, are well documented. The jury appreciated the input from the appellant, the event Co-ordinator, Planner, Organiser and Controller.

The principal aim of the jury was to reach a conclusion that was seen to be fair.

The unanimous decision of the jury is that, for Course 5N only, the two legs which were omitted when the results were issued initially should be re-instated. The results should then be re-issued on a provisional basis for one week to allow further competitors to identify themselves as non-competitive. This could be achieved via an e-mail circulated by Fabian. The results should then be finalised.

Those competitors who reported using the “closed” gate should be recorded as non-competitive in the final results.

The BOF Events and Competitions Committee should be advised of the jury’s decisions.

The amended results will be available ONLY on the SELOC website until midnight on Tuesday 13th November. The deadline for any further changes will therefore be midnight on Tuesday 13th November after which results will be finalised and sent to BOF, UKOL, UKUL and NWUL.
Please can those who entered on behalf of others forward the email received to those additional competitors.



Results (Provisional) for the event are below:

RESULTSNow Available Here

ROUTEGADGET –  North Course   –   South Course

WINSPLITSNorth (Course)North (Class)South (Course)South (Class)


Organisers Comments

My job as organiser is always made so much easier by the time and effort put in by a lot of other people. Thank you to all of those SELOC members who volunteered on the day and made my life so much easier!

In addition, I would like to thank Jane Mockford (DEE) who as entries secretary went over and above sorting out start times and the complexities (and deadlines!) of SIAC hire, not just for competitors but also for helpers, in the first ‘Double Header’ sprint event that we have run. Also Mark Sammon (SELOC) who coped admirably with the IT side of the event, ably assisted by Bob Elmes (DEE) and other SELOC helpers. I really would not have known where to start!

To add to the thank you’s, the support of Ian Watson as controller and Graham Nilson as planner were invaluable. Not forgetting that the event really would not have gone ahead with Steve Round completing all the pre-event negotiations and permissions.

I would also like to thank all those competitors who stopped to thank either myself or one of the helpers to say how much they had enjoyed the event. It really makes a difference to know that despite some of the issues that arose, competitors enjoyed the day.

It would be difficult to continue without commenting on the problems that occurred when gates didn’t do what was expected of them, uncrossable barriers managed to move out of the way on their own and OOB areas seemed to disappear off the map of some competitors (I don’t think that Harry Potter had pre-entered!) I would just like to say a big thank you to the competitors who have contacted me since the event and voluntarily disqualified themselves because they realised they had gone through the open gate (which should have been closed) on the North of the map. Their honesty is appreciated.

Finally, it was difficult to make decisions that were fair to the largest number of affected competitors but after having taken the advice from two very experienced orienteers at the event (and I really would like to thank them for that advice) we have decided to remove a number of legs from several courses. (see the controllers comments for more details).

This, and the disqualifications, have caused a delay in making the results available but we will publish them as soon as we are sure we have a final set.

On a different note, a number of competitors did not collect their 1st run map and I have quite a lot left. If this was you and you would like your map please send a stamped addressed envelope (marked with the course map you need) to

Caroline Barcham

3 St Johns Close

Planners Comments

Firstly, I would like to thank all of those people who worked to stage the event, from those who helped on the day up to Caroline whose work stretched over months and was as competent as ever. In particular, thanks to Anna who, having spent Saturday running the results system, got up at 4 a.m. on Sunday – we started putting out the controls at 05.30; to Ian, the unflappable controller who was again a delight to work with; and to Steve, without whose tireless negotiations with the several landowners over the past twelve months the event would never have taken place.

I first mapped the area in 2016; it was thoroughly checked in April and looked at repeatedly in less detail over the summer as building work progressed. The gates to the student accommodation blocks (not owned by the university) to the W of the S start were kept open until this summer – locking them is a new policy. Steve and I had a meeting with two of the staff in July when we walked the site, agreeing the control sites and pointing out the two gates: we were promised that they would be open for the event. This was confirmed by e-mail and by phone in the week before the event. At half past eight on Sunday morning, I took two staff members to the gates and was again assured that they were about to be opened. Apparently they could not find the key; the spare key arrived, driven from the Wirral, at 11.00.

The difference, in distance run, of using the northern gate rather than the southern was small; the effect of the disturbance of concentration, running towards one gate but then being told to go to the other, was potentially greater – this is why the times for those legs have been removed.

Meanwhile, up in the north, there was a gate, mapped as closed, which was open. It is usually closed at the weekend. Again, this had been checked with the landowner. There is a route choice: if you take the westerly route and go through that gate, you gain time over those who take the easterly route and do not have that opportunity. If you go through the gate not realising that it is the wrong one, that is a navigational error; when you get to the courtyard beyond, the buildings are wrong and you realise what you have done. You retrace your steps back through the gate – you have lost time due to your error. Decide instead to go on, keeping your unfair gain: that is the point when it becomes cheating.
There was a hedge, planted to meet a building. In the past, people have pushed through, damaging the hedge; the landowners have put in 2m-high temporary fencing to allow the hedge to grow back. This was highlighted on the map by adding Out of Bounds hatching. Some competitors pushed through the hedge regardless.

A 5m-long flowerbed, control on a lamppost to the W of its midpoint (the only place to secure it to). There is now an elephant track through the flowerbed to the lamppost. No defence: you can see that it is a flowerbed, you do not run through a flowerbed even if it does save you 2.5m.

The cheating by a small, but not insignificant, minority made the results of this event a joke. Damaging hedges and flowerbeds and running through Out of Bounds areas risks us not being allowed to orienteer here again. Who gains?

A sprint event requires, for safety, an area without traffic; and lots of detail, to make it interesting. I thought that this area almost fitted that. Instead, it seems that negating the cheats requires an area with no vegetation, no route-choice that might be compromised. An airport runway, say. Who gains?

Some people have self-disqualified. I am grateful to them more than they may appreciate. I am also very grateful to the many of you who took the time to say how much you had enjoyed yourselves, both at the sprint and at the weekend as a whole: my apologies if I seemed less than gracious at the time.

Graham Nilsen

Controllers Comments

Liverpool University campus is an excellent venue for sprint events. The irregular shaped buildings, courtyards and passageways make for interesting navigation. Graham planned some excellent courses to take advantage of the nature of the area. Unfortunately there were several issues on the day which took the gloss off the event.

The first was the two gates near the south start approximately 30 metres apart. On initial visits to the area, these gates, like many others on the campus, were permanently open. However, nearer to the event it became apparent that they were now often closed. We made contact with the landowners and were assured that they could be opened for the event. Early in the morning the northern gate was indeed open. We contacted various people associated with the area and were assured that the southern gate would soon be opened. Then, shortly before the first start, we discovered that, not only was the southern gate still closed but the northern gate had been closed too. We were assured several times that the problem would soon be sorted but as 1000 approached we were faced with two locked gates. Fortunately we noticed that there was a gap in the northern gate which could be used to squeeze through. We (myself and the planner) therefore performed last minute marshalling of the gates to try to direct competitors through with hopefully only minor disruption. Then, about halfway through the event a security person arrived with a key to open the southern gate. He announced that he had travelled a significant distance to obtain this key and we felt that it would not be politic to tell him at that point that we now didn’t want the gate opened. The consequence was, of course, that later runners on the south course had shorter and better route choices which was patently unfair. We have therefore decided to remove the two legs from each of the south courses which crossed through these gates. We accept that this is not an entirely satisfactory solution but feel that it is the best we can do in the circumstances. Many apologies for this but it was one of those situations which, despite best attempts, sometimes go wrong.

The second issue was exactly the opposite. A gate at the north end of the area which we expected to be closed was, in fact, open. This possibility was covered in the final details with instructions that, were such a situation to be encountered, the gate was not to be used. However, early in the event, we got reports that large numbers of people were using the said gate even though it was clearly marked as uncrossable. As soon as we were aware of the problem, we took steps to prevent access. Strictly, competitors who transgressed should be liable to disqualification. However, it is important to consider the effect of the open gate on competitor’s navigation. Those approaching from the west will have been looking for the first opening on the right. Although it could be argued that they should have realised that they hadn’t gone far enough, the presence of the opening could have outweighed their distance judgement. Once they had entered the area beyond the gate they will soon have realised that things didn’t fit. However, in the subsequent confusion they may not have realised what they had done and there is therefore an argument to be lenient. In any case, as far as I am aware, we don’t have any information on the identity of persons involved and I don’t feel that using split times to try to identify those who transgressed, is likely to be sufficiently robust. It is also doubtful that everyone involved will disqualify themselves. Nevertheless, it is clear that those who took the correct route and all those who ran after the gate had been closed are likely to be at a significant disadvantage. We have therefore reluctantly decided to remove the two legs either side of controls 205 and 39 on those north courses affected. Apologies if you disagree with this decision but I can see no other way to ensure that the competition has some semblance of fairness.

The final issue is the most disappointing. We had a number of complaints that competitors were seen to be crossing other OOB areas and features marked as uncrossable. Urban orienteering has been around long enough that people should know the rules by now. If a hedge, flowerbed or any other feature is marked OOB or uncrossable, under no circumstances can you cross it. It doesn’t matter if it is low or narrow enough that you think you can jump it or climb it or thin enough that you think you can force your way through. There are very good reasons for the rules. Landowners do not like their shrubbery trashed or fences and gates damaged and such behaviour could mean that we fail to get permission to hold events in the future. It is almost impossible to imagine an urban area like a University campus which doesn’t have features which need to be avoided. If it becomes necessary for the planner to set only legs which don’t cross any such features, the route choices would become significantly less interesting.

In most cases we don’t have information on the identity of people involved or enough detail about the location of the incidents. If, with hindsight, anyone knows that they took an illegal route and wants to confess they should contact the organiser who will remove them from the results.

On a more positive note, I am pleased to say that quite a few people have said how much they enjoyed the event in spite of the problems. Graham is to be congratulated on some very interesting courses not to mention the surveying and drawing of the map. Caroline did an excellent job as organiser and Steve worked very hard on permissions and other behind the scenes activities. Thanks also to all the helpers for their efforts on the day.

Ian Watson

IT Comments

My apologies for the issues with the printer on the North download but after 2 prints it decided to stop working.  These things happen unfortunately and with 700 downloads to carry out over the following few hours it didn’t leave much time in the middle of the event to try and fix the problem.

Mark Sammon