Friday, 20 June 2014

Northcliff Metrogaine

One of my favourite events is Metrogaine, a fun, urban, night-time navigation event, organised by Adventure Lisa.  I did my first Metrogaine with my dad in October 2011 and we were hooked.
Northcliff metrogaine, starting at Cliffview Primary school, was special because Lisa held the event on her 38th birthday. Since I met Lisa at my first metrogaine, we have become friends and spend time together doodling and crocheting while talking about adventures and running. Lisa is very active in the adventure racing arena, as a journalist, racer and organiser. As well as Metrogaine, she organizes Forest Run and FEAT.
This Metrogaine started at Cliffveiw High School. Again, Gramps and I signed up for the 90 minutes. Ian raced with Francis, as he had done at Metrogaine at Zoo Lake and Chrissie was there with Lizle. Between the six of us, we added a fun wager - pay R10 to enter and the winning team wins a bottle of Gluwhein. 
See the doodle in the corner of the navigation map
After the race briefing we sang Happy Birthday Dear Lisa and waited, some not so patiently, for the signal to collect our maps. I was determined that Gramps and I would use the bonus 5 minutes to plan, something we haven't been so strong at in the past. We decided to turn left out the school, left onto the main road and run a square collecting the Control points (CP's), including 3 -50's and 3-60's.  That was the last of the planning. We got lost after our third CP, made up a new course and cursed the uphills. We got caught out with what Lisa calls her Carrots, and we landed up real close to the Northcliff water tower, an elevation of 77 meters! As I was trying to catch up to Gramps on the downhill, I was thinking that I must ask Lisa to include contour lines for the next Metrogaine. Only to discover when I next looked at the map (Gramps was in control of the map while I kept the clue sheet) that there were brown contour lines that we just hadn't paid attention to! By this time I knew we were running a little behind schedule and we would have to go straight back to the finish. We ran as fast as I could and try as I might, I really struggled to keep up with him on the uphills and I was forced to walk the last 500 meters. We were late to finish and got a 60 point penalty (10 points for every minute late). The others had already finished, eaten their birthday cupcake and marked their clue sheets. Gramps and I were very disappointed with our final score of 390 (450 - 60 point time penalty). Ian and Francis scored 510 points but got one CP wrong and a 60 point time penalty so they finished with 440 points. Leizl and Chrissie did exceptionally well with 590 points and earned the bottle of Gluwhen. Fortunately runners are nice people and they shared the warmed gluwhein with us all while we kept warm around the fire places. The winners, Alex Pope and Alex Wagner scored 1100 points, less an 80 point time penalty for a total of 1120 points. They also ran about 18kms compared to our 13kms. Strategy is very important to run (or walk) a successful Metrogaine. This was our most unsuccessful event to date - our lowest score, the first time getting lost and the first time we didn't finish in our 90 minutes. 
Alex W and Alex P, overall winners in the 90 minute race
 Lisa organizes a great event. For R110 per team (early bird entry fee) you get the vitally important waterproof map, a hot beverage and a sweet treat after the event. Prizes, free entry to the next Metrogaine, are awarded to the winners, the middle of the fielders and those that got the most value for money.

Sign up for notice of the next Metrogaine, to be held at the end of August, on the Adventure Racing website.

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