Congrats to all Eurekans, past and present, for an abundance of outstanding performances through the 2022 Australian Championships Carnival, both on and off the arena.
It seems a long time ago that we were in Daylesford for Day 1 of the Carnival. So much has happened through the last nine days! I hope everyone was pleased and satisfied with their orienteering, on some really outstanding terrain that was quite unfamiliar to everyone, including many Victorians. I think the Blackwood map was a highlight, technical orienteering-wise – my previous experiences of Wombat State Forest were steep and fairly featureless hills, but that was quite wrong regarding that particular piece of forest. I also enjoyed the relay terrain yesterday, and the arena chosen for that, down in the erosion gully, was a brilliant finale. All the events were well-planned and laid out I thought, and I was impressed with how many people stayed around for the presentations each day.
The OGP was great fun to put on, and Warren Key has had nothing but praise for Eureka throughout the Carnival week, for bringing his concept to life. He greeted me personally at every event after Saturday to “relive the vibe”, and I believe, from overhearing a few people talking among themselves around the various arenas, that the double-header opening day set the whole week off in quite a different direction to what was generally being anticipated. Warren was expecting some resistance to staging the OGP, mainly because of the logistics of getting that size of field out running in such a short window of time. Despite his usual outwards enthusiasm, I think he was mentally quite ready for the event to “fall some distance short of expectations”, or even for it to turn out to be a painful learning experience, that we would never want to repeat. However, Eureka has a great depth of experience in organising large national events, including mass-start relays (which we re-visited on the Wednesday at Chewton as well), and also in managing very large numbers under self-imposed time pressure, because of aMAZEing and the other carnivals we’ve done. So, I was quite confident that we could avoid being intimidated by the scale of the problem, and stitch all those various experiences together to get 550+ people assembled, organised, cleared, checked, handed a mixture of different course maps, and out running, then concurrently finished and downloaded, in under 40 minutes, with a bit of theatre and excitement thrown in.
Many thanks indeed to all the organisers and helpers – we got everything we were involved in very smoothly done, and the few technical hitches we encountered (and there are always issues in every carnival, whether it’s been “micro-planned to death” or not) were dealt with, without fuss or bad feedback. I was also pleased to receive thanks yesterday from Debbie Dodd for the work I did on the “My Carnival” competitor directory, which she said saved her “hundreds of hours of sorting through individual Eventor files, spreadsheets and entries” to resolve the usual data issues, like missing and changed SI numbers and age classes.
Time for a bit of a break, to reflect on our achievements, and to tend to overlooked gardens and overflowing laundry baskets! We will look at doing some more local events and training things soon, before we wind down into Christmas.