Race Report - Something Wild Festival
This was a Wild Running event, split over three days. based at Huccaby Farm in Dartmoor, a variety of races took place. I will note now, this post only covers technical aspects such as comms and timing! Aside from a brief discussion about GPX files, all route stuff is up to the race director.
GPXs, GPSs and navigation via smartphones
Due to various goings on with route markings, the importance of finding your own way was highlighted in this race. Now whilst I'm a firm advocate of using a compass and map, I am also on occasion lazy with my navigation and use my watch.
My watch - a Garmin Instinct - highly recommended!
I cannot underestimate the importance of making sure your GPX is correct, whether it is for a training run or a race (in which case, ask the race director). That's before we get into the age old discussion about battery life and the susceptibility of technology to fail when you need it most. Also, for race directors, if you pre-import your GPX into Garmin and Suunto online platforms and share those links, you remove barriers for competitors. Be aware of the limits of some watches though, keep the name as 8 characters or less!
Zello was brilliant as always, and I really rate it. However in this case there were a few marshal points in an area with no signal. Due to local terrain difficulties blocking radios, Devon and Cornwall 4x4 response helped with comms (and more besides) by acting as human UHF repeaters. We were using pretty rubbish Baofeng radios. Hopefully I'll be able to replace those soon with something a bit better. A combination of Zello and VHF would be ideal for this event. I'm still an advocate of Zello where there is signal though - much easier and less kit to buy!
Timing was buy Webscorer using both human eyeball and app timing and NFC chips. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with NFC chips. I love them for their simplicity, low cost and ease of use - hate them for occasional miss-scans and the faff for competitors. I use them when multiple timing points are involved (they were on this occasion), and therefore complete manual timing is not an option.
I ran one remote timing station (manned by my Dad) and the start/finish. I would love to have used the new bluetooth timing systems that are coming out, however, financially this wasn't an option either for this event, hopefully the cost of such system will decrease soon! (Maybe Webscorer would implement their own version.... please....)
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