Northern Navigators Orienteering Club

formerly Lanchester Orienteers

previously Browney Waders

established 1969

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Page last updated 2nd July

Durham Light Race (level C night event) - 20th June 2015

Stick men create a warm glow at Durham Light Race - a report by Rob McKenna, 21st June 2015



The Durham Light Race was the UK version of a series of events held in conjunction with UNESCO to celebrate our use of light.

It was held on a warm mid summer evening and 60 plus competitors enjoyed the fast, challenging courses set by Duncan Archer (CLOK).

The event was to be a 60 minute, 30 control, night score type event using two maps with 15 controls on each map. Competitors were to be arbitrarily given one map at the start (either A or B), collect as many controls as they wished, in any order from that map before returning to the start/finish to exchange for the other map and continue with that. All controls were worth 10 points with a 20 point penalty per minute or part of overtime. The winner was to be the person to get the most controls in the shortest time.

Durham Universities own Peter Bray saw off the main competition with some very impressive running - managing to collect all 30 controls in a very fast time of just over 30 minutes. His choice of route can be seen here and the straight line distance measures approximately 5km, but given that you can only cross the river Wear in certain places and have to avoid the out of bounds areas he must have travelled a bit further than that.



Many competitors got into the mood of the evening and agreed to try out Stu Langley's 'stick man' light suit creation. At first sight and in the full light of day they did look rather crude, comprising a dark coloured 'hoodie' which was hand embellished with some battery powered light emitting tubing that followed the outline of the hood, down the front zip line and along the arms and legs. But as darkness came and those lights were switched on they began to look very surreal - a brightly lit, colourful skeletal type figure dancing about in the darkness - rather spooky with Durham Cathedral as a backdrop.

The accompanying photos are courtesy of Gary Russell although he apologises for the quality not being that good due to the darkness and being taken on a camera phone. However, there were many photographers there to capture the event and I feel sure more pictures will appear on the web in the near future.

Although it was to be an urban night score event with the start scheduled for 10pm, this being nearly the longest day of the year meant that competitors set off in almost full daylight. But as mentioned earlier, as this was one of a series of events we were stuck with the date. However, as the light faded, the atmosphere certainly became more interesting.

There were many favourable comments from competitors about the nights proceedings and it is hoped to re-stage the event later in the year when we can take full advantage of the darker hours. One memorable comment heard from a member of the public in passing was "look at that lady, she's running on full beam!". Another from one of the many 'hen' parties in the town was directed at a fast running Peter Bray commenting "let's see if we can catch him" - wonder if that's why he had such a fast time.


Thanks must go to Mike Hardy for his seemingly effortless behind the scenes co-ordination with the relevant authorities to help make this event happen. Also to Jacqui Toase and Victoria Stamp from Durham County Council, to Adam Grant from Durham University, and John Holmes from Durham Cathedral for their friendly support and advice. To the University Orienteering Club for the use of the map and lastly to Stu Langley for presenting us with the opportunity to showcase his artistic abilities.