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MAROC Newsletter 18th August 2020
President's Piece

I am very pleased to say that our SI Timing and Covid-19 Test Event went very well last week and we are now in a strong position to hold our first post-lockdown event on Sunday 27th September. This is thanks to a huge effort by Matthew Gooch our Computing Officer and Trevor Ricketts our new Safety and Covid-19 Officer. This latter post is a mandatory stipulation by the Scottish Government to allow us to hold any event for the foreseeable future and I’d like to welcome Trevor to this important role.

There are four main things that will be different at our events due to Covid-19; they will be pre-entry only, there is a limit of 30 runners per hour, there will be an emphasis on separation of participants before, during and after your run and only Maroc members can participate. Also, the new SI timing system will be in use with free SI-Card hire for those who do not have one and instruction for those not familiar.

But let’s not get bogged down with all this change! The pleasure of navigating towards and finding those controls will still be the same. The personal elation and challenge of being immersed in the forest is undiminished!

The Maroc Juniors are already back in the forest with a ScotJOS training event last weekend in Perth and clubs all around Scotland and the UK, like us, are making small steps with local events and activities. One thing that is still difficult is maintaining the social side of the club but I’m sure that with ingenuity, particularly online, this can be overcome.

Take care and Stay safe.

Nick Hale

Call for a Planner!

We hope to hold a local event, for Maroc members only, at Cambus o' May on Sun 27th Sep. We have already got a volunteer to organise on the day (thanks Chris Low!) but are still seeking a planner. It will be a very low key event with a limited number of courses available. Please can you get in touch with Bob (email bobvictor67 @ - delete spaces) if you are able to offer your help with this. As ever, the club is completely reliant on enthusiastic volunteers to make things happen and your input will be much appreciated by everyone.
Successful Test Event at Potarch!

Twenty-two runners from nine households ran the test event at Potarch last Wednesday, spaced out over an hour. Start times were pre-arranged in blocks to avoid unnecessary mingling and full Covid-19 precautions were in place under Trevor’s watchful eye. Matthew sat behind a newly constructed safety screen and ably dealt with the new timing system as runners registered and downloaded by punching their SI-Cards. Inevitably a few curved balls appeared but he and the system were well up to the task!

There was one Orange standard ‘sprint’ course for all, 3.0km 90m climb, with intense competition at the top of the results. Callum Roberts (20.42), on a rare visit to his home turf, won from Jon Musgrave by 41 seconds, Joel Gooch was third, four seconds behind with Adam Barrie and Ewan Musgrave tied in fourth. Jonas Newey beat his brother Yann by just 14 seconds and Catriona Chapman and Ruth Gooch battled for the Junior women’s placings.

Contactless punching (SIAC) was enabled to allow safer and easier ‘punching’ and important seconds to be saved by those who were concerned!

Now we have used the timing system the SI Team is now confident that it can support all Organisers and Planners in the future at their events. Club members are encouraged to purchase their own SI-Cards from SportIdent ( to make event registration easier for both themselves and volunteers; but hire Cards will always be available. Please ensure purchased cards are personally registered with SportIdent, again to help our volunteers.

It was a very successful test event. We had great weather and it was wonderful to be out finding those red and white flags and to be ‘punching’ again!

Training Update

Guidelines for running coached orienteering training sessions in Scotland are now in place and last weekend ScotJOS managed to hold their first training day since the beginning of March. The format for the day was very different with 5 small groups training independently of each other and rotating round different parts of the woods. However, it was great to see the youngsters back in the forest and they all enjoyed being able to meet up with some of their friends.

The Covid-19 coaching guidelines are still very restrictive in terms of the number of athletes that can be involved at any one time. Because of this, together with the fact that schools have just gone back and are still bedding in, we are not planning to organise any formal club training sessions in the short term. We realise this may be disappointing to many of you, but the effort involved to support a small number of people is currently just too high.

There are loads of opportunities in Deeside to go orienteering with the MapRunF app, with some 20 courses of varying difficulty in addition to the new set of novice ones. How about getting together with another family or two (but not lots!) to have a social go at some orienteering on your own? We recognise more and more that it's the social aspect of the club that everyone is missing so much at the moment, but sadly it is going to be the hardest thing to reintroduce in the short term. You can find the map and info about all the MapRun courses on the SOA website.

We have recently launched a new set of MapRunF courses which are suitable for novices and families to have a go at orienteering in their own time. The courses are all at accessible locations throughout Deeside. Currently there are 5 courses available as follows:

1.     Burnett Park, Banchory. The course starts by the sports pavilion in the Burnett park and follows a route around the park and out into some neighbouring streets, before finishing back by the pavilion again.  It is a straight line distance of 1.4km, but you will need to go a bit further than that to reach all of the control points.
2.     Torphins Park. The course starts at the edge of the car park next to the pavilion and criss-crosses the park before taking a loop out through some fields and back through the village. It is a straight line distance of 1.5km.
3.     Aboyne Green. The course starts near the car park by the play area. After criss-crossing the green it goes through some back streets and then down to the river bank, before returning across the green. It is a straight line distance of 1.7km.
4.     Ballater Station. The course starts by the old station and then heads round the edge of the Games field before returning through some quiet back streets to the station square. It is a straight line distance of 1.2km.
5.     Potarch Green. The course starts on the edge pf the car park and heads out along the Deeside Way, before looping back on smaller paths through the woodland to the Green. It is a straight line distance of 1.7km.
A further 5 courses are planned to follow shortly at Tarland, Deeside Activity Park, Burn o' Vat, Aboyne School and Banchory School.
There is more information about the series available on the Maroc website as well as lots of information about these and other MapRun courses on the SOA website.

Please have a go with your family, spread the word to your friends and see if we can interest some new people in our amazing social-distancing sport!

Don't forget to read the latest issue of SCORE, SOA's quarterly magazine.

Paper copies can be requested via the SOA office (details in every issue).

As always, contributions from all readers are welcome.  If you'd like to discuss, email
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Mar Orienteering Club · Crofts House · Glenmuick · Ballater, Aberdeenshire AB35 5SP · United Kingdom

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