Event 3: Orientearassing

The Third Event of the 2008 Mancathlon – “Orientearassing”  – was held on a Sunday in the middle of nowhere and was attended by the following Mancathletes:
Dr Kirk Stevens, Gareth Ballard, Stuart Brooke, AJ Sutton, Steve Carver, Shane Munro, Brydon Price, Leighton Agnew, Reg Watson, Conrad Blight, Thomas Rowe, Phillip Guthrie & Jared Trail.
The undulating, heavily wooded terrain of Woodhill Forest provided the canvas on which 13 Mancathletes would paint their latest portraits of victory or despair. They convened in a sun-bathed clearing in the forest and were shown how to interpret the cryptic sigils of a topographic map, and how to harness the mystical power of magnetism for the divining of directions between two distant points. Confidence levels were high at this point…Yellow Course 2kms, nah f*ck that, Easy Orange Course 3.7 kms, mmmaybe, Hard Orange Course 5.1 kms, Hoo-Hah!! But still they warned us, you’ve never done orienteering before, it’s harder than it looks. Forget about it! This is The Mancathlon, give us the hard one.
We trudged up the gravel lane through the forest to the start line, where a Germanic man awaited our arrival, an array of maps at his feet, a stop watch in his hand. By an incredibly fortuitous twist of fate they were all out of Hard Orange Maps, incredibly, incredibly fortuitous. The Randomizer had chosen the order, 3 minutes separated each man’s start, and so, one by one they stepped up to the line, ran their electronic tag through the control point, received their map and ran up the road into the unknown. 13 control points were placed around Woodhill Forest, and these 13 men had just a compass, a map and some extremely rudimentary map-reading skills to navigate them at speed, and with a host of hungry fellow competitors breathing down their necks.
And so, for the very first time in The Mancathlon we take you inside the minds of the men who were there; to give you the experience in their own words, unedited, uncensored, raw, vivid impressions from the front lines…
Dr Kirk Stevens
A sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach should have served as a warning that perhaps today wasn’t going to be my day. Doubts about my map reading ability surfaced on the trip to Woodhill serving as a portent of what was to come.
The start line beckoned like a kebab stand at the end of a large night, on the turps. I knew I had to cross it but how would I pull up the next day? The randomiser had its say and I was first off the mark and in the lead!!  For the first and only time.
Station 1, down. Station 2, down. Then my orienteering world fell apart around me, 45min spent looking for station 3. Bullshit!  Fellow mancathletes charged passed me like fatties at an all you can eat buffet, some swearing, some mumbling incoherently, all sweating uncontrollably.
Seven stations down with no knowledge of the time, lost, spent and a realisation that 40min had passed since I had been overtaken by the last man to start the course I pulled the pin, there was no hope.
Defeat in my mind, shame in my heart and heavy shaking legs I was done. Humiliated by the forest, staring into the face of an evil compass and ragged sweat drenched map.
Cunning Running…… Not my event.
Gareth Ballard
Coming off the back of a 2 week flu feeling like a sack of dead cats with the energy levels of a dying tortoise i knew my health was not on my side.  What followed was 2hours and 20 mins of profusive sweating and confusion.  Even with my years of experience wondering around the bush of Nelson looking at maps working in the forestry i still managed to read the map upside down a couple of times and consequently running off in the wrong direction, add to that getting horribly lost looking for point number 11 only to find myself back at the watertank junction adding an xtra K or 2 too my overall distance.
KOOK.  Lets do the last half of the course all over again then shall we just for fun.
Stumbling out onto the road at the finish with hardly a single brain cell working due to exhaustion and wondering why the finish wasn’t in front of me and what all those people were doing standing 100m to my left.  Then my brian reactivated and i realised those people standing over to my left were actually at the finishline.
So with the satisfaction of completion out the way it was time to bail home for a corona and a hot tub, all in all a fucken great day and a dam nasty way to get rid of the flu.
Stuart Brooke
I had a few pre-start nerves and couldn’t get my clammy hands on the damn map quick enough! Once I figured out which way was up I made short work of the first station, overtaking Buddha and Dr Kirk in the process. Too easy – or so I thought….Station 3 owned me, and excitement and confidence quickly turned to panic as the later starters flew past me. “Where the f*ck are you Station 3?!” I felt like Pooh bear chasing the Heffalump as I kept going round in circles, climbing the same stupid knolls. For a while I even followed a couple of kids around in desperation. Once I found it the race for points was long gone and I limped around the rest of the course, managing to cramp up in both legs. Not my finest hour, or 2 hrs 15min as the case may be…
AJ Sutton
I like the forest. It’s nice.
Steve Carver
Steve’s performance on Sunday while ecstatic at times, could only be described as Lost In Bush. His start was messy. Only minutes after entering the playing-field, Steve was deep in in a muddy hole, gasping for breath. Brydon, who couldn’t be blamed for stopping to look, noted that he was oriented the wrong way, and Steve’s returned to base to point out that he been sent in the wrong direction. An honest mistake with no harm done. New map in hand, Steve’s resolve returned. His keen desire needed satisfaction. Position’s 1-6 were quickly (some would saw too quickly) achieved in part thanks to the guiding hand of Phil, who was taking another shot at one or two of the tasks, and clad in lycra just couldn’t be missed. Steve reached his peak with a direct route at positions 6 and 7, where he aligned his compass and charged deep into the bush. But it was the elusive position 9 that was his failing. Always taking things too far, Steve ended up playing in the nether-regions, and after several exhausting attempts to finish he elected to return home, spent but content. One in the bush, two in the hand. What more could a mancathlete want from his weekend?
Shane Munro
Station farking 3! Marker one hundred and twenty farking seven!  If I can push the trauma of those numbers out of my mind before the end of the current mancathlon season I’ll be doing better than I currently think is possible. Station farking 3, marker one hundred and twenty farking seven owned me for no less than an hour yesterday, it tormented me and mocked me with its cunning and elusiveness.  Guthrie’s confidence and the authoritative manner in which he attacked the bush gave me some confidence that I could ride his coattails to the promised land of station farking 3 marker one hundred and twenty farking seven.  What a terrible mistake that was.  I resorted to combining forces with a 10 year old club member by the name of Kerrian, who about 40 minutes into the search mentioned that the same thing happened to him just last week, oh good kid.  When I did manage to finally flash and beep that little c*&t securing markers 4 and 5 was routine as I had already discovered those while looking for marker farking 3!  Inspired by the hope that my fellow mancathlettes had suffered similarly and hanging to the belief that precious competitions points were still available the remaining course was chewed up under my well heeled Asics….Alas…Another emotionally harrowing aftermath courtesy of a mancathlon event were best efforts are not even close.  But a another superb mancathlon experience to chalk up all the same.
Station farking 3! Marker one hundred and twenty farking seven!  What a little c*&t!
Brydon Price
With the events of last year involving any kind of physical fitness leaving me a retching mess on the floor it was with trepidation that I travelled the many mile out the middle of who knows where for a day traipsing through the bush. I did however last year find out to my shameful detriment that points win prizes and they can come from unlikely sources.
Setting off half way through the pack it became immediately apparent that my listening skills are that of a ritalin fuelled 5 year old and thus how to make effective use of my compass had drifted out my other ear. Bloody good thing I seem blessed with a reasonable sense of direction and have a scrawny body well suited for flailing through the forest. 1 and 2 were far enough apart to put hours on the running machine to the test and still damn glad the long course maps were in short supply. It was at this stage that the lost pleas of three young girls were ignored, no I didn’t know where their marker was and nor nor did I really care, the selfish hunger for points seeing me leave them to their fate. Admit I was some what relieved to see them still alive on the way to the check staion.
Many mancathlete dreams were shattered by the bitch that was marker 3, lucky was I that some other bugger who had spent a morning finding it had decided to rest near by and exhaustedly waved a hand in the direction of a nearby hill. Hell yeah there she was and I was on the road to some much prized points.
Half way though the drive for the prize found the none the wiser front runners unable to trap each other into a fatal fall or tree collision. 1 pair of eyes became 3  making those elusive orange markers that bit easier to trip over in the depths of nowhere. A moments distraction on the final marker saw Con and Leighton scramble out of the bush to the line with me still blundering for final prize, a fatal mistake that may have seen a point slip through my fingers. Finally making it to the finish line was stunned to see only those two bastards downing sweet sweet Pocari Sweat, turned out 1hr 10 wasn’t too shabby but it did leave an interminable wait for those poor suckers stuck crashing around mumbling “fuckin number 3” in increasing fury.
Worse ways to spend a sunny Sunday eh Phill.
Leighton Agnew
As I sat in the car park of the woodhill mountain bike park trying unsuccessfully to call Conrad to find our way to the venue I thought this wasn’t an ideal start to an orienteering event. After backtracking a kilometre or so we came across the vital piece of information overlooked at the outset, this being the road sign pointing to orienteering.
By this time, drastically late, I put the pedal to the metal of the new model Subaru Forester 2.5 X. And what a great car it is! Enough room for the whole family. You can just imagine heading down to the mountain with ski gear on the roof or pedalling down to the beach for a surf. A great handling car this, what with its symmetrical all wheel drive and low centre of gravity due to the low slung boxer engine. It handled like a dream around the long sweeping gravel bends of the woodhill roads.
With 127kw of power at hand it can handle anything that the country side throws at you. Rated the safest SUV on the New Zealand roads, and from just $36990, that’s amazing value. Let me know if you want one, I’ll get you a deal!
Anywho
The nerves were high at the start of the race. After a verbal spray from Reg the night before about my lack of man points I knew I needed something special. I needed to do well in this one people.
Well stretched up I set off at a reasonable clip. After a minute of running I noticed Steve stumbling the opposite direction towards the start line which was quite alarming but not enough to change my mind on my current course. Unperturbed I continued forth to where I suspected the first marker might be. Within minutes I had found it then off to the next. By this time I had meet up with fellow mancathete Brydon. We continued on and found a concession of markers in a solid team effort. Our effort was reminiscent of Top Gun, My Maverick to his Goose man. He navigated a course and I blew the target apart by making it beep from thrusting my transponder inside it.
Then came my second bad call of the day. Losing Brydon (a very bad call) I took off in the complete wrong direction (something that any orienteering teacher worth his salt tells you not to do) for a good couple of kms. A very bad call indeed. After running off the map I re-gathered my composure and took off back in the right direction. After getting a hint from AJ on the way I was back in the hunt and soon found myself back with Brydon. Back together we found more and more check points before we were joined by a rampaging Conrico. This threesome turned out to be an indestructible navigational force. If team Marton come together to form voltron we came together to form a navman. (one of those navigational GPS machines you might find in the sublime new Subaru Impreza, AA’s car of the year).  From here it was simple to plough through the last remaining check points and through to the end where surprisingly there was nobody waiting. Conrad first, me second but where was Brydon? As I turned to re enter the bush to find our fallen soldier he stumbled from the foliage like a wounded deer to reach the end as third finisher. GO team Navman!
Reg Watson
Going into this event I was quietly confident having been orienterring a year ago at a management function for work. This confidence quickly dissapeared as I realised after countless instruction from staff that I still couldn’t read a compass!  This was proved to be true after the first straight I ran in the wrong direction, 30 seconds into the event and already lost, what a kook!
I then got into the swing of things until control 3, this pretty much fucked me, I would have spent at least 20 minutes looking for that fucker along with 6 other hopefuls.  The rest of the controls were pretty much straight forward, apart from control 9 were I went down to the sand dunes to do a quick surf check, control 10 sucked also. Jared did me no favours here, we were both looking for this control for ages when he walked past me saying “Control 10’s a bitch aye”” having just found it. Cheers Bro.
I fought my way back to the finish in a respectable time, and even thought I may be in the points with a 5th place finish. That is until Jared walks to the finish line and gets me by time difference. Gay. He wasnt even wearing shoes!
I figure to do well in this event you had to be at least 6 foot tall, well done all you lanky tall fuckers!
Conrad Blight
So here’s me. A guy whose calf muscle is stuffed from a tantric yoga injury, a guy whose build up to the 2008 Season has been a disgusting blur of meaty burgers, domestic beer and cold & flu medicine, a guy who Guthrie famously dismissed as having “the build of a cross country runner and that’s where it ends”. Not looking or feeling at all like an event favourite as I pace nervously back & forth in the starting area. I start out at a light jog, not wanting to look like a soft cock but fully planning to walk the entire course once I got out of sight. But something funny happened on the way to defeat; as I jogged my calf started to hurt, and so I started to walk. And as I walked I thought about my life and my Mancathlon Campaign 2008 and it occurred to me in 20 foot high starburst letters, f*ck this sh*t!! I cannot walk this course, I must run no matter what! I saw Steve cantering back in the other direction, I saw Reg running in circles in the vicinity of the 1st marker. I stood by that 1st marker (casually, like I wasn’t at one), orientated myself and jogged onwards towards the 2nd. From there on it’s kind of a blur as I entered this oxygen-deprived fugue state, all the time visualizing a giant arrow in the sky that was constantly pointing towards my destination, muttering to myself “Re-orienatate, re-orientate” as I swiveled the map & compass, and generally doing more physical exercise than I’d done in the last 3 months combined, including my relentless onanism. As I approached Marker 3, trying to extrapolate the ridge contours of the map onto my environment a little girl was standing on the hillside; she goes to me “I found a marker over that hill”, I said “You don’t say, so whereabouts was that again?” mwa ha ha ha.  I tore through the area that was crowded with dazed looking Mancathletes, wandering about like the forgotten dead in search of that elusive marker. Running down the gravel road between 5 & 6 with ragged, strained breaths, and onto the briefly hidden 7. In search of the 8th Marker I encountered two old friends, Price & Agnew, who were combining their powers for a greater good – Mancathlon Victory. Knowing I could not outrun these stellar athletes I opted to work with them, and with the potent combination of Price’s brains, Agnew’s brawn and my propensity for shit-talking we proved an unstoppable force through to the finish line. Simply unbelievable that I gained a sweet 5-pointer on this particular event but immensely satisfying nonetheless. Krakatoa!
Thomas Rowe
Barely 100 meters into the third event it became evident that it was appropriately named. Orientearassing.  Having been several years since doing any real running type activities it quickly became apparent that I was inappropriately dressed for the occasion.  It started with an awareness, subtle at first but able to be ignored.  The pressure was on, the clock counting.  Soon awareness gave way to recognition.  I had a problem.  The day was hot, very little breeze penetrated the depths of the forest.  Boxer shorts were riding high. Too high.  This was a contest, I had to keep going. Eventually, I could not take it any more. Action had to be taken.  Countless minutes were wasted implementing anti wedgie strategies but there was no reprieve.  This was wedgie hell. If meditation could work for pain, it could work for this, I tried not to think of castration, tried to ignore the injured flesh. I went to my cave. Where was my power animal?  A penguin, an ice slide…………
 ……..and then it was over.  Great event. Some interesting characters out there in the forest.
Phillip Guthrie
Orienteering… attempted by few, mastered by fewer. A select club for nerds able to tear themselves away from their Xboxes and computers for longer than a trip to the local dirty bird. Not a man’s sport and certainly not something you would expect a real man to excel at, let alone win. Real mancathletes run the course twice because 4.7km just isn’t enough of a challenge. Real mancathletes get lost, don’t stop to ask for directions and treat the map and compass with the contempt they deserve. Real mancathletes take 2:40 and still don’t finish. Real mancathletes have their girlfriends send out a search party; real mancathletes wear skin tight lycra with curly chest hair peaking out of the seams – Hmm curly chest hair…..
Besides, Conrad and Jared cheated – I could hear their maniacal laughter tantalisingly close by and wondered what they found so funny – until that is I came to marker three (and marker nine and marker 11 and everything after that) and realised with horror they’d moved them in their immoral quest for victory. Tainted victory. Hollow victory. Somewhere a little girl sits in the forest crying for her mummy, lost and alone, because of their nefarious deeds victory.
Anway, it wasn’t my fault: my compass was broken; my map was doctored; my shoes were too tight; I got lost; I was food poisoned; it was the French ref’s fault… it was the rotation policy; I didn’t want to win anyway. I came dead last :(
Like the Dutch dude said, I probably would’ve done better running backwards with an oar in my hands.
Jared Trail
Orienteering…. I showed up in proper hard style mounted on my massif hog of pure sexual manliness, the roar of the 250cc V-twin making the rake thin nerds in lycra body suits shake at the knees whilst crying openly and unashamedly.
The beast rocked on up in completely unsuitable attire, Slightly slutted that he was the only one not quite clear on the running aspect of this event. Paying attention was not on the cards, I was feeling quite confident in the actual orienteering part of the event from the 2 years in scouts as a young teen, I was however feeling slightly peeved that my Sanuk shoes were not quite built for running and equally neither was my large frame.
After waiting for 40 minutes in complete boredom for all the other ‘competitiors’ to leave I stepped up to the plate, still laughing from Steve’s unfortunate start and subsequent mud puddle catastrophe. I needed an edge, “what are my strengths?” I yelled into the surrounding forest, “fuck all” came the reply from some small woodland creature (possibly Beef) so I decided all I could do was go straight for each control box and pity every tree/hill/person I had to stomp on to get there.
Surprisingly the Sanuks turned out to be quite good, crushing all the bastard scratching sticks and plants that got in the way I made my way unerringly straight for most of the first 6 boxes passing some surprisingly slow contestants along the way (phil almost immediately, crying in a foetal position).
A good event all in all considering I hiked more than ran the entire course I still managed to come away with 5th which makes me laugh more and more about box number 10 where I sent Reg up the garden path saying it was a real bastard when in fact I only just left it, hahahahahaha, who trusts a mancathlete?  I mean really.
Great day guys, I never thought this nerd sport would actually be fun, however I am still having nightmares about Phil’s dress sense.
Special Thanks are due to the North West Orienteering Club for talking us through it, loaning us some compasses & providing a fiendishly challenging Event 3. Extra Special Thanks to Pocari Sweat for providing a good supply of Ions when we needed them most.
THE TIMES
Conrad Blight 57:41 5 Points
Leighton Agnew 1:03:00 4 Points
Thomas Rowe 1:07:00 3 Points
Brydon Price 1:10:00 2 Points
Jared Trail 1:19:00 1 Point
Reg Watson 1:27:00
Shane Munro 2:10:00
Stuart Brooke 2:15:00
Gareth Ballard 2:22:00
AJ Sutton 2:24:00
Dr Kirk Stevens D.N.F.
Steve Carver D.N.F.
Phillip Guthrie D.N.F.
POINTS TABLE [After Three Events]
Trail (6)
Keenan (6)
Blight (5)
Guthrie (5)
Price (4.5)
Agnew (4)
Marshall (4)
Rowe (3)
Stevens (3)
Watson (2.5)
MacFarlane (1)
Judkins (1)
Brooke (0)
Munro (0)
Reynolds (0)
Sutton (0)
Ballard (0)
Gregg (0)
Potter (0)
The Following Mancathletes were absent from Event 3:
Gavin Marshall, Simon Judkins, Randall Potter, Dr Todd Keenan, Jason Gregg & Duncan Reynolds.

EVENT 3 PHOTOS

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