Cambridge won three of the four trophies up for grabs at the annual Varsity Orienteering match last weekend. Orienteering is a fast, individual running sport that tests navigation against the clock across all sorts of terrain.
For this year’s match, Cambridge’s squad of nineteen runners travelled to a forested area of abandoned mine workings near Sheffield. The area’s industrial past gave rise to some intricate contour detail. This required a careful balance of continuous concentration to avoid disorientation, careful footing to avoid falling over and running speed to obtain the best time. Cambridge were certainly well prepared.
The women’s A team beat Oxford comfortably with Jess Mason, Zuzka Strakova and Katrin Harding taking all the podium places for Cambridge. That gave the Light Blues a 67 minute lead. The men’s A team were unable to match this performance but managed to close the gap to Oxford to under 10 minutes. This was a considerable improvement from recent years despite the Oxford team consisting of some international-level runners. Matthew Vokes’s fourth place was the highest position for the Cambridge runners on this course, with Matt Halliday, Ben Windsor and James Hoad close behind.
The men’s and women’s B teams were more successful, with wins for both teams and first place finishes for David Maliphant and Raphaelle Suard, and a cumulative time for the men some 98 minutes quicker than Oxford.
This demonstrated an encouraging depth of runners for the future and Cambridge have already set their sights on winning the complete set of trophies next year.