The winter gods smiled just in time at the first “true” O Cup of the season, held at Scanlon Creek Conservation Area near Bradford, Ontario. What I mean is that this awesome, frosty race was the first O Cup with a real dollop of snow and some serious sub-zero temperatures.
We are not talking about -5 or even -10 degrees Celsius here: we woke to a Bradford morning woke of -23 degrees, but thankfully the event site warmed up to a balmy -21 just before the mass start at 10.30am. (In the organizers’ defense, the forecast the night before had predicted the temperature by race start would be -18 degrees, but in fact that temp was only achieved by around noon.)
To summarize, this O Cup race was the minus 21 race, but in another sense also the PLUS 21 race, in honour of the 21 hardy, winter-loving competitors who came and took off into this pretty Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Area forest.
First across the finish line, in under 35 minutes, was the Ukrainian Orienteering Club’s swift master, Andrei Logvin. Only twenty seconds later came newcomer (to Ontario!) Yoko Bamba, also the first woman in. Who would be next? Veteran racer Barb Campbell of Palgrave, shot in out of the cold only a couple minutes back.
Many other notable performances were recorded, and in fact everyone was a winner this day. Prizes of Inniskillin Icewine were given to the first man and woman, in a fitting testament to the weather of the day (and season). Further door prizes were awarded to many other competitors, who are all thanked for making the journey to the north. A special call out to the cadets who came out and smiled throughout, even at the finish line, and to first time youth competitor Gavyn Robinson, who ran on the open course and seemed to really enjoy the day.
Finally, a big thank you to Raymond Chung of the Toronto Orienteering Club for his SI expertise and Ihor Palagnyuk for his mapping updates and inventive course-setting in a compact area. See you all again next year at the UKR O Cup, likely north of the city and definitely filled with prize-worthy competition!
Meet Director, Ukrainian Orienteering Club