Commanding Officer’s Cup Orienteering – 26th May 11

When first proposed during a Physical Education (PEd) Flight meeting, Commanding Officer’s (CO’s) Cup Orienteering was initially met with raised eyebrows and somewhat dubious faces.

Question marks were raised as to whether such an event could be a success, concerns that later proved to be very much unfounded. As a completely new and innovative event, it was important that Orienteering was marketed to Station Personnel in the correct way, to ensure any negative stereotyped opinions of the Sport were quashed. It was decided that the event would take a ‘Krypton Factor’ theme, with teams being split into the ‘Brains’ and the ‘Runners’. This was aimed to encourage maximum participation from each section, and tempt some new faces to swap normal working duties for an afternoon of competitive sport as part of a team. The ‘Brains’ were responsible for solving various mental problems and puzzles in order to win a grid reference for a box containing a secret code word. It was then up to the ‘Runners’ to use the grid reference and the map they had been issued to locate the box, remember the codeword and then return to the Headquarters for the Physical Training Instructor’s to authenticate. Needless to say the teams had to work efficiently if they were to retrieve all 10 code words that were available.

After the short coach journey over the Airfield to 2503 Squadron, the participants were briefed and took their places to start as either a Brain or a Runner. As the respective Brains received their 1st puzzle, you could feel the tension and excitement as the Runners were chomping at the bit, eager to receive a grid reference. Each team had a different puzzle which related to a certain location, thus eliminating teams simply following the guys in front all the way to the box. Once a codeword was verified by the PEd Staff, the next puzzle was issued, and the Brains were again called into effect. As the event was essentially a time trial, teams had the opportunity to buy the solution to the set puzzles for a cost of 15 minutes, an option which some teams took full advantage of, particularly on the more challenging and intricate problems.
The deadline had been set for 1545 and the teams were working ferociously to gain as many code words as possible. The mental strain was beginning to show as the Brains toiled over the challenging puzzles, along with the physical strain clearly visible in the form of the heavily perspiring and out of breath Runners.

As the competition ended, it was 56 Squadron who managed to retrieve the most code words in the best overall time to be declared the winners. It was extremely close between the top two teams, and it was 8 RAF Force Protection Wing Headquarters who just missed out on the top spot by a matter of seconds. Wing Commander Pemberton, Officer Commanding Base Support Wing, kindly presented the trophy to the winning team, drawing to an end a hugely successful and popular new CO’s Cup event, sure to feature again next year!

By Corporal Dale Jinks

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