Our outgoing President, Andrew Skelton, reflects on “the year that was” in his 2020 President’s Report.
After an incredibly difficult and challenging year in 2020 for everyone worldwide, we in NZ have been incredibly lucky that there have still been sporting and other opportunities available to both young and old. It gives me great pleasure to reflect on the year and efforts of our strong and tight-knit Counties Manukau Orienteering Club community.
I feel very privileged to have been able to watch and partake in some great orienteering over the year, and we have hosted several successful events, including two significant events on the ONZ calendar. In doing so, I think everyone will agree we, as a club, have maintained a high standard of operations, and our events have been enjoyable and challenging to all who participated.
A brief look back at 2020.
This year started with some athletes attending the Lonely Mountain sprint event in New Plymouth and Sprint the Bays in Hawkes Bay. Alicia McGivern went on to Melbourne Sprints, where she raced multiple sprints and finished top Junior Girl, which was a great effort.
During March, we held the first AOS event at Tapapakanga, with Justine Edwards setting her first AOS event. We had some great feedback and Justine got a lot out of this experience. Later that month, Counties Manukau entered a team in the ever-popular Katoa Po Night Relay event, finishing 3rd club team led by Charlotte and Daniel Wood, Oscar Vink, Jo Wood, and Fenton Loveday.
As you know, later that month COVID-19 came along, which effectively shut down the running of events and made planning future events a logistical nightmare with the ever-changing COVID-19 environment. A very difficult time for organisers in any sporting or other events, plus the added pressure of uncertainty also on landowners, volunteers etc.
What did arise from this adversity were some great initiatives and innovative thinking in the way of urban sprints at your own leisure. Blake McKinnon initiated an Eastern Facebook group and provided maps to print and run at your own leisure. Some great feedback received during this time of lockdown and something that can be built on in the future. Llewellyn McGivern and Brian Long initiated park trainings, which is also very popular and something to build on for next year. These types of ideas no doubt had a lot of families or individuals trying something new in their own time. This will hopefully translate onto future club members and further interest in the sport.
October and November became a very compressed and busy orienteering event calendar. CMOC ran three major events in four weeks: NISS Championships, AKSS Rogaine Championships, and the Northern Regional Championships. This was commendable in the pressure time frames and ongoing uncertainty, but once again proved CMOC is a great hands-on club with volunteers and a high level of knowledge and experience.
On our third attempt, we were able to also host the large North Island Secondary Schools orienteering event in October. This event was extremely successful and the number participants reinforced that these students were as keen as mustard to get out and compete.
For some secondary school pupils, the NISS was the only orienteering event for them in 2020. With over 200 competitors, the setters and controllers Matthew Goodall, Tommy Hayes, Bryce and Ross Brighouse, John Robinson, and Wayne Aspin did an incredible job with very challenging courses. As most of the club members will be aware, some great positive feedback was received, saying these were some of the best courses they have seen for this type of schools event. It was clear this contributed to creating an atmosphere that was enjoyed by all. The event film coverage was professionally captured and is available to be viewed on Sky Sport Next on YouTube (Day 1 here, Day 2 here). Alternatively, on the ONZ website.
The Northern Regional Championships saw three great courses (sprint, middle and long) over a weekend and again great variety and challenging courses thanks to the setters and controllers Justine Edwards and Greta Knarston, Ross Brighouse and Wayne Aspin, Andrew Peat and Bruce Peat.
This was a special event also for CMOC as it was the first time the club had used air sport ident, which was extremely successful. Very challenging for the club running two events on the same day. A highlight of the event for many was the Kohekohe Map and varied terrain that provided a unique challenge. Thank you to all that helped over the weekend enabling this event to run so smoothly.
It was also great to see the Nationals finally go ahead and several CMOC members taking part in the courses held in Palmerston North. There were some great results as you’ll see later in this report. This event also doubled as the 2020 Secondary Schools team trials.
School Sprint Orienteering
This year we managed to run nine out of 12 events for both the Eastern and Southern series before the COVID-19 disruption. Unfortunately, the Auckland Secondary Schools final was unable to be held.
Once again, the Eastern and Southern Series was very successful, with a record number of students at one event of over 550. We have received great feedback and appreciation from schools, students, and parents alike. Despite losing grant funding for these events, we will again run them in 2021. Overall, our goal is to provide orienteering enjoyment to school students and to develop the keen young school orienteers into the next generation of club orienteers.
Of note in 2020, our fee-paying membership numbers have increased markedly to approximately 400, making us one of the biggest clubs in NZ.
Orienteering New Zealand forums
Our club has liaised with Orienteering New Zealand through the leadership of Christo Peters and Pete Swanson on a number of Forum matters throughout the year. This year we had input into discussions around:
- Rescheduling of major events
- COVID-19 protocols and practises
- Future of Secondary Schools orienteering structure
Achievements and Representatives
CMOC Members have had an amazing year of results (even with all the adversity). This includes nine National champions, 20 national medallists and, furthermore, our club members have featured at the top in several New Zealand Orienteering achievements during 2020.
Of special note for our young upcoming athletes, four were named in New Zealand Secondary Schools team. Congratulations to the following club members:
New Zealand Secondary Schools Representatives
Junior Boys – James McGuire, Daniel Wood
Junior Girls – Kelly McKinnon, Alicia McGivern
New Zealand National Champions and Medallists
Sprint – Louis Hewitson-Townley 1st, Blake McKinnon 2nd, Bruce Peat 2nd
Middle – Kelly McKinnon 1st, Val Robinson 1st, Blake McKinnon 1st, Wayne Aspin 1st, John Robinson 1st, Patricia Aspin 2nd, Llewellyn McGivern 2nd, Ross Brighouse 2nd, Alicia McGivern 3rd, Daniel Wood 3rd
Long distance – Patricia Aspin 1st, Val Robinson 1st, Wayne Aspin 1st, John Robinson 1st, Blake McKinnon 2nd, Greta Knarston 3rd
New Zealand Mountain Bike Orienteer of the Year
Georgia Skelton – for her 3 podiums at the Junior world MTBO champs over the last two years
Our Club Service Recognition
I would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge some special club members that do a tremendous amount of work for the club year in and year out. Without the continuous contribution of these people the CMOC would struggle to be as active and regarded as it is.
- Val Robinson for her super coordination of all events and incredible way with our young members.
- Ruth Farmer for her accurate, timely and always on-point administration (the luckiest club in NZ to have Ruth).
- Lindsay Shuker for managing all our storage and equipment event set ups, without this we would be truly lost.
- John Robinson, Brian Long, and Unni Lewis for their continued gold star efforts running events from school series to summer series to everything in-between.
Looking ahead to 2021
Next year we will again host Secondary School Sprint events in East and South, and three Auckland Orienteering Series events. For at least one of these events, we will provide a dual event introducing MTBO for newcomers. We also plan to introduce some urban weekend sprint events along with our Summer Series later in the year. There will be several national events that will be of interest to members, such as NZO MTBO Nationals in Alexander. NZ foot Nationals in Auckland will be hosted by North West.
Additional to these planned events, we hope to expand on the training opportunities and initiatives that were undertaken this year by Llew McGivern and John Robinson, along with the school coaching led by Val Robinson.
The Committee and Club Officers for the 2020 were:
- President – Andrew Skelton
- Secretary – Ruth Farmer
- Treasurer – Rolph Watson
- Equipment – Lindsay Shuker
- Facebook Editor – Sarah Steel
- Website – Martin Peat and Brian Long
- Committee Members – John and Val Robinson, Brain Long, Bev and Lyndsey Shuker, Sarah Steel, Unni Lewis, Matt Pickering, Justine Edwards, Monique Harsant, Renee Motion
To the Committee, thank you for all your hard work and dedication throughout this difficult year to make CMOC so successful in 2020. We are a small team (as Christo Peters said) who all chip in and makes things happen. I am very proud and appreciative of our team’s willingness to always lend a hand and keep this club family going so well.
To all our club members who constantly contribute and help the team, thank you for your support.
The CMOC Committee members mainly remain the same winding up towards the end of 2020. The team will continue their roles and amazing contribution.
For me the end of the year brings a lot of change as I have decided to step down from my role as President. This has not been an easy decision after three years contributing as a committee member and this 2020 year as President.
That being said, I absolutely love the sport of orienteering and the CMOC club environment, so plan to remain involved with the committee and support the Club in the best way possible.
For now, thank you all again. I value the special friendships I’ve made and the enjoyment within our team and look forward to being part of the CMOC committee for 2021.
Andrew Skelton, President