Thursday, 10 January 2008

The trick is to keep the pack together

There are too many Harriettes (old and new) that are forgetting that we come to a run to socialise. A strung out pack makes for a tiering and uneventful run. I find I can run further and easier when I have a lot of Harriettes with me to talk to. A pack running together will come back to the bucket smiling and praising the hare!

A gentle reminder:

First, recce the run. Find a location that would work for the time of year of your run – bush runs and runs off the beaten track work better during daylight savings, well lit suburban runs are better suited to the winter months. The On-On should be within walking distance from the bucket.

Look at the location on a map – work out roughly where you want the pack to go. Then you should run it once or twice to get the feel for the possible positions of on-backs, checks etc.

You may have heard of “Keeping the pack together” – How you ask?
Lots of On-Backs, Views, Hold-Checks, Checks and looped trails:

Use an on-back after a long run or single file track where the pack is likely to be spread out.
Loop the trail where you can during the run – that way the walkers seeing the front runners along a connecting street will be able to meet up with them (be careful you won’t have runners seeing another part of your trail by mistake). It is up to the Trail Mistress to help with this process.
Use a view for the pack to have a rest and look – asking for a hold on the view will also help
Lots of arrows – lots of them – if it is well marked it will keep the pack happy.

The pack is happier when they can finish together (1 hour max.) and get on with socialising at the bucket.
Don’t over stretch the run – better to have a well set shorter run than one that is too long just to include an interesting feature. A trail that loops and doubles back in a smaller area is better than a long run out and back in a single direction.

Remember - use lots of on-backs and even more checks, when you think you have enough - add one more check and on-back.

The Map:
* Please enlarge it
* Don’t draw the trail in black ink over the names of the roads (highlighter may be better)
* Try to keep your Checks on the map to correspond with check circles on the ground. If while setting the run you need to change the checks – then change it on the map. Have a few blank maps ready to re-draw the trail
* I would recommend a running cue sheet in addition to the map - it is especially helpful in winter when it is hard to read the map and street signs.
* Arrive early to show your map to the Trail Mistress and talk about it before the run.

For your first run, make friends with a seasoned Harriette in your area and ask her to be your co-hare. If you have chosen wisely, you will learn some of the fine points of setting a great run.

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