Orienteering ready for Wily Weka

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Hundreds of outdoor adventurers will be roaming the hills and streets around Richmond and Stoke this Sunday, searching high and low for an elusive Wily Weka.

The Nelson Orienteering Club is holding its second Wily Weka Challenge rogaine which will feature teams of two to five people racing for either three or six hours to find controls that have been marked on a map. Controls are allocated points depending on their difficulty and the team with the most points wins – teams returning after the cut-off time lose points for every minute they are late.

Race planner Gordon Sloane says there are 75 controls on this year’s  map and it’s “highly unlikely” any teams will collect maximum points. However, Gordon says there’s an added incentive this year with a prize for the first team in the three and six-hour race to find a photo of a Wily Weka that will be located at one of the controls.

“I defy anyone to get all the controls,” Gordon says. “If they do, I’ll shout them a beer.

“The straight line distance between all the points is 56km and nobody’s going to be able to average 10 kilometres an hour on the terrain. There will also be some curly ones and if you want to climb up high, you’ll be able to.

“But they all have a show of finding a photo of a Wily Weka. There will be one for each race and they’ll be at one of the trickier controls, so that’s something to aim for.”

Gordon says the Wily Weka Challenge has so far attracted 85 teams and 230 competitors in either the three or six hour race. Entries have been kept open for the rest of the week but will not be taken on the day.

Although Gordon says there are some “good operators” like Dan Busch and Dan Moore in the six-hour race, the event is suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities.

“The three-hour race especially is aimed at families and less experienced people. That’s what the three-hour is all about.”

Many of the teams that have entered the Wily Weka were out practising their map reading skills in the club’s orienteering event held at Nelson College on Sunday. Brent Edwards won the orange course event ahead of Sally Lattimore, with Gilbert Robertson third.

The Wily Weka starts at Saxton Pavilion at 9am this Sunday. To enter, go to the Nelson Orienteering Club’s website noc.org.nz