XO Racing Comes to Morley - Kirsty Groves and Jenny Wemyss
Taking up a last minute offer for a place in this event and receiving official confirmation only 15 minutes before the meeting time, we really didn’t know what to expect. XO race events had been described to us as “an urban treasure hunt” and “21st century orienteering”. It really was both these things on steroids due to all the running, but it was so much more fun.
Teams who booked in advance found out the location of ‘basecamp’ the day before the run and we were very lucky to be starting on home turf at Otto, Morley Bottoms. Here we tucked away in their beer garden and set about making a plan. On the app, you are provided with a map showing checkpoints, but not what scores each location was worth until the race actually began.
For each checkpoint you reach, you scan a QR code within the app:
Orange Checkpoints = Standard places on the map to try and reach, ranging from 10 - 60 points in this event.
Pink Checkpoints = Mental challenges, where you answered a question relating to a nearby sign. Take your time here and read more closely than you think! (Tut tut Jenny! Remember the tortoise and the hare!) Questions were worth up to 70 points for a correct answer.
Green Checkpoints = Physical challenges, which were generally a sprint or race up stairs. Worth up to 60 points in our event and you were awarded more points for quicker times. (The 91 steps at Morley train station were no match for Kirsty).
The best part is, each pair plans their own route, so you can go as far as you like, and use as much of the 90 minutes as you wish to see how many points you can gather. This is all kept up to date with a live leaderboard!
After a quick safety briefing, pairs had a 30 minute window in which to leave, so we scanned the QR code and off we went. We made use of our home advantage being tactical with the hills of Morley and using ginnels/snickets (the debate is still open on the correct term) to our advantage. In this event, there is no risk of bottlenecks or crowds slowing you down, as everyone is focused on their own route, but the 5 or so other teams we did pass on the way were full of smiles, waves and encouragement to each other.
We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, hunting down checkpoints, so much so we barely noticed the kilometres flying by. XO Races can be summed up with planning, complete joy and most importantly teamwork! Our teamwork in the route planning paid off, Jenny then took the technical role, scanning the codes and checking the map, while Kirsty smashed the physical challenges with ease! After just over 11 kms, ticking off the wonderful landmarks of Morley, we made our way back to basecamp at Otto and were rewarded with a refreshing drink but more importantly a fantastic social event! As teams arrived back, everyone gathered, shared stories and routes, and debated answers to the mental challenges. The evening was rounded off with a presentation of 3 awards, one for each of the top scoring teams in the categories: female, male and open mixed teams
Overall, this was an absolutely fantastic night! We seriously recommend pairing up, donning your MRC maroon to head off for a genuinely fun running adventure! The next will be central Leeds on the 18th October for anyone who fancies competing against us!