Sheffield Ultrasprint


Ultrasprint winner Matt Crane exits the Labyrinth

Some of Britain's best sprint orienteering athletes came together for head to head racing at the second Ultrasprint, organised by SYO as part of the Cliffhanger outdoor festival in Sheffield. Sponsored by Garmin, 600 of cash prizes were up for grabs, including 150 for the fastest male and female competitor.

In both the qualification races and the final, competitors navigated through the "labyrinth" at 1:1000, before racing around the rest of the park at 1:2500, dodging various festival stands, arenas and visitors. The final few controls were back in the labyrinth. The park section included several wet river crossings, the fords looking extremely intimidating on the map due to the scale.

The top 4 from each heat made it to the A Final - heat winners were Matt Crane, Mike Sprot, Neil Northrop and Bill Edwards. In the final, which had no less than four separate butterfly sections, both Matt Crane and Neil Northrop made it out of the labyrinth simultaneously and finished together in 13:51 - but with Neil having missed out one of the 46 controls in the 2.3km course, Matt picked up the cash prize.

Robin Tett proved to be the top Junior in 8th place, while Ricky Baxter was the winning veteran with 10th place on the A course. The leading woman was Alice Leake, 6th on the B course. Credit must be given too to Marcus Pinker who, although failing to qualify for the A final, won the B final in a time that would have given him 3rd place overall.

The labyrinth section was opened up to the public following the main event, with many spectators trying it out. The Ultrasprint format is exciting and extremely spectator friendly - there is huge potential for it to develop the sport, and hopefully there will be some more ultrasprints coming soon.

Report & Photos courtesy of Ollie O'Brien.


Labyrinth mayhem as spectators look on

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