Mike Hampton - 2500 events!

Hi Mike, we hear you recently reached the milestone of attending 2500 orienteering events, congratulations! We wanted to ask you a bit more about how you have managed to rack up so many events?! How did you get into it? how have you managed to go to so many events? Any other interesting stats you have on your remarkable echievment? e.g. no. countries you've orienteered in etc. Tell us all...!

It would seem that a chance remark at a Droober event recently that I was just about to complete my 2500th event by organising the OD Summer evening Sprint-O event in Solihull last Wednesday has got round the orienteering grapevine like wildfire. It seems that you are interested in the "CV of an Orienteering Nut". So here goes.

My first event was in November 1971. I used to get Athletics Weekly at that time since I was a road runner who did distance races from 10 miles up to the Marathon. After the Saturday race, I was never able to get myself out training on Sunday, so when I saw an advert for orienteering as a Sunday sport in AW (probably the only time it has been advertised in that mag), it caught my attention. I enquired of the local club, LOK (which had just been formed a couple of months previously) and went along to Hampstead Heath in London. I immediately realised how much more interesting orienteering was that boring, mind-numbing road running. I was hooked!

34 and a half years later, and I have averaged 72.5 events per year, or just over 6 every month, or one and a half per week!

In the early days of O., there were fewer events around, but I was encouraged by Roger Smith (ex-editor of "The Orienteer") who did 100 events in 1973. I tried to beat that, but fell short in 1975 - only managing 95.
I first broke the 100 barrier in 1997. As a result of a broken arm in 1998, I only did 80 that year, but I have exceeded 100 every year since (including Foot and Mouth year, 2001). The most I did was in 2002 -137 events attended (the year that Mark Thompson (FVO) did 140).

I am fortunate in living where I do in Warwickshire, as OD put on more than 50 events each year, with LEI and HOC also being prolific organisers.
You may surmise from this that I am not that interested in doing additional training. I prefer to do my "training" with a map in my hand at events in terrain.

I first orienteered abroad in 1973 when I joined such luminaries as Roger Lott and Ned Paul at the first Irish 2 day event in the early days of Irish orienteering. My first Swedish O-ringen was 1975 in Stockholm
where the complexity of the terrain and my position at the rear of the field made me realise that other countries held much more diverse and complex terrain than Britain, and I had to go and find out.

Since then I have orienteered in 31 countries (counting GBR as one - not four). This number will increase by 2 new countries this summer after WMOC in Austria, as I am competing in Croatia and Slovenia.

The countries I have orienteered in are spread out over 5 continents. They include all the usual ones, plus more interesting ones such as Ukraine (Europe), Hong Kong, China and Kazakhstan (Asia), and South Africa.
My favourite country has to be Australia - I have been 5 times - and hope to go again in September (and WMOC 2009). In my mind the most complex terrain in the world for orienteering are their granite areas, especially "The Cascades" in Queensland (APOC 2000) and "Mount Kooyoora" in Victoria (WOC 1987, and WMOC 2002).

When I am not competing, I am also a mapper with 181 maps to my name so far, and won the Bonnington Trophy in 2002 and the Chichester Trophy in 2003.
I have also been a club committee member for 30 consecutive years including this year (13 years with LOK and 17 with OD. In 1987, I was on the committees of both clubs).

As I have said before, I am an orienteering fanatic who lives the orienteering lifestyle. I dare say that there are probably not many Brits out there that can beat all or any of these statistics, but I am sure that those who can will make themselves known through your pages. In Scandinavia, my acheivements would be considered small fry!

Thank you very much for that Mike. You really do love the flagchasing, good effort and well done again. We'll speak to you again when you get to 3000!


Mike speaking to Nopesport

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