Varsity 2018-2019


Date: 02-Mar-19
Area: Ventnor Downs
Location: Ventnor, Isle of Wight
Organiser: Ben Windsor
Planner: Ben Windsor
Organising Club: DRONGO


Men A: Oxford (03:23:11 to 03:58:09, 4 to count)
Women A: Cambridge (01:42:26 to 02:03:15, 2 to count)
Men B: Oxford (04:27:44, Cambridge not enough finishers, 3 to count)
JOK/DrongO: DrongO (03:41:06, JOK not enough finishers, 1 men, 2 women to count)
Men: Jamie Parkinson, Oxford
Women: Fiona Bunn, Cambridge
JOK/DrongO Men: John Ockenden, DrongO
JOK/DrongO Women: Helen Pruzina, DrongO


Men A7.333029 Results
Men B6.129023 Results
Men C3.58012
Women A6.129023 Results
Women B3.58012 Results


Photos from Ben Stevens (sometimes have to wait a few seconds for high-res photos to load)


ENTRIES CLOSED. Email for late entries/changes to entries.

Start list by course (master list)
Start list by time

Varsity Rules (PDF)

Student Entries

Alumni/Guest Entries (Students DO NOT use this form)

Questions to

Approximate timings

  • Friday 23:00 accommodation opens
  • Saturday when everybody leaves for the race accommodation closes
  • Saturday 11:00-11:24 Individual early alumni/guest starts
  • Saturday 11:30-12:36 Individual student starts
  • Saturday 12:42-12:55 Individual late alumni/guest starts
  • Saturday 14:30 Courses close
  • Saturday 16:00 Accommodation re-opens
  • Saturday 17:30 Beer race
  • Saturday 18:00 Start migrating across the road to the social
  • Saturday 18:30 Food is served
  • Saturday 20:00 Band starts playing
  • Sunday 01:00 Pub closes (or whenever it's empty if sooner)
  • Sunday 10:30 Relay mass start
  • Sunday 11:15ish Relay mass start leg 2
  • Sunday 12:00ish Relay mass start leg 3
  • Sunday 13:00 Courses close
  • Sunday 16:00 Accommodation closes

Individual, Ventnor Downs - Saturday 2nd March


Parking and assembly will be at Ventnor Social Club, Down Lane, Ventnor, PO38 1AH. Park on any of the surrounding residential roads but please do not obstruct driveways. You can use this area to leave your bags and get changed and warm afterwards. No muddy/wet shoes inside please. Drinks and bar snacks (nuts/crisps) will be available to buy from the bar, we encourage you (especially alumni) to use these services to make it worth it for the social club allowing us to use their building. You can eat packed lunches in the room as well.


The start is about 400m from assembly with 60m climb. The finish is about 200m from assembly and is on the way to the start. No clothing dump. It is a punching start. For Men C/Women B, start times have been allocated but due to the small number of competitors you can start when you like. For Men A/Women A/Men B, you must be on time for your start. The organiser reserves the right to override the punching start with the allocated start time for competitors more than one minute late for their start as this breaks the 6 minute start interval rule.

SI punching will be used, air will be enabled. You must punch the start and finish as normal controls.


The map quality is poor, sorry, it was 12 years old originally. The organiser has updated the vegetation fairly extensively, but sadly he doesn't have unlimited free time and therefore the vegetation is mapped accurately around control sites and where it significantly affects route choice, but it may be inaccurate in between controls. Generally this consists of wrongly mapped gorse bushes in the rough open area - gorse bushes are generally not large enough to take a significant role in route choice as you can weave between them even if they are out of place on the map. The contours and paths are reasonably reliable. Double hashed vegetation is generally passable but is often brambly and a very slow walk, so it's best avoided.

Uncrossable features

High fences will be overprinted with a pink line. Although not a condition of access, the fences are quite high so we have decided to forbid crossing them to prevent damage (both to the fence and the competitors). You may come across a gate on your course marked "footpath closed". You may use this gate to cross the fence, but you may NOT continue down the footpath. Courses are planned such that continuing down the footpath would be a stupid idea anyway.

The course

The terrain is mostly runnable, with sections of very runnable heathland, but there is vegetation on the ground in parts and this can be very slow if you find yourself stuck in it. Courses have been planned to avoid most of the manky stuff, but if you're sensitive to brambles then wear gaiters. Expect to encounter some very steep slopes on your course, which may be slippery when wet. The beginners course does not visit these steep slopes. You'll also find a couple of boring path legs - these take you through a section of map where the gorse bush mapping is poor. On control descriptions, the charcoal burning platform control description is used to indicate a platform. The advertised climb on the courses can be reduced depending on your route choices.

  • There is a control which is visited twice on Men A. Make sure you follow the numbers on your map in the correct order when exiting this control.
  • One area of the map is visited twice, so again ensure you follow the numbers correctly and don't end up punching a control which is meant for later.
  • There is significant overlap between Men's A and Women's A - but they are not identical so make sure you follow your own map.


Whistles will be compulsory and checked at the start. No whistle, no go. Waterproof, hooded cagoules may be compulsory in the event of bad weather, you will be notified at assembly if this is the case. The wind blows straight off the sea across the top of the area so in bad weather it is very exposed. On the plus side, there are fantastic views out to the sea if the weather is nice! The course crosses a minor dead end road. Traffic will be minimal, but be aware when crossing it. Walkers use the area, be courteous. Safety bearing is south until you hit a road, then west. If you have any medical conditions you think the organiser should be aware of email Full leg cover is required but vests may be worn.

Relay, Tennyson Down - Sunday 3rd March

This event will also be open to the public as a Level D event. Courses available will be Blue/6.8k, Green/5.1k, Orange/3.1k, Yellow/1.7k (Blue is a long relay leg, Green is a medium relay leg, Orange is a short relay leg, Yellow is separate to the relay).


Parking and assembly will be in the Needles Car Park. The nearest postcode is PO39 9JD but do not follow SatNav there, it's not where the car park is!

Start, Finish, Handover, Spectator Runthrough

These will all be about 250m with 50m climb from the south end of the car park. If the weather is not too horrible, spectators can walk about 100m further to where a large proportion of the area can be seen from one place, as well as great views over the sea. In the case of bad weather, wind breaks will be provided in the form of gorse bushes near the handover area.


This map was dated 2001 originally. Vegetation has been updated from a recent aerial photo with a small amount of ground survey. This has given surprisingly good results and the vegetation is mapped really quite accurately.

The maps are in two parts, printed on the same side of paper. The last control on part 1 of the map also appears as the first control of part 2. Control descriptions will be on the map only for the relay. Public courses will have loose descriptions available.


The format is a standard three-leg relay, which will be gaffled, and will be run in the order: Long, Short, Medium (approx 7k/3k/5k). Expect a lot of controls to be located on thickets both on and not on your course - check your control codes! Courses are planned to pass near the start multiple times for improved spectator value. The final spectator control is less than 1km from the end of the courses. The terrain is mostly very fast grass with detailed gorse bushes, although you'll probably encounter a few mild brambles on part of the course.

Mass start at 10:30, with mass starts for legs 2 and 3 at 11:15 and 12:00 respectively. Courses close at 13:00. Mass starts may be delayed if runners are not back. Course closing time for leg 3 will be extended to be one hour after the mass start, if the mass start is delayed.


In the event of bad weather, whistles will be compulsory and hooded, waterproof coats may be required, this information will be available at registration and on this website. Parts of the coastline are not fenced. Don't run off the cliffs and fall in the sea. Be sensible around walkers who will also be using the area. Safety bearing is north until you hit a major path, road, or farmland. If you have any medical conditions you think the organiser should be aware of email


We suggest that whilst you're here, you shouldn't miss out on the view of the needles. It's a short walk from the car park over to the viewpoint (it's the far western part of the map not used on the courses). There's also a museum there about how they used this place to launch rockets during WW2.



If you are staying in the accommodation, park in the car park at the end of School Lane, PO30 4JD. If you are only coming for the social, use the pub car park which is about 50m west of the pub.


Accommodation will be available for Friday and Saturday nights on the floor (sleeping bags + mats required) at Calbourne Community Centre, School Lane, Calbourne, PO30 4JD. This postcode takes you to the correct place on Google Maps. Accommodation will open at 11pm on Friday (which is when the first people will be arriving). It will be closed on Saturday morning when everybody leaves and will reopen at 4pm, as there will be a football match in the afternoon which will be using the changing rooms. During this time you may leave your things in the main room which will be safely locked. Please do not return to the accommodation before 4pm - you can either stay in the bar where assembly for the individual is, or you can go and be a tourist for a couple of hours, or help collect controls! It will then be open until 4pm on Sunday, so that after the relay you can return for showers if you wish.

Friday night arrival

Ben (organiser) will not be there on Friday night, so Richard Watkins (DRONGO) knows how to obtain the key. If you want a shower you need to turn the hot water on by pulling the cords on the right hand side in the shower room. If you need heating in the main hall it is accessed by the cupboard next to the door to the hallway and takes £1 coins. The temperature is regulated by the thermostat above it. Hopefully, food for breakfast/lunch will already be there. Please leave the kitchen tidy after you have used it for breakfast and making lunch.

Beer race

This will be held on the playing field outside the community centre before the evening meal.

Saturday night social

This will be held in The Sun Inn about 100m from the accommodation. Food will be a buffet, please ensure any dietary requirements are stated on the entry form. The cost includes two drinks and is expected to be in the region of £15 students/£20 alumni. The meal will be followed by prizegiving and if there is enthusiasm for it, the tables can be cleared to make a dance floor. A live band will be playing - if the party is to continue after they finish, somebody should bring their iPod or equivalent to play tunes off. There is no dress code. When you leave the pub please be quiet so as not to disturb the residents

Other meals

If staying in the community hall, breakfast on Saturday and Sunday will be provided, as well as very basic ingredients for making lunch.