Orienteering will take place at a surprising new venue next month - the Hospital of St Cross.
In what is believed to be a first for a hospital site, the Octavian Droobers have organised the WOW (Warwickshire Orienteering Weekend) on March 25-26 withtwo national orienteering races.
As well as the urban course around Rugby Town on Saturday afternoon, which includes points around the hospital, a forested cross country event will take place on a private estate near Atherstone on Sunday morning.
Competitors will be given a map and a special electronic timer. They then use these to select the best route to find and record special control points in the fastest time.
The event in Rugby has been picked for a weekend, when the hospital will be quieter, so that there is no disruption to patient care.
Karin Kirk from the Octavian Droobers said: “It’s a really fast-paced sport, and ideal for anyone from 8-80 that likes the idea of a treasure hunt! These events are ideal for beginners as we’ll provide people with help in using the timer and reading the map.
“We’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from many organisations in Rugby including University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, local businesses, schools, Rugby Borough Council, the Queens Diamond Jubilee Leisure Centre and Rugby Athletics Club.
“We’re especially grateful for the help from the team at St Cross Hospital, because they have allowed full access to their site and surrounding grounds, probably a first for orienteering.”
Juliet Starkey, Hospital Manager, said: “It’s probably one of the more unusual requests we’ve received, but we jumped at the opportunity to be the first hospital to host an orienteering event.
“The Hospital of St Cross is at the heart of the Rugby community, and we felt we had to be involved.
“We’ll also be encouraging our staff to sign up themselves, as part of our work to support health and wellbeing.”
Rugby has been declared a UK Urban and UK Orienteering League event and Bentley a Midland Championships, UK Orienteering League and a junior national selection race.
Entrants will be coming from as far away as Scotland and Cornwall to compete at this prestigious weekend of orienteering.
Fourteen courses from 1km up to approximately 7km have been planned for men, women and juniors in various age categories.
The club is expecting about 400 competitors of all ages, from 8 to 80 years, to compete at the Rugby event and approximately 800 at Bentley Wood near Atherstone.
Pre-entry to these events is preferred, at www.fabian4.co.uk, although entry on the day is possible.
Mike Hampton from the Octavian Droobers has drawn up a map of Rugby town centre especially for the event.