Colin Matheson

Name and age class

Colin Matheson 63 3/4

Tell us about when/where/how you started orienteering.

Circa 1969. I thought it would help me to escape from boarding school at Dollar Academy. Somebody must have records of my early runs - they were at times very bad.
Why do you like it?
There are few other sports that have such a diverse customer base and the opportunity to visit so many different areas : urban, forest, moor and sand dunes. Who doesn't enjoy being whipped across the legs by brambles, stung by nettles, and emerging bruised, bleeding and exhausted from an hour or so outside? Unlike many other sports I take part in it is faster and more intense and available in small doses. Of course as Events Manager for Scottish Orienteering liking the sport makes a big difference and it helps pay the mortgage in my case.
Your best orienteering memory?

To all those who see me struggle round a Light Green at the moment it may come as a surprise that I was once fit and fast and on occasion a pretty good orienteer. My best memories are my Army days leading a team from 42 Survey Engineer Regiment to a string of victories. Somehow I was the Corps of Royal Engineers Champion at one stage - everyone reckoned it was because our unit printed the maps.
Your worst (and/or funniest?) orienteering memory?

In 2002 I took part in the Northern Night Championships at Witton Country Park in Blackburn. I ran off the map (as you do) and found myself in the middle of a huge cemetery. Many of the graves were illuminated with lights and candles and I was scared out of my wits. I was pleased to find myself back on the map again after a very bizarre experience.
Your favourite O area?

Competing over Docharn & Deishar at the Scottish 6 Days was fantastic and a huge contrast to where I used to orienteer in East Anglia as a member of WAOC. Unfortunately thanks to a change in ownership organised orienteering in this area has had to stop.
A top O tip for others/favourite piece of kit?
Maintaining concentration when you find yourself running head-to-head is very difficult and I often make the decision to take a different route just to avoid this situation. If I was really competitive it would matter but I would rather have the orienteering experience on my own. Similarly I often ignore path routes and go straight just because it is more fun. Decide if you want to enjoy the orienteering experience or if you actually want to be more competitive.
In your other life... what do you like doing when you're not orienteering?
I do not garden or collect stamps. I am however a decent golfer (11 handicap) and over the past few years have won quite a few trophies at Nairn Dunbar. In 2012 I compleated the Munros and still take the occasional trip out. My rock climbing days are not completely behind me and I could probably still be dragged up a Severe.
What's your orienteering ambition for the next year?

I am hoping for a return to fitness having suffered foot and ankle pain for most of last year. Time will tell with new foot orthoses but there is a ticking clock as to when my badly damaged knee (from 1977) finally gives up. Along with my achilles tendon break in 2006 running is not really a recommended pastime.
Anything else you would like us to know?
I have an interesting array of orienteering tops going back a long way. None have ever been thrown out but some are now figure hugging. A number of years ago I used to run in lycras with patterns that could be described as interesting.