Thursday, 5 May 2011

Double National Champ!

Well then, from the title of this blog you can see that the NZ Champs at Easter weekend in Hawkes Bay went better than expected!

As I mentioned earlier I was the mapper and planner of the NZ sprint Champs on Friday afternoon. It was great weather and such a nice event centre, so it was so good to finally relax (sort of) and enjoy all the hard work that myself and my club mates had put into this event! The map covered two private girls schools in Havelock North, Woodford House and Iona College. Here's a snippet of the building detail in Woodford House. There were a lot of canopies and weird shaped buildings with stairs and height differences which made it really interesting for route choice legs. Have a look at the routegadget to see the courses and winners routes. The winner of the Men's Elite grade was Toby Scott. Toby is still a junior and will be competing at JWOC in Poland this year. He ran up in the elite grade because the NZ champs were also the trials for WOC. After Toby's performance it looks like he will be my team mate in France this year, but we are still waiting on the team to be named! The Women's Elite winner was Lizzie Ingham. Another impressive performance was by Kate Morrison (my little sis) who won the W20 grade, and had a faster time than Lizzie on the same course. So the sprint turned out to be a day for the Juniors. It's exciting as the quality and standard of NZ orienteers seems to be improving - it will be interesting to see some world class performances in the next few years!
See winsplits for the sprint here.


The middle distance was held on a new map called 'Fire Station'. This is on the Maraetotara plateau adjacent to one of Hawkes Bay's most well known maps. It consisted of areas of detailed rock over open farmland, some pine-forest of varying run-ability and NZ native bush. Finally it was my chance to race. I was itching to compete in orienteering again since I had regained my fitness level of last year. I had some problems in the beginning of the race with controlling my speed, this is something I will have to work on as I am getting faster. I also made a couple of mistakes after the spectator control where I was a bit unsure of the map and hesitated a bit, then got distracted by the camera man. I made one bad route choice later on in the course (#15-16) but apart from this my race went well enough to win! It was a good feeling as always to win a national title!
See winsplits and routegadget for the Middle.


The Long was again a new map, a bit further south of Maraetotara this time. This map was a lot more farmland with more intricate areas of rock detail. This proved very hard to read while running on 1:15000. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning of the course, on #2, #6, #7 and then I got really stuck in the 'white' forest leaving from #7 and lost nearly 1min. I didn't give up after these mistakes, I thought that if I am finding this difficult then so must everyone else! So I pushed through the rest of the course, only making some smaller mistakes. I managed to win by over three minutes so I was really happy. It would have been nice not to make any mistakes and have a huge win, but 3mins is still enough for me :D
See winsplits and routegadget for the Long.


The relay was the final competition for me. I ran first leg for my NZ club HBOC. There was a very elaborate forking system and butterfly loops on first leg which made it a pretty cool course! I had a huge forking on the first control and then ran really fast to catch the leaders again, but it was too fast I guess and I lost 1min 30 on the 3rd control. I managed to pass everyone (except Karl Dravitski who had a commanding lead) through the butterfly loops. I then pushed ahead of the main pack to chase Karl, but I had no idea he was ahead, I actually thought I was leading. I went really well for the rest of the course until the 2nd to last control where I lost over a minute. I had a lot of trouble understanding the map in the control circle. I was just standing still trying to make sense of anything I could. I got caught by the pack and was passed by 4 runners. I managed to find the control and then pass 3 of these runners and then had a really exciting finish sprint with my little brother Duncan for a 3rd equal finish on first leg. Unfortunately my little sister Kate didn't have a good run either and our last leg runner mispunched so we were disqualified. The winning team was PAPO, with superman Carsten Jørgensen on the last leg it was hard for any teams to match the pace!

So overall, I was very happy with my results from the NZ Champs, but there's a lot of work to be done!! I've already been out for 2 night trainings in Woodhill forest after coming back up to Auckland, and I can feel my navigation improving every time! This is a crazy butterfly loop training set by NZ junior Matt Ogden. You can see I'm starting to make less mistakes than usual :)
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