No Peaks, Just Orienteering Nationals

Orienteering Nationals
Orienteering Nationals

So I decided after a few years out of the sport and having raced Sprint the Bay earlier in the year to head to the National Orienteering championship.  Conveniently they were taking place in Christchurch so… and why not!

Having not really raced in terrain for a while (trail running is so different to tussocks and the like) I thought I might be best suited to the Sprint and Middle Distance races taking place in the Ferrymead Heritage Park and Tūhaitara (nr. Woodend Beach).

Woodend South

So the Sprint went well for the first control, totally messed up the second by about 1 minute and got caught by my 1 minute man!  Raced around the rest getting so ok splits in a really complicated area, having to negotiate around railway tracks, roads, water towers, manicured gardens, disused planes, train carriages; the works.  I ended up with an average result but not too bad seeing as I’m not the sprint orienteer I was back when.

On with the Middle distance.  It was HOT (again).  This was a World Ranking event so naturally the adrenaline was pumping as everyone set off in WR reverse order.  I got too into the map too early on and was working out the first 5 controls without watching carefully where I was going to number 1, which cost me about a minute in the end, not paying attention to the path network in the sand dunes.  Made some good splits after that but then totally flapped around in areas where my compass work was off.  Lost probably about 8-9 minutes overall with mistakes and ripped my feet apart in the dunes (


sand+shoes+feet=pain).  Not great and my feet were blistered to mush by the end.

Next day I took the trip to Dalethorpe++ (the two plusses signifying that the area has been expanded twice since the first map).  This is basically the forest out the back of Bell Hill (for the Bell Hill Challenge I raced last year).  Ran to the start with Carsten (who planned the middle event) and he was pretty chuffed at the event, one of the best in years.  Started off ok, but very slow; having strapped my feet up with sooooo much gaffer tape to stop them rubbing after the sand the previous day.  It was not to be my day.  After about 6km into the 15km course I quit.  My feet were in agony and hobbled the way back to the start arena to let me teammates know I wouldn’t be able to take part in the relay on Castle Hill.  Gutted.

Still, doesn’t take away the fact that it was an awesome weekend of orienteering, just need to fix my body!

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