JWOC Long Distance – David’s blog

With journo David Jaffe at JWOC…

The map was on a mostly flat area of wind formed central plane sand dunes – part forested but with some open areas with little humps and hillocks of sand. Some dark green and some slow run with less white forest than most maps.  Technical enough to catch people but good compass work and staying in touch was crucial. The flatness led to the longest JWOC courses of all time.  That meant 11k for the gals and 15k for the guys with winning times forecast of 52 minutes and 72 minutes.

Now for spectators the long makes a long day with 3 minutes staggers meaning an almost 6 hour start window. The weather varied from 26 degrees and humid in mid-afternoon to light breezes and spits of rain earlier in the day.  I think starting earlier would have made sense as even the tracks, which were sandy got cut up a bit. So run in the cool seemed like a plan.  A couple of the best Hungarians did start early but as always many of the top runners went out in the last two hour block. On arrival we saw Aston and Joe D spectating not running. Aston saving himself and his hip for tomorrows sprint while Joe D’s virus (of almost 2 months) made the long an impossibility.

It was a lovely open arena with good viewing of a spectator control and “arena passage” that was also the last control.  Most spectators sat atop a sand dune to see runners at roughly 80% round their course. Angus from SA started first and did a respectable mid 90’s time that had him 104th in his first WOC.  Alistair George  was a place ahead of him after a solid run. Caroline Pigerre had a steady run but debutant Zoe M ran really a steady first race and came 84th  to tie with much more experienced kiwi Katie Corey-Wright (you always have to say that fast). Pat Miller, running late, had the best run of the male newbies. He held it together well for 93rd  was pleased.

Asha looked steady at the spectator control and had plenty of Aussie support. She was only a few seconds down on Zoe M in 86th but reasonably happy with her run.  She has a cold all week so was very tired by the finish. She told us she needed an early night after that!  Zoe D looked strong and got to the spectator around the hour which put her on for a 75 minute time.  She did just over that for 69th place.

The two hot picks were Tara and Patrick. Patrick said he would go out fast.  He was about 20th fastest at the first radio and at the half way radio he was 27th and still going well.  He felt like that hard start left him a bit short and he had 2-3 minutes of “wobbles” before the spectator.  He looked good and really pushed the last loop. He came in 33rd at that time but got pushed down to 47th by the end…still his first top 50 and best by a long way in the long.  He reckoned he made about 3 minutes of mistakes. 25 minutes after the race he was white as a sheet and pretty crook for the next 3 hours .

Tara was having a flyer. She has been training in Europe for months and to give you an idea does about the same hours of training a week as Patrick.  She caught a Swede by the spectator (and we let them know it) and kept her at bay.  She kept the pressure on for 27th.  That’s the best finish by an Australian girl in the long for many years.  She told me she made 4-5 minutes of mistakes so who knows what she could achieve this week.  So a top 30 and top 50 wasn’t a bad days racing and the newcomers all did well.

The two winners Simona A of Switzerland and Fosse of Norway are both Orienteering royalty.  Simona nailed every control and is just running at a different level. Fosse looked amazing and was two minutes clear of Peron of France. I think they may clear out all week.

Tomorrow  is the sprint here in the heart of town.  Fingers crossed for Aston but Patrick may not run though he says that he is on the mend so fingers crossed. More tomorrow.

W20 Course

M20 Course

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