JWOC Middle Final – A Tough Event on a Tough Map

The middle final was held on an even more brutal section of Hungarian Labyrinth.  Looking at the map it seems to be green with occasional yellow bits in between.  There was almost no pine plantation on the map for the juniors.  No runner achieved the predicted winnings times of 28 minutes and every girl has pink somewhere on their splits.  As usual the C final and B final went off first and had finished by the time the A final kicked off. With Aston due off in the final few runners we had a long day of spectating although again the jwoc tour races were run early on an adjacent and less brutal area but we had some bits of the Juniper so we could experience it.

Now if you look at the results you will note 6 disqualified runners including two of the favourites.  This was rather unfortunate.  The A course had a spectator control on a small (Shannon) knoll just next to the big score board.  The taped run through started about 2 metres after the control.  The run through was right next to the finish chute and then curved away from the finish area 20m from the finish line.  The finish chute was pretty narrow and on the map the dotted line merged in with lots of other detail.

Someone somewhere is regretting not putting out two more meters of tape (they may have used it all up on the sprint) because a few competitors punched the spectator control and ran through the 2 meter gap in the tape and behind the scoreboard back into the forest.   Some realised their mistake and popped back around.  Some heard spectators calling them and returned.  However, a few just ran off on their short last loop. They didn’t run through the taped run through and therefore were disqualified. Most were very upset because they had no idea.  It was a sad set of events because in the end it did impact the medal placings.  It was also unintentional.   No one anticipated that this could happen or would want to disqualify runners for it.  Once one person had done it, they couldn’t change the layout of the course but this was a sad outcome.

Meanwhile, back at the races, Alistair, Pat M and Joe all ran times in the low to mid 40 minutes in the B final for finishes between 38th and 43rd.  They were all pleased to get around the map.  The B final was 600m shorter than the A but longer than the C which is slightly less technical. Caroline and Zoe M ran 6th and 7th in the C Final and looked great on the run in. Angus finished his course with some of the fastest splits.

Asha said it was one of her least enjoyable runs of all time. She described scrambling around in the Juniper as something she will not be rushing back to do again and looks forward to more open areas for the relay tomorrow. In contrast Tara stormed around with the third fastest time in the B final and had a clean run in a very technical area that she was delighted with. Zoe D was also pleased to be only a few minutes back on 13th.  Patrick cruised around the B final and was in about third gear down the run through but in a respectable 12th place. He ran a pretty clean race but was saving something for the relay tomorrow.

Then the drama started in the A final.  The girls are always programmed to finish before the boys . The Finn Amy Nymanin was the first to break 30 minutes but then the appropriately named Sanna Fast ran well clear. The Hungarians went wild when Csilla Gardonyi came in with a “new best time” but Simona Abersol was last starter and very close at all the splits. She popped up at the spectator control and then the crowd drew breath as she also failed to come down the run through.  When she came down the run in after her short second loop there was an almost earie silence as everyone knew she would be disqualified.  Her splits look like she might have got silver but not going around the run through almost certainly saved her time. However she might have got a medal.  The Hungarians got a home gold medal and there would be an advantage in getting familiar with this kind of terrain as you learn when to run around and when to take on the green.

Aston was the third last starter but was called out as trailing at the first radio.  He was caught by the winner of the long, Kasper Fosser, about 1/3 of the way around.  The splits show they ran together for a chunk of the course but also show some mistakes together. Fosser was leading till that point.  Aston couldn’t quite hold him and they separated by the spectator with Aston coming home in 25th place about five minutes behind the leader.  Jesper Svensk from Sweden ran a clean race to win with two more Swedes rounding out a tri-fector so a very good day for Sweden.

We are all looking forward to the relays tomorrow.

David Jaffe
Your man on the map

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