In just one month I am going to be flying off to Europe for another crack at O-Ringen and World University Orienteering Champs. It has been a very long wait as university prevented me from travelling abroad last year and it is hard to believe how quickly it is coming round! This will be my 4th time racing at O-Ringen (and first time running 21 Elite if I qualify) and 2nd time racing at WUOC. I am also going to be spending some time around Stockholm and Uppsala to do some training and some less serious racing at OK Hallens 3-days.
So the first stop for me will be O-Ringen in Skåne, Sweden and with over 15000 people entered already it is going to be as massive as usual. I have entered M21E but with restricted places there is no guarantee that I will get in. Hopefully my ranking from the limited world ranking races I have done in NZ is good enough.
I have raced O-Ringen in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and have loved all these occasion, accept for the non-stop rain in 2010. The terrain used in 2011 is still the best terrain I have ever run and I was pretty happy with 33rd overall and my 17th on the last day was probably a much better performance than any of my JWOC races.
Like 2012 this year’s O-Ringen also features 1 race on sand dune terrain, but it is this map sample below that I am drawling over the most!
After O-Ringen Rob, Marquita and I will be heading to Uppsala with Matt to check out the cool things he has been up to in his time in Sweden. In Uppsala I am especially looking forward to running on the famous Lunsen map. I will also be racing OK Hallens 3-Days which looks to be on some very nice terrain west of Stockholm.
The main reason for me going overseas is to represent New Zealand at the World University Champs in Olomouc, Czech Republic. I will be there with a team of 8 and I will be racing in all events including my first proper sprint relay which will be very exciting! I’m hoping we get to use SIAC cards with AIR+ functionality for super fast punching like in this relay! The team also includes Matt Ogden, Jourdan Harvey, Toby Scott, Renee Beveridge, Laura Robertson, Kate Morrison and Tessa Ramsden and is managed by Greta Knarston so I’m expecting this to be a lot of fun. We are also capable of some very good results with Matt, former JWOC champion, and Kate, WUOC 2012 top 10 finisher, both in Uppsala training hard and running for one of Sweden’s top clubs.
The terrain for WUOC will be quite typical of Central Europe with areas of dense forest mixed into very open forest with lots of tracks. I have been in similar terrain for JWOC in Poland and struggled with some aspects of this terrain and found myself getting caught out by the denser forest very often. I feel that my orienteering has matured a lot since then but I haven’t spent as much time recently with a map in my hands as I’d like to.
Overall I’m very excited to be spending 4 weeks overseas getting some great experience orienteering in different terrain than what I get here in Auckland. I will be back with some more specifics about my international competitions but for now I will be focussing on my last month of training, specifically staying injury free – which has been a massive challenge this year.