Wild Scotland

8 races in 9 days have given me a great taste of orienteering in Scotland and my first taste of World Champs. I was expected to be finished with WOC after the Sprint relay allowing me to solely compete in the Scottish 6-Days. But with Tim dislocating his arm in the WOC middle distance I was bought back into the team to run the relay with one days’ notice.

The mixed sprint relay team, 12th place

The mixed sprint relay team, 12th place

Here is a quick look at that race which I’m very happy with because I was technically clean and my strategy was also effective. The pace off the start line was insane but I relaxed and set my own pace. This put me almost last for the first few controls. The second set of split controls started from 5 and the 6-way split threw runners in all directions. I stayed focused on my own navigation here and was clean. A route choice possibility after these split controls was an opportunity to rearrange the bunches that were forming but most of my bunch spent too much time running in the rough open and those who used the tracks better made the jump up to the front bunch. I remained a contributing member of the second bunch and came into the 3rd set of splits pushing off the front. I was confident through these controls on my own and found  myself joining into the first bunch when things came back together. It was just a mad chase from here on and my position didn’t change at all. I finished in 12th, the second best place for a New Zealander on first leg. Shamus and Matt both had stable performances and we finished 16th overall, the 3rd best result for New Zealand ever, but in tougher competition than the 2 higher finishes.

You can investigate the GPS tracking for leg one here: www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/2015wocRelayM1/?v=m3

Suffering close to the finish during the relay

Suffering close to the finish during the relay

I raced on this Darnaway map again the following day as part of the Scottish 6-Days, and had a good run again to finish in 4th place in the Men’s Elite field.

The final 2 days of the Scottish 6-Days were held at Glen Affric and were both relatively long races. I finished the latter in 118 minutes, which very few errors. Most of the terrain was very rough and hard to maintain a high speed on because I was falling and stumbling so often. The terrain on these to last days can only be described as incredibly wild. To move through those forests and heather-cover moorland at speed you need to be an absolute beast. It seems my training needs to get tougher and take me into nasty forest more often.

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