On the 2nd of January we ran the World Cup sprint race qualification at Cataract Gorge, and on the 3rd the sprint final at the University of Tasmania both here in Launceston. The NZ team overall had disappointing results in the men with our top sprinter, Tim Robertson, missing out on qualifying and Nick Hann miss-punching. Cam Tier, Shamus Morrison, Thomas Reynolds and myself all ran well enough to make the final. All our girls made a sprint final with Lizzie Ingham our top qualifier.
I thought this was a fun race on some different terrain. It wasn’t super hard which was expected given that it was just the qualification. You can see the map below and thankfully we had a map flip because this version is extremely cluttered. My route isn’t on there because it’s too messy to draw on one page.
Yesterday we ran the sprint final on the flat campus map of the University of Tasmania. I was confident with this type of sprint orienteering, as were most of the New Zealanders, but we couldn’t match the speed of the top Europeans. Lizzie is on good running form but unfortunately could put the navigation together on the day and finished in 20th place, making Laura Robertson the top girl in 18th place. The top men were Cameron Tier in 28th and myself in 30th after mostly clean races.
My race started a bit messy with me misreading the fences behind the first control and I lost about 5 seconds changing my plan once I saw them. I was planning ahead really well from the start and except for exiting 1, was perfectly smooth through the first half of the course. I was also very comfortable checking my numbers in advance and descriptions whenever I had doubt about the control placement like on 8 and 10. My running began to fall apart at about 10 and my navigation was noticeably less throughout form this stage and I didn’t plan 11 well enough to take the shortest route. I made another small error on the way to 13 when I was planning the control circle and also hadn’t planned ahead upon leaving the control and lost another 5-8 seconds. Because of the hesitating I had recovered a fraction and broke into my planning ahead rhythm again.
14 onwards was also less technical and so planning ahead was easier. I made my biggest mistake however very close to the finish on number 20 along with about half the field. The control placement was on the right hand side of the wall but it seemed natural to most people that it would be on the left hand side and so I had to run a little extra there. I was also running noticeably slower towards the end of the course and it was clear I hadn’t done enough speed work to hold the pace I wanted too.
I thought this was a really fun sprint but there were opportunities on this map to make the course harder which were not taken by the race planner.