Last weeks orienteering effort had looked to be an interesting run, with a good bit more on trail than usual. There was a mid-week break in the hot weather and although rain was threatening, it never eventuated. Having a rough idea of the location we put the trail shoes on expecting to see a bit of work in the dirt and even more mud out there after the heavy rains earlier. There was a fair bit more of the course on the road than we expected, but we were still glad to have the trail shoes on anyway.
After a quick look over the course, we both went with my suggestion to hit the trails first. It was more of a set loop and would then leave us with the roads at the end and plenty of options for altering our plan on the run depending on time. Started off at a good pace, picking up the first couple of points quickly. Nick was ahead of me, letting me track down a couple of controls a bit quicker than I otherwise would have following the glimpses of his red shirt through the bush. One of the speedy men’s runners flew through at this point too. Due to a couple of wrong turns and misreads of the map on Nicks part, I saw him a couple more times while on the trails. He is fitter, stronger and faster than me, so I feel pretty good when I can show up ahead of him through some better map reading. It wasn’t pristine bush running as we ran behind a power station, and some of the control locations had descriptions I hadn’t come across before, such as “car wreck”! Speedy guy, having picked up several extra trail controls I had skipped, went past again as I took the below photo. I was happy with my progress along the trails, my hip was handling it all well and the terrain was a lot less hilly than expected.
Then it was back on the roads to work out what I could fit in the time remaining. I followed my initial plan, although one ten point control I should have left out – too much up and down to be worth it – speedy guy passed by again here. Then with 15 minutes still to go, I thought I could cover more than I had originally planned. This was a tough one, the last few times I tried this it was a disaster, so I was tempted to stay with my original line up, but this had the potential to add a good few points and I thought I could still make it back in time. No time for thinking too much, so off I went, nabbed my extra thirty pointer (there goes speedy guy again!) and then made the haul back towards the start hoping to pick up another seventy points on the way. Another thirty points and I was getting low on time, dammit, I wasn’t going to make it to those other 40 points and I was starting to get tired. Push, push, push, less than one minute to go, push a bit harder and reached the finish with 15 seconds to spare!
Post run, I reassessed my route choice. Yes, I could have made some better decisions, but in the end it would have only seen me ten or maybe twenty points better off. At this point, I’m ok with that. As I said to my uncle before the run, this is my first season orienteering on my own and it’s all a learning game at the moment. And speedy guy? He came first in his age category – was interesting to see another person on the course so many times, it doesn’t often happen that way.
- Distance: 5.6km
- Elevation: 76m
- Time: 44:43