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Thursday, 30 April 2009


Great to see this development...look forward to being inspired by the adventures of our top juniors in the Dolomites!!

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Inter-region School Champs

Great to see the Wellington team selected for the inter-regional schools champs...see below. I am hugely looking forwarding to seeing this initiative play-out at Queens Birthday Weekend. It seems like a great way to integrate secondary schools orienteering with the Super Series final. Kudos to those making it happen....and best of skills for those involved!

The following students have been named in the Regional Team to Represent The Lower North island at the upcoming INTER-REGION SCHOOL CHALLENGE for orienteering:

Senior Girls: Laura Robertson (OHV), Erin Paterson (Taranaki), Georgia Ramsden (RK)
Senior Boys: Kyle Higham (RK), Liam Paterson (Taranaki), Tim Robertson (OHV)
Intermediate Girls: Jula McMillan (OHV), Lauren Turner (WOC), Hannah Sampson (WOC)
Intermediate Boys: Nick Hann (WOC), Ed Lawley (Taranaki), Jonathan Wood (WOC)
Junior Girls: Sammy Sabire (OHV), Sophie Snadden (WOC), Sharne Ralston (OHV)
Junior Boys: Shamus Morrison (WOC), Cameron Grant (WOC), Simon Teesdale-Spittle (WOC)

The event takes place at Queen’s Birthday Weekend and is run alongside the CDOA. Seniors will compete at 18’s, Intermediates at 16’s and Juniors at 14’s.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Waitangi Vid

Watch Waitangi Orienteering Summer Carnival in Sports  |  View More Free Videos Online at

Geez, theres some beautiful people in this vid!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Map of the Day

Check out Ross's description of his surprisingly average ;-) run in DM Sprint 2009

Sprint Orienteering Tips

From former British Champion Nick Barrables

Chang Chang Chang

I watched this whole video imagining Darrens head on the main singer, hillarious.

Friday, 24 April 2009

World Games Team

I missed the announcement of this, a big congratulation to those selected, I'm sure it will be an amazing experience!

From Clem Larsen on Maptalk..."But for those who missed it, the NZ team that'll run down AUS and the rest is:

Darren Ashmore
Ross Morrison
Lizze Ingham
Tania Robinson

150-160 hours of TV coverage, 24-34 hours of semi-finals and finals in ALL sports sent out in global packages, satelite transmission uploaded to a global pool, and coverage by global print media. It's a pretty big event for orienteering and the IOF know it.

I will try and talk with a couple of these people in the next few weeks to suss out how they are feeling about the event and what they are doing to prepare.

I Love Ross's Blog

Finally we had the call '15 seconds' then only maybe 4 or 5 seconds later the gun went off. With one big 'BANG' I had 400 guys prematurely coming up my ass". Read it here.

Right or Wrong

Applying the subconscious morality of society to decision making in terrain.

In summing up, its the constitution, its mabo, its justice, its the law, its the vibe and no thats it, its the vibe"

Getting Granny Going

Interested in peoples thoughts about the benefit of granny gear when running and a brilliant new motivational technique.

I was running up a hill in Wellington the other day, a great one to the big hill from Korokoro stream up to Belmont Trig, and I was contemplating the benefit of granny gear when running. We all know that granny gear really refers to the type of gear a granny could push on a MTB but is there a training benefit in running with quick light strides up steep hills?

It certainly feels like it to me! (its the feel, its the vibe! but what do you reckon?)

And the motivational technique, sometimes when I get to a really steep hill I let lose with a mighty shout "go granny go", and then I visualise my two grannys smashing it up the hill with light quick strides, barely a trace of effort showing on their wrinkled faces...I want you guys to be thinking of your grannys to...

Waking up to Neil

Or should it be entitled "waking up to someone flashing in your face"

Or could it be a metaphor for appreciating the talent of another stalwart of New Zealand elite orienteering about to head offshore. Two fourths a great return from Kerrisons 10th Nationals as an elite. Neil and Karyn, offshore 12th May. Go forth brave people into the world.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Thierry Georgiou Tio Mila

check out this write-up from Thierry Georgiou for an insight into the pyschology of a genius.

"The good point is that Tiomila is organized every year, the bad point is that regrets last forever…"

Monday, 20 April 2009

An Exercise in Visualisation

Clem Larson

Picture yourself, your legs are 2/3rds of your body. You have the confidence of a former world champion, up against the occupants of an isolated country most often compared with hobbits. Your knees raise at a carefully practised angles, and create in motion the flailing piston motions of an early steam contraption. At times it looks like you are about to loose your feet, but they miraculously merge back into perfect rhythmical formation having flicked above those memories of formative days running through scandinavian brambles.

The anguish on your face is more to do with the smallest limitations of your own performances, rather than any worry that someone might have beaten you. Your arms swing uselessly, like tyrannosaurus rex without a chest, but they always have. It is the continuous rhythmically hurdy gurdy swinging flicking and thrusting of your legs that powers you to yet another national title.

Susan Boyle

If you haven't seen this story, check out the Youtube videos on the side bar. It took me a while to check it out, but its really quite moving.

Would you have been one of the people that sniggered at Susan Boyle when she walked out onto stage? And was your cynicism at the world exposed by Susan Boyle's performance like the judges? Did her performance provide you an insight into the crass prejudice and consumerism of our lives?

I found it a good lesson about humility, quiet confidence and respect for others.... values I sometimes find missing in sporting communities, not to mention myself.

Nationals and Hidden Qualities

I have finally had some time to sit down and have a good look at the Nationals results and check out a few battles on route gadget. I can't emphasise how important it is for people to support this initiative and draw their routes in. Its not about seeing where the winner went, its about creating a tool to analyse your own performance against your peers. By drawing in your route you are helping your peers who will then push you to your new level of performance. Any theories on why there is a slower uptake with the women? (shy, better things to do, less interest in computers?)

I have written quite a lot on this blog about the need to not settle for mediocrity, about the need for those of us who are "stuck" in a pattern in our sporting careers to get out of a hole by changing our habits, our goals our motivations, our technique, whatever! It is those people amongst us seeking actively and hard to improve themselves that lead and motivate the rest of us. They may not be the people that produce the world class results down the line (though they may be) but they contribute enormously to the competitiveness and motivation of the field, including the established stars

Some people I have noticed in this regard in the last six months are Rita Holmes (an absolute star at Oceania and coming through well at nationals), Matt Scott (consistently threatening), Greg Flynn (losing his bad habits?) and Nick Harris (closing the gap on the pack). I'm going to try and catch up with these people in the next while and find out their thoughts on their improved performances, so watch out for that!

In the meantime some brief observations from Nationals...Woodhill, "straight is great!!!" We all know straight is the best option on Woodhill, its just a matter of getting fit enough and strong enough in terrain to make this decision and run hard. What can you/can't you read? How good is your compass technique? How quickly do you relocate? (on this last point comparing Darren to anyone else is fascinating...the flash seems to be pretty good at minimising the volume of his mistakes). The middle distance. I can watch Brent sit down and cry after number 15 time and time again. But something more educational is watching Neil versus Carsten...the master of contours versus the crazy fast guy. Optimize those routes!

Cool, any good/amusing photos from Nationals send them through!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Ross and JK sprint

Great to see the dudes over at JK and mixing it up. Ross winning the sprint! Check out his blog and direct link to his sprint map here

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Rankings Updated

The rankings have been updated following Nationals - thanks to Gregorious Flynn.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Lizzie and Karl Draw First Blood!

Great to see our new champion woman and one of our best male orienteers of the last decade making Nationals titles hard to come by in the Sprint Race. But if they hadn't been there, oh my!! Junior junior Jourdan Harvey and 1500 metre runner / Auckland summer series orienteer Lizzie Orchard would have walked away with the titles!!

Quick results up on the website, winsplits and routechoice!

Go hard!

Go hard you beautys! May the best women and men come away victorious!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Yeehaa 3hr storm rogaine!

Awesome! I have organised quite a few afterwork rogaines now, but until last night never competed in one. As I suspected they are great fun. Casper Harmer and I showed at Naenae in the rain with 50 or so others and smashed it out in a cruisy sort of way for three hours and (damn it) 20 seconds. The map is below.

We left ourselves about a minute to plan and decided just to get up the hill as quickly as possible with plenty of options available for the end. We headed off to 27 head to head with Bill Edwards, taking the RH route near the end to cross the ditch on bridge and watch Bill who took the LH route swim across it. Unfortunately the ditch was about 1m wide. 23,24 running past peoples backyards, then over a slippery pipe to 3B. The hill began on the way to 49, hunting around in the dark for a sign telling us how many gallons the reservoir contained. I had been undecided about 72 but it seemed worth it and was. 36 was confusing with the tracks. 38,43,47, 44, 81 up on the top now wind is pumping rain. Downhill to 39, then 30 its misty I overrun the junction without seeing it. Casper takes the junction without seeing it. I backtrack find Casper than the cp is right there. Before we know it we are at the turn-off to 42. Aye? Back up the road peering into the gorse on our right that must be the track to 35? Then the gorse on our left that must be the track to 46? We get 46, then after searching in the wrong place 35, then continue down the "single track" ploughing our way through gorse in the pouring rain. Finally down to 42, then 57, native bush from here 33, down-up 50, 71 scrambling up a creek. Catch Greg Thurlow and walk right past the turn off to 45. duh! 34 up a tight little stream and out to the roads, pounding. 28, 2B, 26, 25, 2A, Casper is panting like a puppy, scuffing around in front gardens looking for water. 21, 55, then a mean hill to the model car race track at 63, 48, then back down. My gimpy foot which has been reducing me to a limp run for the last 2 1/2 hours now passes its pain to my knee. 31 in the graffitti covered train timetable. Aye? Trying to work out what time the midday train on Sunday gets to Wintang or some place I've never heard of. Running out of time, caning it down the road to 32. I loose track of the roads and hit the underpass. Two local girls confirm that Naenae Intermediate School is indeeed behind us. 32, 14 and a sprint to the finish....come on Casper!! Hahaha. Great fun for a rainy Wednesday night!.

And while I'm at it, might as well chuck this one up to. Last weeks Taylors Mistake Rogaine map, held in picture perfect conditions on the Port Hills above Christchurch.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Brents training

But if you want some quality maps to suss out and drool over check out Bryns maps from portugal!

South Islanders go Training

What do a group of South Islanders do when they've got nothing to do one weekend in Autumn? We took a break from assignments, study and work to prepare for Nationals with a serious weekend of o training. Thanks to the organization of Greta, 8 of us descended on Naseby late Friday night. Saturday started with a line course and then some control picking through some controls we found difficult back at Oceanias, I found the line course a great way to get back into some technical navigation but was left feeling a little slow from having to read the map all the time so.... After lunch we headed out around a sprint course. I think a few of us planned to really race this but I know I abandoned all the concentration I had from the morning exercise and quickly lost track of scale. We made the most of the day in Naseby by heading out for some extreme night orienteering in the forest. A good exercise in distance judgement and simplification. And surprisingly the fastest I had managed to run all day!

Sunday was a quick map memory exercise in the morning. It seemed to be more useful than everyone was expecting. Really forcing you to simplify the map and have a good plan. Greta and I followed this up with some verbalisation. A great way to expose just how often my plan goes something like "I'll run this way and then, well, hopefully I'll see the control...." Not that useful in Naseby, or anywhere else.

All in all a great weekend in orienteering paradise! (by Georgia Whitla)

Aleister Crowley

Hows that two inspirational quotes in a row from controversial gay figures of the late 19th century. Purely co-incidental, but I have read both of them before and their names caught my eye. Struggling with PC (not Edwards) thought and the limitations of conventialism? Check this guy out, the "wickedest man in the world". Flourish! Let all aspects of your personality shine! Harness the hidden forces within for orienteering performance (tongue in cheek).

Flash vs the Botanist.

Two of our orienteering superheros with a real chance to perform at Nationals.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Thoughts on Topo Navigation

I was supposed to be out last night with a few of the top navigators from around the Wellington area practising some night navigation out the back of Eastbourne. I was really looking forward to getting out there at night time for the first time in a while. Unfortunately when I was putting checkpoints out on Thursday I managed to stand on the remains of an old stump and get a splinter square up through the ball of my foot. It broke off in there, but after I managed to wiggle my shoe off - which was now joined to my foot - Penny managed to pull it out while I gritted my teeth like I was about to get my leg amputated. It was first scene "Dances with Wolves" stuff. Ugly.

The map from 2008's Boohai Rogaine - Imagine it at night!!

But anyway, since I couldn't go out and practice I thought I would try and unpack how I navigate on topo maps at night, and how this differs from day time navigation. Some brief thoughts:

- At night the main sense you use for navigation - sight - is reduced. You have to focus on the navigational aids available in your circle of light. Those are: Map, Compass and Watch

- At night because it is hard to "read" the ground, it is far far harder to relocate. Hence it is worth navigating very "carefully". Note you are navigating carefully, not running slowly. As I have previously discussed on this blog, going slower than you usually would isn't the same as being careful!

- You are keeping the map orientated and using the compass often. A compass with an automatic declination adjustment is IDEAL to save you guesstimating the 20% when you are tired and in a hurry (only on maps not set to magnetic north). The guesstimation errors can mount up.

- So you have a plan, you are on your compass. Often in the absence of other features your "where am I on the ground" navigation is going to be limited to "after the fact" rather than "looking ahead". For example instead of in the day time knowing that you are at the bottom of a steep three contour slope, at night time you will only be certain of your location after you have climbed this slope. You need to consciously adjust your thought processes from..."is that..." to "was that...".

- Time. In the absence of wider visibility "time" stands out as a way to measure distance. As you travel around a course you should be able to get a feel for how long in different types of terrain it takes you to cover certain amounts of distance. Try it out alongside your usual navigation techniques to see how accurate you can become - sometime you might need it.

- Awareness of your own weaknesses and abilities. What challenges are there in finding a particular checkpoint? Can I expect to overcome them? What mistakes am I prone to making? Personally, with an orienteering background, I am inclined to slip out of scale. To fail to discard irrelavancies in the terrain that are not of the size to be represented on the map. Be aware of your weaknesses and work within your abilities!

The last and more practical solution comes from Adventure Racer Liam Drew "have a big ..... headlamp"! I have done a few races with Chris Forne, and also previously with Bruce McLeod. These guys are without a doubt two of the best navigators around, but they also seemed to have these massive lights. The ability to turn on the sun for a few seconds of so when you most need it cannot be underrated.

Saturday, 4 April 2009


Tapering? Not quite sure what you are up to? Check out this link from Endurance Coach. Brendan Downey outlines the basics and provides a generic taper. Think about how the principles apply to your plan.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Map of the Day

If you go to Bryn's blog you not only get to hear about his terribly miserable life and see photos of his hot Estonian fiancee in the kitchen ;-) But you also get to check out orienteering in Sherwood Forest during which Bryn dressed up in green with a silly hat and fled on horseback with Maid Marian (Piret) from the Sheriff of Nottinghams rogue band of vicious horsemen.

Whose gonna take me home

Was just admiring this little beauty before taking it in to get it engraved for Penny....

It is of course the W21E elite or "Senior A" womens trophy for the classic distance. There is a lot of history on there. The first person to receive the trophy being Robyn Davies in 1973. Robyn is of course still very active today in the PAPO club. The first person to really make it their own though was Trish Aspin who won it four years in a row from 1979 - 1982 and picked up a valedictory title in 1986. Katie Fettes and Carey Martin then battled it out between 1987 - 1992, winning 4 and 2 titles respectively. No doubt they would have continued to gather in the championships if it had not been for that most irrepressible of the womans elite Tania Robinson who came in swinging with 8 straight titles from 1993 into the latest century.

The only elites of the modern era to have gathered titles are Penny Kane, with three titles, while Marquita Gelderman and Rachel Smith have one each. None of these are racing the elite grade this year, so its going to either be someone new or Tania again that grabs the magic goblet. And with Tania rumoured to be charging for a place at the World Games in Taiwan who would bet against her? That said oceania champion Lizzie Ingham and the talented Amber Morrison amongst a myriad of others will be staking their claims!

The leaderboard
Tania Robinson: 11
Trish Aspin: 5
Katie Fettes: 4
Penny Kane: 3

(an old timer may be able to help me out with this one: Are A Salisbury (1983-84) and A Stewart (1985) the same person?)

Vary your training

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Reading like Ross

By Popular demand Ross has broken down his run at the Spring Cup for us, so we can attempt to see just what the Rocketman needs to navigate off - the map is on his blog

1. This was a tricky control, there was not much at all to go on at all. I ran on compass with th knolls on my right then tried to read the vegetation, but it wasn't very distinct. I got sucked a bit left to the light green, then figured what I must've done when I didn't see the control. Lost about 1min.

2. This control was quite similar to the first, just compass and trying to read the vegetation. I kept the darker green on my left until I passed the lighter green on my right. I was waiting for the white patch going in before the control, but there was on a little bit earlier which I think was bigger than the maps shows, I got sucked in here to the darker green. There was actually some small hills in here which stalled me a bit, but then I felt that I hadn't run hard enough so I pushed on to the control. lost 30 seconds.

3. This was the first route choice control. I chose to the right at the beginning to avoid the green in the middle. It's fast to run straight, but I didn't want to risk missing the small track and get slowed down in the green. Also left looked ok at first, but I didn't want to dick around with the green and that small valley with the creek in it. Then I cut through the open area which was faster than it looks, and went into the forest just above the small valley and marsh then aimed a little to the left of the control so i could hit the line of hills and run straight into the control.

4. This was just a matter of going straight and avoiding as much green as possible. I misread the control circle and lost 15 seconds, I thought the form lines there were the valley that i just had to run down. Whoops.

5. This was pretty much straight and reading the vegetation.

6. This control I went as straight as possible using the tracks as much as I could. I planned to run all the way on the tracks and hit the control from the left. But just before the big track I could see the dark green wasn't so bad so I went a bit straighter, but I lost a little time just before the control because my attack point (the little spur with the form lines) was a bit vague. Lost 15 seconds.

7. Straight up.

8. I wasn't thinking much at all here, I was just trying to keep up with Jamie Stevenson and Scott Fraser who had caught me up. They were running damned fast.

9. I lasted to the track junction with Jamie and Scott, then had to slow right down so I wouldn't puke and go into a coma. I ran up the track to just where it was flat again then cut in towards the control. It was easy to hit, you couldn't miss the stream.

10. This was an easy control. Just run straight and then along the tracks to avoid the green.

11. I lost a little time on this control. I headed along to the end of the clearing then to the big track junction. I ran into the terrain looking for the green blob in the open. I saw what I thought was the green blog but I wasn't so sure because there was a lot more open after the green. I slowed down a bit to read my map, but then i saw the control. It was in the open though, there wasn't so many trees as I expected. Lost 20 seconds.

12. This control was a matter of going straight, but I aimed a little to the right because there was more detail to guide me into the control. If I had gone straight on there was a chance I could've drifted to the left and easily missed the control.

13. Here I headed straight to the clearing so I could run around the green and down to the control, then there is no way I would miss it. If i cut through the green it might be hard to tell if I was above or below the control.

14. Here I went straightish, but the green looked pretty bad so I ran a bit wobbly. It would have been much better to run up the open in the valley then along the track. Lost 30 seconds.

15. Here I aimed straight to the track junction. I slowed a bit when I hit the track because it was all windy when it was meant to be straight. I ran on the tracks and then around the green into the control. I hit the ditch straight on the end, but was slow into the control because it was quite hidden behind a tree and I couldn't see it. Lost 10 seconds.

16. This was the spectator control, so I already knew where it was.. I just ran straight on.

17. I had also seen runners doing this control. Just ran along the track but then I was a little confused when the vegetation and contours didn't seem to match at all. I was lucky thought to see the control. Didn't lose any time, but easily could have.

19. This was just along the sand dunes and knowing when to go up to the control. There was another track that wasn't on the map so we both went up a little early, but realised quickly. Lost 10 seconds.

20. On the way to the 19th I had planned to run this one to the left but Mats Haldin ran right. I went with him. I figured it would be faster together anyway. This was a mistake. A big group with the winner in it went past here and went left, they made a small mistake on the 20th and still beat us there. Lost 20 seconds.

21. Here I just ran on the main tracks. then up the valley looking for the control. I ran a little past it before I saw it. Lost 5 seconds.

22. Here I ran straight through the clearing, but I misread the control circle, I thought the depression was over on a spur, but it was in the end of a re-entrant. Lost 20 seconds.

23. Here I just ran straight along to the track junction and into the control.

24. This was like the vague controls in the beginning of the course. I ran straight as I could and tried to make sense of the vague vegetation. I was looking for the yellow patch before the control, but I didn't see it. I saw a patch of open that wasn't on the map over to my left and headed towards that, but then I heard Mats Haldin behind me had seen the control. So I raced back over. Lost 30 seconds

25. This one was just straight. And I had Mats Haldin infront of me so I could just run fast to catch up.

Finish. Just run!