This blog is in recess. New contributions will still appear from time to time and new contributors are welcome. Check out and the facebook o scene for your regular online orienteering fix.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Accomodation Booked for Wellington Champs

Low budget accomodation has beeen booked for the Wellington Champs at the Tararua Country Retreat. The Retreat is very close to Eketahuna, and handy to the other maps, as well as local attractions like Mt Bruce Wildlife park and the Eketahuna Commercial hotel.

There are numerous bunkrooms, of various sizes and camping is also good. The price is $20 per night in the accomodation, $10 per night camping. Contact me (Jamie) to book, or use the comments section on this blog.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

NZ JWOC Team 2013

What a team - See them in action at the Super Series!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Dreams of Italy

I am sure there are many people that read this blog that harbour dreams of attending WOC 2014 Italy. The new WOC rules leave NZ with a much greater focus on relays and sprints and increased responsibility on those that run middle and long to claw us back up the rankings. Italy is an amazing place to visit and the terrain is phenomenal.

Making things happen

Take the opportunities as they pass for sure, jump at them,  but also make things happen for yourself and others around you. I love the AOTC (Auckland Orienteering Training Cult), what it stands for and what it achieves. Keen athletes pinning it through the forest.

Friday, 23 August 2013

A Great Blog for MTBO

Rob Garden put me on to this great blog for MTBO. Emily Benham is one of the top exponents of this discipline in the world.

There are some good opportunities coming up in NZ MTBO. Firstly, Nationals in Nelson in November, on the steep Codgers Mountain Bike Park, then an attractive carnival in the Upper North Island in the New Year, and then (hold your breath) the Australian Championships in Alice Springs in June. Finally a decent excuse to go and see some red rocks and big skies.

I must confess a love/hate relationship with MTBO. Orienteering Grinch Greg Flynn is sometimes right with his "worst of both worlds" assessment, but given the right terrain it can be a great sport. There have been some great MTBO races in NZ. Wanaka, Rotorua, Riverhead and Hamner spring to mind... but often we struggle for the right terrain.

The sort of terrain we lack in NZ

Looking at Emily Benham's blog perhaps sprint MTBO, might be the answer, are there killer MTBO areas out there we are over looking because we have the wrong mindset? (like we missed such great foot orienteering challenges before the evolution of sprint distance?). How could they be used for events?

Is Sprint MTBO a goer in NZ?

Mountain Biker, Orienteer, Doctor

One blog I always enjoy reading is Tom Reynold's. Tom is one of our best young elites, National Classic Champion is 2012. Domiciled in Whangarei he does some interesting training missions in parts of the country that are new to most. There is an inner explorer in the majority of orienteers that like seeing photos of new places, and particularly maps.

Tom has always been an allrounder, his mountain biking achievements almost equal his orienteering ones, and several years ago now he was part of a youth adventure racing team. His current priority is training for the Coast to Coast race in February. He is proof, like Chris Forne and Brent Edwards before him, that you can compete at a high level in orienteering while maintaining a varied, healthy, outdoor lifestyle.

It will though be interesting to see over the next few years whether he chooses to have a serious crack at establishing himself as a world class orienteer. He has the legs and the brains, the open question is whether he has the hunger. One senses that maybe life might be too good already... a very postmodern problem for an athlete to face.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Interview with Tane Cambridge

Tane Cambridge where in the world are you?
Czech Republic, have just been to a wedding (Czech-Scottish couple who live in Christchurch) now making my way to Germany and then Italy for at Training camp at Jonathon Wyatt's village, near to where WOC is next year

Crazy! So how many countries have you visited in the last 2 months?
4 so far, Finland, Sweden, Colombia, Czech Republic (and 5 if you count Germany which I ran just over the boarder to the other day). 

Looking mean!

So looking forward to the Mountain Running Worlds, how good is your form?
I'm not really sure, I haven't had many races to base my form on in the last two months running wise. At the World Games I was definitely on the weaker side in terms of running speed at that level. I have had plenty of time to recover from then and training feels like its going ok at the moment, apart from a stomach bug which had me up half the night spewing last night. So I guess at this running training camp I will hopefully find out how my fitness compares to the others. That all said i dont think I have got any slower from when I left NZ two months ago, so hopefully that means I have got faster!

It must be quite different focusing completely on your running rather than navigation?
Yep for sure. When there is the maps to think about alot of your spare time is put towards looking over maps, speculating where the courses might go etc etc. Running you know where you are going so you can plan ahead well before the race, so I guess its less like studying for an exam than orienteering. It is refreshing to focus only on running but at the same time it kind of feels like you are missing something in your training.

Although I guess there is still a mental element  in the mountain running, do you think there are similarities/differences to orienteering?
When its a big race whether it be orienteering or running you do go through the race in your head beforehand the same way (like thinking about how you will feel at particular points in the race, what to focus on and when, etc) so in that way its similar. The main difference is that your more focused on the physical side of things when your running- thats what I find one of the best things about Orienteering is that your mind is fully focused on the navigation and you just kind of hope you are running fast enough to be competitive

Tane in Mountain Running mode

What are your expectations for the Mountain Running Worlds; terrain, vibe, experience, results?
Well this year its an up and down course, so 3 laps, 13.8km and 823m climb. Upper altitude is around 1700m, so I expect its going to be tough going. From what I can gather the footing will be basically swept compared to an orienteering course. 

Besides knowing about the terrain its pretty hard to know what to expect. I have never done a big running race overseas so I can just imagine its going to be a fairly fast start and a tough race. 

Results wise I'm also am going in with no expectations, obviously Id like to win but the reality is that I'm not quite fast enough to do that so I would like to complete the race knowing that I had given it my best effort and held nothing back. And what would this correspond to in material terms?... I would like to think somewhere around 30th place.

Thinking back to the orienteering you have had a big year. Highs and lows I'm sure. Are there any experiences that have stuck in your mind?
Yeah, its been a reasonably big season but I feel like I'm only just getting into it now, so its a bit of a shame that there is no more big orienteering races left in Europe this year for me. 
The highlight would have to be the elite sprint at Oringen this year, it was a big race, a big crowd, and I turned up and performed to a standard which I was happy with. Other races that come to mind is the World Cup chasing start in NZ and the WOC sprint qualification this year (the atmosphere, not the result).
Lowlight was definitely the WOC middle distance qualification. I don't know but I didnt feel great the morning of the race and just went into the race blind and I just had a complete blowout and ended up with the most embarrassing run of my career. You learn much more from your mistakes and I went back the next day with the others to expel the demons which I think I took a lot out of. For some reason I could actually see through the forest this time and it just goes to show how the mental aspects of orienteering really is the glue that holds everything together.

Where in the world was Tane running here?

How about moments in your race, that you either did really well, or wished you could hit that rewind button and do something slightly differently (if you have any maps you could refer me to for this question it would be great)

Well you shouldn't really have "moments" as moments generally indicate a mistake... but if you read my answer above it is of course is yes. There was so many mistakes made on my trip this year but one that comes to mind is the World Games middle distance control 26. Getting near the end of the course and getting tired I decided upon reaching the edge of the forest to go against my plan and cut the corner. I was slow through the forest and then came out further down the track than I expected, missed my attackpoint and lost around 1min45s. From then on I continued to drop time on the following controls making small mistakes as I was orienteering re-actively and trying to run harder to make up time...

Well congrats mate, thats a damn big European summer, and give it death at the mountain running!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Lizzie says thanks

Elite orienteers are not islands. Behind all are support networks, good clubs, people that care.
Great to see Lizzie Ingham, saying thanks to a few of her supporters. 

Snowline Lodge Confirmed for High Performance Camp

Mt Cheeseman Skifield's Snowline Lodge will be the location of the 2013 NZOF High Performance Camp. The accomodation has been booked. Arriving on the 8th of December (Sunday), Departing on the 13th December (Friday). It is anticipated most attendees will be coming from the Super Series final, the Rotoiti Classic, and it is recommended athletes arrange accomodation in St Arnaud on Saturday the 7th.

The Snowline lodge is located above 1500 metres and looks out over the majestic Castle Hill basin, a hotbed of orienteering terrain. The beech forest adjoining the skifield road was mooted as the Nationals Classic map for this year. While this did not proceed there are a growing network of Mountain Biking and Running tracks through the area.

The terrain for the camp is nothing short of spectacular.This is the South Island High Country at its grandest. The camp is also just over the hill from Arthurs Pass National Park and its famous Coast to Coast course.

Kura Tawhiti - finally an orienteering area

Flock Hill - a legendary challenge

The camp will also be one of the last uses of the forested Dalethorpe map, which is threatened with logging. Soft pine needles will make a pleasant change to the hard rock of the basin.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Solid run from Imogene Scott

Great to see Imogene Scott holding the hard charging juniors and gnarled veterans at bay over the weekend in the Auckland OY on Woodhill. Imogene  is one of the National Squad that flies under the radar  somewhat, but is edging ominously towards the top echelon. Matt Ogden dominated course 1, winning every single split in a terrorising performance.

Getting all the information you can.

A good orienteer gathers any information they can to aid them in their performance. Never under-estimate the advantage that can be obtained by keeping your eyes open and your ears pricked.

For a start here, is a link with information regarding the coming Wellington Champs. Sometimes (especially in Auckland) events are held on areas that have been used before. Old copies of the maps can give you an indication of likely terrain and route choice.

Aerial photos can also be revealing, especially for Sprint events. A personal example that springs to mind for me is last years World Cup trial. It was mentioned in the program that there was an underpass between two areas of map. I thought I better check this out, and noticed that the underpass actually contained tracks on two different levels that led to quite different places. During the race I used this knowledge to my advantage to gain crucial seconds on Tane Cambridge, allowing me to get closer enough to obtain a lovely smooth tow through the detailed terrain that followed. See the aerial photo below, we were entering the underpass from right to left.

It is worth looking at the aerial photos for the Wellington Champs sprints, both in Eketahuna and Rathkeale college.

Imagining the Mysteries of Eketahuna
When you get to World Championship level it is quite common for athletes to produce rough ocad maps from aerial photos and google streetview, and then to even run on them in Catching Features. I'm not suggesting that anyone should do this, but that is the lengths people will go to get the small advantages.

Another examples that springs to mind is what can be obtained from the start/finish area. The obvious ones: spectator control, finish chute, feel for terrain, but every now and then something more crucial pops up. At the Nationals in 2012 at Hawkes Bay, there was a crucial route choice in the elite courses that crossed the route to the event centre. Before the elite start the junior elite had a similar leg and many were observed with the fastest route choice quite easy to suss out and spot for observors. I missed this trick, and paid for it with a poor route choice when I executed this leg.

Does anyone else have any examples of information they have gathered (or missed) that proved influential in a race?

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Knock Out Sprint for Super Series

In a first for New Zealand, Malcolm Ingham has announced that the Wellington Sprint Champs will include a knock out event in the elite grades this year.

Whereas these two events will have the normal format we plan something rather different for the Sprint - especially for the elites. The Sprint will be on the Sunday of the long weekend and will have the following format: 

(1) M21E and W21E - in the morning a qualifying sprint at Ekatahuna, in the afternoon knock sprint semi-finals and final for the top runners from the morning at Rathkeale College. 

(2) All other grades - a double sprint times to be added - race 1 in the morning at Ekatahuna, race 2 in the afternoon at Rathkeale. 

What we envisage for the elites is taking, for both the men and the women, the top 12 or 16 finishers in the morning (depending on the number of entries) and dividing them into two semi-finals. These will be short (8-9 minute) mass start sprints and probably the first 2 in each semi-final plus the next say 2 or 4 fastest over both semis will proceed to the final, which will take the same format. Those in M and W21E who don't make the semi-finals will run a second normal sprint in the afternoon as for the other grades. 

Qualifying sprints with knock-out semis and finals have been held as part of the Nordic O Tour for several years and add a new dimension to sprint racing. It is usual that there is some butterfly looping so that knock-out races don't simply become straight running races. To our knowledge this will be the first time it has been tried in New Zealand.

Knock out events  are becoming a common feature of international orienteering, which it is important that our athletes get as much exposure to as possible. Check out some international action below

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

A Big Summer for New Zealand High Performance Orienteering

They say the "night before the night before" is crucial in gathering good sleep before a targeted race. Well in broader terms it is the summer before that is crucial to a European orienteering season. New Zealand's comparative advantage in World Orienteering is our beautiful summer months, ideal for training, while the competition on the other side of the world is shivering in darkness. With huge opportunities next year in World Champs and JWOC, not to mention a World Cup in Australia just around the corner - this summer we are going to make count.

"Somewhere in the World someone is training when you are not.
 When you race him, he will win"

Two new initiatives have recently been confirmed by the NZOF. The first a short, sharp and intensely competitive super-series, the second a High Performance Camp for both National Squad and Development Squad members. These join the already announced Junior Camp as a complete package of summer high performance activities.

2013 Super Series

The 2013 Super Series will be hotly contested at both elite and junior elite level over three closely spaced stages dovetailing with major events: Auckland Champs, Wellington Champs and Canterbury Champs. In an exciting new development for 2013 there will be a compulsory Super Series final on the technically devastating Rotoiti Maps on the 7th of December. This event will not only be classic distance it will also be a chasing start to determine the series champions.

The 2013 Super Series will be managed by Michael Croxford. For further and ongoing information, and to talk it up, visit the Super Series facebok page

2013 High Performance Camp

The 2013 High Performance Camp will immediately follow the Super Series final  (9th - 13th December) and will be held in the Canterbury High Country among the superb cluster of maps that has over time been created by the Peninsula and Plains Orienteering Club. The first joint National and Development Squad Camp for many years, this Camp will be a huge occasion for the High Performance Community.

The camp will be based at Mt Cheesemans snowline lodge. An inspirational setting for an important gathering as we work our way towards future success.

The Chief Organiser of the 2013 High Performance Camp is Development Squad Coach Sarah Gray. Watch this blog for further information. 

The camp aims to be inclusive of those dedicated to high performance orienteering in New Zealand, the community must be more than just the athletes! So if you are interested in coaching, you are a parent, you are interested in supporting your super series team, you have been a long term guru or fan or you have come late to the sport and want a chance to learn with the best, get in touch and we will see what we can do. Initial questions can come to Jamie Stewart 0226293621.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Star team picked for Schools Challenge

The NZOF have just released the team for the Secondary Schools Challenge to be held in Australia in September...and there is a fair whack of talent. Good skills to those involved.

Selection Announcement

New Zealand Secondary Schools Team

The New Zealand Secondary Schools Team to compete against Australia, as part of the Australian Orienteering Championships in Canberra between 27 September and 6 October 2013, is as follows:

Senior Boys
Thomas Eatson Taupo nui a tia College
Shamus Morrison Onslow College, Wellington
Tim Robertson Hutt International Boys' School, Wellington
Nick Smith Cashmere High School, Christchurch

Senior Girls
Kayla Fairburn St Cuthbert's College
Vida Fox Napier Girls High School
Brianna Massie Napier Girls High School
Alice Tilley Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland

Junior Boys
Stephen Harding Geraldine High School
Cameron de I’Isle Long Bay College, Auckland
Connor Cleary Rangiora High School
David Rawnsley Napier Boys High School

Junior Girls
Lara Molloy Wellington Girls' College
Steph Harding Wellington Girls' College
Danielle Goodall Thames High School
Georgia Creagh Napier Girls High School

Manager: Anna Robertson (Hutt Valley)
Coach: Derek Morrison (Hawkes Bay)

Tim Robertson - JWOC Medallist bound for School Champs

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Lord of the Forest - Off to Climb Mountains

So while Chris Forne was invalided out of his post world games dessert, the Eco Motion Adventure Race. Tane, the Lord of the Forest, Cambridge is ready to eat his delicious helping. In Tane's case it is the World Mountain Running Championships in Poland, these are to be held in Early September.

Thats not a bad effort: World Orienteering Champs, World Games in Orienteering and World Mountain Running Champs within a couple of months. I will attempt to catch up with Tane in the next week, to see how he is managing to get into the running frame of mind. Check out his blog.

Photo: Nic Gorman

Ross Brighouse 3rd in World Masters

Outstanding NZ Veteran Ross Brighouse gained a medal in the M65 grade of the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Italy over the weekend. Brighouse placed a close third in what is a very competitive event.

Brighouse was the outstanding New Zealand elite of the early 1980's, winning National titles in 1981 and 1982, as well as representing New Zealand at through successive World Champs from 1981-1985: Switzerland, Hungary and Australia. He has previously won a WMOC gold, achieving this at the 2002 edition in Australia, in the M55 grade.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fornicator - Out but not down

I caught up with Chris Forne today on google chat, he was holed up somewhere in Cali with a dubious internet connection that kept cutting out.

As Tane described in his last report Chris's effort in the relay left him with some shrapnel in his leg which saw him enjoying the delights of Cali's medical system rather than the closing ceremony of the World Games. Chris has now pulled out of the Eco-Motion Adventure Race in Brazil where he was due to compete with his World Champion Seagate team and will shortly be on a plane home.

Other than that though he was in good spirits and fired up to "put those juniors back in their place" at the upcoming regional championships, and to getting NZ back up the World rankings so we get more WOC spots...the mans enthusiasm remains unbrindled.
Chris takes lead at National Relay Champs 2013 - passing gimpy bald guy on the downhill. (photo credit Dick Dinsdale)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

World Games Team Update Day 3

World Games Cali, Colombia
Yesterday was the final day of the World Games and our final race day with the Mixed sprint relay. The terrain was much the same as the Middle distance and in fact half of the relay map overlapped the middle map. It largely encompassed an area of spiky bamboo forest with some open areas with long grass, and a physically sapping fast park bit at the end.

Chris headed off into the forest on the first leg and stuck with the main bunch. He appeared to had a pretty solid run, however coming through the spectator loop before the end he looked to have a bit of blood on him from the nasty spiky bamboo. This was enough for me (Tane) to change to long pants! Chris handed over to Rachael just behind Latvia. Rachael end up on the long gaffling and managed to visit what felt like every split control before hers. None the less she maintained control and brought us in again just behind Latvia. Rachael handed over to me and I had Edgas Bertuks just in front to help draw me along. I had a fairly solid run, I made a few hesitations here and there but unlike yesterday I made no mistakes where I lost over 5 seconds or so. I wasn’t quite quick enough to keep up with Edgas through the last bit and I suspect he was running fast to make up for the time he wasted on the first few controls! I handed over to Georgia and the race for 9th place with the team USA began! We had managed to collectively get about 2.5-3mins up on them over the duration of the race which we were hoping would be enough to keep Ali Crocker (with some outstanding results this World Games and year) at bay. Georgia ran well and did not make any mistakes up to the spectator leg. By Ross’s watch the lead was 1:40 which we were not sure but though it was just enough. Georgia was unsure about the state of the rough open and went down and around to avoid it but unfortunately Ali could now see her and was hunting her down. Georgia held her off right to the last control where she punched ahead and the sprint off to the finish began. They were neck and neck but in the end Ali just nudged Georgia out by 1/100th of a second. So all around a pretty well matched race within a race!

The US and us after our 1/100 of a second beating...

At the front end of the field there was mis-punches by Norway, Great Brittan and Czech Republic, Sweden didn’t have a full team as Tove was sick, but apparently mis-punched anyway, but Switzerland was in control after Matthias Kyburz with his two gold medals already took control of the race. They finished first to secure the Gold for Switzerland, some redemption from World Champs! Denmark came in to take silver and to complete an all red and white finish the Austrians took out the Bronze medal with a really good performance.

After the race Chris was complaining about a bamboo spike that either went in and out or was still stuck in his leg. When Chris starts complaining something is hurting its not a good sign and with an adventure race in Brazil to do next week he went back to the medical tent 3 times before they started to listen to him. He disappeared while we all went to the buses, which we all thought was typical Chris being slack. But turns out he never made it to the bus and was taken by Ambulance to Hospital. The doctors spent a few hours figuring out if there was anything there and whether they could do anything but eventually they decided to cut him open and operate. So while we were at the Closing Ceremony he was spending the evening in the Hospital 30min out of town. Eventually we got word he was ok but it wasn’t until 3am this morning that a solemn Chris he made it back to the hotel, with stitches, anti-biotics and a limp.

The Closing Ceremony fairly amazing consisting of the Colombian good old pass time of waiting. The place was crawling with Police and Helicopters circled above the entire time. Eventually we entered the stadium to 50,000 excited people. Minna of course was really getting the crowd into it which was highly amusing! A lot of Salsa dancing made up the rest of the Ceremony (Cali is famous for Salsa), and it was topped off with some pretty amazing fireworks.

Now Rachael, Georgia, myself and Kathryn Preston head of for a few days of sightseeing while a disappointed Chris has a few days wait and a doctors appointment on Tuesday and now its highly likely that he is heading home instead of racing in Brazil which is according to the advice given by the doctors.

(Written by Tane)

Monday, 5 August 2013

Dark Day for New Zealand Orienteering

The Kiwi team was outsprinted by Team USA overnight to finish last of the established nations at the World Games in Colombia, a disappointing end for a tough competition which featured a select group of the Worlds best orienteers. More hopefully to follow from the team.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

World Games Team Update 2

Today the World Games middle distance competition was held in Rio Pance East.
This is a park/reserve near Cali popular for swimming and walking, and
includes a number of outdoor restaurants. The majority of the park is
a kind of spiny bamboo jungle, containing a network of big and small
tracks, along with a few buildings and fenced off areas. This offered
a good selection of route choice, and a bit more navigational
difficulty, resulting in some more interesting orienteering than the
previous day.

First starts were the girls again, with Rachel and Georgia both having
steady runs, but unable to get the legs moving fast enough in the hot
and humid conditions. The many small tracks were a challenge as their
entrances were often indistinct and some disappeared.  Rachel lost
time on the early controls and towards 6 where the green stripe area
was very slow. Georgia slowed in the latter stages where the heat and
fast running caught up with her. Next were mens starts with Tane and
Chris both starting near the front of the field. As with the girls,
Chris and Tane both struggled with the heat, and were consequently
just not fast enough to make it further up the rankings, with Tane
also loosing another 1.45min through a mistake towards the end of the
course. Definitely one of the advantages of coming from European
summer for most competitors.

Both Chris and Tane are now inspired to up their running training,
although we will see how long that lasts :)

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the final day of competition with the mixed
sprint relay. This will be held at 10am local time in an area adjacent
to todays map so we can expect much of the same. Although there is
more climb and shorter distances. Chris will lead us off, followed by
Rachel, Tane and lastly Georgia. We'll join in with the World Games
closing ceremony tomorrow which will be a great way to finish.

(written mostly by Chris and a little bit by Rachel)

Forne amazes in World Games

I am hopeful that the team will send us another update today, but from a brief look at the results it looks like Chris Forne has had a great run in the Middle Distance overnight finishing 20th. For so many years now Chris has been coming out of the orienteering wopwops to be right up there with the best in the world. It should no longer surprise us that he sandwiches his name between the likes of Kramov and Nordberg on the results board, but what an achievement! Solid results from the rest of the team as well.

And to acknowledge the winners; Minna Kaupi and Matthis Kyburz proved once again they are two of the brightest stars in the spot beating home Alexandersson and Hubman respectively. While in a coup for the lesser orienteering powers Ukraine (courtesy of Volynska) and Lithuania (courtesy of Aleliunas) filled the bronze medal positions. What a year the Ukrainians are having.Смачного!

The Fornicator, where he belongs, among the best in the world.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

World Games Map and Results

Thanks Rachel and Chris for the write-up in the previous post. Not too far off some of those Europeans in a field which really is the elite of the elite. Good skills in the middle!

World Games Team update

The World Games 2013, Cali, Colombia

After forty hours travel, five airports and going back in time Georgia
Whitla and Rachel Smith arrived in Cali to meet Tane who had travelled
from Sweden.  We were given our first taste of waiting as we waited
for a bus to the accreditation centre. We had the first night in a
hostel until our official accommodation was available on Tuesday 30th.
This day was spent waiting. Waiting for the hotel (in the tallest
building in Cali) to allow us to check in and then waiting for our
room key. “How long will it be” we ask, and the reply of 5 minutes is
given with a slight smirk. Due to a slight error on the room list
spreadsheet, everyone was one row out so Rachel was allocated to a
room with a Lithuanian boy and Chris with a Norwegian girl. We gave up
and slept in one of the allocated rooms and sorted it out when Chris
joined us in the morning.

European, Asian and Oceania teams had an extra day allocated for jet
leg so by the 31st all teams had arrived and the day was spent
settling in, running up and down the river and acclimatising to the
heat and noise. The buses were now on schedule and waiting is now
restricted to waiting for the lift to our hotel room. Lunch and dinner
are served in the large catering tent that we take a bus to with
police escorts stopping traffic so we can pass through red lights.

There are plenty of other sports already competing so we took the
opportunity of a free afternoon to go watch some acrobatic gymnastics
which included an entertaining mens group balancing competition,
sparkly lycra and all! While we have also managed to meet a few fellow
kiwi's competing such as the Womens canoe polo, a powerlifter and
several of the Hong Kong rugby sevens team.

Thursday was model event day, so we were all bussed to the park
adjacent to the sprint map. The map was a very simple linear park
along a river with scattered trees and neighouring residential areas.
Unfortunately we could only run on the streets so route choice was
minimal and it was obvious it would be a running race. We tried out
some alternative route choices through river versus around and over
bridge, but in the end this was irrelevant as we never crossed the

Friday, Sprint day. Luckily we had early starts as it has been getting
hotter over the last few days. Georgia was first starter and was lucky
to avoid the confusion where the first 3 runners started 1 minute.
Unfortunately for Kathryn Preston of Australia she had to run through
2 start boxes and had no time to gather her breath before starting,
Georgia had a pretty clean run on the course, while Rachel lost time
in the final part of the course where she navigated by the unmapped
tracks, rather than other more correct features. The course started
with 3 short controls in the park followed by several longer legs in
the residential area. It was then back into the park briefly, some
more long legs in the residential area, before finishing with some
close controls in a fast parkland with small earthwalls/hills and
playground/exercise equipment.

The boys race was the same course except for three different controls
adding about an extra 300m.
Chris and Tane both had almost clean runs, with only 6-7s in total of
mistakes each. Both were running about the same speed, with Chris just
sneaking ahead over the final few controls. Tane is now eager to turn
the tables in tomorrows race, which we are all hoping will offer some
more challenging orienteering, and a bit less road running.

World Games live page

(Written mostly by Rachel, and a little bit by Chris)

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Interview with Matt Ogden

Matt, good to see you, whats new?

Hej! I have realised the soul destroying nature of fourth year engineering but other than that everything is going good!

So your year as a reigning world champ has finished (though it will always be there in the record books), how do you think you have handled the attention that has come with this?

It was a sad moment watching the Junior World Champs this year (apart from seeing Nick and Tim smash it) and being relieved of the 'world-champion' status, replaced with the less exciting 'former' status. I think I handled the attention quite well. In fact I really enjoyed the attention and sharing my training and experiences. Training can be quite a personal and inward process so the only chance to really share and talk about it on a large scale is when you get it right, so in that respect it was satisfying. The attention was also a constant reminder of Thursday 12th July 2012. The resurfacing of all those emotions is a quite special feeling.

In retrospect, what strengths, circumstances or values led to your success at JWOC, what put you up there in that top 1% fighting for the win?

I think the question answers itself. In the two JWOC's before my last I learnt how to fight. It is one thing to be good at orienteering, but to be able to fight during a race is a skill you acquire through experience. Its an ability I think Lizzie is quite good at too. But this ability to fight derives from confidence; if you are confident in your physical, technical and mental abilities then you have the capacity to fight. So I think one circumstance that had which enabled me to fight for the medal was the fact that I had never really 'failed' at a JWOC. I made the A-final in the middle three years in a row and I never really had a really bad race so I could say I was quite confident going into the final individual race in 2012.

Matt punching during the World Cup at Parliament

What makes you different Matt, from the Juniors that have gone before? (and not just that you won)?

Someone had to get it right eventually. I am just fortunate that I am a recipient of a wealth of knowledge from the guys older than me. James Bradshaw, Ross Morrison, Michael Adams, Rob Garden, You (Jamie) just to name a few. But I think two key things have been hugely important in my development as an orienteer. The first is that I live 10 minutes from the largest map in NZ, Woodhill. This has meant I have been able to do a lot more technical training than most juniors before me (however this is now being surpassed by Nick who will unleash next year at JWOC). The second is a guy called Gene Beveridge. We have a tendency to kill ourselves in nearly every session and we both have a huge passion for technical training, ergo; a lot of very high quality training. 

Apart from waiting for the dedicated talent to emerge and perform, what can NZ orienteering do to ensure more success at a Junior level?

I think the most important factor in the development of juniors is the communication between the elite and junior levels. There is a lot of opportunities for juniors now days to improve their orienteering such as the junior camp, various training days (in Auckland at least) and a bucket load of competitions. With a more developed senior group I think it would be possible to develop a mentoring programme between elites and juniors, say assigning one elite runner to observe and contribute to the development of a group of juniors. We are trying to do this in my club, Northwest, and we are now seeing the results, Kayla, Alice, Cameron e.t.c

How have you found your first year at senior level? You had good results in the NZ world cup in January...

It has been quiet, no big European competitions because of engineering. The world cup was a fun event but I wished more of it was in the forest. The slump was a bit of a joke to be honest, never before has orienteering been more like a running race. The sprint was extremely technical and I was definitely not prepared. I did not find out about the massive spur/government house gates until I had sprinted to the control before the defining leg of the race. It was funny to see that I had the fastest split on the short leg before the long leg and then one of the slowest times for the long leg itself. My first year of senior is not over, I am extremely excited to race everyone after they have come back from Europe. There is going to be some epic battles in the competitions towards the end of the year (will anyone manage to take down the hahnbeatable?)

How are you managing to maintain your motivation? What areas of improvement have you been focusing on this year?

The trick is motivational triggers, finding little things to keep you going all the time. This blog has re-inspired me of late. Others have been joining a club in Sweden, learning to mountain bike and being smashed by Garden. But nothing beats the satisfying feeling of training well; the more training you do the more motivation you have to train. That it is why is important to focus a lot on conditioning and injury prevention so that you dont stop training. I have been focusing on my running this year and maintaining a stable training regime. The latter has been quite challenging because of university.

Matt, in winter training.

What are your plans from here? Last time I spoke to you, there were plans to head to Sweden?

Firstly my studies, but I will run the Aussie Middle and Relay Champs later this year. Then next year, probably March or just after Nationals, I will head to Sweden to start focusing on my training and becoming the best orienteer I can be.

Some people might think you are giving up a lot to pursue your orienteering, what would you say to them?

They can ask me some other time when I haven't just spent 12 hours at university. Orienteering is like a religion with merits. It challenges you, gives you a break from the rest of life, sets up some amazing international connections and is a pretty accurate metaphorical representation of life. In orienteering you focus on simplification, minimising mistakes or risk and always know where you are going - In life you focus on the bigger things (simplification), you always think about risk management and you should always have a plan on where you are going. 

You know that other single orienteers that have headed to Europe have never come back. I'm thinking Alistair Landels, Michal Glowacki, can you imagine that scenario?

This interview has been quite lengthy so ill make this brief. Ill always come back; In life you must always give back to what has given you so much.

Thanks Matt, there is plenty of wisdom in these answers for us all to mull over. You are a credit to your family, friends, club and sport. Train well.

Boys in Croatia

I couldn't help noticing, courtesy of facebook (this one doesn't come from World of O;-) that four kiwi boys have been competing in Croatia recently at the world famous Croatian Open in the time honoured M21A grade. The three Simon's (musketeers) and the legendary Aidan "Soggy" Elmers were all top juniors at one time or another, and they still live the orienteering dream, in a slightly more relaxed way. Good on you brothers.

And for the history books I would just like to note Soggy's stunning victory on day one.