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.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Nick Shredder Smith

So I'm still a little gobsmacked that Nick Smith managed to win M20E on the weekend, at the Australian Nationals. I decided to have a little poke around in the splits, expecting to see a tidy little navigator come through some big brash lads from Aussie swaggering on their home turf. Instead there is evidence of a messy start, considerable time loss early and a lack of smoothness through tight controls. Then the little fella just shreds them, jumping from 7th to 1st in two brutal legs. He loses it at the next one, but Ian Lawford does even worse and nek minnit spot the ginga in the middle of the podium. You little beauty.

Australian Long Champs - Slap Up Creek

Some great results from Kiwi's racing yesterday at the Australian Long Distance Champs at Slap Up Creek. In the elites Lizzie Ingham and Tom Reynolds both crept into 3rd behind quality opposition. In the women's it was comeback queen, and former World Champion, Hanny Allston, and the talented and experienced Grace Crane that edged Lizzie, while Tom was defeated by GB international Matt Crane and top local elite Simon Upphill. Junior Nick Hann was fourth, but some distance off Reynolds.

M20E Course - Dominated by Nick Smith

The results meant that Australia just edged out New Zealand in the Pinestars, as reported by Tom Reynolds "Thanks. Aus just beat us 81 to 78. That was with us 5 against 6". So a real shame there wasn't some practical problem solving to get another women on the elite start line.

Pinestars - great effort but 1 short

The stand-out result of the day was PAPO's Nick Smith, the mainland M18 quietly blasted away the entire Australian JWOC team to win M20E. Victory over the likes of Ian Lawford and Oscar McNulty is an amazing feat for a relatively inexperienced orienteer. It appears we have another genius on the cards for JWOC 2014.

The arrival of Mr Nick Smith - (no MP)

Sonia Hollands stepped out of the shadows of some of her more well known colleagues to place a brilliant 2nd in W20E, in what looks like a very strong field. Many of the Kiwis running in this grade are still at school, and have several more years in the junior classes. But great to see the likes of Kayla Fairbairn and Vida Fox sharing around the spoils a little.

Lara Molloy (centre) and Alice Tilley (right) dominate W16

Alice Tilley and Lara Molloy would also feature well in this field, but instead they chose to dominate W16A, placing 1st and 2nd. While Ed Cory Wright held 3rd in W16A. Further down there further placings from Katie Cory Wright 3rd W14 and Stephen Harding 2nd M14. Stephen Harding is Nick Hann's cousin, and he comes from the middle of nowhere in the South Island, so watch out for this man.

It is also worth noting some kiwis that won veteran grades: Jean Cory Wright,  Rob Jessop (back on form), Ian Holden (M80 wonder man) and Greg Barbour (the Aussie-Kiwi-Aussie). Will this be the start of a greater place for the Aussie Champs on the Kiwi orienteering calender? Perhaps other clubs might think about following North West's idea and having a club trip next September.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tim and Lizzie win test match sprint

Thanks to Anna Robertson for the following photos (I am preserving them here for posterity).
Great start to the week for the NZ elites. Any further interesting information that comes to light about this race, I will add to this blog post.

Ohh, and some maps as well, thanks Anna. To me it looks like possibly 7 and definitely 22 would have been key legs. The latter has the old trick of short legs followed by a long leg with unforgiving route choice. Control 4 looks like a classic simplify the buildings and run hard left. Splits now up

Friday, 27 September 2013

OZ Champs - Fly my pretties

I have seldom been so excited waiting to hear orienteering results and look at maps, from over the ditch. It is just great to know there are a super talented bunch of young kiwis sleeping soundly tonight, waiting to take on the best Australian orienteers tomorrow.

And that's just the elites. Tim Robertson, Nick Hann, Tom Reynolds, Lizzie Ingham and Greta Knarston. Then there are the juniors as well, but their big events are during the next week. Tomorrow and Sunday is the Pinestar/Bushranger match-up....and its going to be if only I could find the rules...

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Create the Training of your Dreams

Inspired by those epic training session maps you see produced by the likes of Ross Morrison or Matt Ogden, then get into this link. Tips for using OCAD to modify the map to focus on a specific skill, or just make an easier session harder.

Image from

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Shamus ready

This fresh and eager young face was staring out at me from our local paper this morning.

Shamus .... it has a nice ring to it ... Pele, Thierry, Shamus. Would anyone be so brave as to back him to knock Tim Robertson over a few times in the next week or so?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Lizzie Ingham on the Oz Champs

You must read this

Lizzie has written a most excellent blog on what competitors can expect at the Oz Champs over the next couple of weeks. Some great research with a fine eye for detail (I particularly enjoyed the post classic menu) and no doubt a cast iron will to win.

Lizzie and her trademark compression gloves - they keep the swelling down after hard compass training.

The team is heading over at the end of the week. The Aussie authorities have been alerted that there are no refugees in the team, so all things going well they will end up in Canberra (rather than Christmas Island) and deal to those children of convicts. Go you good things.

Interview - Georgia Whitla

Christchurch based Georgia Whitla attended the World Games this year in Colombia. The last couple of years have been good for Georgia as she helps rebuild Christchurch at the same time as establishing herself as one of our strongest and most consistent elites. We caught up with Georgia as she prepares for the Super Series.

Georgia, whats news?

I'm back in New Zealand after 3 weeks in South America for the World Games + some travelling after. I'm back at work now but I've spent the last few weekends tramping/adventuring in awesome terrain around the West Coast and Kaikoura. There's nothing quite like going overseas to make you appreciate what you have in your backyard!

The World Games, that must have been an interesting experience?

It was a fantastic experience. I've never seen so many police in one place before! The events weren't the most exciting in terms of orienteering but the whole event was definitely worth attending.


All the other teams being more relaxed than normal and everyone just generally having a good time.
The Colombian public treating us like celebrities.

Now I'm not going to mention your narrow loss in the final sprint, but you must have been hurting?

I though you said you weren't going to mention it? I should have done more interval training back in NZ.
Did you get a chance to have a look around Colombia after the event?
Yep. Tane, Rachel, Me and Kathryn Preston from Aus travelled around for about a week after. It's a great country with fantastic variety and culture.
Now back in Chch, hows your motivation?

Motivation is OK. I've been sick for about 3 weeks since I got back. I probably should have just taken some time off to recover earlier. Im healthy now so real training is back on.
Super Series coming up, are we going to see you in the North Island?

Of course, I'm excited about the revamping of the Super Series this year. Michael Croxford is doing a fantastic job to inject some enthusiasm back into the events. I've already booked flights to Auckland and Wellington and I wouldn't miss the South Island events!

Hopefully you North Islanders will make an effort to travel down to the South Island. I think the Christchurch and Rotoiti rounds will be something special if we get strong fields.

The womens grade is looking open this year. A big spread of ages from the teenagers coming through to the likes of the Smith twins. How does it feel to be the favourite now?
The womens grade will be tough. I wouldn't say I was the favourite, and looking at the facebook discussions I don't think many others would either! However, I would say that having two rounds in the South Island will put the odds in the Southerly Storms favour. Both Lara Prince and I will be hard to beat at home.
What areas of your game are you focused on improving heading into the Super Series, and thinking about the next international season?
I'm in a bit of a middle ground at the moment. I fell like I need focus on speed and physical toughness for the Super Series but for the international season I am considering focusing on the World Rogaine Champs rather than orienteering. Endurance training will be the key to success there.

Any particular lessons from the World Games, or other recent races that you would like to share with us?
Biggest lesson from the World Games? That sometimes you need to pace yourself in orienteering races. I hit the wall like I never have before in the middle distance because I approached it like a sprint. The heat and pace of the race got to me at about 20min. I've never consciously considered pacing myself before because the terrain in the longer races usually slows me down to a sustainable speed.

Hey Thanks Georgia, and best of skills for the upcoming season! 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Godzone Kaikoura

The overlap from orienteering to adventure racing is well known. It is very difficult to be a top class navigator without having at competed very competitively at orienteering. At the last Godzone National squad members Chris Forne, Aaron Prince and Brent Edwards guided home the first three one else was close.

Thats not to say you only have to be an orienteer. You also have to be able to run, mtb and kayak for a long time and make good decisions when very tired. You also need to be able to work within  team and keep your composure in very stressful situations.

Who will be next to make the crossover? It looks like Tom Reynolds is competing at the next edition. I don't think Aaron or Brent have any any plans to race, but Tom will more than likely be up against Chris Forne and Team Seagate.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Ross's Heart

For those of you that aren't facebook friends with Ross - the Rocketman is certainly still training over there in Finland

Preparing for a Sprint - Auckland Champs

I thought to follow up my previous comments about the importance of preparation and getting every little advantage you can, that I would illustrate this with a real build-up, a real race, in this case the Auckland Champs sprint race 2013.

Now a disclaimer, I am not going to be held responsible for your performance, and it is quite possible I will end up with egg on my face. But I think as a one-off it may be an interesting illustration. I am not going to do this all at once, it is going to evolve over the next week or so. So check back in here from time to time if you are interested.

Firstly the website. Then what does it say; "around 12 min expected win time" located in the "Half Moon Bay area". That's a good start, the winning time is short, suggests a small area. Half Moon Bay, I can look that up on Google maps, but first, just have a little more of a poke around the website, see if there is anything else...

Race 2 (Evening) - Sprint Championships

  • Terrain: Auckland Urban area - Half Moon Bay -  * NEW SPRINT MAP *
  • Planner: Joanna Stewart; Controller: Alistair Stewart.
  • Start Times: 5:00pm onwards (may be adjusted and advised)

Now sometimes knowledge of the planner and controller can help, and give you some clues. Unfortunately my knowledge of Joanna and Alistair is confined to the fact that they are very experienced, very good, planners. It would be a reasonable assumption that they will run a very good event.

Now the website also has a Bulletin, so check this too..Mmm this looks suspiciously like an entry form, though I guess if you are promoting online entry you need to call your old school entry form something. Important note - Entries close 11th October.

Now to track down the location. First step, ask Gene...

Well, there is a good chance of that not working, if it doesn't have a look at Google Maps, where are the areas of detail that look likely?

Halfmoon Bay is in East Auckland. There are a few potential areas there, but given the likely desire to stay away from major roads, the likely candidates to me seem like possibly Pakuranga college, but more likely an area slightly to the north. This will be the area I investigate (this is the egg over face bit as I may well be wrong). Some time before the event the organiser will need to be more specific about where the event is, ie where they want us to park and register, that would be a time to revisit all previous assumptions!

Now if this was a World Champs, or race that meant a whole lot to you, the thing to do would be to draw it in ocad. With the increasingly availability of data this is becoming easier to do. In some areas contours, building outline,kerbs and road outlines can be imported directly into ocad. This can then be supplemented by adding what you can to the map from analysis of the aerial photos, whether from google or elsewhere.

In New Zealand the website is increasingly useful. For example it contains all of the above data for the city of Wellington. For this area though it seems at a quick look to have come up empty. But if you flick to the Auckland Council GIS system it is possible to view some contours (1m). Note in this snip the out of date aerial photography, with the complex at the top left yet to be built.

Once you have built/drawn a map (pretty much the same process the mapper will be going through to create a base map), you can then look at route choice. I am just going to do this using the aerial is a photo loaded into Condes with a course planned on it.

I have guessed that a good place for the event centre, ie plenty of space/parking might be at the north end of the park, giving the opportunity to start straight into the school to the east. Spectator dog leg at 10, map change (or flip) at where I have marked the finish.

So lets go through the course. 1. Trouble straight away, is there access to this courtyard, who knows, lets assume there is. 2. Left or right? You know the rough shape, when you get the actual map you will be looking for the links. 3. Again left or right. It is always better to avoid sharp corners, so perhaps left. 4. Easy, but have you planned ahead, any route choice coming up? 5. The control is in a hidden corner, attack it precisely to not lose any seconds. 6. Assume there is a passage on the western route. 7. Is the strip of green mid route out of bounds? If so does the road route south come into play? Or is it still quicker to go via the gully to the north? 8. Straight and hard? Where are the tracks? 9. Coming out of the bush watch for the parallel error with two similar buildings, or head right and follow the clearings in from the south? 10. Sprint, or if its a flip map, can you flip and plan ahead already?.......How anaerobic can you go if you want to remain smooth as you go back through the detail in the last third of the course?....

Monday, 16 September 2013

Tom Reynolds at Monty's Revenge

Check out Tom Reynold's report of his recent race at Monty's revenge.

"I pinned my ears back, kept an eye on the GPS and tried to see if I could catch anyone..."

High Performance Camp - Flyers and Registration Forms out

National Squad and D-Squad members should have received an invitation to the High Performance Camp to be held in December following the Rotoiti Classic.  If you have not, please get in touch with Sarah Gray. This camp will be another great opportunity to practise and "perfect" your orienteering technique.

You need to register for the camp by Friday the 4th of October.

Due to some differences in thinking I am not involved in the organisation of this camp anymore, but am happy to refer you to the right people if you have any questions.


Another map plucked from the training diary of Nick Hann. It looks like it was a good workout for Aussie bound Wellington orienteers this weekend.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Get those entries in...

Just do it, now.

Online entries are available upcoming Super Series events:

Auckland Champs

Wellington Champs

Also, beds/bunkrooms are going quickly in the accomodation booked for Wellington Champs at Tararua Country Retreat. Get in quick if you are thinking of this option - - $20pp.

There is also plenty of room for camping, and after discussions with the lodge owner, the price for camping is actually $10 per tent, not $10 per person. Get some camping practice in for Europe :-)

Mauriceville West can pose some challenges

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Worst Leg Ever

Sport needs stories as much as literature. Epic failure, underdog successes, black humour. Legends that are remembered for years and passed down through the ages. There was the time that Brent would have won Nationals but misclipped. The time that Shaun Collins was so tired he fell down the stairs. The time that a kiwi won JWOC.

Some things go down in infamy. Now that a safe time has passed, and everyone recognises all that was good and great about National Relays 2013, we can talk about what will go down in history as the "Worst Leg Ever" in NZ orienteering. Take one look.

Take another. Ugly. What a dogs breakfast. What were they thinking...need length, need spectator appeal, need ??. Bollocks! Locate the start area somewhere higher, with views of the rock. Have more butterfly loops in the rocky areas. Keep the orienteering hard and consistent, build the pressure technically rather than aerobically.

This will be a hard effort to beat. Any challengers out there?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Tane at World Mountain Running Champs

Well I'm sure Tane, will let us know in more detail about the World Mountain running champs in due course, but for pre race action check out his blog, and for the results check this site.

Tane was a very impressive 78th, less than a minute behind fellow kiwi and Taranaki mountain running sensation Dougan Butler. Glenn Hughes of Wellington was another couple of minutes ahead. Unfortunately because there were only three men the kiwis were not eligible for a team result. The race was dominated by Ugandans. The top four places going to the former domain of Idi Amin.

Facebook reaction

On the side, if it works for athletics star Zane Robertson to live in Kenya, or now Ethiopa, perhaps young kiwi mountain runners should consider Uganda! (National Squad training camp anyone?)

Tane and fellow squaddie Lara Prince - Avalanche Peak champions

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Flock Hill - An oldie but a goodie

Straight from Nick Hann's training log - good to see some PAPO peeps are getting out training...and helping Nick stay on form for Super Series.

Looking forward

I am so excited about the opportunities coming up for New Zealand High Performance Orienteering over the next 18 months! The climax of which will be the World Cups and Oceania Champs in Tasmania in January 2015.

High Performance sport is about creating pathways to success, and  supporting athletes progression along this path. The first of these can be thougth of as the physical opportunities, whether championship events, technical/physical camps, representative opportunities or local training and events. The second is ensuring these opportunities are harnessed and lead to improved individual performance.

Lets be clear - While anyone can plan an event, or organise a camp, it is primarily the athlete that determines whether they use this opportunity to their advantage. Others can help by role modelling, passing on knowledge, being good training partners, but it is the athletes intelligence, courage and willingness to learn that determines their level of success.

Pathways contain stepping stones, some more challenging than others
I hope that some of what we have done recently, has re-affirmed part of the pathway to success in New Zealand orienteering and I know that evaluating this pathway and filling in any gaps is a task NZOF hope to look at in the next year.

From the Schools level (and what great work has been done there in recent years), athletes progress to the Development Squad. These are crucuial years as often top high school athletes play many sports, and we want them (you!) to choose orienteering to excel at as an elite athlete. The DSquad usually have camps at least annually which are coached by experienced orienteers. This years is happening in the Castle Hill Basin from the 8th - 13th of December.

At this age, athletes start competing in the Super Series at least at the junior level, and then also at JWOC. The tight, demanding Super Series that we are running this year through the regional championship will challenge all athletes.  While next years JWOC team has the potential to be our best ever.

World - don't think that this was a one-off

As athletes progress into elites they enter the National Squad, local opportunities for the National Squad have generally been more low key, but again this year we are running a High Performance Camp for these athletes. Hopefully this can become a regular fixture. Elite races continue through the Super Series, to then Sprint the Bay, Nationals and beyond to Australia and  Europe for those with international goals.

Our athletes in Europe have traditionally been focused on WOC, but perhaps this has been a missed opportunity. There are so many high level races that could be used as goals and more realistic stepping stones. The change to WOC rules, will lead to a greater focus on sprints and relays for New Zealand and perhaps provide more opportunity for the younger athletes coming through. Athletes focusing on the longer disciplines may be more inclined to dedicate a European summer to race practice.

And then next summer the best in the world are coming down under again.  Down into much more neutral territory. What an opportunity. Will we be there with our team.? Will we have contributed what we can to their intrinsic motivation and skills? You bet.