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Saturday, 5 October 2013

Australian Middle Champs - The introduction of the Maestro

We are now on the last weekend of the Australian Nationals carnival, and my favourite race, the middle distance. This is the race I have been waiting for, firstly it is Lizzie Inghams best distance, and the one I think she cares most about. Secondly, today sees the introduction of New Zealands orienteering maestro into the play, Matt Ogden.

Lizzie with two of her biggest rivals: Grace Crane and Hanny Allston


While Tim Robertson is the efficient, and brutal, speed machine and Nick Hann the intuitive smooth and assured athlete, Matt Ogden is the maestro. He has the rhythm, the attention to detail, the ability to build his race into a crescendo of well pitched decisions. He is the conductor of his own performance and a leader to his peers. That said it is going to be a huge challenge to come into the middle of this carnival and win. Today my money is on Hann. I'm not sure about Matt Crane in this terrain, so perhaps Simon Upphill is the Aussie to watch, though if any of the old timers like Dave Shepherd or Grant Bluett are running they have the ability to win.

The Maestro


Lizzie's race is in her own hands, she can win it if she wants it enough, and keeps on wanting it right to the end, and by that I don't mean wanting it so much she runs hard. I mean she wants it so much that she makes disciplined decisions and manages the risk that this technical terrain will create.

In the juniors, it will be interesting to see if Sonia Hollands can replicate her classic form. Those who raced the school races are possibly at a disadvantage as they will find it harder to pull their speed back a few notches for this race. They would be wise to orienteer before they run. I would love to see a close tussle between Nick Smith and Shamus Morrison, two outstanding orienteers, and if either of them can get up on top of that podium it would be a huge achievement.

(If you have been doing your recommended reading you will know that Lizzie was looking forward to the catering today - unfortunately that catering has fallen through and she will have to make do with a steak sandwich provided by the "Blue Lightning" the ACT juniors...I'm never a huge fan of franchise names, but the "Blue Lightning" surely wins the prize for the one that sounds the most like a toothpaste).
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