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.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

The Storm is approaching!

There is a Southerly Storm coming, brewing away, set to descend on Kaikoura in about a weeks time to coincide with GODZone, the adventure race. This year there is a large contingent of the Bivouac Southerly Storm and a couple of other Orienteers spread throughout the field. The Bivouac Southerly Storm is a regional Orienteering team encompassing the South Island clubs and compete at the National Orienteering Series around the country. Orienteers tend to fly under the radar a little bit, and practice their dark art in the shadows...but this may just be their time to shine if the navigation gets tricky!

In team Seagate there is the formidable Chris Forne with a passenger and Nelson club member Nathan Fa'avae, Stu Lynch is the back up navigator but I'm not sure where he is actually from these days, somewhere in the strange land of the North!

Brent Edwards will be taking hold of the maps for team Vida de Aventura, and Lara Prince and Jim Cotter in Chimpanzee Bar are set to be hot on the heels of Seagate. Ones to watch out for will be the navigator stacked team of Go 3.0 with Emily Wall, Matt Scott, Tim Sikma and Rhys John who have all excelled at orienteering and rogaining in the past few years.

Then there is a smattering of lone wolf orienteers, with Tane Cambridge in Team Osprey Packs, Tim Farrant in Next Generation, Tom Reynolds (another North Islander...) in Team University of Auckland and Joe Jagusch in Lost and Lonely.

So within the race there is also the race of being the best orienteer/navigator and you can watch it all unfold live at

Friday, 21 February 2014

Resilience: A Lesson From Sochi by Sydney Finkelstein - Updated for Orienteering


Resilience. It’s often the secret sauce that separates the highest achievers from the mass of people who are perfectly capable, but not exceptional.

The good news is that each of us has the potential to live a resilient life on and off the job, if we choose to. It may be difficult to do, sometimes even unfathomable, but that just makes it all the more powerful and important.

Here’s a quick test: if you genuinely believe the above paragraph to be true, then you’re probably more resilient than you think you are. It takes confidence to be resilient. But, and this is so true of so many leadership characteristics, too much confidence is a killer. Bouncing back from failure requires, by definition, that you recognize something has gone wrong, and you were the one who made it happen.

The complacent and the arrogant do not accept personal responsibility. For them, failure is someone else’s fault. We’ve seen plenty of this during Sochi as well — hockey players blaming errant referee calls, snowboarders complaining the snow was “too soft” and speed skating coaches attributing poor results to new high-tech suits selected for their athletes.

Open-mindedness in the face of mistakes is the single best thing you can do to improve results. Everyone fails. But not everyone recovers from failure. The key is to learn from it rather than get beaten by it.

Being open to new information — even better, going out of your way to learn what you wish wasn’t true — is the hallmark of a resilient leader. How else can we adapt and change if we don’t know what’s really going wrong?

In a disruptive and competitive world, the rate of failure is going up, not down. For example, when you track the makeup of the Fortune 100 over time, you find that the number of companies falling off the list has gone up at an increasing rate. That means that while 25 years ago some 20% of the biggest companies in the world dropped out of the top 100 after 10 years, more recently the 10-year rate of attrition has jumped to over 30%.

Resilience is not just about getting up off the floor, but also being ready for whatever comes next.

Failures, setbacks and falling down on the ice in front of millions of people are no longer unusual events, but regular features of a dynamic, competitive and highly demanding work environment. Getting up to finish your skate is no longer optional.

NZ Elite O Tour - Autumn 2014 - Dates Announced

Monday, 17 February 2014

Awareness and Routine

As most of you will have realised, in 6 weeks now Riverhead will play host to the Official North Island Orienteering Championships. The competitions will incorporate trials for the JWOC team to compete in Bulgaria later this year, but will also offer a demanding sprint, chasing start middle and long distance for the public. More details and entry can be found on the TONIC website. This will be an event not to be missed, and will be great preparation before Nationals.
Don't miss out!
In preparation for these championships I offer some words about orienteering technique, and what I have learnt thus far in my short orienteering career.  

On a recent training camp in Tasmania, Tom Quayle (Australian National Coach) emphasised the importance of having an 'awareness' of ones own technique. This is something that I think identifies your orienteering style and is characteristic of your training and thought processes. The one thing that is very important in orienteering is that everyone has a different 'style', due to different strengths and abilities. This is a consequence of variable running speeds, technical backgrounds and how one perceives or interprets the map. It is therefore imperative to identify how you orienteer and have this awareness, so that when you are confronted with a leg, you understand the best way for you to approach it. 

How would you run (1-2)? Identify your technique.
Routine is then used to optimise your orienteering technique. Routine is merely a structured way of applying your technique, so that you can perform it under stressful situations. Routine makes orienteering almost secondary, however can only be realised through hours of technical training. 
How would you run? Apply your technique, different legs and terrain.
Orienteering is a tremendously complex sport, but those that can simplify the problem, are able to thrive!

Awareness + Routine -> Successful Performance Under Stress

How would you run? Apply your technique to the most complex legs.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Post Nationals Training and the Urban Enduro

Ok, its happening.

This is a huge year for New Zealand High Performance Orienteering. We will have potentially our best JWOC team ever.  We will have Matt Ogden and Lizzie Ingham poised for new levels of orienteering perfection. We will even have a World Cup and Oceania in our own neck of the woods come January.

Sprint the Bay has started off the year on a high...TONIC will keep the ball rolling...and Nationals will be a good stepping stone for bigger things to come. After Nationals there will be another great opportunity to invest more in your orienteering performance:

22nd - 24th April: Train on the Nationals Maps and Osgiliath
25th - 27th April: Compete in the Inaugural Urban Enduro

The Wellington Orienteering Club has committed to making maps available with marked control sites for the post nationals training. A call is going out to any interested parents or older orienteers interested in coordinating a Development Squad/older junior presence at this training (get in touch with Jamie if interested).

Save the dates, talk your mates into it, and watch for further information.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Victory for Aucklanders

Greta Knarston and Matt Ogden prevailed in a tough Sprint the Bays tour, made more challenging by stormy Hawkes Bay conditions.

Ogden's victory was assured following Tim Robertsons tragic mispunch in the penultimate race. Veteran Chris Forne took second.

Knarston showed her pedigree and experience with her comfortable victory, putting a challenge out there to the upcoming cadre of Junior girls to lift their game before they knock her off the perch.

The standout junior was also an Aucklander, Cameron Tier finally overcoming injury problems to have a great tour snaring third overall and a fastest time in the final race.

Orienteering doesn't give you big guns.

The athletes attention will now switch to the North Island champs in Riverhead forest at the end of March. As well as being trials for the Junior World Champs this will be a rare showdown on new gully spur terrain for the contenders and pretenders.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Sacred Girls

I wasn't there, but I wish I was even for just this race, or even just the start of this race, a solid first six from the pen of Ross Morrison.

Follow Sprint the Bay

Great online coverage of Sprint the Bay. Event website here. Results here.

Matt Ogden and Tim Robertson duelling it out, and Greta Knarston looking likely overall. A few contenders have mispunched or missed races already.

Here is part of course 1 from EIT - Sprint orienteering at its finest.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Auckland Sprint Training Weekend - Report from Gene Beveridge (part 2 of 2)

On the Sunday of AOTC's Auckland Sprint Training Weekend we ran Sprint Auckland Day, also known as SAD.

The third edition of SAD reflected the rapid growth of orienteering in Auckland, especially amongst the junior ranks. We had 38 starters up from 13 when it started in 2011, making it the biggest training that AOTC has held.

The format remained unchanged with a prologue and 15 sprint races contributing towards a total time for the day. The 15 sprint races were all held on building based sprint maps with courses about 1km straight line distance averaging about 1.5km of running distance according to my GPS. The prologue was an easy 0.5km course around my house and the adjacent park. This totalled 22km of racing over the day and those of us who have done SAD in previous year knew just how much our legs would be burning towards the end.

We started off at 9:00 from the new map I made around my house and San Bernadino Park. This was a short stage to get the day started before the real sprint orienteering began. The prologue was taken by young Cam Tier.

The first full length stage was run at Massey High School and featured a complex array of buildings and route choices. Stage 2 and 3 were on the less complex maps of Rutherford College and Henderson High School. Up to this stage Cam had a minute lead over Tom Reynolds, with myself 14 seconds further down. Imogene Scott was the top girl on stage 3 but was still 38 seconds down on the lead with Greta Knarston winning the prologue and stages 1 and 2. A gap was already opening to the younger competitors Alice Tilley, Kayla Fairbairn and Danielle Goodall.

Stages 4 and 5 at Green Bay High School and Lynfield College saw Thomas pull back some of the deficit to Cam with 2 consecutive wins while Gene and Matt continued their good start to hold onto 3rd and 4th, 2 minutes down on the lead. In the girls, Greta and Imogene further distanced themselves from their younger rivals.

Matt took his first win on stage 6 at Roskill Campus and Tom took out stages 7 and 8 at Epsom Campus and Epsom Girls Grammar to take the lead off Cam. Imogene had another win over main rival Greta but it wasn’t enough of take stage 6 which went to Kayla. Imogene repeated another strong performance taking stage 7 and the overall lead leaving Greta 8 seconds behind in 2nd. Imogene’s lead was not to last as Greta won stage 8 to regain her overall lead in the girl’s class.

Finishers of stage 6 seeking the shade in the middle of the day at Roskill Campus.

Stages 9, 10 and 11 at Auckland Grammar, Rosmini College and Westlake Boys High School saw Cam take 3 more victories in the men’s class and also saw Matt overcome myself to 3rd, 3 and a half minutes off the lead and 1 and a half minutes from 2nd. These stages saw Greta extend her lead with 3 more wins, but not by much. While Kayla and Alice found each other seconds apart after over an hour and a half of racing.

Top woman, Greta is back on the scene.

Jourdan has also made an impressive comeback to orienteering.
 The final for stages at Rangitoto College, Massey University, Kristen School, and Albany Junior High demonstrated Matt’s level of fitness as he pushed hard to take 3 more stage wins. Tom and Cam continued with fine form to finish off the long day without any further shuffling of places, and Tom posting the overall time of 1:32:09. I was noticeably fatigued in these later stages but held onto 4th ahead of Great Britain’s Adam Potter who had run a very consistent 16 races to hold 5th ahead of school boy Tommy Hayes. The girl’s class wrapped up with Greta, Imogene and Alice sharing the top spots in the final 4 stages. Greta finished with a victory on stage 15 extending her lead over Imogene to 3 minutes and finishing with a total time of 1:45:48. After swapping position 6 times, Alice got the better of Kayla by a mere 41 seconds to take 3rd in a time of 2:02:06.

Overall it was a super tough day of training and after a long time with so little orienteering it was exactly what most of us needed to get our heads back in to orienteering mode and our legs into super speed mode. I personally noticed that my brain processes route choices far quicker now than last week, and I’m looking forward to putting this to use this weekend at Sprint the Bay.
The survivors enjoying refreshments after the last stage.
Big thanks to NWOC for letting us borrow their Sport Ident system for our timing!

Splits times are available here on winsplits.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Auckland Sprint Training Weekend - Report from Gene Beveridge (part 1 of 2)

With Sprint the Bay fast approaching AOTC hosted the Auckland Sprint Weekend incorporating the Cornwal Park Ultra-sprint and Sprint Auckland Day along with 2 other quality sessions.

On Friday afternoon we did a stride mechanics and running technique session. This was a great introduction to a complete weekend of training and a very tough session to boot. On Saturday morning we ran in the Cornwall Park Ultra-sprint organised by Dwayne and Hayley Smith. These have been great fun in the past and this one was no exception.

The GoPro video below is from Adam Potter taking out the B final. I simply didn’t have the legs to come around him in the last 200 meters.

Saturday afternoon featured another novel training combining speed, agility, strength and co-ordination into a sprint-specialised orienteering geek session. We were equipped with Sport Ident specifically for the minute-long sprint loop and “The Grid” punching exercise. Michael Adams was fantastic and let us use his extensive collection of gear to simulate many components of sprint orienteering and took us through a general conditioning session too. I think this was the first time some of the guys had used their abs in a few years.

This is a video of The Grid exercise in action, with the corresponding map below.

I was a broken man after this session and despite my motivation to keep pushing my body was simply no longer responding. We all settled down to a shared dinner and chilled out for the rest of the day.

Stay tuned for part 2...

Sprint the Bay Preview

Well its that time again. Sprint the Bay time.

The final start lists and bulletin are out and its time to have a look at what might unfold over the weekend. As always the Morrison boys have done a great job with their pre-event information, and the terrain this year sounds excellent, after a fast first day spiced up by a knock-out sprint the event will really crank up on the last two days with some steeper harder terrain where mistakes are more severly punished. My pick for the crux race would be race 3 at Sacred Girls. Consistency is everything at Sprint the Bay and it is harder to be consistent on the tougher terrain.

Looking at the Start List Chris Forne sticks out like a sore thumb, at 37 he is the only elite man between the age of 25 and 40. Where have all the cowboys gone. It will be the world against Chris Forne, but he will beat them all except perhaps Tim Robertson and Matt Ogden. Its hard to guess at the form of the overseas competitors but except these three to be clear in the overall results. The three young guns I expect to see some good races from are Shamus Morrison, Callum Herries and Nick Smith. Plenty of gas, they just have to use it wisely.

Will Chris Forne wipe the smile off this young mans face?

In the women there are all sorts of wildcards, but perhaps the least wild, knowing that Laura Robertson is out injured, is Greta Knarston. The comeback queen is making another one, looking to take on the world in Europe. She knows how to train when she wants too, but has she been? All will shortly be revealed. Alice Tilley and Kayla Fairbairn are the most wellknown of the next generation coming through and it could be their turn to shine at this level.

Will we see a fired up Knarston at Sprint the Bay?

Monday, 3 February 2014


The ideal breakfast.

Get up, have a shower, make yourself look beautiful, chuck the kettle on, then think about breakfast. Whats it to be today? There is plenty of tempting sugar munchies like weetbix and cornflakes lurking around, ahh toast with jam...NO, today I am going to be strong and eat the ideal breakfast for an athlete, in fact for any healthy person...poached eggs on multigrain toast, perhaps with a little bit of ham or salmon. Delicious, brilliant, wasn't that just so good. Now where are my running shoes.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Thinking about your Training?

About now a lot of you are probably settling down into the New Year having done more or less training over summer. Some of the big goals of the year are still some time away, Tasmania next January, WOC/JWOC, National Secondary Schools. Others like our club nationals in Wellington are approaching fast.

It is important you refocus. Check or refresh your goals, according to your current progress. Invest intellectually in the training process (check this article out from the British) and have a think about your lifestyle and whether it is allowing you to achieve to the level you truly want to... (warning you may find you are truly happy already - but thats not the worst thing in the world).

Whatever you are doing, make sure you are doing it consciously. Make real decisions about what you want to achieve, how much you are prepared to commit, and what you are going to do about it. Then going forward make sure to review and learn from your experiences...talent is an opportunity, success is earned.