Post WOC 2011 Analysis – Part 3, Sprint Qualification

Sprint Qualification

Approach:  Run hard, pick good routes and stick with them, be confident, avoid stairs where possible.

I was fairly happy with my approach here. I learned pretty quickly from the middle distance that the orienteering wasn’t going o be as hard as I thought, so I was confident that I could run as fast as possible.  Having Chris draw me up a route and then running through it with me afterwards was really good, and I really believed I was going to do well.

Pre Start

The pre-start was a fairly lengthy ordeal once again. The rushed nature meant I probably didn’t quite get the ideal breakfast.  I never got too panicked and was raring to go by the time I got to the call up. I was sweating hard already so I’d say I was properly warmed up to an almost perfect level.  Wouldn’t change a lot in this approach maybe I would go to the toilet a little bit earlier? And also make sure Dieter hadn’t put my gear in the gear return before I had gone to the start…that caused me to mildly panic as I was in the toilet!

Leg by Leg.

Men Qual A map. 3rd place getter Merz route along with my route


Red = My route; Blue = Merz 3rd in heat

Start  –> 1

I was sweating pretty hard on the start line, and when I flipped over the map my legs felt heavy with Nervous energy. I quickly went for the no stairs option and took the flat and then straight up into the control. I hesitated a little coming into the control but once the first one was in the bag I was away.

Looking at Merz’s route it is pretty close on distance and entrance to the control. However I think it was potentially better to go up the stairs, do the climb in the latter middle part of the leg rather than what I did and came into the control having come straight up the bank and be in a little oxygen debt at the control as I was.

1 –> 2

Quickly went out to the open at the side. I may have actually gone one bend further on the main track and only flipped to this route halfway there. Once I was out in the open I was easily able to plan the next leg and get a look further along the course also.

I am happy with my route out to the open, it gave me time to plan, was easy running and I hardly had to navigate the whole way with a much more fail safe entry to the control.

2 –> 3

This leg was pretty straight forward and it was straight out and along the track, counting the junctions. I spotted the control from the track and slipped into the control easily.

Didn’t take the time here to read much ahead other than just a quick look at the options.

3 –> 4

As I didn’t have much of a plan it was straight into the green and a bit of bashing to get out to the track. I didn’t get near the track that Merz got to but I did get drawn off course and when I got out into the open I almost made a 90deg error. I stopped and hesitated making sure I was going in the right direction before running. Once Id figured it out I was just a quick sprint down the bush line and into the control.

Approached this control a little bit poorly and didn’t have a good route sorted before leaving the control. However when the shit did begin to hit the fan, I was cool enough to stop and figure it out rather than make the mistake bigger.

4 –> 5

Again with my little bit of Panic earlier on the leg before I didn’t get heaps of time to plan this one out. As I left the control I was going to go out and across the open field but halfway along the track I realised that I was better off maintaining the height and carrying around the top to drop into the control, rather than climb up to. Coming into the control I spotted the wall and made sure I ducked around the bottom as it was impassable. I got to the control just in front of the guy in my heat that left the 4th control just before me.

I think the end of this route was quite good and I could maintain an even pace right through the control. I also had checked that the control was inside the wall before approaching which worked in the favour of this route too. At the beginning I should have kept high through the open but I think it was ok the way i went also?

5 –> 6

I picked the route to the left as it looked like the fastest, not realising that there was no gap at the very end of the fence. Halfway along the road i realised there was a gap in the fence that would get me into the control faster even though I had to go backwards. I picked the gap nicely following the guy who started at the same time as me. I thought that I would be best to stick to the track and avoid short cutting the green which was very tempting and sucked in my friend who I left to bumble around in green while I punched the control.

In hindsight I did pick the right route, and I was happy about that…however I was banking on the fact that the controller had set that up so there was two routes and its only by chance I spotted the gap in the fence on the way to the control. It was a high risk manoeuvre and I was lucky that it paid off.

6 –> 7

Fairly straight forward, had a bit of time to plan ahead on the previous control, and used this time wisely. Knew I had to go to the top of the wall again before leaving 6.

I spent the majority of this leg deciding on the route to 8. I didn’t think that I had lost any time, however comparing with Amber (who had the same leg) I did the same time so I guess either she ran incredibly fast or I wasted some time somewhere on this leg?

7 –> 8

From the outset of this race my objective was to avoid stairs at all costs….however it appears that this mind set may have failed me on this leg. I went left out of the control and first intended to go out of the car park, however Ollie Markus Tivinen caught me and in the excitement I ran past the entrance to the car park, then accidently ended up left to the roadside so I gunned it while Ollie went right and down the slow stairs. His way was faster and he got in front of me. As we were running up the road I managed to get back in front of him. I stayed in front and lead him into the control. I also had some time to plan ahead and had the next leg down before getting to the control.

In hindsight Merz’s route was the best option. Again Amber and I had the same leg but she took the route to the right out of the control and down the stairs and she beat me…. Lesson learned, avoid stairs where possible however if it’s shorter in route choice it’s almost always faster to go for the route with the stairs. My mistake here cost me 10 seconds probably, just by getting too excited!

8 –> 9

Again a simple leg, basically the key was to make sure you got the right alleyway to lead you into the control. Control wasn’t quite where I was expecting it and hesitated for half second at the control. Graham Gristwood caught up to me here.

9 –> 10

I think I picked the shortest route on this one. GG followed me through the underpass, so it must have been close to ideal. He got in front of me as I took a corner to sharply around the stall. But I then got back on his tail going into the control.

Could have possibly gone way out right but straighter was always going to be faster.

10 –> 11

Had planned on route to 10 to go to the left through what turned out to be an impassable wall. So out of the control I headed left then with a second look realised I couldn’t get through and the only option was the B route. Down into the car park I went planning to go around the building then I hesitated at the entrance as I checked for the right way through the building, eventually it clicked and I found the passage. Through the passage I spotted GG again and came up the controversial olive green garden. I saw the edge extend out and I almost for half a second took the gap in the garden but wisely saw GG go around and went that way too. After I had finished I thought I may have taken that gap but looking at it later I remembered that I almost ran dead straight into a pole right at the edge of the garden so there is no way I didn’t cut through the olive green. From there it was across the grass and up the stairs to the control on the balcony.

Ideally I should have spotted that there was an impassable wall on my planned route earlier, but it was the planning that caught me out, I just figured there would be two major options but in hind sight there was two major options just only one was viable and the other was clearly not. I recovered alright and I believe I did make the right choice by doubling back.

11 à 12

I had a rough plan sorted by the time I got to the bottom of the stairs and as it happened GG was going in the same direction which made the navigation all that much easier. I didn’t realise that there was another split at this point and just happened to run to the right control on my map.

Again there was not much route choice option here, potentially there was the route through the shopping mall, but I’m not sure I would have picked it after going back and looking at it again.

12 –>13

Started running off madly from the control across the courtyard, then once I had figured out the direction I wanted I reoriented myself. As I came across the grass on the north side of the road I quickly checked to see that it was open land and passable but also noticed at the same time that the grass in the park across the road was olive green. I realised this and figured with all the people standing around that it would be cordoned off or something so I hugged the path and saw GG punch the last control. From that point until I punch the control is a complete blur…but somehow I made it!

Had I had a better plan I could have run a more direct route into the park. I think there may have been maybe 2-3 seconds in it…but every second counts.

13 –> F

We all knew from the program that it was going to be a long run in and it was hard work pushing all the way around, then the cones ended and it became difficult to see where you had to run, but everyone sort of figured it out. Then it was just one great push to the finish on the stage!

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