Tuesday, 23 April 2013

British Sprint Orienteering Champion!

The season continued with the British sprint and middle distance championships. The sprint was the real focus for me - I not only wanted to win but I wanted it to be a really good performance. Nowadays, there are so many 'urban' orienteering races in Britain which are usually double the length of sprints and often technically less demanding. This means that proper sprint courses like Saturday's are a rare chance to prepare for the summer's international competitions.

I achieved my aims as I became British Champion with a run that I was satisfied with, although the day wasn't all plain sailing. I was all out of sorts on Saturday morning for a variety of very silly reasons including missing a motorway junction on the way to the race. Although we were actually ok for timing and making our starts, it was not good for stress levels!

So it was not a surprise that the qualification race was a far more chaotic experience than it needed to be. I ran fairly steadily knowing that I'm running well enough to qualify without going flat out. However I wasn't counting on making a minute mistake confusing north for south and hunting around the wrong side of the building.  Thankfully this wasn't critical and I made it through to the final, joint 1st place in my heat.

I realised that I needed to use the two hours between the heats and final to sort my head out. And it was just as well I did as the course we faced in the final required intense map reading right from the start. I started too hard and lost a few seconds on the first couple. I flustered my way through them without a great deal of control and no forward planning. Looking back, I was very close to a more serious mistake but I just about kept enough map contact to keep in touch with the girls who were running the faster splits through this section.

Full course on routegadget here
I got to the 5th control and realised I needed to get a grip. I stopped for a second or two, planned a good route and continued on. I did the same on the way to the 6th and 7th controls, and although I wasn't hitting them perfectly, I felt a lot calmer. I was then treated to a few longer legs with the opportunity to get up to top speed. This settled my routine a lot better and I was able to cope with the multilevels, route choices and return into the complex student housing area well. I was really pleased with this final section of the course and it was enough to get me to the finish with a 30 second lead.

All in all, I was very pleased with the result and the performance. For the past few years I have continually messed up tricky sprints and I'm so happy to have cracked one!

The following day was the middle distance where I produced a typical Tessa 2013 performance out in the forest which included a lot of very fast running but in the wrong direction at the vital moments. I didn't give the tricky quarries enough respect and so finished a bit too far down. I did have a bit of a laugh at myself though - will I ever work it out?

From the DVO website

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