Tuesday, 9 July 2013

5th at World Orienteering Championships Sprint

Photo: Martin Ward, British Orienteering

I just sort of knew it. Or was it just that I was hoping so much that I believed it? I'd set my aim of a podium at WOC this year knowing it was ambitious but I just had this feeling it would all go to plan. Well, it didn't quite do that - but the end result was just what I had dreamed of.

It's impossible to talk about my race without mentioning the previous 2 days although I actually don't think it made a difference by the time the final came. 36 hours previously I came down with a really sudden stomach bug and spent the night emptying everything I had inside me. Sunday was spent catching up on sleep and trying to get back the food and water I'd lost. By that evening I had had a few sandwiches and plain rice and I was feeling much better.

Weirdly I wasn't too fussed by it all. Or maybe I was too whacked to be fussed. All I knew was that I needed to be on that startline in Sotkamo. I couldn't leave Finland without finding out what I could have done.

Qualifier Course (Heat 1) GPS and full map here

By Monday I was feeling ok. The qualifier in the morning was a struggle but I got round safely. A lot of the top girls were also taking it steady and as the course criss-crossed the area, I saw a number of them and I could use their pace for a sensible guide. It all passed without too much fuss (well except for muppet Murray running off the map and scraping through to the final in the end).

I was feeling better by the hour - who else was doing that I thought!? Honestly, by the time I was on the startline, I was fine. I had plenty of energy to get me through 15 minutes. I was excited, I was ready. Bring it on.

My route choice that climbed me up onto the podium
Full map and GPS here WorldofO analysis here

The course itself was excellent. What had looked like a dull area for sprint orienteering had been modified with over 50 artificial uncrossable fences making every leg a tricky decision. I felt like I got into a good zone of planning ahead enough but still keeping concentration on where I was. I did 2 small errors that I can think of, one large hesitation as I got that planning ahead balance wrong (control 3) and another time I ran into the wrong garage area but quickly realised (on the way to control 9). I think I picked a very good route on the long leg (control 17) which brought me up into the podium places but did lose a few seconds in the final short controls, either on fitness, control flow or not quite finding a fence gap at the end.

Final steps
Photo: Martin Ward, British Orienteering
It was a nervous wait as people came in. When it was confirmed as 5th I completely broke down. I knew I would do it. It was more than just hoping. But still to actually do it was just fantastic.

The team effort was just amazing - Scott Fraser achieving one of Britain's best ever results with a silver medal brought more tears to everybody's eyes. Murray improving yet again with a seriously impressive 9th. Kris Jones' debut result of 16th shows just how much more our British team has in the tank too and Sarah Rollins' 20th was equally impressive after a tough few days. Watching the union jack go up for Scott on the podium was wonderful and has set the tone for a great week here in Vuokatti.

As with any result, there are a lot more people than just the athlete that have made the result happen. I won't make a list here - I hope to thank you all personally. But also thank you to everybody who has contacted me. I'm still smiling and it's going to last a while.

Still smiling

1 comment:

  1. Very informative! I will read it again and again when I will get leisure time.

    Best virtual shopping in Bd