Tactics   Leave a comment

On Saturday I ran the Israeli Billygoat event, in which I last participated a couple of years ago. This time I qualified for the 50 and over age group, I was in a hurry (to save Roni from the kids), and I’m trying to work on my speed, so I opted for the Medium course. We had a mass start 8.6 km course in Ben-Shemen forest and could skip 3 controls.

Unlike on the Long course, I was expecting to be in one of the top places and to have some good competition, so I had all my tactics ready: don’t make mistakes at the beginning, read the map before you start running with the pack, choose the right controls to skip, prefer to skip towards the end of the course. All that went down the drain after 10 seconds… There were around 100 starters and I wanted to look at the map before I started, so as everyone pushed forward towards the starting line I kept back and a bit to the side. Then I opened the map, looked at it for 5 seconds, did a 180 degree turn and took off towards control 2.


my GPS wasn’t working ūüė¶

A minute later I looked back and I was alone. From that moment onward I was orienteering by myself, though I was overtaken temporarily at controls 4-5 by some of the juniors who had skipped control 3 (and are much faster than me) and a couple of others who had skipped both 1 and 3. The eventual winner, 14 year old Peleg Metzafon, went past me between 11 and 13, and I finished half a minute behind him, with all the others a long way back. So much for tactics.

My analysis of the results and control skips is on Tableau Public. I skipped controls 1, 6 and 12, and maybe 3 was better than 1, but then I would have been stuck with the pack for the start and I probably ran better while alone. It didn’t feel like running a mass start event, but the course was still fun, fast (as it should be – I ran 7.5 min/km), and with enough skipping options to make it interesting. Thanks to Itay Manor for the planning.



Posted 25/01/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Naura   Leave a comment

Israel is a small country, and sometimes we feel that we’ve already discovered all the great orienteering terrain, and there’s nothing new left to explore. But last summer I discovered a gem while running the Gilbo’a single-track. A couple of weeks later I had a Lidar base map, and on Friday we held a low-key local event on the first part of the map of Naura.

Naura picture

The nice part of this terrain is the forested ravine that winds through, something quite rare in this country. The rest of the forest is also very nice and contains a few surprises in the small details. I really enjoyed the mapping, and planning the courses on such a tiny map was also a challenge (the long course is below). I used ISOM 2017 for the first time, but had no need of any of the new symbols.

Now I plan to continue the map to the north and west, and next year we’ll probably hold a larger event. I intend to do much more mapping this year than during the previous years, but I still haven’t decided on a major project after this one.

Naura course 20180112.Long

Posted 17/01/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Forest Ruins   Leave a comment

Saturday’s national event was on the ruins of Lavi Forest. Literally ruins, because the forest is undergoing renewal and there’s not much left of it, and also much of the area contains actual ruins.

The first map of Lavi was made in 1980, and then I remapped it in 1999. My map contained 239 wells and pits, and apparently this one has 242, so not much has changed on the ground. We used the map for lots of events, including our first 100-control race in 2006, but stopped a few years ago after the forestry work started.

I enjoyed my run and placed first in H45, but in my opinion making a new map was a waste of time and resources. Much of the area looks and feels like a wasteland, some parts already can’t be used because of more recent felling and new fences, and as soon as some of the newly planted trees start to grow orienteering will become almost impossible. I don’t think we’ll orienteer here again in the near future, and in 2030 a new map will be needed again.


Comparing my map (on the left) and the new one makes me quite proud of my work. Apart from the obvious changes in vegetation and man-made features, nearly every feature that I drew is there – and this was before LIDAR and laser rangefinders, with just a simple base map and an aerial photo.

Lavi Comparison

Posted 25/12/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Autumn updates   Leave a comment

First, good news: Eytan Amiaz, after suffering a cardiac arrest two weeks ago, has beaten the statistics and is alive and conscious, though still far from well. Hopefully he will orienteer again, but I think it’s unlikely anyone will allow him to carry on as ISOA chairman.

I ran the national event at Nachshonim where it happened, but luckily I forgot my GPS so I can’t display my rubbish orienteering. I was in totally non-competitive mode, but still managed to finish 3rd in H45.

Last Saturday was more fun. We managed to arrange for Roni’s parents to look after the kids for half a day (not easy at all) and so we were able to participate in the Adulam mini-rogaine together. This was a 5-hour rogaine in relatively gentle hills, and we ran much farther than expected – 32.4 km in total, winning the women’s category easily and finishing 6th overall. The detailed split time analysis is here, and there was also live GPS tracking using mobile phones for many of the teams. Our route is below:


We are well into the season here, Autumn is the best time for orienteering (not too hot, very little undergrowth), and there are events every weekend, but most of my activities are limited to Friday mornings, when the children are busy but I’m not working. On Saturdays we can’t drag them to every event, and even then only one of us can run. On the Fridays I’m in charge of club training sessions, doing some mapping work – I added a section to my 2009 map of Akbara and now I’m mapping a new area – and hoping to put in a few long runs. Roni is slowly adapting to life as a Maths teacher (long nights preparing lessons) but she’s also starting to run and ride her bike a bit more than previously.

Posted 10/11/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Praying for Eytan   1 comment

Eytan Amiaz, chairman of the Israel Sport Orienteering Association, suffered a massive heart attack yesterday during the national event at Nachshonim. He had retired from the race feeling unwell, but seemed to be OK and then suddenly collapsed. Luckily, because he was at the assembly area, there were a number of doctors nearby and also a defibrillator, and an ambulance arrived quite quickly.

Eytan is now in intensive care in hospital and we are all praying for him to recover, but no-one knows yet how much damage his heart and brain have suffered. He is 58 years old and one of the leaders in the H55 category, so quite fit, and obviously passed all his annual checkups as required.


Posted 29/10/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Consistency   Leave a comment

Last Saturday we (Galilee O-Club) won the relay again, repeating our feat from 2014. Dan_glasses

The system was the same – your top three teams from the four categories (open, senior, women, youth) count for the total. Our women’s team won for the fifth year in a row.¬†The seniors won for the first time – we’re always one of the favourites, but this time no-one messed up. And in the open category, my team managed to stay close enough to the winners to get the necessary points.

We won because our orienteers were consistent – everyone performed on the day, despite the fact that we had five “first team” orienteers missing and only five of our teams finished the race. We’re not a very large club any more, and we’re ranked 6th in the league. I would have expected some of the leading clubs to have no problem beating us, but either they weren’t performing or their team selection wasn’t very good. They definitely entered many more teams than we did.

With our only elite runner, Asaf Avner, on World Cup duty, I was the anchor leg for our two top H21B’s – Alex Kozlov and Yair Shemla. I didn’t have a clue that my run would affect the overall result, and I was running alone anyway, so it was more like a regular orienteering event for me. I started out in 5th place, expecting to catch Lev Hasharon Club’s Hagai Lederer who had a lead of a few minutes, and to be passed easily by Aram Yaakoby (HaSharon) and Alexey Marchenko (Emek Hefer) who started just after me, and that’s exactly what happened, so we finished 6th.

The course itself was on an updated map of Nachshonim forest, which we’ve been using forever, and was nice but didn’t feel like a relay. I think the different options were a bit too spread out and also differed in length. I was using my new glasses for the first time, so I could see the map again after a few years of slow deterioration of my eyesight, and that made the orienteering easier than what I’m used to, but I haven’t raced for three months and my speed is non-existent. I’ll be¬†working on that¬†again soon.


Posted 03/06/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Home Run   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was right next to home, in the hills between Nazareth and Alonim. The western edge of the map is about 2 km from our house. So our race¬†was a home run,¬†but in more ways than one.

There were 4, 7 and 10 hour options, and we chose 7 hours (only) for two reasons – mainly because we couldn’t leave the children with my parents (average age: 75) for so long, but also because Roni hasn’t been training at all and I’ve been neglecting the long distances in order to focus on other things.

I wasn’t expecting too much. I hadn’t trained properly over the month since the Israeli championship due to a head cold and a niggle in my right knee. Roni had a cold and I didn’t know if she would hold up. We were worried about the children. I always slow down with severe knee pain after 5-6 hours. And so on…

But this was our tenth Rogaine together, and experience helps. Once we got the map (30 minutes before the start) everything clicked into place. The planning was a no-brainer: nearly all the points were on the southern and eastern side of the map, so we planned to start south and circle from south-east to north-east. Points were from 1 to 6 (the first digit of the control number), so we totally ignored the ones. I had the whole route written down within 7 minutes, based on an expected straight line pace of 4 km/hour, slower than our usual, and we then planned some additions in case we had time.

Once we started, Roni was her usual rogaining self and couldn’t be stopped. The first part was the steepest, but included the most points, so after 3 hours we had 42 of our total 72 points, and the rest of the race was a much more moderate long distance jog. We finished with 6 minutes to spare and won the 7-hour race overall with 5 points to spare (note: the very best teams were doing 10 hours, of course), covering 29.2 km in a straight line (just faster than planned) and 41.2 km in the terrain. My knees didn’t act up, and apart from general fatigue and sore muscles we were OK at the end. My parents even brought the kids to meet us at the finish.

The most difficult part was the recovery, because there wasn’t one – just take three small children home and manage them until bedtime!

Thanks to the organisers for the planning and effort, and to nature for a beautiful day and millions of flowers. Next time the children will be slightly older and easier to cope with, we’ll be better prepared, and hopefully we can choose the longest¬†option.

I now have three rogaine maps within a 20 km radius of home, covering about 200 square km of terrain and making for infinite running opportunities, if I have time. And if I have time I’d love to start work on a fourth, but I can’t see it happening very soon.



Nazareth in the background (photo by Dalia Ravid)

Posted 28/03/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Peak Performance   3 comments

One of the ways to win a race is to perform at your best when it’s needed. That’s what I planned for today, and that’s how it worked out.

I don’t have much time for training nowadays, but I know how to use my time effectively and how to prepare for a competition. The last few months have all been focused on this event, on running a bit faster and climbing the hills without flagging. With a¬†3 minute deficit from day one¬†I planned to give everything, all the way.

I started the 6.9 km course late, and knew the result I needed in order to overtake my good friend Oded Verbin, who beat me yesterday. The course was long distance style, which I like, but also technically demanding. I had a few small misses but nothing really bad, and at control 17 I already knew that I had won. Physically I felt fantastic, and I think I haven’t put so much effort into a race for years, but it paid off – first place in H40 in the Israeli Championships, for the fourth time (out of five attempts), at the age of almost 49.

The updated map of Ben-Shemen forest is quite good, but I didn’t like the drawing – too many black dots, and the contours still have the LIDAR squiggles. There were also a few significant unmarked features, most obviously a large cliff next to control 13.

A quick look at the split times gives me the impression that my competitors started quite fast but slowed down, and my splits get better (comparatively) as the course progresses. That reinforces my belief that my running ability made a difference.

My headcam video from the first day is now online here.


Posted 25/02/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

The Thrill of Competition   Leave a comment

Most of my orienteering is for fun. I usually run H35 because it’s the longest (and therefore most enjoyable) course available, I don’t care about any rankings, and I do my best because the satisfaction of a good run is part of the fun.

But I’ve always loved the thrill and pressure of competition, and in this year’s Israeli Championships I had three choices: H35 (no chance of winning), H45 (probably win easily), or H40 – where there’s stiff competition but I am capable of winning and would be disappointed to miss out on the podium. I decided a long time ago that I would run H40, and that’s what I’ve been training for.

Today was day one¬†– shorter courses than usual (“middle” distance) on a new map of an old area -Tarom / Tel Zor’a. This is actually my third championship here, after 1991 and 2005. The terrain is steep, stony and green, very green, and the running was slow, but the map is very good and the course was technical and challenging. I had a good run physically, but made a few mistakes, notably at control 9 where I lost around 3 minutes, and I finished third in 52:57. I ran with my headcam so there will be a video later on.

The top two are just over 50 minutes, 4th is less than a minute behind me, and 12th place is still less than 10 minutes back, so tomorrow is going to be thrilling. The courses in Ben-Shemen forest are longer, and some of the terrain is apparently just as tough, so anything can happen. I still hope to win, and definitely to stay on the podium.


Posted 24/02/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Family O   Leave a comment

We’re orienteering as a family almost every weekend now, if the weather is right. A couple of weeks ago we did a course in the sand dunes near the coast (with all four children). The highlight was that Matan (now 2 and 8 months), who has always been in a carrier on my back most of the course, decided after the first control that he wanted to walk by himself, and stayed on his own two feet almost until the end. It was great fun.


Roni and the three smaller children

Then last Saturday there was a national event at Segev. I ran early and then Roni arrived with the kids. The H35 course was long (10.3 km) and tough physically, but much too easy on the orienteering. Despite that, I enjoyed the run and it was a good rehearsal for the next race Рthe Israeli Championships.

We then did part of the family course, with Matan again choosing to walk by himself, and it was great (even though my legs were knackered from the race and I had to carry him when he tired). The children love the forest and nature, and of course looking for controls, and we don’t feel as if we’re dragging them with us to events because we want to run. This Saturday we’ll do it again…


Posted 16/02/2017 by dchissick in Uncategorized

Tagged with