When the going gets tough…   1 comment

Yesterday’s race at Burma Road was a slog – long (by Israeli standards), physical, and thorny. I enjoyed it. I was almost alone in the forest, because I started very early (so I could finish in time for Roni to run as well), and for the first time in years my physical shape is good enough to enable me to run such a course without suffering too much. The H35 course is the same as our elite (H21A), so I can’t complain that it was too long or steep. If I get lazy I’ll run H40 or H45.

I finished the 8.5 km course in 1:34:38, which was good enough for 2nd place on the day but only 4th place overall. My full route is below – note that most of the zig-zagging through the forest is caused by detours round thick vegetation or newly uprooted trees from the last storm, and not by terrible compass work. Roni, 4 months pregnant and after taking care of Alon all morning, won D21C at a jog…

There were lots of complaints about the toughness of the terrain and quality of the map. I disagree. Yes, the forest is steep and has lots of undergrowth, and orienteering here is hard, but that’s part of our sport and you can’t hold competitions only in areas where the elite can run 5min/km (Pasi Ikonen, on a training camp here, ran just under 8 min/km). And the map, made by professional Czech mappers, is very good. The second day of the Israeli Championship is just across the valley and will be just as tough.

Controls 8 and 9The major controversy was caused by controls 8 and 9 on our course, which were both misplaced (9 was apparently at the position of 8). Nearly everyone lost time there, and other courses were affected as well, but the final decision was not to void the results, though there’s an ongoing appeal regarding the rankings. I got lost there anyway, and then found control 9 without even knowing it was wrong, and backtracked to 8.

Mistakes happen, of course, especially when all involved are volunteers, but they shouldn’t happen on a map of this quality and at an important championship, and this time there will probably be some serious discussion of our standards for controlling major events and for dealing with such problems when they occur. I’m not in a decision-making position, but I’ll probably be involved at some point. Hopefully, something constructive will come out of it.

My route

Posted 29/12/2013 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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One response to “When the going gets tough…

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  1. I beg to differ. The last time I checked, orienteering was a sport where you have to go through a predefined course as fast as you can. It is not about testing your mettle. It should not be carried out in terrains that exact undue injuries. There is almost no way to design a course in that terrain that would enable you to run without constantly having to dodge thorns or risk getting seriously cut (and many were severely cut in that event). This is not basic training. This is a sports event. I view the enthusiasm from adverse conditions and risky terrain as nothing but juvenile. Grown persons should put safety first, before and above everything else. Anyone past his teen period should really take a good look in the mirror if he still feels the urge to prove his manhood time and again. The competition would have been served just as well in more hospitable terrains. The terrain also drives beginners away from this sport and I assume that it is not one of the objectives.
    As for the map, it fails in exactly the regions that it is needed the most – thick, thorny undergrowth. There are several places that one would have expected a decent path, only to find himself up against a wall of thorns. This makes the orienteering a crap shoot. Not very fair to compete under those conditions.
    As for the decision to uphold the results – I don’t think that there was any other way to go. It would have been technically impossible to delete the legs in time for the ceremony. You could tell that the management had its stomach turning while announcing the decision. I do hope that they at least ignore the results for the season ranking purposes since most, if not all, categories were affected by this scandelous control placement. I have a feeling that it would not have happened to you.

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