While everyone is following EOC in Portugal, we had our annual relay championship in Park Eshkol, on the edge of the desert. My team managed to finish in a very surprising second place in the open category, and my club (Galilee) took first place overall.
I ran the anchor leg. Asaf Avner started for us and came back in 4th place, Ayal Parish-Plass managed to hold on to that and get even closer to second and third, and I started my run a minute behind third and another 90 seconds behind second (Hasharon club were out of sight in the lead). The video below starts just before Ayal passes the spectator control, 3 minutes before the changeover.
(There’s a video by Daniel Griff of the first leg here)
I caught the third place (Idan Lanes from Izrael Valley club) at control 3, and caught sight of Dennis Padan of ASA Tel-Aviv club just before 6 (he’s in the white shirt). We then both made a mistake at 8, and apparently he made another mistake at 9 (a different control from mine) and I was 100-200m ahead of him for the rest of the race, though I didn’t know it until I passed the spectator control.
The overall club championship is decided on a points basis, counting the best three teams from each club over the four categories (open, women, seniors and juniors). Our women’s team finished first again (same as last year, when they were anchored by Roni – now in the 32nd week), our seniors team were fourth but only a minute or so behind the winners, and together with our open result we surprised everyone except myself (I always believe we can win this) and took first place.
It was a great achievement, even counting the fact that three national team runners from different clubs are at EOC and could have made a difference. The map is as far as can be (south) from our club area (north), and despite this all our best orienteers showed up and gave it a go.
On Saturday we held the 2014 Rogaine – a project that I’ve been working on for almost a year. Over 140 teams competed in 5-hour, 6-hour (bike) and 8-hour races on the map below, on a beatiful sunny day in the Ramot Menashe region of Israel.
Since last June I have run over 220 km in the terrain, mapping the western part of the map from scratch (the rest is based on a previous map) and marking all 33 controls, and spent countless hours drawing the new area, modifying the old one, and planning on my computer. It all culminated in two days of hard work (with some other volunteers, of course) and 400 tired but happy orienteers on Saturday afternoon.
Most importantly, no-one was injured, though we evacuated two exhausted rogainers back to the starting point, and we even recovered all the controls.
The statistics can probably be analysed in many different ways, but here are some highlights (note that points were awarded according to the first digit of the control number, and there were 145 teams):
- The least visited control was 50 (10 teams) – not surprisingly.
- The most popular control was 42 (90 teams), one of only 5 controls to be visited by more than half of the teams.
- Of the “expensive” controls (80’s and 90’s), 90 (the highest point on the map) and 85 (an old tank in an army training area) were the most popular. 80 was the least popular.
- Most teams started with 40, 42 or 44 (divided almost evenly), with only 16 teams starting at any other control.
- The most popular leg, other than those involving the start or finish, was 55 to 54 (33 teams).
- The winning team – my great friends and rivals Noam and Naomi – reached 162 points and visited 25 controls, covering 51 km on the ground. The winning bike team had 159 points.
I put a lot of thought into the placing of the controls and their point values, trying to create difficult choices for everyone and also to make sure that all parts of the map would be visited. If you divide the map into three general areas, then about 21% of points were gained in the south-east, 34% in the north, and 44% in the south-west. This ratio holds steady for the 5-hour teams, who had no chance to cover the whole map and had to pick a direction. I’m counting that as a success – it means that I managed to split the field and send the teams in all possible directions.
I can also admit now that it was really convenient for me to organise the rogaine when Roni is pregnant and we can’t compete together, and it was part of the plan from the start. Next year I hope we’ll be participating as a team again.