I’ve now won the Israeli Championship six times since the age of 35 – out of nine attempts (I organised it three times). The other results were second, third and fourth. Is it because I’m always a better orienteer than everyone my age? Probably not. I think that some of my success is due to the fact that I take the championship more seriously than most of my competitors, put more effort into my preparations, and basically treat it as the main goal for nearly every season. Another reason is that no-one runs in the right age group any more, and neither do I. The top four in H40 are all over 45, and there were at least three eligible competitors in H35 who could have beaten all of us.
The weather was better than expected, but I still started on Friday in about 5°C and heavy rain, which cleared up during my run. The 1:15,000 map was in my opinion over-detailed for this scale, and barely readable by my aging eyes, but I managed to orienteer really well, with very little time loss, up to control 11. Then I tried to go straight to 12, lost contact, and lost at least 2 minutes. I finished the 7.7km course in 1:06:57 and second place, 2:11 down on first and way ahead of third. The course was a classic distance, but I didn’t like the long legs – they were all about finding the controls, with almost no route choice
Saturday was the shorter day, a middle distance event on 1:7,500 at Timrat, and the weather had impoved significantly. An hour before my start I was still at home, trying to lull Matan to sleep, but I still had time to arrive, check out the finish, and warm up properly. Again, I had a really good first part of the course, in very tricky (but enjoyable) terrain, but messed up (3 minutes?) at 16 and a bit more at 18 (I wasn’t sure that I was on the path). When I finished I was sure that the result, 42:38 for 3.6km, wasn’t good enough for a win, but it turned out that most people (at all ages) had more problems with the terrain, and I won my category comfortably by almost 5 minutes.
I’m happy with my performance. I gave everything physically (notably on the climb between 6 and 7 on day 1) and felt the benefits of some anaerobic sessions from the last month. I had one large mistake (by my standards) on each day, but considering the conditions and lack of practice I performed as well as I expect of myself in a championship. I also need to thank Roni, who ran on both days but had really bad results and took most of the burden of caring for the children.