On Saturday Emek Hefer O-Club, who are trying (and succeeding) to inject some new spirit into orienteering in Israel, set up a sprint orienteering event in Yamin Moshe, a relatively old suburb of Jerusalem right next to the old city. Normally we wouldn’t travel so far from home for 20 minutes of orienteering, but this time it fit in with some other plans so we went, and weren’t disappointed at all.
The parking was comfortable, the assembly area was in a park with grass, shade, a playground, and a warmup map, the course itself was fun, and near the finish there was a large fountain for the children to play around. My time was slow because I ran with a strained muscle in my back (which is now keeping me at home), but I ran with the headcam and the video can be seen here. I had a few small hesitations, notably at 2 and 8, and a detour between 12 and 13 that was caused by a group of scouts blocking the way.
Thanks to Alexey Marchenko for the course and to Alex Lipovich for the map – I know how much patience is needed for an area like this. I’m sure it will be helpful in promoting orienteering in Jerusalem.
I’m on business in Singapore again, and with my orienteering friends out of town I registered for the Energizer Night Trail Run on Saturday night, not exactly knowing what to expect but confident that I could finish the 18 km course. I did some research in advance, using Google Earth and last year’s video and results, but there were still some surprises waiting for me.
The first was the race’s PR team. They contacted me by e-mail asking for details before the race, and arranged for a telephone interview with Singapore radio (which I then heard, by chance, while in a taxi travelling back from work). Then at the race I was met by nice Lu Minru, who had a sack of gifts for me in addition to the standard participant’s bag full of goodies.
The second surprise was the course. I knew there would be hills, and even how high they were, but I didn’t know how steep. Based on the distance and last year’s results I was expecting to run 1:35-1:40, which would have placed me in 20-30th place, and the start looked good as I ran the first 4 km in about 20 minutes, gaining some height along the way, but then came a couple of really steep uphills, including one that reduced me to walking, and my pace slowed drastically. After the first 6 km loop we merged with the stream of 12 km starters, and from then on I was overtaking much of the time. The 11th km included the famous Hill 265 (feet), with a very steep and sandy climb that reduced everyone to scrambling and even had a rope for the weaker climbers, and then there were a few more steep parts before a long and comfortable run-in on a slight downhill.
I finished the run (measured by my GPS at 17.5 km) in 1:43:56 and 55th place (out of 665 men). It was a tough challenge, but very satisfying to finish and a great experience. The organisation was great, except for the kilometer markings on the route which were quite inaccurate (see below). I would certainly run it again, but obviously there’s only a very slim chance that I’ll be in Singapore again for next year’s race.