Our first orienteering race of this season was an evening mini-rogaine of 4 hours starting in Park HaYarkon, in the centre of Tel-Aviv, last Friday. Basically it’s a very long and flat stretch of park and some orchards on both sides of the Yarkon river, from the Mediterranean Sea in the west and almost 9 km inland to the east.
Roni and myself are nowhere near competitive fitness, but we saw this as a unique opportunity for some quality time together, and knew we could last the course, even though our last competitive rogaine (12 hours and hilly) was 2.5 years ago. We also assumed that we could get all 29 controls, and planned accordingly without measuring distances. In the end we were 3:20 minutes late, mostly due to a planning error on our part – we misread the X marking the bridge near 93 as blocked, and had to detour to take the control.
It was a long race: 32.4 km, running most of the time, with a couple of strategic spells of walking. The map (rotated – east is up) is below, with some annotations. We had perfectly even splits – at 2:01:40 the distance covered was exactly 16.2 km. Our plan was to minimise river crossings (though there were 15 bridges) by going east on the south side, crossing to the north, back all the way to the west on the north, and then back to the start on the south. We lost very little time on the orienteering, but the last hour or so of running was really tough on Roni, especially as we already knew we’d be late and had decided to take all the controls anyway as long as we could make it without being disqualified (over 15 minutes late). The race against time from the tip of the pier (92) to the finish was murder, and looking for the last control (72) in pitch dark woods was a challenge, but it was worth it. We both ran again yesterday morning (2.5 days after), so there are no ill effects. Thanks to Pavel Levitsky for planning a great course, as usual.
And hopefully there will be some real orienteering stuff soon – it’s getting a bit cooler at last.