Archive for February 2016
Still in Singapore, yesterday I ran in the Green Race Ultra Challenge, a trail run based on loops of 9.3 km, with options to run one loop, two, or as many as you can in 8 hours. I chose the two loop option, and since the start was at 08:15 I prepared myself for the worst of the Singapore heat and humidity.
In the end the heat wasn’t that bad, but my race was. I started much too fast, partly because of the deceptive first 3 km, on a flat and easy track, but then the hills started – lots of small and steep ones – and I finished the first loop with severe cramping. I started the second loop much slower, walking some of the hills, and recovered a bit towards the end, but my splits were 51:47 and 63:10, which is pretty awful. I finished 9th out of 71, and I couldn’t have improved more than 2-3 places anyway. My route is on Strava.
The course was half an easy track, which here is basically a wide grass strip with a dirt single-track in the middle , usually used by bikes, and half a scenic walking/bike trail through the jungle, which was very similar to running a single-track back at home, except the rocks are replaced by tree roots. On the first loop I wondered why the various tourists we passed were pointing their cameras up at the trees beside the trail, but then I realised that they were trying to take pictures of the monkeys!
Speaking of pictures – I’ve never seen so many photographers at a running event, at so many places along the course. The Running Shots team took loads of pictures and the best ones of me are below.
I’m on another business trip to Singapore, but this time there is progress on the ground. My compatriot Gil Rinat is still on relocation here, and he managed to connect the Singaporean orienteering group to Davidi Segal, one of our experienced mappers who has lots of vacation time and adult children (unlike myself). They paid for him to travel, and he just finished making a few park maps.
Yesterday after work I ran with Gil on Pasir Ris, a large seaside park in the north of Singapore. It was probably the easiest orienteering I’ve done for years, but it was fun – not too hot with a brisk sea breeze, mostly flat grass and paved trails, and some very nice features. We just marked some controls on the map and ran the course as fast as we could, which was 4.75 km in 26:04.
They can definitely organise an event here soon, and there are plans for more maps and races in the future, with Gil giving advice as long as he’s here. Hopefully Singapore will soon be one of the IOF’s newest member states.
For the first time since 2003 (my last year in H21A) I participated in the Israeli Championship with no expectation of finishing on the podium, and therefore no pressure. That’s a consequence of running H35 this year in order to enjoy the longer courses. For some reason the championship was a middle distance on both days, so the difference in course lengths was minimal, but because H35 is the same course as H21A and both days were WREs I decided to stay in the category and see how many world ranking points I could get (not yet published, so I don’t know).
Both maps are newly mapped versions of well-known areas, and not easy, especially with the high undergrowth at this time of year. Day one at Kivrot HaMaccabim was slower, and I enjoyed the course less, but not because it was less technical. I lost some time on the first three controls and then I “clicked” and managed the rest of the course with very few problems (4.9 km, 51:33). Day two in Ben-Shemen forest was faster, with a great course – technical with a variety of challenges and cleverly placed controls – planned by Eyal Heiman. I had a very good run until control 19, where I managed to lose a couple of minutes, but it wouldn’t have made a difference to the end result (5.8 km, 53:02). I finished 5th in the championship.
Roni, halfway through her third pregnancy (this time it’s a girl) “ran” only the second day and enjoyed getting away from studying to become a maths teacher. We had to skip the ceremony and rush home, because I’m off to Singapore again, and I’m now blogging from Amman airport. There will be orienteering-related news from Singapore later on…
I haven’t done any competitive orienteering lately, but I’ve been busy organising my largest project for this season – 123 controls. Yesterday it finished successfully.
This is the third time I’ve organised a 100-control event, but the previous occurrences were in 2006 and 2009, and I didn’t have two toddlers taking up much of my time. This time I partnered with Itay Manor of Modi’in O-Club, whom I’m coaching as well, and we split the planning and marking between us.
The terrain I chose was Tel Azeka – Srigim, which is relatively close to the centre of Israel, very well mapped by Czech mappers, and has a multitude of features. The long course was 14.4 km and had 25 finishers, with a winning time of 2:10. There were shorter courses with 62 and 30 controls as well, and those who finished 123 or 60 received a car sticker similar to the ones you see for marathon and half-marathons (thanks to Ziv for the brilliant idea).
One of the most challenging parts of the planning was the control punching. Most of the SportIdent chips in Israel are limited to 30 punches, so even though we could have collected 123 control units, it wouldn’t have been effective. In the end I planned it using a long list in Excel: The Short course had SI units on all 30 controls. The Medium course had SI units on 30 controls out of 62, and just a bare holder (with number and flag, of course) on the others. The Long course had SI units on 52 out of the 123 controls, and 30 of them had an additional sticker designating that they were to be punched. There was lots of computer work at the end, mainly for orienteers who punched controls twice so their chip filled up early, but the system worked.
I vowed, very publicly, that I’m not organising anything similar until I’m able to participate in one myself, preferably before I’m too old to finish the long course. It remains to see who will rise to the challenge.