Maximum Effort   Leave a comment

Last weekend was the Israeli Championship. I don’t have many opportunities to race this season, so this was my main goal and most of my training was geared towards this event. I had decided early on to compete in H45 for the first time, mainly because it’s my last opportunity at this age group (next year I have to do H50), so I prepared for the shorter courses, after 14 years in H35/40, by focusing a bit more than usual on my running speed.

Theoretically I was the favourite to win, at least amongst the Israelis. There are two orienteers in this age group who can definitely beat me, Nir Yasur and Noam Ravid, but both are still sticking to H35. Nevertheless, I had no intention of taking it easy, and there were also a couple of foreign orienteers of unknown ability to contend with.

The first day was a middle distance at Sataf, a very steep and detailed area near Jerusalem that I had last visited 15 years ago and was newly mapped this year. The stone terraces are so close to each other that they were marked with grey lines, as the regular symbol with the black dots wouldn’t fit. On a chilly day, the warmup map was nice, and so was the long start run on a path in order to get oriented. The course was tough, and so was the terrain, but I managed to avoid any serious mistakes and get through the 3.5 km distance in 34:01 and first place, but just 4 seconds ahead of Estonian Margus Klementsov, with the others spread out from about 2 minutes behind us. My route is below, and so is the headcam video. You can see in the video that one of my problems is sweat on my spectacles, and I’m trying to wipe them down several times.20180223_Sataf_route

Day two was at Beit Anaba, another well-used map that had been re-made last year (I wasn’t at the event) and enlarged again this year. This time it was a “long” distance, though not very long for old people like me, on classic Israeli semi-open and pine forest.

I was supposed to start two minutes after Margus, but luckily I missed my start time because we were delayed by the children. Why luckily? Lucky for him, because he made a big mistake at the first control and I would have caught him. Lucky for me, because it made for a fair race and that’s what I prefer.

I put in the maximum effort – all 110% of it, as I usually do in a championship. I made a few mistakes: got thrown off course to control 3 by a flock of goats and a wall of nettles, lost time at 5 and 8 because of blurred spectacles, and because of the same goats at 7. At 9 I took off the spectacles and continued without them (the map was 1:7500, so still readable), and at the end I was absolutely flying. I couldn’t go any faster, and finished the 6.4 km course in 57:09, but Margus still beat me by a couple of minutes, and we were both miles ahead of all the rest of the category. So I was second, but first of the Israelis, as expected. My course is below.


I put in so much effort that I got a severe head cold and still haven’t recovered, but it was worth it. The statistics show that I had the lowest mistake ratio on the course on both days, and I could hardly have performed better – well done to Margus for running fast and beating me. The courses and maps were fantastic on both days, and it was great fun. Next season… H50? Or maybe back to H35 or H40, because I still fancy a longer run. We’ll see. There’s still some stuff to do before then.

Posted 28/02/2018 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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