54.5 km   Leave a comment

This year’s Rogaine was originally planned for March 16th, and as usual Roni and I had booked her parents months in advance to look after the kids, but it was postponed because of rain and I had to find a different partner.

The obvious choice was Itay Manor, whom I’ve been coaching for years, is one of the top orienteers in the country (he ran the WOC Long distance last year), and also coaches the national junior team. He had never run an 8-hour rogaine, but is less than half my age and in top form, so there was no doubt he could finish the distance.

For the first time, I was running with someone fitter and better than me at orienteering. The rogaine was on the map of Ben-Shemen forest, which is moderately hilly, mostly has a dense network of tracks, and is very well orienteered – and Itay lives just off the map. Our plan was that I would set the pace, based on my experience, and we were hoping to run 50-55 km overall, and maintain a straight line pace of 5 km/hour.

Based on the preliminary information (an area of 55 km² with 28 controls) I did some basic maths and had a feeling that 40 km (straight line) would be enough to collect all the controls, so we started our planning under that assumption, which turned out to be correct. The most “expensive control” was no. 52, on the eastern edge, adding a full 3 km to the route, so we decided to arrive there relatively late and make a decision based on our progress, with the additional option of skipping no. 62 on the north side just before we finished.

Basically, everything went as planned. We gained about 15 minutes on the target pace in the first two hours, held on to it until the decision point at the road crossing before 52, decided not to skip it, and fought through to the finish without any real fear of being late. I was a mess at the end, with no specific pains but total exhaustion, and Itay was much better off but definitely feeling the distance. We were the only team to collect all the controls, in 7:51:17, 54.5 km (by far the most I’ve ever run an 8-hour rogaine) and about 1200m climb, and of course we won the event – but obviously any team of two elite orienteers would have beaten us easily. I also recovered faster than usual, with less stiffness on the following day despite the distance, probably due to the fact that I’m doing more strength and core training than in the past.

Our full route and highlights:

Start – 34 (missed the single-track and lost a minute) – 46 – 45 – 72 – 53 – 51 (totally alone)

83 (met the first Bike-O teams arriving from the start) – 55 (short break, 2 hours)

91 (filled up water) – 33 – 42 – 84 – 43 – 82 – 63 – 61 (second short break, 4 hours)

44 – this was a major route choice decision, we went left and heard that the paths on the right weren’t there. Then the path west of 44 was missing, so we lost at least 5 minutes fighting through the bushes.

Road passage (filled up water and I went sliding down the embankment on my right thigh, no real damage) – 52 – 92 – 32 – 73 – third short break, 6 hours – 31 – 81 – 74 – 41 – 62 – 93 – road passage – 71 – stagger to the finish.

I have major issues with the map. It was based on an MTBO map which covers most of the area, with an additional section mapped recently in the south-east. The symbols were inconsistent, with most roads being drawn thinner than regular tracks, and parts of the map were woefully out of date – the path near 44 was correctly not marked on the previous rogaine map from 2009. Paths on the new section were nowhere near as runnable as marked, and I felt sorry for any of the MTBO teams who tried to use them.

Thanks to Roni for allowing me to go it alone, and to Itay for coming along and dragging me over the finish line – I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to HaSharon O-Club and especially Nir Kalkstein for all the planning and execution. Next year it’s my turn to organise, and I’ve already started mapping…

20190406_BenShemen_Rogaine_Route

20190406_Rogaine

The last control – you can see how knackered I am (photo by Gidi Zorea)

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Posted 12/04/2019 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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