A Close Run Thing   Leave a comment

Last weekend was the Israeli Championship, the main focus of my season, with the goal of winning H40. Both days were near home – the first in Balfour Forest, a steep slope with very runnable forest and lots of tracks, and the second in Beit Keshet, not as steep, mostly semi-open with few tracks and fine vegetation and rock detail.

Based on the results of the previous races, I was obviously the favorite to win, but I wasn’t taking any chances and trained hard over the last few weeks. My plan was to run all-out on day 1, where the orienteering would be easier, and slow down for the technical stuff on day 2. I was also hoping to go into day 2 with a large lead (for a change), so I could run with my headcam.

In the end, it was much closer than that. We had good weather on the first day, and a fast course which I finished well, but still 33 seconds behind Tomer Weiner (though several minutes ahead of anyone else). I had one mistake, at control 11, which probably cost me the race, but there was another day ahead.

20200221_Balfour_Route

Day 1 – Balfour

Overnight it poured, and at Beit Keshet we had intermittent rain, and the ground was a mud-bath. The course was very technical and very tough, and for some of the time I was running blind – both because of my glasses fogging up, and because I couldn’t see the difference between the light green and orange on the map (I still can’t, sitting at my desk). Everyone was making mistakes, and apparently I made the least – my rough orienteering was spot-on and I lost relatively little time at controls. I beat Tomer by two minutes (3rd place overall  was 10 minutes behind him) and won my 5th championship in H40, out of 6 attempts (2010 – failed, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2020). But it was close – below is a chart of the gap between us over both days:

IOC Splits

The highlights from day 2:

  • 1 – Got snagged on the fence and lost 20-30 seconds.
  • 2 – I think he just ran much faster than me.
  • 5 – A textbook exercise in aiming off.
  • 6 – Lucky – I was just starting to slow down and landed on the flag. There were complaints later on that this control was hidden…
  • 8 – Lost at least a minute looking too far down.
  • 10 – Running blind, but I kept my direction, identified the patch of trees just south of the control, and found it.
  • 11 – Looks easy, but I couldn’t find it and then ran into it by mistake.
  • 14 – Went down too early.
20200222_BeitKeshet_Route

Day 2 – Beit Keshet

Roni ran D21A as usual (she’s nearly 39, but there’s no competition in D35) and finished second, just like last year. She was beaten by Bar Kalkstein, who is just over half her age and was Israeli champion two years ago as well (at 17) – definitely our most promising female orienteer for a long time. But the story of the women’s championship was our club-mate and great friend Bar Zrihen, who has been orienteering for almost 20 years (I used to coach her), but always ran D21B or C. This year, at the age of 33, she started running regularly and competing in D21A, and won the first day by 7 minutes! Then, at control 10 on day 2, she simply couldn’t find it and lost 30 minutes (her GPS track shows that she ran about 3 km looking for the control). I started 10 minutes after her (H40 and D21A are the same course), and if she’d only seen me passing through she would still have won the championship with a few minutes to spare. I wouldn’t have thought twice about giving up my race in order for her and Roni to be on the podium together, so when I finished and she wasn’t there yet I was devastated, but she didn’t really expect to win so she got over it faster than I did. Maybe next time?

Posted 28/02/2020 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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