Archive for March 2021

Israeli Championships 2021   Leave a comment

Last weekend was the highlight of the season – The Israeli Championship. Already a bit late in the year, with the undergrowth growing a bit tall, but we had very good weather and two great new maps of well-known areas, making up for a very compressed schedule for the organizers. Both areas were also quite close to home, so we could manage the kids easily and Alon was able to finish the children’s course alone on both days.

The first day was in Alon Hagalil – steep but fast pine forest, so a very physical race with very few tricky controls. Our course (H40, D21A and others) had 7.3 km with 370m climb, and I finished it in 64:39 but 5th place, as it favoured the faster (and younger) runners. Roni ran 72:54 on the same course – not bad for a 40-year mother of three who doesn’t have time for any running or orienteering training at all – and finished second in D21A.

The second day was at Megido – much thicker vegetation and rocky details, so expected to be slower and more technical. I was only 3 minutes behind second place, which was the goal, so I felt confident I could close the gap. The course was 7.0 km with 255m climb, but much slower, and I ran 72:54 – second on the day but third overall, 19 seconds behind silver. All of the damage was done at control 5, where I lost contact and had to search around for 2-3 minutes. The second half of this race was peak orienteering for me – I was “in the zone” physically, flying through the forest, knowing what I was doing at every point and enjoying every minute. Great fun!

Roni finished second again, in 79:11, but third overall. Most interestingly, the Israeli Championship for men was won by Matan Ivri, age 18. Matan is the only Israeli orienteer ever to have achieved a podium place in an international championship – 6th in EYOC 2019 M18 sprint – and is already at a running level on the verge of the national athletic team: his PBs are 8:20 for 3,000m and 14:35 for 5,000m! Unfortunately he’s already missed out on his last year at EYOC due to COVID-19, and on a JWOC year as well, but if we ever had a chance of a medal in sprint orienteering, this is it.

We have about a month to go before forest orienteering slows down and gives way to sprints due to the heat, then we can start thinking about making up lost ground next year, and hoping it will be a “normal” season.

Alon Hagalil

Posted 27/03/2021 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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A Changing of the Guard   Leave a comment

The season has started (very late, of course, because of COVID-19), and the first two national events are behind us, with the Israeli Championship already looming on the horizon – next weekend. But this time the landscape has changed.

Usually the various age categories, excluding the juniors, have more or less the same people as last year, and the same results. Once in a while someone goes up to an older age group and slots in amongst the leaders, but there’s no massive change. Lots of older orienteers stay in a longer course and age group even as they grow older (just like myself, running H40 at age 52).

But this year we have a major shift, a “changing of the guard”, in three of the toughest categories. In both H35 and H40, the previous leaders were thrashed (by over 10 minutes) in the first two races by Alexey Marchenko and Daniel Griff respectively – two of our best ever elite orienteers, who have reached the age, are superbly fit, and are therefore much better than everyone else (that includes me, of course). I won’t be winning the Israeli Championship in H40 this year, but I won’t be “running away” to H50 either, and my goal now is second place behind Daniel.

By the way, the previous time I can recall something similar was in 2004 – when I myself reached the H35 category, as the first of the previous generation of national team orienteers with elite experience.

In H21A, the situation is different – a whole crop of promising young orienteers has taken over, with the top 5 places in the rankings, at the moment, occupied by under-20s. This is a bit misleading, because our top orienteers weren’t in action in both races, but it’s now obvious that they’ll have a fight on their hands.

There’s nothing bad about this change, of course. Some categories will become more competitive, and maybe we’ll see some orienteers deciding to run their real age next season, and not 2-3 age groups younger, which will cause a ripple-on effect. I haven’t decided regarding myself yet – for now I’m staying in H40.

I participated in the first national event in HaMeginim Forest, and finished second, 10 minutes behind Daniel and with the rest of the pack 4 minutes behind me. After that I sent Alon (nearly 10 years old) alone to the children’s course, and set off after him with Matan (6.5). Alon managed to lose his SI card (it was my old one, 12-13 years old, so no great loss), and he joined us in the middle of the course, but both of them enjoyed themselves. They’re not going to be great athletes, but they definitely have good map-reading ability. Maybe it’s inherited…

Posted 13/03/2021 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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Looking Forward   Leave a comment

The 2020-2021 orienteering season has just started. After the “training” events of December we had another month of total lockdown, and another month of training, but now competitions are allowed and they’re trying to cram the whole season in before the summer. So in the next couple of months we have 6 national events (including the Israeli championship), 2 rogaines, and lots of other interesting events.

I’ve run some training courses, the best being one of the five set out by our club as “permanent” courses for the past month, in Zippori (map below) – makeshift controls, register online and pick up your map from someone’s front garden whenever you want. I also prepared one of the courses, recycling a pile of medal ribbons as the controls. The weather has been fantastic over the winter, not too cold, and quite wet but almost always in the middle of the week, so it’s a real shame we couldn’t hold any events.

I probably won’t be running too many races – one of the problems is that you can’t yet have an “assembly area” at events, so coming as a family and mixing up with all the other kids is not a good idea. Add some mapping work and organising, and I’ll probably run 5-6 races this season. But now is the time to look forward, start planning for the end of the Corona era, and enjoy the forests.

Posted 03/03/2021 by dchissick in Uncategorized

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