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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