Today’s middle distance finals were held in much cooler conditions than the previous days, with the top temperature in the mid 20s and the humidity was much lower, but getting around the courses was no easier.
The highlights were Thierry Gueorgiou’s third consecutive victory in the middle distance final, Simone Niggli’s second gold medal at these championships and second gold medal in a middle distance final, and Denmark’s Chris Terkelsen’s silver medal after a long lay off caused by chronic fatigue (he had not been competitive since winning the 1998 World Cup series).
For the Australian team, it was Tracy Bluett’s successful return after missing two World Championships following the birth of her daughter to better her 14th place in Scotland in 1999. Everybody was pleased for Tracy, as it has been a long way for her to get back to the top. Her 13th is the best by an Australian in either a short or middle distance final at a foot World Championships. Even though she was caught and passed by Finland’s Anni-Maija Fincke, Tracy was happy with her run as she finished strongly, which augurs well for the Relays on Sunday.
Hanny Allston’s 18th equalled Jo Allison’s in Switzerland in 2003. Only Tracy Bluett and Natasha Key (17th in 2004) have done better, yet she was very disappointed after having made a two-minute error, which could have given her a top eight placing. She came home very strongly, and was faster than most over the last 25 per cent the course (after the radio control). She is really fired up to do well in the long distance on Friday and the Relays on Sunday.
Natasha Key (35th) was a little disappointed with her run, mainly because she made some wrong route choices, which cost her time and energy. Her worst error was to miss a route from 2 to 3 around the hilltops. Instead she red-lined it down through a gully and across a water course, encountering a lot of long grass and then she had to climb a spur to reach the control. She lost about two minutes and a lot of energy.
Julian Dent’s 22nd was probably the best debut result by an Australian; certainly in recent times. He had a fairly clean run throughout and like Hanny Allston came home very strongly. His time was much faster than most, probably because he didn’t make any mistakes and didn’t tire.
Dave Shepherd was also happy with his run, even after making a few small errors over the final 25 per cent of the course. He said that his interrupted preparation meant that he is not as fit as he would like to be, so 25th was a pretty good result in his eyes. He is still looking forward to a good run in the long distance final on Friday. Rob Walter was disappointed with his 32nd, even if it was his best result a World Championships. He made two mistakes, with each costing him a minute, in comparison to Julian Dent. His most annoying was in going from 4 to 5. He missed seeing Control 5 on the map. It was a broken circle in a straight line from 4 to 6. He had past the control before he noticed it on the map and had to go back.
The weather forecast, as best we can make out, is for a 40% chance of rain. All Australian runners are feeling good and we are hoping for some good results.
|1.||Simone Niggli (Switzerland)||32:46.3|
|2.||Jenny Johansson (Sweden)||34:59.7|
|3.||Minna Kauppi (Finland)||35:50.0|
|13.||Tracy Bluett (Australia)||39:23.8|
|16.||Tania Robinson (New Zealand)||39:41.4|
|18.||Hanny Allston (Australia)||39:54.0|
|35.||Natasha Key (Australia)||45:07.3|
|1.||Thierry Gueorgiou (France)||33:00.3|
|2.||Chris Terkelsen (Denmark)||34.32.0|
|3.||Jarkko Huovila (Finland)||34:49.3|
|22.||Julian Dent (Australia)||39:17.0|
|25.||David Shepherd (Australia)||39:54.4|
|31.||Karl Dravitski (New Zealand)||41:12.2|
|32.||Rob Walter (Australia)||41:40.8|
|34.||Darren Ashmore (New Zealand)||42:06.3|