The ACT Long Distance Championships were held today on Honeysuckle Creek, one of the maps used for the Australian World Cup races in 2001. The area was heavily burnt in the huge Canberra fires of 2003 and has not been used since and the forest is a combination good open running and thick, young regrowth. Andy Hogg set some challenging and at times very tough courses that tested all who ran, so much so that quite a few competitors didn’t finish. The inclement conditions didn’t help, making the rock slippery and drenching the runners in intermittent down-pours.
Julian Dent made a triumphant return to top-flight orienteering in an amazing display. Although he made errors and by no means had a perfect technical run. it was his speed though the tough terrain that had his competitors stunned. On the first long leg(12th) he beat Dave Shepherd by , a huge amount over 12 minutes. While he did take the win he certainly wasn’t the only one in the hunt. In a mistake-riddled race 7 men took a fastest split and, along with Dent, Shepherd and Grant Bluett also led at stages. The twelfth was where Dent finally stood up and took the lead that he able to maintain for the rest of the course. Shepherd moved into second, ahead of Bluett at the 14th and was looking good to hold it until he began to succumb to severe blisters and slowed and Bluett was able to take back second. Highly fancied Rob Walter, back from Sweden for a month, was fourth after a disappointing run by his standards.
The women’s race was more of a battle in two between Jo Allison and Anna Quayle. Allison seemed to be out of the race after the second control, losing a mammoth four and a half minutes to Quayle. Quayle held the lead until 11th, she lost three minutes here, add that to three at the 9th and Allison was back on top. Her lead was very brief and Quayle took the lead back, holding onto to win by . Allison Jones, back in Australia with Walter, rounded out the podium. She had been in second before Allison reeled her in.
With the Australian Championships carnival less then a week away the race was a good gauge of the elite’s form. It seems that Dent will be the one to beat in the men’s race, and with Hanny Allston racing inEurope, the women’s race could be a tight tussle between Allison and Quayle.
An excerpt from some GPS data is shown on the right. The red line depicts Julian’s route whilst the blue is Kerrin Rattray. The full file is dowloadable below. Unfortunately we are unable to bring you the animated file. You may notice on some controls they do not go to the feature. This is simply a ‘discrepancy’ in the mapping which is normal.
*Results no longer availble