Sheldon and Shepherd win in WA

shanej2006 Archive

m21longpodium2

L-R, Grant Bluett, Dave Shepherd, Rob Preston

Anna Sheldon and Dave Shepherd have won the Australian Long Distance Championships, held today at Hill Park Dale, Western Australia.

Sheldon won her first senior title by three minutes over Jo Allison. Allison led for most of the course, but Sheldon was always close enough to be a possibility, and when Allison lost three minutes on the 16th control, in the final section, it was enough to put Sheldon in a winning position. Kathryn Ewels completed the placings, competing in borrowed gear after her car was broken into the previous day. Grace Elson, one of the pre-race favourites, lost six minutes at 5 and eventually finished fourth.

Julian Dent made an explosive start and was already two minutes clear of the field by the sixth control. That, though, was as far as he could go; successive errors at 7 and 8 dropped him back into the pack, and thereafter his lack of training through the year took its toll. Shepherd and Grant Bluett started uncertainly, but they were always in the top three, and took control of the race after the map change. Shepherd took a narrow lead for the first time at 18 and held it to the end, with an error by Bluett at 25 blowing the margin out beyond two minutes. Rob Preston, who led briefly late in the first loop, ran a solid second half to fill the placings. It was a good day for the veterans, with Blair Trewin getting his best result since 1998, and Anthony Scott his best ever.

w21longpodium

L-R, Jo Allison, Anna Sheldon, Kathryn Ewels

M17-20E saw a fabulous race between two orienteers in excellent form, Ryan Smyth and Simon Uppill. The granite detail should have suited Uppill, and did, but Smyth had been in red-hot form all week. They swapped the lead throughout the course, and were never separated by more than 31 seconds – and never by more than eight for the last third. It was not until the last leg that it was decided, with Smyth overtaking Uppill to win by six seconds.

Vanessa Round was a clear favourite in W17-20E, but got off to a bad start by losing three minutes at 1. That was her last significant problem, and she overhauled the consistent Heather Harding shortly after halfway, eventually winning by three minutes.

m20longpodium

L-R Simon Uphill, Ryan Smyth,Thomas Reynolds (NZ)

w20longpodium

L-R Heather Harding, Vanessa Round, Kellie Whitfield