This years sprint was in a mixed urban area with residential apartments surrounded by open park land and interspersed with patches of typical Swedish glacial terrain. Apartment blocks in various formations: squares and interlocking L shapes made decision making hard in picking the fastest route as the red line invariably went through a number of buildings.
Some creditable performances were shown in the sprint race from the young members of the team, Lachlan Dow being the best of the Aussie boys and Bridget Anderson showing improvement as the best of the Aussie girls.
Belinda Lawford again shows her promise being only seconds behind Bridget Anderson. Krystal Neumann held herself back to maintain contact with her map and was a little afraid to “go for it all out”. We are sure that with experience and building confidence she will improve in the next races. Rachel Effeney was about half a minute behind Belinda and unable to keep the pace up for the entire length of the course. Aislinn Prendergast got a little stumped in the circle at the 4th control in the first bit of forest picking the difference between the bare rock, rock face and a boulder this cost her a least a minute, a long time in a sprint race. This can be a common confusion as these features although they sound distinct can blend together in the heat of the moment. She was unhappy with her result in this race.
In the boys Lachy Dow showed us his promise and finished within 2:30 minutes of the winner (the challenge was to finish within 2 minutes of the winner for this young first timer). Nick Andrewartha ran most legs well but is cursing himself for missing the 7th control with a brain fade and the forest terrain taking him south and not south-east as was needed. Oscar Phillips (pictured) ran steadily for the main part with a couple of offline diversions at 7-8 and 13-14 otherwise safe and sure with is route choices. Geoff Stacey put in a solid navigational run however admitted he just didn’t run fast enough and perhaps some less swift route choices on some legs. Oliver Mitchell was also solid navigationally but also need to run faster and is still recovering from a cold from Jukola.
Unfortunately equipment failures of one kind or another plagued Laurina Neumann and Leon Keely. Laurina failed to take her bib number and top to the start after going over this procedure many times beforehand and thus unable to start the race, despite last ditch efforts by the manager and Laurina. She was pretty devastated and upset about this and vows to ensure all her equipment will be with her next time. The difficulty lay in the fact that this year the bibs have a chip identifying the runner and time in them, making it essential for the runners to ensure they are attached firmly to their racing tops with eight pins!
Leon started the race well and was running well however a slight fall on a rock saw his compass disintegrate in his hand and then he had to navigate by map features without a compass. As a substantial part of the sprint was in forest this made the next leg tricky and slow for Leon as he was drawn south off his line by forest and buildings. He regathered himself for the next legs but had to take safe and sure track routes when forest routes may have proved shorter and faster with a compass.
As mentioned before many JWOCers this year have family watching and they were second only to the Danes in spirit in the finish arena, raising encouraging cheers for our runners as they ran into the sports arena and around the finish chute.
Hilary Wood & the JWOC Team.