Hanny Allston made a triumphant return to Australian orienteering with a comfortable win in the women’s open class at today’s Australian Middle Distance Championships near Maryborough in Queensland. She has been studying in New Zealand for most of this year and this was her first Australian event since 2007. Her margin was as comfortable as those she became accustomed to in recent years; more than four minutes. Best of the rest was local Anna Sheldon, also on the comeback trail after an injury-interrupted year, with Susanne Casanova third and Ilka Barr achieving another career-best elite result with fourth.
Simon Uppill went into the race as a clear favourite, with the other members of the Australian WOC team absent (Dave Shepherd through an ankle injury which also puts him in serious doubt for the rest of the week). It was not a stellar run by his standards but it was still enough to win by two minutes over Grant Bluett. Lorenzo Calabro achieved his best result for several years in a close battle for third, in which 32 seconds separated him, Rob Preston, Blair Trewin and Darren Ashmore.
Scott McDonald gave the visiting New Zealand contingent something to cheer about with a 19-second win in M17-20E, just ahead of late JWOC replacement Geoff Stacey. Kurt Neumann, still only a first-year M16, impressed with a close third. Not for the first time in Queensland, there were good results for other members of the Neumann clan too, with Laurina and Krystal first and third in W17-20E, separated by New Zealander Kate Morrison.