WOC 2009 – Long Final Preview

Today, Kathryn Ewels and Hanny Allston will compete for Australia in the Long Distance Final. The first starts in the women’s race are from 11am and in the men’s race, 12pm.

Having both qualified 5th in their heats, the Australians are well positioned to start amongst the world’s best female orienteers. Hanny starts at 11.58am, and Kathryn 4 minutes later at 12.02pm.  Best qualifier and relay superstar Marianne Andersen from Norway is the final starter at 12.28pm. Minna Kauppi (FIN) and Simone Niggli (SUI) will be looking to make ammends for their relay errors, starting only 4 and 2 minutes respectively in front of the Norwegian.

In the men’s race, Martin Johannson (SWE) will not take his place in the final, remaining in hospital and recovering from the serious injury he sustained in the relay.  However, both Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) and Anders Nordberg (NOR), who stopped to assist the Swede, will again be in medal contention, with the top qualifying Frenchman as last starter at 1.29pm (local time).

Course details:
Women
11.790km, 490m climb, 27 controls, 75mins estimated winning time

Men
17.550km, 750m climb, 33 controls, 95mins estimated winning time

The race area is very different to that of the middle and relay map, being much faster underfoot and with the unique limestone, sinkhole terrain providing its own complex, navigational and physical challenges, one being a ‘slingshot effect’ that occurs whilst running around the sinkholes (See previous report – Long Qualifaction Preview).

Terrain description:
Located some 90 minutes north of Miskolc on the Slovakian border, the map is at 300-550m a.s.l. Moderately steep to steep hills and slopes up to 60-100m height. A good number of negative land forms (deep depressions –10-60m deep). Many point features (lime burning places, charcoal burning places, pits, knolls). Many stones, extensive rocky or stony areas in places.
Vegetation is 80% pretty clean beech forest, with some areas of pine forests. Runnability is mostly very good, but reduced remarkably in places due to rocky areas and dense karstbushes. There is a limited network of paths and forest roads.

After many days of temperatures around 30C, tomorrow’s forecast is for showers after an evening storm. Cooler conditions will almost certainly be appreciated by the athletes.

It’s your last chance to get on the team blog and send you encouragement to Kathryn and Hanny.  The girls love it – so don’t be shy.
During the race, stay tuned to live  race coverage and check out the OA Website for updates and pictures during the race (if the on-site wireless works, that is!!)

Sink hole terrain

Sink hole terrain