The Australian Middle Distance Championships on the granite Marginata map was the concluding event in the “Frazzled Rock” easter carnival held in Western Australia. With this event being a selection trial for the elite World Championships, there was no easing off. The 3 day winners in Vanessa Round and Grant Bluett reinforced their status with solid wins. Vanessa won by a minute in 32.35 over Jasmine Neve, with Mace Neve (35.36) holding onto third narrowly by 4 seconds over Tracy Bluett. In the men’s race Rob Preston held the lead until control 11 but then Grant Bluett came to the front and won by 20 seconds over Simon Uppill with Rob a minute further back.
The junior elites were not so predictable. Nicola Blatchford stepped up from W16 to take a good win by 30 seconds over Krystal Neumann and Emma Campbell. Brodie Nankervis ran brilliantly to hold off Ollie Poland by 19seconds, with Ian Lawford in third. However JWOC team members Ollie Poland, Oscar McNulty, Lachlan Dow and Ian Lawford all take away a sprint victory over the elite field this week, so that is really exciting as they prepare for the Worlds in Poland.
Overall there were just a handful of orientering legends in the main classes who managed the trifecta of winning Easter, the sprint and middle distance championships. Well done to Anthea Feaver (W50), Bernard Walker (M50); the kiwi Graham Fortune (M70) and the golden oldies Gordon Howitt and Hehman Wehner in M80 & 85 respectively. 2010 SILVA medal winner Geoff Lawford (M55) was also undefeated and looks like he’s keen to hang onto the award.
With 7 events in 10 days the carnival was demanding on the runners, but even more so on the organisers. Many thanks to the WA orienteers who worked so tirelessly to give us all that exciting running on enjoyable yet challenging maps.
Photos by John Harding of the Frazzle Rock Four Days, Bunbury Scatter O and Australian Sprint and Middle Distance Championships are at http://hardingjohn.smugmug.com/Sports/Orienteering/2011-West-Australia
The next round of the NOL races is in Tasmania on May 20-21st, with these being the final selection races for the WOC team.