Some lucky Aussies were in Venice last weekend for the unique O race that is held annually amidst the many canals, thousands of bridges and tourist full narrow streets.
In the elite men’s event David Brickhill-Jones placed 10th in the 149 person field, just 7 minutes down on the winner Jonas Gvildys whose winning time was 70 mins. Julian Dent, resuming after a long injury, was 17th, ten and a half minutes behind, while Gareth Candy (soon to return to Australia) also ran impressively for 22nd. Julian’s GPS recorded that he ran 18.45km at 4.23mpk!!
The women’s elite winner was Svobodna Sarka, with MTBO champion Austrian Michaela Gigon a close 4th. In the women’s “A” class Felicity Brown made the podium with a fine 3rd while former South Aussie orienteer Libby Schofield was 11th!! There were 4 open women’s classes totalling 350 starters and almost 500 in open men, as well as the usual array of junior and veteran’s classes – no small event. Blair Trewin did well to place 10th (out of 102 starters) in M40 with Janne Salmi being the victor. Eureka stalwart Chris Norwood was 15th in an 112 person M55 field.
Attack point comments: Julian – “Awesome race, which just kept on going. Thousands of tourists to dodge and great fun. Started off solidly until getting stuck in a dead end going to 5. After the long leg to 19 I died physically. (He had hardly run for 6 weeks.)Much longer race than I thought it would be, but awesome fun and loved all of it. Great to be back running again.”
Blair: “Venice was always likely to be a race to remember, and so it proved. It was a unique orienteering experience with an intensity of decision making rarely found. I was really pumped for the race and this converted to an opening 15 minutes in which I surged every time the alleyways opened up enough to allow it (this wasn’t always the way in the early controls, which had the bulk of the heavy pedestrian-congestion areas). .. What could have been a significant mistake happened at 12 when I missed a turnoff, potentially a mortal sin here, but it was fortunate that I had the option of going the other two sides of the diamond and probably lost little if any time. Tired a bit at the end by the 58 bridge crossings! “