Julian Dent and Aislinn Prendergast were our qualifers today for the long final. The WOC long distance qualification was in typical Swiss “Mittelland” terrain and supposedly quite fast. Thus it was no suprise that times were quite close giving little margin for error. The men had 12.2km and the women 8.3km.
Comments from Aislinn:
Today four athletes ran the long distance qualification; Julian, Rachel, Vanessa and myself. The qualification was held on a map about 25km from Lausanne, on an extremely flat piece of land, with just one steep-sided creek running through the middle of the map. The map was crisscrossed by a dense network of tracks, and had very variable vegetation, with patches of light green being mostly young beech trees, patches of stripey green being nettles and raspberries, and dark green being generally firs with nettles between. Clearings with striped green were to be avoided at all costs; these generally consisted of head-high nettles with fallen / cut wood between. The white, open areas were quite runnable and very visible, and control sites were mostly small clearings, depressions, thicket edges and the occasional ride. The openness of some of the forest meant that the course was more interesting than many of us expected; instead of track routes being the only viable options, it was sometimes faster to go straight.
After being quarantined in the small town of Apples, I was the first Australian starter. I ran hard but took fairly conservative route choices to begin. I lost only a small amount of time on controls which I could see but not reach! Later in the course I took some straighter route choices and lost only a minute on control #13, on the end of a ride. I hit the ride and went left, into the striped clearing, while the control was to the right. I finished being irritated by my error but otherwise very happy with my run, and qualified 14th (although the winning Russian was the last starter and was given the wrong map, meaning she should not have run in my heat; this meant that there were 16 qualifiers in my heat instead of the traditional 15).
Rachel again came very close to qualifying, but sadly missed out. She reported feeling very tired and sluggish towards the end, a result of having been recently unwell. Vanessa ran a quick race, but a fast heat and a few errors put her out of the final. She will now turn her focus to the Middle distance, which is her speciality. Simone Niggli-Luder ran another great race to finish well clear of her rivals, while Minna Kauppi took top honours in her heat.
The Australian supporters then waited nervously for Julian to finish, and despite his quick splits we were still quite worried until the end! He ran a smooth race however, qualifying in an impressive 7th. The Swiss men were of course the ones to watch again, with Matthias Merz winning his heat, and the other two men easily qualifying. Olav Lundanes took out his heat, finishing right near the end.
Tomorrow (Mon evening – Tues am)should be an exciting day with the Middle Qualification races beginning from 1pm Swiss time. Start times are: Aislinn 1.11pm Suzanne 1.19 Vanessa 1.51 Murray 3.03 Simon 3.19. Add 7.5 hrs on for SA time and 8 hrs for eastern states.
1 Olav Lundanes (NOR) 59.03
7 Julian Dent 64.35
1 Minni Kauppi (FIN) 49.34
19 Vanessa Round 58.57
1 Tatvana Riabkina (RUS) 50.00
14 Aislinn Prendergast 58.02
1 Simone Niggli-Luder (SWI) 47.39
17 Rachel Effeney 60.33