Vanessa Round finished strongly over the last few controls to take 12th position in her heat and was three and a half minutes within the time needed. However she was our only qualifer. Susanne Casanova placed 17th, missing the cut by less than a minute and Aislinn Prendergast suffered an early mistake and never recovered. Simon Uppill finished 19th in a strong heat and unfortunately Murray Scown, in his first WOC run, injured an ankle.
Thanks to Aislinn for these insightful comments:
” The arena today was very picturesque, an alpine meadow with a great view across a road to the second last control. The final control was on a tunnel beneath the road with a punishing 200m uphill finish chute. The terrain was a lot different to the long distance, with the courses being mostly downhill and on steep slopes. Some areas were flat, with interesting depressions and knolls, while others were sheer-sided with little detail, and yet others were very intricate sections of cliffs, knolls and small gullies. It was much more difficult running, with moss-covered rocks and a lot of cut wood, even in areas marked white. The women had 4.2km and the men 4.9km.
Once again, I was the first starter, and my race was doomed from the start! Rushing out from the start triangle, I went to the wrong first control, and then lost four minutes trying to find the right one. I eventually relocated off a paddock to the west, but the damage was done and I had the difficult task of calming the nerves ahead of me. Luckily I hit the next four controls cleanly, but again came unstuck on a boulder in green. I was much too high, and wasted three minutes looking in the wrong places. Interestingly, many athletes lost time here, including Mari Fasting, who lost 9 minutes but still qualified, Simone Niggli-Luder, who lost a minute, and Vanessa, who lost 2 minutes or so. I managed a few more smooth controls before losing time on a dark green gully, and then a boulder in dark green. Overall, the run was very unsuccessful, and even my better legs were hampered by loss of confidence and a lack of planning.
Despite my own disappointment, it was fantastic to watch Vanessa qualify (quite easily!), and make up for her near miss in the long distance. Even with her error, she managed to take 12th place and run very strongly into the finish. Suzanne had a similar experience to myself, losing a lot of time on the first control, and also losing some time on the third last. Despite this, the legs in between were smooth and fast and she came very close to qualifying, in 17th.
We all held our breath and crossed our fingers when Simon ran in strongly to put himself in a tentative 15th place. Sadly, he was soon knocked out by qualifying Kiwi Ross Morrison and a few other athletes, pushing him into 18th. He lost a lot of time at the 4th control and some more time in other areas; however his later splits show that he also clawed back some time on the leaders in the later part of the course. His heat was very fast, with 15th place just 3 minutes down on the leader.
Murray fell victim to a treacherous limestone hole, and sprained his ankle very badly. He walked (hobbled?) back into the finish and was taken straight to hospital, where X-Rays thankfully showed no broken bones. It looked to be a very painful injury, however, and he will be getting around on crutches for at least the next few days.
Tomorrow the team will be watching Vanessa run her middle distance race, which seems to be on some nicer terrain than today. I’m a bit jealous to be honest, as training on the middle distance final maps seemed to be the most fun! Her start is at 12.21 (8.21 AEST).”
1 Riabkina Tatyana RUS 33.51
2 Strand Lina SWE 33.59
3 Klinting Signe DEN 34.17
15 Oram Louise CAN 44.17
17 Susanne Casanova 45.12
1 Alexandersson Tove SWE 30:38
2 Kauppi Minna FIN 32:18
3 Lüscher Sara SUI 32:34
12 Vanessa Round 38:06
15 Bjorgul Ida Marie Ness NOR 41:36
1 Niggli-Luder Simone SUI 31:58
2 Chataing Amélie FRA 32:35
3 Duchová Iveta CZE 33:49
10 Ingham Lizzie NZL 38:02
15 Perramon Ona Rafols ESP 39:25
24 Aislinn Prendergast 45.12
1 Gernot Kerschbaumer AUT 30:34
2 Valentin Novikov RUS 30:54 +0:20
3 Magne Daehli NOR 30:55 +0:21
15 Ross Morrison NZL 33:51 +3:17
19 Simon Uppill AUS 36:15 +5:41