Australian Long Distance- performance analysis
On a lovely sunny day the Australian Long Distance Championships were held at Chapel Flat near Creswick. A gold mining, gully spur terrain not dissimilar to the Australian Middle last weekend. Courses were set by the ex-Australian elite and well known mapper Rob Plowright. The elites had a start in the arena and also a map change next to the arena, so there was plenty of action for the spectators in the arena and also those watching the live feed provided by Living It Live. For only the second time in Australia we had live GPS tracking on a big screen in the arena and also live on the internet. Over 500 people were watching the live feed at some stage of the event.
Ralph Street the Great Britain orienteer who is on a coaching scholarship in Victoria was a clear winner of the M21E class. This completed a successful week for Ralph as he won the Australian Sprint Championships also and was second in the Australian Middle Distance Championships. Ralph won by 4:42 with Peter Bray in 2nd place and Leon Keely who was the best Australian in 3rd place. Ralph lead from control 5 and was by far the strongest runner towards the end of the course as the other runners slowed especially in the last loop in the gold mining where some errors also slowed them down. Ralph was the fastest on the long leg to control 5 where he stayed close to the red line and also maintained good speed. Leon Keely who was running fast took the left track route and covered an extra 609m and lost 2:20 on this leg. The young Australian junior Henry McNulty who was running in this class was in 5th place at control 22 but he lost time (5 minutes) over the remainder of the course to finish in 7th place.
This class was won by Jo Allison in a time of 87:53 and she was an amazing 9:16 in front of second Krystal Neumann with Anna Sheldon in 3rd. Jo took the lead at control 4 and steadily increased her lead until the finish. Anna Sheldon had a strong start and was in the lead until leg 4. On the long leg 5 Jo was the fastest by 4:23. She took the straighter route choice and used as many small tracks as possible and was running much faster than Krystal Neumann who took a similar route. Anna Sheldon went for the left track route choice and by doing so ran an extra 533m and was over 7 minutes slower on this leg. Aislinn Prendergast also took the left track option and she ran an extra 952m and even though she was running fast she lost 4:27 on this leg.
Tommy Hayes (NZ) who has been in great form all week continued this form with a strong win in this class. Tommy won by 3:12 from Patrick Jaffe with Ed Cory-Wright (NZ) in 3rd place. Patrick had a slow start losing 2 minutes on the first control. Early in the race the lead changed, with Simeon Burrill leading at control 2, 3 and 4 before Tommy Hayes who was the second fastest on the long leg to control 5 took the lead and his speed and consistency enabled him to maintain this until the finish. Patrick after the slow start ran strongly on the long leg to be the fastest after choosing to stay close to the red line. However, he tired a little towards the end to finish second. Tommy Hayes choose the left track option and ran 1111m further than Patrick and running this leg at the very impressive 4.48min/km. Simeon Burrill was running strongly and was in third at control 14 but tired over the rest of the course to finish in 4th place.
In a very strong performance Winnie Oakhill won this class convincingly, by 10 minutes from Lanita Steer and Zoe Dowling a further 1:36 down in 3rd place. Winnie started strongly and after a very strong leg 4 she continued to increase her lead for the rest of the race. Lanita Steer after losing over 6 minutes on leg 2 was almost matching Winnie for running speed until control 11 after which she tired and lost a further 2:30 against Winnie. Anna Dowling who was in the lead at control 3 and in second place until control 10 realised on the way to control 11 that she had taken the wrong map at the map change and she lost 14 minutes on this leg. This was very unfortunate for Anna as she was running almost at the same speed as Winnie until this happened. Anna was the fastest on the long leg to control 2 by 1:45.
GPS tracking routes courtesy of livingitlive