Jenny Bourne wins 2016 Silva Medal

The Silva Medal for 2016 has been won by Jenny Bourne (EU.V W60) for the third time. The Silva Medal award is based on points for participating and placing in the following events: Australian 3-Days (each day considered as a separate event) and the Australian Championships (Sprint, Middle and Long). Points are awarded: 4 for first; 3 for second; 2 for third; 1 point for finishing in M/W16 and above in elite classes


There were 2 orienteers who scored the maximum points (24) and a countback system based on winning margins has been used to separate these. In effect, Jenny Bourne has performed relatively further ahead of the field in her class than Jenny Hawkins (NT.N W70).

Jenny Bourne  24        0.17

Jenny Hawkins            24        0.07

Warren Key    23

Anthea Feaver 22

Simon Uphill   20

Clive Pope      20

Su Yan Tay     20

Stephen Craig 20

Ted van Geldermalsen            20

Patrick Jaffe    20

Patrick Miller  20

Jennifer Enderby        19

Jo Allison        18

Bruce Arthur   18

Lanita Steer     17

Natasha Key   16

Paul Paque      15

Carolyn Jackson          15

Jock Davis       15

Matt Doyle      15

Ross Barr        15

Tristan Miller 15

OS Statistician Darryl Erbacher interviewed 2016 Silva Medal winner, Jenny Bourne.

Darryl: Jenny you have had a fabulous year. Six good wins from 6 starts. Congratulations.

Jenny: Thanks Darryl. I had some good races this year but mostly my win was due to“being in the right place at the right time”. There are many people who could have won this award but either chose to run a younger age class, didn’t run all the races or had an unexpected defeat. (I must remember to give Rob Vincent that bribe money I promised him if he would beat Warren!!!!)

D: Your win returns this award to a family affair (Tarr 5 times, Saw 4, Key 2, Bourne/Lawford 5). Are good orienteers born (no pun intended) with the right genes?

J:  I think it is a mix of nature and nurture. Good orienteers have the right “sort” of brain to be able to interpret maps and form a mental picture of the terrain plus the right physical attributes. Being in an orienteering family helps by being in a supportive and understanding environment. It’s like being on a permanent training camp- having discussions about O, having the opportunity to do technical training whenever we feel like it, having other people keen to go training.

You may not know that OA looked into this in the early 1980s and decided to set up a “selective breeding” program. Geoff and I were the first pairing. The Key family were the next recruits. There seems to have been some successful outcomes from the program and this should continue in the future with the progeny of some good breeding pairs in ACT expected to show some form in the next 10 years.

D: I have had three disastrous years with injuries and operations (I am not alone – my rivals have their fair share of troubles too).  You appear to remain injury free. What can I do to remain competitive?

J:    Perhaps all your injuries are a sign of overtraining! Again, being injury free is partly luck, being born with good biomechanics and partly being able to recognise when things may be going wrong. Cross training is a good idea too (though I don’t practice what I preach!)

D: I have good runs and bad ones.  You are remarkably consistent. There must be some secrets to this game?

J:   I’m glad I appear to be consistent but I’m actually capable of complete brain fades (as below). One “secret” is to identify why you make mistakes- not so much what you did but why you did that. You do some legs well and then you make a mistake. Why? Were you concentrating on moving fast and not thinking about where you were going? Did you see another runner and get distracted by them? Were you getting tired and not concentrating so well? Once you have the basic skills, you have to question why it is that you don’t always apply them. If you are aware of the circumstances, perhaps you can prevent a mistake happening.

D; Do you love this sport or are you merely good at it?

J:  That’s hard to answer. I don’t know if I’d enjoy it if I wasn’t good at it. Maybe I would just find it frustrating. But I do enjoy being in the bush and I do enjoy the challenge of finding the controls efficiently. In Sprint O, I enjoy the intense concentration required.

D: What is the worst/largest mistake you have made?

J:  I had one of my brain fades this year at the Coff’s Harbour event. It was a long leg (about 1.5km) but simple enough- just follow a large watercourse the whole way crossing a big side watercourse en route. I managed to cross the main watercourse (thinking I was crossing the side one), veered left to get back to following the main watercourse (by which time I was running almost back the way I’d come but on the other side of the creek). By the time I got back on track I’d made about a 1km detour. Not one of my better moments!

D: What is the most interesting/weirdest venue you have run on?

J:  One race that stands out for me was a street O in Venice way back in 1983, before the days of Sprint O. It was unique then to do orienteering in a town and Venice had it all – difficult navigation (so many alleyways) and route choice (having to find a bridge to cross the canals) plus a full length course, so you had to keep full concentration for 45 mins or so. And it had what I called “moving green patches”- the crowds of people that slowed you down. I remember that one lady had obviously had enough of runners pushing past her. When I approached her, she attacked me with her folded umbrella!

D: Congratulations again.  Keep up the good work.  Jenny Hawkins is hovering.

J:   Yes, another season awaits us. I wonder if I can convince Jenny Hawkins to run down a few age classes??????