Welcome to the first interview of a new series the OA High Performance Management Team is running to get to know our junior and senior elite runners. This month, Brodie sat down with Emily Sorensen. For those who don’t know her, Emily is one of our developing junior elites running for the Southern Arrows. She was named in the 2021 JWOC honour team and narrowly edged out of the overall Junior Women NOL win earlier this year, finishing a strong season in 2nd place.
Emily, thanks for joining me today, can I start just by asking where you are at the moment and what you are up to?
Hi Brodie, at the moment I’m in the Flinders Ranges recovering after my first 24 hour rogaine yesterday. I’ve been in Adelaide for the past couple of months so I’ve just been doing uni online, working, and training, and of course doing a bit of orienteering.
Now although you didn’t get to go to JWOC this year, you were there in 2019, tell us a little bit about that:
JWOC was such an incredible and valuable experience. On the whole, I disappointed with my performance but I’m so glad I got to have it. I definitely wasn’t the best version of myself going into the races, being both injured and sick. Mostly, it was really nerve wracking being the most serious event I’d ever been to. I was so nervous I couldn’t eat breakfast which wasn’t a great start to the long haha. I wasn’t used to the idea of being GPS tracked with everyone being able to see my mistakes and that pressure got to me. I really didn’t want to disappoint anyone, especially my grandfather who always asks about how my orienteering and training is going, and I knew he had managed to work out how to watch the tracking.
It was also amazing though. My team was great and I had so much fun. I loved how different yet similar the terrain was. While it was spur gully, it was steeper shorter climbs with very different thick vegetation underfoot, so things didn’t appear as I expected. I also learned a lot about how the mental side of things influence my performance. It’s been slow going but I’ve definitely improved when it comes to performing under pressure and most importantly I can get a proper breakfast down before big races J
So despite it being disappointing from a performance point of view it really inspired me to better myself for next time.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Where do you see your orienteering going in the next few years?
Well, in the near future, I’m moving up to senior women next year, so I’m hoping for a smooth transition into racing in that category. It’s hard to make plans at the moment, so as a rule, I don’t. I would be nice to go to Oceania in New Zealand as the orienteering looks amazing and I’ve always wanted to visit NZ. In the more distant future I think running for Australia at WOC one day would be pretty amazing.
What is the hardest thing you find about training for orienteering? What are the biggest barriers for you?
I think the biggest challenge for me is time. With uni I often have to prioritise assessments over attending events which is always frustrating considering the best training for orienteering is orienteering. It’s definitely possible to organise your own orienteering training but it can be time consuming and often repetitive as your limited to the maps you have.