Tuesday, 25 April 2017
Today was the sprint final. I wasn't particularly nervous, as I'd already achieved my goal of making the A final, I was really just looking forward to racing as I enjoyed it so much yeterday.
The first third of the course was fairly fast and easy through a park with fountains and controls on trees, then we entered the campus of the University of Auckland where it got a lot trickier (but not as tricky as yesterday). From looking at the split times I can see that I was equal third (with Clare) at the halfway point, but then we had a leg which used an underpass and all but 3 in my field made a mistake exiting the tunnel and thinking we were somewhere else. I was lucky to work out what was going on fairly quickly and only lose a minute before finding the control, but unfortunately Clare lost 3.5 minutes on this leg which pretty much blew her race out of the water. The rest of the course had a few tricky legs so I was pleased to get through it pretty smoothly and the splits show that I jumped up a place in this latter part of the race. I was hoping for a top 10 finish, and repeating my 5th from the day before would have been extra awesome. So to hear myself announced as leading the course when I punched the finish was really cool (as that meant I couldn’t be worse than 5th when the top 4 behind me finished!).
As I hung around at the finish waiting for Clare I noticed that it was over a minute before anyone did actually come in behind me, and in fact the first person I saw was Natasha Key, the eventual winner who is super fit and fast and runs for Australia in elites. She’d overtaken positions 2-4 on her way around.
So I finished 2nd! So exciting! It was extra cool to have Kim, Helen, Jack and Ava there as well - I’m glad I was able to make spectating orienteering a bit more exciting (even if that did mean we all had to wait around for the presentations at the end). Someone offered to lend me an Australian Team jacket for the presentations which was great as I felt like a prize chump standing around in my hot pink kathmandu hoodie while everyone around me was in their full country uniforms (I don't have one as I'm not on the Australian Team for Oceania).
Jon had a solid run to finish midfield in the A final & Paul finished a minute ahead of his B-final compatriots.
So another top day!