Well what a month!
Another wonderful JWOC for New Zealand highlighted by Tim Robertson’s successful defence of his sprint title, but supported in full by excellent performances by the men in the long distance and relay, and some promising progress made by the young women’s team.
Now attention switches from Norway to Scotland as the senior team assembles in Inverness this coming weekend for WOC.
More long nights in front of the computer, but keep watching…
Five years, 4 medals, 7 podium places – New Zealand’s performances at JWOC go from strength to strength.
Tim wrote himself well and truly into the record books with his third straight sprint medal, the last two being, of course, gold. Once again breath was collectively held across New Zealand late on the night of 5 July as we all waited for Tim to cross the line and see if he had retained his title. The final margin of victory (3 seconds) might have been closer than we’d have liked, but really who cares, another brilliant run in a situation of enormous pressure.
Behind Tim, Shamus (Morrison) and Devon (Beckman) also had good runs to be just in or out of the top 30, and in the women Kayla (Fairbairn) also produced top 40. The men in fact were notable in that all 6 finished in the top half of the field.
For the record:
1. Tim 14:31, 30. Shamus 16:08, 32, Devon 16:14, 50. Nick Smith 16:39, 52. Ed Cory-Wright 16:42, 74. Tommy Hayes 17:19.
1. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 13:56, 36. Kayla 16:28, 50. Alice Tilley 16:52, 59. Sonia Hollands 17:15, 83. Sophie Harrison 18:23, 96. Danielle Goodall 18:52, 113. Katie Cory-Wright 20:14.
It’s probably fair to say that, unlike the sprint, the middle distance did not quite go to plan, with only 3 men and none of the women making the A final.
The middle [distance] of course in many ways is the blue ribbon race of JWOC and WOC, generally the most technical, and one in which you don’t have time to survive much of an error.
Anyway, Shamus and Tim were the stars with excellent 21st and 22nd placings, a mere 3 seconds apart. Devon, also in the A final was 56th.
Although not making the A final Kayla and Danielle put that disappointment behind them to finish 1st and 3rd in the women’s B final, performances which must be a good omen for Switzerland 2016 and beyond.
Again, for the record:
1. Olli Ojanako (FIN) 25:13, 21. Shamus 29:37, 22. Tim 29:40, 56. Devon 37:06.
7. Tommy 27:53, 13. Ed 29:10, 51. Nick 40:16.
1. Kayla 27:44, 3. Danielle 29:48, 27. Alice 37:48, 30. Katie 38:53, 54. Sonia 51:13.
7. Sophie 46:12.
As always the long distance was a long, late night for those of us at home, and long and physically tough on the ground for the athletes. But again, great results as, for the first time, NZL scored two finishers in the top 10 in the same race with Shamus and Tim, again separated by only a few seconds, came 9th and 10th.
These are in fact our best results ever in a JWOC long distance, and both were literally only about 15 seconds away from the top 6 podium.
Nick also came into his own in the long with a strong run for 44th, while Alice, Kayla and Danielle were all within a minute of each other (actually a second for Alice and Kayla!) in the women.
1. Olli Ojanaho (FIN) 1:07:00, 9. Shamus 1:11:05, 10. Tim 1:11:12, 44. Nick 1:18:27, 65. Devon 1:22:57, 86. Tommy 1:26:41, Ed dnf.
1. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 52:06, 47. Alice 1:07:44, 48. 1:07:45, 53. Danielle 1:08:37, 87. Sonia 1:19:29, 100. Katie 1:25:24, 124. Sophie 1:43:24.
Last year’s podium finish by the men in the relay was always going to be a hard act to follow in 2015.
For a time on the final leg, as Tim noticeably gained on the Swiss runner ahead of him in 6th place it did look as that placing could be matched, but in the end the men finished a highly creditable 7th one place off the podium.
In the women’s relay an excellent first leg by Danielle, coming in in 8th place, had us out of our seats, although things slipped a bit from there the final 11th place was still a great result for a young team.
The results below include all teams. In terms of official placings (top team from each country only) the men, as above, were 7th and the women 11th.
1. FIN1 1:36:39, 12. NZL1 1:46:45, 19. NZL2 1:52:06.
1. SWE1 1:44:17, 14. NZL1 1:59:41, 25. NZL2 2:17:35.
The women’s relay was in fact perhaps the most entertaining event of the week as mistake after mistake was made at the front of the field on the last leg, testimony to the pressure at this level. Many of those mistakes came in the area shown on the left around control 12 on this women’s map – the relatively long leg after the spectator run through causing all kinds of problems as runners seemed to commonly overshoot and then drift south-west of the control.
JWOC also has an overall team competition based on placings by men and women in all the races. This was dominated by the Scandinavians with Finland, Norway and Sweden filling the top 3 places, but the 9th placing by New Zealand was by far the best outside the strong northern European nations – congratulations to all. This includes, of course, Anna Robertson and Gene Beveridge as manager and coach – they are hard jobs without which performances like these just would not be possible.
National Secondary School’s Championships
With the excitement of JWOC let’s not forget that some of the returning JWOC athletes and the next batch of budding JWOC competitors had the NZSCC in Nelson last weekend.
In the Senior Boys Cameron de L’Isle of Long Bay College was the standout, winning both the sprint and long distance.
In the Senior Girls the titles were shared by Kayla Fairbairn (long) and Alice Tilley (sprint), clearly recovering quickly from any post-JWOC jet-lag.
The senior relays were somewhat upset by two misplaced controls – a full discussion of this is on the NOC website.
1. Cameron de L’Isle (LONG) 20:04, 2. David Rawnsley (NBHS) 20:25, 3. Scott Smith (CASH) 20:35.
1. Alice Tilley (DIOC) 19:36, 2. Georgia Creagh (NGHS) 20:51, 3. Kayla Fairbairn (STCU) 21:11.
1. Cameron de L’Isle (LONG) 42:22, 2. Connor Cleary (RANG) 46:02, 3. Scott Smith (CASH) 48:17.
1. Kayla Fairbairn (STCU) 34:04, 2. Alice Tilley (DIOC) 39:56, 3. Lara Molloy (WGCO) 40:16.
Two weeks and counting to the big one.
Hopefully Tim and Shamus can carry their JWOC form across the North Sea to Inverness. Equally Matt Ogden and Laura Robertson have been showing good form in the JWOC spectator races. Meanwhile Lizzie Ingham has spent another 10 days in Scotland training with the Irish and the Czechs and running in the final British selection races. Gene, Matt, Shamus, Tim and Renee are all now running in various grades/classes in some of the O-Ringen races before the team as a whole finally gets together in Inverness this coming Sunday.
Watch for update reports throughout the next two weeks, and keep the fingers crossed.
The WOC programme is:
- Friday 31 July: Sprint Qualifying (NZ time: Saturday 1 August from 5 am)
- Saturday 1 August: Sprint Relay (NZ time: Sunday 2 August from 5 am)
- Sunday 2 August: Sprint Final (NZ time: Monday 3 August from 4 am)
- Tuesday 4 August: Middle Distance (NZ time: Tuesday 4 August from 11 pm)
- Wednesday 5 August: Relay (NZ time: Thursday 6 August from 1 am)
- Friday 7 August: Long Distance (NZ time: Friday 7 August from 9 pm)
….and to WMOC
Finally we should not forget that the World Masters in Gothenburg kicks off on Saturday with the sprint qualifying.
The 14 or so New Zealand entrants include 3 previous medal winners – Ross Brighouse, Ann Scott and Gillian Ingham – we wish them well.