In steep terrain and hot temperatures which saw liberal use of cooling water as athletes went through the coaching zone, both the New Zealand men’s and women’s teams have produced their best WOC relay results for some years. Indeed, for the men the 15th place achieved by Toby Scott, Matt Ogden and Tim Robertson was the best since the WOC relay became a 3 person relay in 2003, prior to which it was a team of 4. Amelia Horne, Lizzie Ingham and Kaia Joergensen’s 16th place was the best since Scotland in 2015 where NZL was 14th. Other than that it is only surpassed by a 9th place in a much reduced field in Japan in 2005.
In the men’s race Toby led off and came in in an impressive 15th place about 4 and a half minutes down on leaders Latvia. Starting strongly, Matt had a problem when a hole developed in his map, meaning he was navigating blind for at least one control! He handed over to Tim in 18th place,who came through the arena run-through in 13th place before a minor mistake at the end saw Estonia and Denmark go past leaving NZL 15th. Switzerland were winners by 43 seconds from Finland, with Sweden in 3rd. More importantly NZL took the unofficial Commonwealth title being ahead of GBR, AUS, CAN and SA.
While the men’s team was vastly experienced, the women’s team had two newcomers to the WOC relay. Leading off, Amelia justified the faith in her with a steady run to hand over to Lizzie in 20th position. Lizzie pegged away at the runners in front, picking up 2 places and setting Kaia off within 30 seconds of two more. Despite a wobble at the first, Kaia ran strongly gaining 2 more places to cross the line 16th. The women’s race went to Sweden by nearly 4 and a half minutes from hosts Switzerland with Norway taking bronze.
Men: 1. Switzerland 1:57:16, 2. Finland 1:57:59, 3. Sweden 1:58:13 15. New Zealand 2:17:14.
Women: 1. Sweden 1:47:26, 2. Switzerland 1:51:54, 3. Norway 1:57:25, 16. New Zealand 2:27:07.