Although, domestically, the re-scheduled ONZ Championships in Hawke’s Bay has taken centre stage, and is reported on, there is interesting results, and news, out of Europe. Prime among this is the identification of actual areas for WOC2024 in Edinburgh. Preparations for both the Oceania Sprint Champs and the Under 23 Camp are also underway.
The 2023 European Championships, all sprint, saw New Zealand represented in Italy by only Tim and Laura Robertson. For Tim, with knee surgery scheduled for early November, it was perhaps a little optimistic to expect top results, while Laura, after a good World Cup 2 was hoping to continue her string of impressive results. Italy is also the venue for WOC2026, as well as the first round of the World Cup in 2024, so the event also provided a taste of what to expect over the next few years.
EOC started with the sprint, in Verona. Despite being only 35 seconds down in his heat, Tim went out at this stage, 11 seconds off the 15th place cut-off, but was not the only big name to fall with Daniel Hubmann, Florian Howald and Gustav Bergman also missing out. Laura’s solid run saw her qualify in 11th place in women’s heat 1.
The final finished in the shadow of the Roman amphitheatre, which along with (supposedly) Juliet’s balcony (as in Romeo and Juliet) is one of the main features of Verona. With no gladiators or lions to contend with, and no duelling Capulets and Montagues, Laura had another top result, finishing 31st in the final. This saw a Swedish 1-2 in the women with Sara Hagstrom edging out Tove Alexandersson by 8 seconds. In the race for the overall World Cup title Matthias Kyburz shaded Kasper Harlem Fosser by 4 seconds in the men’s race.
Men Final: 1. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 12:26, 2. Kasper Harlem Fosser (NOR) 12:30, 3. Tuomas Heikkila (FIN) 12:31, 4=. Martin Regborn (Swe) 12:32, 4-. Ralph Street (GBR) 12:32, 6. Jonatan Gustafsson (SWE) 12:42.
Women Final: 1. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 12:17, 2. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 12:25, 3. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 12:40, 4. Natalia Gemperle (SUI) 12:45, 5. Aleksandra Hornik (POL) 12:49, 6. Lina Strand (SWE) 13:02, 31. Laura Robertson (NZL) 13:47.
The second event up was the Sprint Relay. Following on from the remarkable 7th place in the sprint relay at World Cup 2, there was sadly no NZL team involved. As a matter of record Swede led from start to finish to record a 36 second victory of Switzerland, Finland taking the bronze.
1. Sweden 1:02:35.2, 2. Switzerland 1:03:11.3, 3. Finland 1:03:28.6, 4. Norway 1:03:37.7, 5. France 1:04:49.8, 6. Great Britain 1:05:09.4.
The final race was the Knock-out Sprint, held in Vicenza, one of the training maps used by Team NZL in the lead-up to WOC2014. With only 12 from each of the parallel heats qualify for the knock-out rounds, both Tim and Laura achieved this with consummate ease, finishing 4th and 5th respectively in their heats. Unfortunately, both then went out at the quarter-final stage which featured the map choice format of splitting (shown below). The big talking point in the quarters, however, was a heavy collision between two of the favourites – Joey Hadorn and Kasper Harlem Fosser – which resulted in them both failing to finish and requiring medical treatment. Both the semi-finals and finals were straight races without any splitting, but with liberal use of artificial barriers complicating route choice. Ultimately, the men’s final went to Kyburz by a margin of nearly 2 seconds from Swedes Jonatan Gustafsson and Emil Svensk. In winning the women’s final Tove Alexandersson had double that margin over Elena Roos and Natalia Gemperle.
Men Qual 3: 1. Thomas Heikkila (FIN) 8:57, 2=. Jonatan Gustafsson (SWE) 9:00, 2=. Riccardo Rancan (SUI) 9:00, 4= Tim Robertson (NZL( 9:04, 4= Jonathan Crickmore (GBR) 9:04, 6. Joey Hadorn (SUI) 9:05. Women Qual 2: 1. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 8:46, 2. Simona Aebersold (SUI) 8:48, 3. Aleksandra Hornik (POL) 8:54, 4. Tilda Ostberg (SWE) 8:55, 5. Laura Robertson (NZL) 9:03, 6. Deborah Stadler (SUI) 9:05.
Men QF5: 1. Isac von Krusenstierna (SWE) 6:07.8, 2. Guilhem Verove (FRA) 6:09.7, 3. Alvaro Casado (ESP) 6:10.5, 7. Tim Robertson (NZL) 6:37.9.
Women QF1: 1. Eef van Dongen (NED) 7:17.0, 2. Ana Isabel Toledo (ESP) 7:17.1, 3. Tereza Janosikova (CZE) 7:19.3, 6. Laura Robertson (NZL) 7:52.5.
Men Final: 1. Matthias Kyburz (SUI) 5:51.2, 2. Jonatan Gustafsson (SWE) 5:53.1, 3. Emil Svensk (SWE) 5:53.2, 4. Ralph Street (GBR) 5:53.5, 5. Riccardo Rancan (SUI) 6:01.0, 6. Isac von Krusenstierna (SWE) 6:11.9.
Women Final: 1. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) 6:38.7, 2. Elena Roos (SUI) 6:42.3, 3. Natalia Gemperle (SUI) 6:46.8, 4. Hanna Lundberg (SWE) 6:50.9, 5. Sara Hagstrom (SWE) 6:57.4, 6. Victoria Haestad Bjornstad (NOR) 7:05.8.
In terms of overall World Cup placings, the collision suffered by Kasper Harlem Fosser in the quarter-final had a deciding influence as he finished in 2nd place by Matthias Kyburz by 59 points, having scored only 8 points from the KO sprint compared to Kyburz’s 100. Tim and laura showed sibling solidarity, both finishing in 47th place overall.
Laura has kindly contributed her thoughts on EOC/World Cup 3 as follows:
The sprint qualification was held early in the morning around an outer suburb of Verona. Courses were very fast, and only the top 15 from each heat qualified (out of around 45 per heat). The gap to 15th was less than 50 seconds in the women’s and only 25-30 seconds in the men’s. I treated this race as if it was a final, so I was pushing very hard on the open running sections and being careful through the technical parts at the beginning and end. I was very stoked to qualify in 11th place, 40 seconds down on the heat winner.
The sprint final was held in the narrow alleyways of Verona (where Shakespeare is thought to have got his inspiration for Romeo & Juliet), with the arena beside the spectacular Roman amphitheatre.
I particularly enjoyed the cheering from a group of NZ tourists eating at a restaurant in the main square, who were very excited to finally see a NZ runner after watching all of the Europeans come past before me. Big cheers of ‘go Kiwi’ both times I went past them!
The course was not as tricky as we had thought it would be, so there were not too many decisive route-choices. It was more about picking the right alleyways amongst the tourists and running fast. I was very pleased with my race, executing all the routes well and placed 31st, 1min 30sec behind the winner Sara Hagstrom.
Knock Out Sprint
The knock out qualification was even tighter than the qualification for the individual. With courses only being 9 minutes long and only the top 12 to qualify, the times down to the last qualification spot were ridiculously tight – 15-20 seconds in the men’s and 32-38 seconds in the women’s.
After qualifying in 11th position in the individual sprint, I knew I had the potential to scrape into the top 12, but it would need a very good run. Tim and I spent quite a bit of time geeking the area so we had a very good idea of how the course would look and which route was best on the long leg. The only surprise was that they had put up fake fences in the park at the beginning. My game plan going into this was to push as hard as possible on the open running sections, as you could recover through the more technical sections when you are forced to run slower anyway. This worked really well and I was able to comfortably qualify in 5th position, only 17 seconds down on the heat winner.
The quarter-final was held in the town of Vicenza and featured the ‘runners choice’ format where you get 20 seconds to choose between 3 variants. Unfortunately, as I was in the first heat, the organisers weren’t entirely sure what they were doing so there was a bit of chaos with the map choice. The map boards went up at different times for different people, then got put down again because they thought they’d gone too early, then lifted again because they were actually right the first time. So I definitely didn’t get my full 20 seconds and ended up just choosing the one that had the simplest routes. This ended up not being a very good option and as it was the first section of the course, I was on my own from the beginning and finished last in my heat. A shame not to be more involved in the head-to-head racing, but I was just thrilled to even make it through to the proper knock out stages for the first time in an international competition.
Euromeeting 2023 and WOC2024
Little over a week after the final round of the World Cup Euromeeting 2023 took place in Stirling in Scotland. Euromeeting is held a year in advance of the next World Championships in the same country as hosts WOC, with the aim of showing the type of terrain and, in general courses are planned by the same people who will plan the WOC courses. In this case Stirling is not Edinburgh, but the event still drew a good international field.
Following on from WC3, Laura had another good set of results, making the semi-finals of the KO Sprint and finishing 14th in the individual sprint. Once again the KO consisted of two rounds (QF and F) of head-to-head racing with no splitting, and one round, the SF, using the map choice option. The choices on offer here seem slightly odd, with one option having only 2 controls and the other two having 3 (again, see below).
What this tells us about WOC2024 is uncertain, but the most recent Bulletin for it has now revealed where the actual races will take place. Again, Laura has provided a useful insight.
Looking towards WOC in Edinburgh next year, Bulletin 2 has just been released. This now shows which embargoed areas are being used for which specific race (see map below). As expected, the city centre/old town in being used for the sprint and knockout finals, with the sprint relay being held at Heriot-Watt University.
In terms of preparation for the races, below are some thoughts:
- There are old maps of Heriot-Watt Uni and Central Edinburgh – print them off, start thinking about possible courses, street view any tricky areas such as multi-storey/alleyways/bridges etc.
- Practice running up/down steps and steep climbs
- Have a tactic for picking out alleyway entrances at speed, especially off very straight roads like the Royal Mile where there aren’t any distinctive features/building corners etc. to judge your distance
- There is a headcam video on Youtube that someone has taken from the Edinburgh City Race 2018 which goes through a lot of the central Edinburgh area. Have the map in front of you while you watch it and follow along. https://youtu.be/WtsC-5H6XsQ?t=32
Heriot-Watt Uni (Sprint Relay) – flat uni campus, irregular shaped buildings, lots of grass and some woodland. Very similar to a lot of NZ university maps (Carrington/Massey/Lincoln/Canterbury) so I think this will really suit us and should be the easiest one to train for/most familiar style of course and terrain. https://www.euoc.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#25
Wester Hailes (KO Qual) – classic Scottish housing estate, flat. Can usually get through most gaps between buildings, so just a case of picking any route and running fast. But be aware of the occasional trap. No old map, but similar style to this – https://www.masterplanadventure.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#4
Leith (Sprint Qual) – town sprint, flat, no old map. I don’t know much about this area, but here is a snippet from the training map that has been produced of the area adjacent to the embargo:
Central Edinburgh (Sprint Final & KO Finals) – old town, lots of steep climbs and steps, spotting alleyway entrances will be tricky (especially going off the Royal Mile), speed control will be crucial as well as picking when to read the map (hard to do whilst running down steps/in dark alleyways). https://www.euoc.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#27
Knowing Edinburgh as well (lived there for 3+ years) the comments that stand out to me are the ones about running up steep slopes and steps and picking out narrow alleyways– the Old Town is filled with all of these. Ideas on where we can train for these in New Zealand are welcome.
The delayed ONZ Championships started on a fine afternoon at Splash Planet in Hastings. Although both Men’s and Women’s titles were retained, by Joseph Lynch and Lizzie Ingham respectively, the sprint, where 21E and 20E ran on the same course) saw the closest overall finishes for some years. Both Joseph and Lizzie made mistakes on the same leg (12-13 on M21E below) where unmapped piles of rubbish caused both to have a brain fade. Joseph escaped with a 20 second time loss to the fastest split, while Lizzie lost over 45 seconds to Zara Stewart. These were almost critical in the overall results with Joseph having a winning margin over Felix Hunt (the M20E winner) of 4 seconds, with Lizzie’s margin over Zara (W20E winner) being only half of that.
M21E: 1. Joseph Lynch (PP) 15:17, 2. Zefa Fa’avae (NL) 15:36, 3. Will Tidswell (HB) 16:18, 4. Ronan Lee (HB) 17:04, 5. Cameron Bonar (NW) 17:06, 6. Jonty Oram (AK) 17:21.
W21E: 1. Lizzie Ingham (TK) 15:19, 2. Kaia Joergensen (PP) 15:45, 3. Ines Berger (SUI) 17:25, 4. Briana Steven (PP) 17:59, 5. Renee Beveridge (NW) 18:17, 6. Heidi Stolberger (NW) 19:01.
M20E: 1. Felix Hunt (PP) 15:21, 2. Eddie Swain (NL) 16:20, 3. Sam Carryer (AK) 16:30, 4. Jake McLellan (HV) 17:01, 5. Riley Croxfoed (NL) 17:12, 6. Ryan Moore (PP) 17:43.
W20E: 1. Zara Stewart (AK) 15:21, 2. Phoebe Hunt (PP) 17:32, 3. Alicia McGivern (CM) 17:52, 4. Molly McGowan (AK) 17:59, 5. Tide Fa’avae (NL) 18:32, 6. Nika Rayward (NL) 20:47.
Like the sprint, Saturday’s middle distance was a World Ranking Event with the 20Es running the same courses as the 21Es. Once again Felix running M20E got right in amongst the M21E finishers taking 2nd place on Course 1. Joseph, however, ran all but 4 of the fastest spits to win by over 3 minutes. Zefa was 3rd overall (2nd in M21E) 13 seconds ahead of Ronan Lee (3rd M21E). Fergus O’Neill and Riley Croxford filled the minor placings in M20E, although with significant tracking developing through the long grass their much earlier start times will not have helped their cause. The same was probably true for Lizzie who had a very early start time to enable her to pursue her footballing commitments. Lizzie finished 85 seconds down on Swiss Ines Berger, but still took the NZ title. There was an excellent run from Katherine Babington in coming 3rd overall and taking the W20E title, while seldom-seen Piret Klade was 3rd W21E 1 second behind her.
M21E: 1. Joseph Lynch 29:40, 2. Zefa Fa’avae 34:42, 3. Ronan Lee 34:55, 4. Scott Smith (PP) 36:45, 5. Will Tidswell 37:36, 6. Simon Jager (AK) 40:24.
W21E: 1. Ines Berger 34:02, 2. Lizzie Ingham 35:27, 3. Piret Klade (HB) 36 :46, 4. Kaia Joergensen 36:57, 5. Briana Steven 39:31, 6. Heidi Stolberger 41:20.
M20E: 1. Felix Hunt 32;50, 2. Fergus O’Neill (PP) 38:36, 3. Riley Croxford 39:07, 4=. Jake McLellan 39:59, 4=. Ryan Moore 39:59, 6. Eddie Swain 40:03.
W20E: 1. Katherine Babington (PP) 36:33, 2. Zara Stewart 37:08, 3. Rachel Baker (WN) 38:07, 4. Tide Fa’avae 43:45, 5. Anna Babington (PP) 44:33, 6. Molly McGowan 45:08.
Sunday’s long distance saw the weather turn wet for an event run on classic Hawkes Bay terrain of largely open farmland with scattered areas of pines and steep hills. Rote choice was at a premium. After 14.5 km of this, Joseph again took the M21E title with a commanding 8 and a half minute lead over Zefa. Scott Smith was a further 6 minutes back in 3rd. Lizzie took the ONZ W21E titls despite again finishing a couple of minutes back from Ines. Kaia was another 5+ minutes back. There was also a hat-trick of titles for Felix in M20E with a commanding lead over Fergus. Eddie Swain edged out Jake McLellan for 3rd. Surprise winner in the long distance wa sin W20E where Tide Fa’avae produced her best result yet in beating Katherine by just over 3 minutes. Another Nelsonite/Nelsonian (?) Nika Rayward took 3rd.
M21E: 1. Joseph Lynch 1:33:10, 2. Zefa Fa’avae 1:41;46, 3. Scott Smith 1:47:32, 4. Cameron Bonar 1:50:35, 5. Ronan Lee 1:51:00, 6. Simon Jager 1:51:08.
W21E: 1. Ines Berger 1:19:12, 2. Lizzie Ingham 1:21:18, 3. Kaia Joergensen 1:26:56, 4. Piret Klade 1:27:22, 5. Renee Beveridge (NW) 1 :33 :13, 6. Briana Steven 1 :41 :48.
M20E: 1. Felix Hunt 1:19:33, 2. Fergus O’Neill 1:24:28, 3. Eddie Swain 1:25:39, 4. Jake McLellan 1:25:59, 5. Jacob Knoef (PP) 1:32:01, 6. Nicholas Green (HV) 1:34:56.
W20E: 1. Tide Fa’avae 1:05:16, 2. Katherine Babington 1:08:30, 3. Nika Rayward 1:09:13, 4. Phoebe Hunt 1:09:27, 5. Anna Babington 1:10:53, 6. Zara Stewart 1:12:24.
The ONZ Champs finished wit the relay, run on the same area as the long distance. The gradually accumulating power of PAPO, s they sweep up the New Zealand student population, was on full display taking 5 of the top 10 places in the Open class. First leg honours, however, went to home club Hawke’s Bay as Ronan Lee came in with a lead of just over 90 seconds. From then on it was all PAPO as Kaia took them into the lead on leg 2, ahead of Katherine running for the second PAPO team. A strong run by Zefa on the anchor leg took Nelson past the second PAPO team but still finishing 5 minutes behind Joseph on leg 3 for the lead team.
1. PP 1 (Felix Hunt, Kaia Joergensen, Joseph Lynch) 1:37:36, 2. Nelson (Eddie Swain, Tide Fa’avae, Zefa Fa’avae) 1:42:58, 3. PP 2 (Fergus O’Neill, Katherine Babington, Scott Smith) 1:44:03, 4. Hawke’s Bay (Ronan Lee, Tessa Burns, Will Tidswell) 1:45:27, 5. PP 3 (Finn van Keulen, Phoebe Hunt, Tane Cambridge) 1:48:18, 6. North West (Cameron Bonar, Renee Beveridge, Liam Stolberger) 1:48:47.
Overall, a big thank you to the Hawke’s Bay club for managing to mount a successful event after the tragic events of earlier in the year. Congratulations to Joseph, Lizzie and Felix for the hat=trick of titles (4th in arow for Lizzie), and some very impressive performances also from Zefa, Kaia and a lot of the up-and-coming juniors. On to Tarawera in 2024.
NOL and NSL 2022/23 Final Tables
The ONZ Champs also brought to a conclusion the National O and Sprint Leagues for 2022-23. With 5 races out of 8 to count in the NSL, Felix Hunt, with only 4 counting, had trailed Kurtis Shuker going into Splash Planet. With Kurtis a no-show, Felix’s close second to Joseph Lynch carried him to the top of the table with Kurtis finishing second. Zefa Fa’avae’s improved sprinting over the year gave him 3rd place ahead of Eddie Swain. Joseph, despite again being ONZ Champion, had too few races counting to trouble the leaders.
NSL Men: 1. Felix Hunt 488.9, 2. Kurtis Shuker 465.9, 3. Zefa Fa’avae 456.1, 4. Eddie Swain 439.2, 5. KieranWoods 436.4, 6. Jonty Oram 432.8.
Lizzie Ingham made it no contest in the women’s NSL, winning all but 1 race that she ran, to score the maximum 500. Kaia Joergensen, who won the 2 races that Lizzie didn’t, took 2nd, while Zara Stewart edged Amber Riddle for 3rd with Anna Babington and Molly McGowan quite close in pursuit.
NSL Women: 1. Lizzie Ingham 500.0, 2. Kaia Joergensen 486.4, 3. Zara Stewart 459.7, 4. Amber Riddle 453.4, 5. Anna Babington 448.7, 6. Molly McGowan 442.3.
In the NOL the complicated formula of 3 of the 6 early season races plus 3 from KB and ONZ Champs, plus the scaling of points depending on class, was a deciding factor. Joseph, despite winning all 4 races at KB/ONZ, ran only 2 of the previous 6, leaving not quite 60 points behind Zefa, who capped an excellent season with the NOL title. Riley Croxford has taken 3rd a mere 0.5 points ahead of Felix, who missed King’s Birthday. Ronan Lee and Tane Cambridge filled out the top 6.
NOL Men: 1. Zefa Fa’avae 559.5, 2. Joseph Lynch 500.0, 3. Riley Croxford 446.7, 4. Felix Hunt 446.2, 5. Ronan Lee 411.5, 6. Tane Cambridge 395.1.
Similarly, Lizzie’s decision to run M21 at KB left her just over 40 points behind Kaia. Between the two of them was Katherine Babington, who was the only person to run all 10 races. The minor placings were filled out by Zara, Rachel Baker and Anna.
NOL Women: 1. Kaia Joergensen 542.2, 2. Katherine Babington 506.2, 3. Lizzie Ingham 500.0, 4. Zara Stewart 480.5, 5. Rachel Baker 475.7, 6. Anna Babington 474.0.
Full tables listing all 139 men in the NOL, 123 women in the NOL and NSL numbers of 76 men and 66 women, can be found at https://www.orienteering.org.nz/nol-nsl-sportclass…/. Scott Smith has also computed the teams result which can be found at: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yLxDHC8DfK8V9kh9wHra5rCSrw2WTkHS/view?fbclid=IwAR1PbtC3hOlZXq7Of5Bb02zaFOrsuLXjhsliupYuJ1iYAL9a_fNKS8TB45k.
Given the dominance of Southerly Storm a discussion has also developed as to how to perhaps even out the teams. In the interim the programme of both NOL and NSL for 2023/24 is under development.
Under 23 HP Camp 2023
A reminder to those that have been offered places on the Under 23 HP in December that acceptances are due back by Saturday 18 November at the latest. No accept – no attend.