When asked how he chose NZ, Ewan Musgrove says it was “almost a toss of a coin between Australia and New Zealand”. But the call to travel from he Highlands in Aberdeenshire in Scotland to the other side of the world was definitely strong. PAPO advertised the summer coach position late last year, to see if there were orienteers keen to pass on their knowledge.
Ewan had applied for the coaching position in Australia, but when he didn’t get the call to go to Australia his ticket to travel to New Zealand was immediately booked. Just after arriving In Auckland he found many of his orienteering mates had instructed him to apply for the coaching position at PAPO. So fresh off the plane he sent in his application .
Ewan was keen to take on the PAPO scholarship to open-up more sport opportunities. He is looking to study sports science when he returns to the UK. He has had some orienteering coaching experience with a junior after-school club, the Scottish orienteering young leader course, and coaching younger juniors in the Scottish junior squad, before he took on PAPO.
After 6 weeks of travelling around the lower part of the South Island, getting the alpine fix sorted, Ewan headed to Christchurch to set some training courses and do some mapping. Mapping is an activity he enjoys, as he can get in the ‘zone’ for hours. It is the one thing he says he doesn’t get distracted from. It’s just like the sport of orienteering – the mental intensity uses all your mental and physical energy, so you can’t think of anything else whilst you are on a course. “Orienteering really is a way to get to go to all those weird places.” Whilst he has been in Christchurch for 8 weeks has mapped a school, set some training in Bottle Lake, and helped at our PAPO Summer evening sprint events.
Of his own orienteering skills he says “You can always be better”, and he says he is definitely a long distance specialist. What Ewan likes about orienteering is that it is difficult, and you can never be perfect. He rates attackpoint as a way to analyse performance despite the platform being well over 20 years old, he says “the way the data is presented is great” from something pre-built, rather than building something else. I also like 2D and 3D re-run for route and course analysis. It is the precise navigation that orienteers love which is a different but complementary skill-set to add those physical challenges like ultra marathons and adventure racing.
Asked how school orienteering works in Britain, Ewan says the Scottish and British schools events are easier participation events, and then they encourage keen orienteers to find local clubs training or join after school sessions. But there are some special school leagues, and close to him, and Invoc is a good example.
Ewan headed off in March to go back to Scotland via an orienteering camp in Edinburgh. He felt he wasn’t running and training in the Port Hills as much as he liked due to a knee injury, but after some rest and recuperation, we wish him luck for his own JWOC trials in Britain.