Polite Swiss precision wins |  Inès Berger reviews Nationals
By Christo Peters - Sat 4 Nov 2023 8:53pm

Inès Berger is one of two coaches in residence who will be in New Zealand this summer. Inès is being hosted in both Christchurch and Auckland and will be travelling around our country. Having just competed at our national championships, she shares her experiences with us.

Splashplanet, Hastings – NZOC Sprint event
The area was definitely unusual but what a fun experience to race in a water park ! It was extremely tricky, the course was hectic, many short legs in the beginning punctuated by some longer ones delivering very interesting route choices! I struggled a lot to the first and second controls, I had a very hard time getting into the mapping, aligning my map to the North and estimating the distances. They both were very short legs and one had no choice but to be straight into it. No time for adaptation! In fairness, I might have simply not been practising sprint enough since my last sprint race at JWOC… So this very fun course in an awesome area was definitely a good reminder of how tricky sprint gets to be!

The rest of the course went pretty well, the legs felt very good, and even thought I wasn’t ever sure of my route choices, the analysis seemed to show that I mostly took the fastest route. But the course setting was very good since it was so difficult to see which option was best. Apart from that huge mistake to the first control which was about 2 minutes, I would’ve finished at rank one or two which is very motivating!

Mangatarata, Waipukurau – NZOC Middle event
This race was held in a gum tree forest on a 1: 7’500 scaled map. The course was again hectic with a lot of direction changes and many controls. A perfect type of middle distance! My race was extremely good in the beginning; I quickly found the flow, stuck to my compass, ran clean until I saw Kaia on the way to the 8th control. This disturbed me a bit, I know that contact is a trigger point of mine, and I didn’t really manage to finish my course in a clean way. I didn’t use my compass anymore and since the area was full of revolving slopes I ended up not exactly where I wanted to be to number 9, 11 and 13. But I managed to keep a good speed and that allowed me to make up for the time lost during the mistakes. Regarding the micro-route choices, I think that going straight or at least staying very close to the line was pretty much always the best option since the forest was runnable. Always a good call using the paths as well but there was a very important density of MTB tracks on this map which ended up making the use of those paths very tricky and kind of dangerous. This element definitely also has been one of the triggers of my mistakes.

Tuna NuiSherenden – NZOC Long event
Sunday was long distance day in a farmland type of terrain. So a lot of open, but not that easy to run in since there were many holes on the ground caused by the cattle. It was steep and had a few more detailed areas with a rocky part. The course was once again very well set, typical for a long distance: longer legs followed by a few shorter ones to break the rhythm. It wasn’t the most technical course of the week-end but interesting enough to keep you entertained during the race. I still made a mistake to the 9th control, on a downhill in the rocky part, I just ran too low past the control. So there were definitely some trickier controls in the course. What I’d say was decisive in this race was definitely keeping up with a good speed and finding an effective way to navigate through the slopes. I don’t think that the longer legs had many decisive route choices options but that it was more about the micro route choices, choosing where to cross the fences, the stream (on the way to the 10th for instance), and trying to save as many meters of climb while always staying close to the line. So apart from my mistake on the 9th, a compass deviation to the 18th, and a pretty slow start understanding the map and getting into the race, it was a good day for me! I technically my best race of the weekend, in another great area!

Tuna NuiSherenden – NZOC Relay event
Same area as the long distance, and better weather. It was a very fun course, with a good amount of forkings. The fact that the terrain was open made it even more interesting since one could see the runners in the distances and should not get too distracted, but still manage to use the others as a help.

It was overall one of the coolest orienteering events I’ve been to and I am happy with my races, especially on the long distance and middle days.
See you soon, Inès

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