There hasn’t been much time since WOC, but how does preparing for the World Games event differ from your run training for other orienteering events during the European Summer season, such as, the World Orienteering Champs (WOC) and the Orienteering World Cup ? With only 15 days between my last race at WOC and my first race at the World games, the main focus has been recovery and maintaining the form I had going into world champs. The week after world champs I took training very easy, but the second week I had the chance to race a 5000m and tick off a running goal I’ve had for this season, running under 14 minutes. On the 11th I flew to America and the first competition (Sprint) will start on the 15th. Today (one day before the competition) the athletes get the chance to visit the middle distance model area and sprint distance model area to get a feeling for the mapping, terrain and course setting style.
Are you sightseeing around Birmingham? What else are you going to do in the area? Yes, the World Games is a unique experience because we stay in an athletes village, much like the Olympic Games, and with our accreditation, are able to access the other venues and watch other sports. So far I have been a spectator at the kickboxing, squash, racquetball, lacrosse and tug of war competitions! There are many athlete evenings put on so we can interact with other sports codes and the Birmingham public. Aside from this, we are free to explore the city. The middle distance will be held in the Oak Mountain State Park, so racing the middle will be some sightseeing in itself.
Where is the best place to prepare for your different sport disciplines? What does Europe offer over NZ or vice versa? I think it’s possible to prepare well from New Zealand, but the main issue is the big races on the international calendar are held in Europe. For me to compete in the world cup season, WOC and 10mila + Jukola I’ve been required to make Europe my base. I really enjoy living in Sweden, the opportunities for orienteering are crazy, it would be possible to do an organised training almost every day for most of the year if I wanted. But I always love coming home, exploring New Zealand’s beautiful terrain and taking part in some real grass roots competitions.
What do you like best about the different disciplines between running & orienteering? I love the physical and mental challenge, the atmosphere at events and the tight community that orienteering has. For running, I enjoy how ‘black and white’ it can be. It’s possible to set a time goal and work to achieve it.
Outside of work, orienteering & running, what else are we likely to find you? When I’m home in New Zealand I love surfing and exploring new areas I haven’t been. In Sweden I enjoy cross country skiing in the winter and kayaking and camping in the summers. As mentioned above, huge espresso fan, I have a tradition of buying locally roasted beans from each new country I visit.
If you could leave a legacy what would it be ( sport or otherwise)? I hope to help inspire New Zealand orienteers like the some of the older NZ elites inspired me.
What’s your next race/event? New Zealand cross country champs.