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U23 HP camp  |  December  2022
By Christo Peters - Sun 18 Dec 2022 9:20pm

Wednesday 7 December | Day 1 – Under 23 HP camp got underway  with a talk from Tracey Lambechs from DFSNZ on the do’s, don’ts, responsibilities and expectations regarding clean sport. Lots of intelligent questions were generated. Tracey outlined what the rules are and what would happen if you were pulled aside to be tested.  Most importantly, it is your responsibility as to what you put in your body, so question and research what you are given and if supplements and gels are approved. 

Thursday 8 December | Day 2 – After a Sanitarium sponsored breakfast the orienteering started in Riverhead at Barlow Road starting with a route choice exercise followed by a series of mass start relay intervals. There was then a late lunch back at Muriwai and a return to Riverhead to run a shortish middle distance. Thanks are due to Lara Molloy for putting out tapes (both in advance and on the day) and Geoff and Lisa Mead for delivering the map bags – an action that made the rain stay away. Jeni Pearce of HPSNZ spoke on nutrition before dinner, with the day’s menu carefully chosen – the bolgonaise was fully approved!.

Jeni Pearce’s impressions of orienteering were that “you really have to be engaged and switched-on in orienteering as it is a brain ,as well as a physical sport. But what a great sport to get kids in the city moving”. Jeni was impressed with the camp and the training journey that helped athletes “think on their feet”… “unlike track running you need to respond to things and make instant decision-making“ so nutrition and looking after you body is even more important. Sleep, good fuelling, keeping hydrated, and not having too much caffeine are important so your whole body can be there to react and make decisions…and these are good skills for life, as actually none of us know what is around the corner!”  She goes on to say that  “what orienteers need is the top fitness of a runner combined with the concentration of an archer and the decision-making of a team sport”. It is a big ask for one athlete, so that is why nutrition and warming-up and cooling down exercises and good training alongside proper sleep to bring out the best . 

Jeni has been working with rugby league, rugby union, formula one and also power olympics, but she tailored her presentation for orienteers. She could see that “the environment and being outdoors was a big attraction for orienteers”. Jeni commented later that “There is so much depth in NZ sport, and there are so many skilled and talented sports people doing what they love in New Zealand, and really enjoying what they do. We are just so lucky to see and share the passion”

Jeni has been working with rugby league, rugby union, formula one and also power olympics, but she tailored her presentation for orienteers. She could see that “the environment and being outdoors was a big attraction for orienteers”. Jeni commented later that “There is so much depth in NZ sport, and there are so many skilled and talented sports people doing what they love in New Zealand, and really enjoying what they do. We are just so lucky to see and share the passion”

Friday 9 December | Day 3 – Although the rain held off again there was the first hiccup when the key provided for the Muriwai gate at Woodhill wouldn’t work. Apparently they had new keys cut but hadn’t changed the locks! This caused a lengthy delay while Callum drove round to forest HQ and got an old key which worked!

There were further delays whilst the participants had to wait for the tapes to be put out for an exercise on forest interval training on Mushroom Road. Approx 500 m track run before a short O loop, with 5 minutes rest then another…and another…and another.

The planned windows exercise, with 80% of the map blanked out, was abandonded as it was way too vague, so instead there was a move down to the Telephone Track for another middle distance mixing the forest and the open dunes.

ONZ’s HPSNZ contact person Katherine Oberline-Brown spent the morning at camp to get immersed in the forest with a map. A big thanks to Yvette Baker for taking her under her wing, explaining a lot about orienteering, and walking out into the forest to observe. Katherine said Yvette did well at showing her “how the map translated and what the athletes were doing and how they were reading the topographical features and reading the terrain”.

Katherine Oberlin-Brown is a two times world champion in motocross and is now  mountain biking in her spare time. Katherine has also a Bachelor in Sport Science and a Masters and specialises  in Performance Sports Physiology investigating the effect of exercise on the function and structure of the body. Katherine has worked with the Black Sticks, worked with the rowing team into the Rio Games, and also the Snow Sports preparation for the Winter Olympics.

What stood out for Katherine was the athlete’s love for the outdoors combined with the mental challenge of map reading. 

Katherine advises that adding sports psychology to our training will make a difference and help prepare those athletes who move from competing in NZ to the large global events. Two other areas we can work on are the heat preparation as we move from the height of winter to hot summer events and our strength conditioning. She says “there is a wide area of research on what other sports do for injury protection and prevention that we can learn from”. On the whole Katherine says that orienteers have that all important skill of being able to  adjust on the fly and the psychology of being adaptable” which is very future-focussed for the sport. “Orienteers think quickly and are one step ahead”,…”it is so much more than the physical, but what a great sport for getting around the country and visiting so many new locations”. 

Saturday 10 December | Day 4 – Day 4 started with a time trial in association with Owairaka Athletics Club with the collaboration arranged by Kieran Woods and Neill McGowan. Some ran a 3k, some the 5k with  Joseph Lynch running his own 3k and then pacing at least one 5k, with Ronan Lee pacing as well. It was warm and muggy early but then rather hot for an exercise which provides a good baseline of where athletes are at with their running. A repeat of this kind of time trial every couple of months can be used to gain evidence of fitness, while regular running in terrain is a great benefit for improving strength. Provisional results from Owairaka AC are  here: https://www.webscorer.com/race?raceid=299964

In the afternoon the rain came down at Green Bay High School for the sprint training. We had A short line course, a series of map choice intervals and then a standard sprint course.

Sunday 11 December | Day 5 – A second day of sprint training in the Auckland rain. It started by watching Harry Kane miss a penalty, then proceeded to Western Springs Park for a two person sprint relay. The wet grass caused a few slips but the team of Nicholas and Aryton came in 4 seconds ahead of Eddie Swain  and Kaia Joergensen with the Felix Hunt and Sam Carryer combination just holding out Joseph Lynch and Sofia Toes.

On to Epsom Campus, University of Auckland for a route choice exercise as a warm up, followed by dividing into four groups of seven ranked on Saturday’s 5k for a series of 4 x 1k mass start races. After each race the top three in each group were promoted and the bottom 3 relegated – this really mixed up the field, and was used as the camp sprint champs. It was a major surprise when Joseph Lynch missed a control in the final race, with others narrowly avoiding doing so, gifting the win to Nathan Borton who had oscillated between Group 1 and Group 2. Kaia Joergensen, starting in Group 4, had 2 promotions to reach as high as Group 2 before dropping back to Group 3 and then being pipped by Molly McGowan in the final race for highest women. Such a series of mass starts provides an excellent alternative to KO sprint – thanks are due to Laura Robertson for suggesting this (it’s used by the Brits in their training).

It was a major surprise when Joseph Lynch missed a control in the final, gifting the win to Nathan Borton who had oscillated between Group 1 and Group 2. Kaia Joergensen, starting in Group 4, got as high as Group 2 before dropping back to Group 3 and being pipped by Molly McGowan in the final race for highest women. Excellent alternative to KO sprint – thanks to Laura [surname – do you mean Lara?] for suggesting this.

Monday 12 December | Day 6 – Finally the sun shone for a return to Riverhead – this time the Robinson Road end. The day started with simplification. Eight people were sent out to put out a single control tape and, on return, had the map taken from them and were asked to draw their own map of where the control was. These were then used by others to find the controls. This means a need to concentrate on the how, and why, you chose your route for those who put out the tapes, and gross simplification of terrain for those using the sketch maps. A great variety of artistic talent, or lack thereof was shown!

This was followed by a pairs relocation exercise and, post lunch break, a corridor exercise, finishing as usual with a short course.

Post-dinner there was a final, interactive, evening presentation from Carolyn Dodson and Nicola Lewis-Clifford from HPSNZ on HP Life – basically how to manage all aspects of life as a HP athlete. Nicola Lewis-Clifford, brought her experience as an ex Welsh Commonwealth Games netball player and now HP coach, and she was impressed with orienteering as a sport. Nicola mentioned the skills orienteers require from speed to endurance, but also the need to think clearly and make strategic decisions. She is keen to join in some events, and is in awe of the athletes, as she says “ you have to run all terrain from urban concrete, to parks and contending with mud and trees”. Her presentation included a mention on time management. “Like many other sports, there are many elements for success, and they all require years of planning and training to contribute to that successful performance”.

Tuesday 13 December | Day 7- The final act – which was camp champs on the Grassy Track. 4.1k for the men, 3.1k for the women, with a mix of flatter white forest and denser, steeper stuff littered with MTB tracks, both mapped and unmapped.

Men: Joseph 33:06 (Unoff), 1. Zefa 33:49, 2. Dougal 45:31, 3. Jacob 47:36.

Women: 1. Kaia 36:19, 2. Katherine 40:26, 3. Rachel 40:30

In summary, if you want to do well, it’s a long term plan and athletes will be now thinking about how long it takes to get there and the effort involved to be able to compete at the top level. It is a lifestyle to keep improving competence, capacity, and performance, but the continuous training will help increase new knowledge and skill. The work gained in training can support your learning and learning transfer in other areas of life as you assess how successfully you plan and meet your training objectives. Orienteering is not solely a solo sport, we do need the back-up of our running mates and the orienteering community to assess how we are going to progress.  Do get in touch with Malcolm if you want extra training advice or access to maps and courses.  

Presentations from the camp have been posted, on the ONZ website, pdf’s of two of the presentations:

https://www.orienteering.org.nz/…/presentations-from…/

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