With D-Day, or rather S-Day, fast approaching, the last 2 days have seen our focus largely switch to the sprints with visits to Elgin, Forres and Nairn (twice) to run (through Elgin – not embargoed), walk (through Forres and Nairn – embargoed for running), and today run (through the model sprint map at Nairn). Whereas the two individual sprints in Forres look to be largely tarmac (complex housing estate for the qualifying and city centre vennels for the final), the sprint relay in Nairn looks set to serve up a variety of terrain. What may be crucial is a small, but complex, coastal strip of sand-dunes with multiple little paths and scattered vegetation. Hopefully just what we are used to, albeit at 1:4000 not 1:10000, but almost guaranteed to be a graveyard of orienteering hopes in a sprint relay. But that is Saturday, before then we have the individual sprint qualifying. Starting at 6 pm local time Friday will probably seem to drag while we wait for action.
Meanwhile Matt and Renee, who are not running the sprints, have sampled a middle training map (Loch of Boath) and Matt has also sampled haggis (don’t blame me). Fortunately he doesn’t have to race until Tuesday.
However culture beckons… we have now moved location to Smithton, just east of Inverness and only a stones throw from Culloden – site of the decimation of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, and the last battle fought on British soil. We have also suffered what seemed like a very long drawn-out and not particularly well organized accreditation process and had a look at the technical model event, both at the Eden Court Theatre complex. To get to this venue requires crossing Inverness – no problem, population 70000, half the size of Hamilton – think again – only two bridges across the River Ness, narrow streets and multiple roundabouts that seem to be designed to impede traffic flow rather than help it. Perhaps NZTA can be diverted from a Basin Reserve flyover to a River Ness tunnel.
So to action…..tomorrow’s sprint qualifying has the women starting at 18:01 and the men at 19:01 local time – sociable 5 and 6 am in New Zealand. There are three heats for both with the top 15 in each heat to qualify for Sunday’s final. The Kiwi start times are: Imogene 18:08 (05:08 NZ), Laura 18:13 (05:13), Lizzie 18:26 (05:26), Gene 19:10 (06:10), Shamus 19:20 (06:20) and Tim, to his delight, last off at 19:39 (06:39). Fingers crossed…. Oh, by the way, we have to provide our own flag for the opening ceremony – anyone got any ideas?