Firstly I’d like to thank all the planners and organisers of the Waitangi weekend – it was a great weekend of racing with some superb courses.
We were both travelling out of Europe for the first time this summer and also competed in the Oceania carnival in Tasmania. The KO sprint was a real test physically and mentally by the end. I unfortunately mispunched in an early round so raced in B finals for the rest of the day – still great competition and fast girls. I have found NZ orienteering similar to Britain, we have areas almost identical to Woodend in northern Scotland so it didn’t feel too unfamiliar. I love forested dunes so it was a real treat! On the other hand the tin mining in St Helen’s TAS was on another level – the complexity of the mapping and navigation was nothing I expected. I really struggled to execute controls cleanly in the steep gullies so the local girls definitely had an advantage over me.
In the afternoon chasing middle I had a real adventure… My legs were shattered by this point and my brain was starting to lag! I got very confused by other runners on the splitting loops but tried not to get too distracted. I was racing hard until I fell on some fallen branches and smashed my compass; surprise no compass training! I struggled to regain motivation after this and subsequently didn’t punch the control during the run-through. I had no energy remaining, 2nd mispunch in 2 days and one less compass.
I found the standard of competition really good with Lizzie and also the Junior elites – the racing was fierce. The social barbecue was great fun on Sunday night (such a large group of fun youngsters) and something I think Britain also does well!
Travel around NZ has been tricky so far – luckily we haven’t been too stuck as orienteers have been super helpful with lifts. We’ve learnt to not rely too heavily on the buses.
I wrote this whilst we were in Queenstown – the hiking and running has been incredible here with phenomenal scenery. Very different to Christchurch (just a little more climb!).
My top recommendations for orienteering in Britain would be to enter the Scottish 6 days in August. These are the best maps we have to offer and a well-organised week of O. Anything in Lake District is also a ‘must do’, the JK orienteering festival is there this Easter and will be a great international competition.
Regards Rachel Duckworth with some comments from Lucy