So far this weekend, there have already been two competitions in the JK. This year, the competition is in the South East of England, and yesterday things kicked off with a sprint race at the University of Surrey. This was the venue for the World Cup Sprint Qualification in 2005, so many of the runners were familiar with the area, but the planner set some really technical courses, with plenty of route choice, and tricky legs almost constantly. Nobody managed to have a clean race, but Hubmann managed to hold it together best, in front of Scotia and Øysein. I was 5th, 26 seconds behind having had a very scrappy run, no big mistakes, but small errors cropping up all over the place - fantastic start to the weekend though in terms of orienteering.
Today we returned to Leith Hill, scene of the World Cup Middle race in 2005. Back then I had a shocking run, and today I was hoping for an improvement. Again it was a middle distance, but today we were using a combination of the same area, and also a different part to the east. The weather has been pretty mixed so far, and true to form, just before I started, it started to snow, and half my race I had snow, sleet and hail, and then bright sunshine later on. I knew there wasgoing to be a lot of short technical legs, and lots of changes in technicality and runnability, but I was also planning to go out hard. I ran quite well at the start, a little bit scrappy again, and I lost about 30 seconds on the tricky 5th leg. The 8th leg, I managed to run past the control without seeing it, and lost around 40 seconds. Then I proceeded to miss the 10th control. After that I gave myself a mental slap, and tried to focus well for the second half of the course. It worked well, and I motored round the rest of the course, with barely a second lost. Having been a minute down on Baptiste at 10, I managed to just pip him for 3rd on the run in, just 15 secs behind Hubmann and 30 secs behind Scotia, who is on fire so far this year. So in summary, I feel fitter than I have ever been before - I won the long leg with the big climb to 14, and I when I am focusing well I am orienteering pretty well, but still too many small errors. Happy with the position - might get some good ranking points! But slightly disappointed with ~1.45 time loss.
Results here, splits here. No pictures or routegadget yet.
As a 'local' runner, I have been asked to do loads of publicity stuff for the event, you can see an article on the BBC website which is quite cool, and I was interviewed on local radio yesterday morning - I had about 30 seconds warning... You can listen here.
Tomorrow is the long race in Ashdown Forest. Start list is a reverse of today's results, so I am off 3rd last. Feeling pretty good for a good result, but it will be tough to win overall...