Winterfold, Pitch and Holmbury Hills World Cup Spectator Race, 1st May

The atmosphere for this event was great, with the World Cup Long Distance race in the morning and the spectator race in the afternoon. There was a real international feel about the event, and the location was superb, the assembly area in a field high up in the Surrey hills, the weather warm and sunny.

Shame I had such a disasterous race really, finishing almost last. This was largely due to me not doing any training, or attending any events, for the previous six weeks – and unwisely choosing to run M21L (long) , having been running M21S (short) for the rest of the season thus far. I had a reasonable run for the first 2/3rds of the course, and would have posted a reasonably respectable time had I kept going at that base all the way, however I massively ran out of energy at around control 16, and ended up walking a large part of the remaining two kilometres, so ending up clocking over 2 hours out on the 12.9km course with 505m of climbing. (In the end, my time was an appalling 142:02, finishing 61st out of 63 finishers, plus 5 mps and one nc runner. The winner took 74:00.)

Winterfold, Pitch and Holmbury Hills map extractMind you, even before I ran out of energy, I had not had an A1 run. Yes, it’s easier to lose physical fitness than “mental awareness” of orienteering, but I still made several stupid and tiring mistakes that I can only blame on having not orienteered in the previous weeks. For example, going from 2 to 3, I stopped at the drinks point, and then hurted down the hill, only to realise at the bottom that I had completely forgotten about control 3 and had been running to control 4. I had run all the way back up the hill… Also in leg 11-12, shown in the extract here, I (and several of my contempories, I should add) plunged down into the ravine and then crawled up the steep hill to 12. What I should have done of course was to go round to the left and stay high – distance wise it was longer, but it would have avoided the exhausting climb completely. I never really recovered from the climb to 12, and I think this triggered my gradual deteriation later in the course.

Performance analysis
The graph shows my control-by-control performance compared with the 3 people who finished just in front of me. I’m the tan line – the red line for the latter part of the race shows how I would normally have run – the uptick at the end as I tradtionally finish strongly compared with my contempories. See how my speed just tanks after control 16, allowing the three to overtake.

Oh well, there was always the next event to look forward to two days later…

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