World Masters Orienteering Champs 2018Written by Lynne
This sounds grand - but anyone can enter if you are older than 35 years and this year over 4000 orienteers arrived in Denmark for the competition. The oldest class this year (with competitors) was M95!
2018, I became a W65 and the WMOC was to be in Denmark. We bought a campervan in autumn 2017, Paul said that 2018 was my choice of holiday so the plan was made to enter WMOC 2018.
Preparation is key so rather than spend hours at the computer looking at photos and previous maps, we headed for Denmark (and Zealand) for the Danish Spring weekend of events in March 2018. The orienteering was really really good; we both took part in a Sprint race in Soro, pre-start in a shopping arcade which was a novel experience! The race was a mix of old town and new housing estates.
There was then a Middle distance and Long distance race in a (mainly) beech forest south of Roskilde. The planning was excellent with very few opportunities to run on paths. Paul's knees are unable to take rough ground so I was able to have a 'buddy' at the start to give my jacket / hat / gloves / buff to! Yes I was not fit enough to run the whole course, navigation was OK though. It let me see what I needed to do to prepare for July.
Denmark was cold and wet so after the Danish Spring we headed south to Germany; a fall off my bike and bashed up knee along with probable hairline fractures of sternum delayed training quite a bit!
June 2018 and we were back in Denmark, still on Zealand and based in a town called Hillerod. At the campsite I was able to pick up 4 x orienteering maps for the surrounding area as well as a general town map which showed good running routes. The Zealand Champs were a short (5km) walk from the campsite so I entered the weekend of events. Again the woodland was mainly beech forest with some thicker areas of very low visibility. The terrain was quite subtle, as shown by 2.5m contours. It was hot (about 25C) and I found that quite draining, along with a few mosquitoes!
After the Zealand Champs, we headed NE to Helsingor / Elsinore (of Hamlet fame) as Paul had entered a 70.3 Ironman. Although it was warm we had the only rain of our 7 week holiday that day. No problem for Paul as it rained while he was in the water; my waterproofs had an outing though! He had a good race with a calm swim in the harbour followed by a rolling bike course. The run was around the castle and nearby town, mainly flat with a shower of rain as he finished. I was able to track where he was as there is an Ironman App and you can follow athletes when their transponder registers as they pass by certain (random) points. This event took place a short walk from the campsite; food is readily available as one of the large old ship sheds has been converted into a series of 'street food' stalls.
We then became tourists and explored the rest of Zealand and Mons. Copenhagen had a visit, the embargo areas clearly marked on our city map so I did not stray into them; we reckoned we walked about 20km that day, exploring around the city. Mons attracted us as they have 'hills' there and chalk cliffs - nearly 500 steps down to the beach and back up, yes I did it all as part of a run there! We stopped at a few other places on Zealand, running and cycling from the campsites; as Denmark is reasonably flat with good roads (a lot less 'grippy' than our roads), I managed to achieve a long held ambition of cycling 100 miles in a day.
The start of July saw us back in Hillerod as our base for WMOC. There are qualifier events and then finals; W65 is a large class so to qualify for the A final you had to be in the top 25% of your heat - this translated as the top 20 places. If you did not make the A final you were in B, C or D depending on your place in the qualifier.
The first events were Sprint - qualifier at a Science Park and the final in the centre of Copenhagen. To my amazement I qualified for the A final! The final did not go as well as hoped for as I had real trouble reading the map at #3 and #4; I stood still with the magnifier on it and still could not see my way into #4, loads of time lost. I was surprised to be half way down the results for the W65A sprint final.
The forest qualifier race, well I was not impressed with the area. It was quite thick in places, loads of brashings in places, little contour navigation, fastest routes were to generally run round. I scrapped through to the Middle A final, which I loved, the best area of the lot! Forested sand dunes, contours, runnable = happy orienteer! Again I was about half way down the results for the W65A middle final.
Finally it was the Long distance race. Again I was in the A final; we had visited the model area the day before, not impressed by the amount of brashing on the ground under both beech and spruce forest. In the final, it did not go well. I had dropped a chopping board on my foot the previous day so it was a bit swollen; my route to #1 was slow and I felt, at the time, that I had little idea where I was. On the way to #2 I managed to impale a branch close to my eye on my nose, blood poured out for quite a while! Navigation in the circle at #2 was appalling! Parallel error with tracks on the way to #3 and I was close to retiring 'but it was WMOC, I had come a long way to do this course so just man up and get on with it'. I slowed things down, found the rest (except #12) Ok, shuffled up the run in. Amazingly, many others had also chosen to have their worst run ever that day so I ended up above the bottom 25% in the W65A long final. I was disappointed with myself though, but that happens inthe sport. I also feel that the area used did not fully test orienteering skills - there was a lot of thick stuff, many rides which just had to be counted, lot of brashing on the ground and path running with little contour work.
So would I go to WMOC again? Yes I would as I liked the opportunity to do the 3 x disciplines of sprint, middle and long. 2019 is in Latvia (Riga) 5th - 12th July; 2020 is in Slovakia (Kosice) 7th - 14th August which I am thinking of with a visit to Slovakia in 2019 for the Slovak Karst Cup (9th - 11th August 2019).