Occassional thoughts about orienteering

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Close races


Close races are great. When seconds count, you're forced to push hard and stay concentrated. Any little bobble costs. Taking a few extra seconds at a control might cost you a place.

Today's 2-hour score orienteering at Shawnee Mission Park was not a close race. It didn't feel like a close race (I haven't actually seen the results yet, so maybe it was a bit close). I never felt like seconds would matter.

I got a bit lazy. I wasn't pushing through the thick vegetation as well as I should. I was slow at each control; finding the right box on the punch card, grabbing the punch, marking the card and taking a split.

When I lived in Sweden, I ran in a lot of close races. I got into the habit of orienteering when seconds count.

Races in Scandinavia are usually closer than they are here. The number of competitors is larger and the differences between the top the middle and the bottom of the results lists are usually not all that great.

Here are the time gaps from a race in Norway today (beginning with fourth place): 3 seconds, 6 seconds, 9 seconds, 15 seconds, 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 18 seconds, 6 seconds, 5 seconds and 2 seconds. That's a close race.

Here are the time gaps for the first 15 men in today's Swedish elite race: 1:20, 2:15, 1:00, 0:21, 0:02, 0:17, 0:09, 0:05, 0:06, 0:08, 0:05, 1:17, 0:09 and 0:17. It wasn't as tight as the Norwegian race, but it is still pretty close once you get past the top three.

Close races -- races that force you to worry about losing a few seconds -- are one of the reasons living in Scandianvia is so beneficial for an orienteer.

posted by Michael | 7:53 PM


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