Ruffey Lake was always going to be a different kind of race, one where the route choices were determined by vegetation, bridges and fences rather than buildings. Congratulations to course setter Steven O’Connell, who did a great job at his first go at sprint course setting. A reminder – everyone must go to the Start Triangle (which is NOT the map table), which is where you start navigating from. Today we noticed a lot of people bypassing it, which is against the rules of any orienteering competition.
Contours came into play in a big way – any number of legs could have been designated as the hill climb. Starting off from one of the highest points in the park, we plunged downhill first, with an initial route choice of picking up a small track that cut through the veg, or taking the safer but longer route around the vegetation boundary. A couple of people mispunched at the first control, not checking their codes or control descriptions (control 1 on Mo was a cliff; control 1 on Sally was a seat). Straight away we were heading back uphill, with the Hill Climb leg featuring very early in all courses.
Having conquered that and caught our breath, we ducked and weaved through the complexity of the adventure playground. With brains a little scrambled, it was on to some longer running legs across the river and to the open southern slopes. Accuracy was important here as it was easy to go off line. The bridge crossing marked the start of the sprint leg, which was a little trickier as we couldn’t see the control we were aiming for. Finally it was another uphill scramble, where the fitter competitors made up ground. Oxygen deprivation caused some errors through the last couple of controls before the final run up the finish chute.
Many jerseys changed hands this week, and all three courses had new names on top of the results. Patrick Jaffe had a resounding win on Mo Farah in 17 mins 19 seconds, almost 2 minutes clear of Bruce Arthur. Next week’s course setter Simon Rouse had a great run for third, his best result of the series. Patrick claims the Yellow Jersey – he and Bruce are tied on points, but Patrick has beaten Bruce twice now. Tash Key won the Women’s class, winning in 19:37 and taking 4th overall. She narrowly beat Liis Johansson and Lotta Kirvesmies, and reclaimed the Yellow where she is one point clear of Lotta.
The Sprint leg was won by Shane Mallia, with Glen White and James Robertson tied for second. James retains the Green jersey and is well clear of Shane in that competition. Mel Gangemi made it three wins from three starts and it is hard to see her losing the Green from here. Newcomer Lauren Starr tied with Tash for second. Shane was the fastest on the brutal Hill Climb, beating Patrick and Bruce, and claiming the Polkadot jersey. Mel and Lauren tied for the top points, Tash came third which gave her enough points to lead the competition, but the Jersey goes to Liis who is only half a point behind.
This year’s Sally Pearson has seen a lot of juniors step up, and they are having a great battle on what has become a very competitive course. This week it was Brody McCarthy who claimed victory in 14:06, edging out Jensen Key by a mere 11 seconds, with Mason Arthur in third place. Jensen keeps the Yellow jersey with Brody narrowing the gap to 2 points. For the Women, Jenny Mitchell had an easy win in 19:55, ahead of Heather O’Donnell, with Sarah Davies and Denise Pike tied for third. Heather now holds the Yellow. Brody won the Sprint leg from Rod Phillips and Geoff Adams, and has a clear lead in the Green jersey comp. Kate Francis was the women’s winner ahead of Heather and Philippa, and she retains the jersey this week. Meanwhile Will Davey saved his energy for the Hill Climb, which he has dominated this season. Torren Arthur was second, and Brody third. Jenny took out the women’s climb from Sarah and Kate, but Julie gained enough points to hold the Jersey.
The Usain Bolt course was won by veteran Peter Beggs in 21:23, a small margin in front of junior Ashley White and newcomer John Taylor (who had so much fun, he went out on the Sally course as well!) Ashley keeps the Yellow Jersey. Pat Mews was just in front of Eleanor Williams and Claire Adams, and the 10 points gave her the Yellow. Another newcomer, Daniel Stanton, claimed the Sprint leg from Ashley and Peter, and the jersey moves to Daniel Kaman. Claire won the women’s sprint leg, from Eleanor and Pat. Paula Davey gained enough points to keep the Green jersey. On the Hill Climb, Ashley was quickest ahead of Peter and John. He has the most points in the Polkadot comp, but the jersey is shared between Ryan Ciacic and Angus Hewitt who have one win apiece from previous weeks. Paula is the queen of the womens category with three wins in a row. But because she and Pat both hold another jersey, the Polkadot goes to Trisha Osborne.
With the best 6 scores to count for jersey points, it’s crucial to get to as many events as you can – including the final weekend in Bendigo which features Races 6 and 7 on the Saturday. The Grand Finale will be the Sprint Champs on the Sunday. You must PRE-ENTER for these on Eventor. Entries close on Tuesday November 22.
Race 4 is at Deakin University in Burwood on Saturday November 12. It features a large complex campus adjoining a linear park beside Gardiners Creek. The campus has many irregular shaped buildings, numerous stairs and ramps, garden beds, fences, roads and car parks. Construction work is ongoing so expect some out of bounds areas, and make sure to respect the Forbidden to Cross symbols on the map. The campus also has many interesting and colourful sculptures (who could forget the Echidna from last year?) Noora and Lotta will be on hand at 2.45pm to provide a post race training exercise for everyone.