VU Edgewater is never a place where you simply turn up and put out the control. There’s always something else going on for a little extra complication – as if the campus isn’t complicated enough. First time there it was the giant sprinklers which played havoc with the legs that zigzagged across the gardens and terraces. Then it was the wedding ceremony carefully positioned right next to a control – wonder how many orienteers made it into the wedding video? This year, there were four large semi trailers parked right across the path of one of the campus legs – something to do with emergency repairs to the air conditioning. Luckily they were gone by the time we started – but there was another bemused wedding party right next to control 74.
Course setter Martin started with a taste of “Edgewater” by sending everyone north into the small streets before a run beside the Maribyrnong. Ducking through the tunnels, we were quickly confronted with the gut busting sprint leg, followed immediately by the lung burning hill climb, with no time at all to catch your breath if you wanted to contend for both jerseys. Check out the maps, including the route choice options provided by technical advisor Peter Hodkinson.
From here things began to get trickier as we emerged from the terraces and paths of the gardens, and into the campus. Good use was made of the multiple levels, with controls 76 and 78 proving the undoing of many. As I ran smack bang into an upper level dead end, I consoled myself with the thought that I wasn’t alone. A series of very short legs where mispunches were a distinct possibility, then a downhill dash into the finish, completed the courses.
As the guys returned in force on a hotly contested Mo Mens course, Aston Key made no mistakes this time, pushing winner Brodie Nankervis all the way. The lead changed hands between the pair several times, with Brodie finally pulling clear at control 17, and winning by 13 seconds in 15:40. Will Gardiner was third. After 3 weeks, Brodie has the yellow jersey firmly in his grasp.
Just like Winx in the Cox Plate, Brody McCarthy also made it three wins from three starts on both the Sprint and Hill Climb legs – especially impressive this week. Shane Mallia was again the runner up on the Sprint leg, while Bruce Arthur was second on the slope. Brody retains the green jersey, and Bruce keeps the polkadot.
The absence of Tash Key opened the door on the Mo Womens course. While Liis Johanson led from start to finish, winning in 18:21, Lanita Steer grabbed second spot ahead of Belinda Lawford in third. Liis retains the yellow jersey, and Lanita keeps the green, while Clare Brownridge made short work of the climb, to take back the polkadot.
The Sally Men were another group that was missing a favourite, with two time winner Jensen Key not competing. Mason Arthur and Callum White tussled for the lead, with Mason claiming victory by 36 seconds, in 14:45. In doing so, Mason also claimed the yellow jersey. Steven O’Connell focused his efforts on the sprint leg and retains the green jersey, while Rod Phillips was beaten by Torren Arthur on the climb, and has a narrow 2 point lead in the polkadot competition.
On the Sally Women, Heather O’Donnell proved last week’s win was no fluke, taking the lead at control 2 and never looking back. Janine Steer was second, and Serryn Eenjes was a strong third. Heather and Janine are tied on points for the yellow jersey, but Heather claims it with two wins to Janine’s one. Kate Francis is another three time winner in the green jersey comp, and Janine now wears the polkadot jersey.
Ashley White dominated the Usain Men’s race, winning by 5 minutes and claiming maximum points in all three jersey competitions. It was not quite the same story on the Womens, where a number of junior girls are vying for points. Big improver Annabelle Davey had her first win, with Claire Adams second and Eleanor Williams third. Annabelle and Claire are tied for the yellow jersey, but Annabelle has the win so gets the title. Claire is still the green jersey holder, and Paula Davey wears polkadot, though this competition is particularly close after Eleanor scored the 10 points.
It’s time for our midseason break – a chance to catch our breath before we run headlong into the final weeks of competition. We resume on November 11 at RMIT Bundoora West. This map was first used for the Sprint Champs in 2015, and again at the Melbourne Sprint Weekend last year, but 2017 sees its Sprint Into Spring debut. The following week is another first, with a new map of Royal Park sure to prove popular.
Then before we know it, the final weekend will be upon us, and it doesn’t get much better, with a revamped map and fresh approach to course setting by Mikkel at Latrobe on Saturday, then the 2017 Champs at Monash on Sunday November 26. We had to remap this from scratch after 10 years of constant construction and landscaping, so don’t be complacent! Pre-entry is now open on Eventor.