Eltham College was a new map for Sprint Into Spring, and a fantastic venue. It was packed with variety, and tested a full range of sprint skills. Aston Key not only prepared the map, but set the courses, proving he is not just a great junior runner. Aston plunged everyone straight into the most technical part of the map, with some very short but tricky legs to ensure no-one could settle quickly into a rhythm. Next were a couple of long legs with route choice, setting us up for the hill climb, which offered the choice of straight up through the scrub, or round via the road. Next was the tunnel, which took us into the open section north of the school. This featured longer straight legs but with a lot of contours to deal with, and some nice bush.
Aston wasn’t done with us yet – after climbing back via the tunnel, another couple of technical legs brought us to the sprint leg. This was a straight line charge across the oval, and was a real test for fatigued legs. A lot of people then missed the small gap in the fence which provided the shortest route to the next control. We had to keep navigating from there all the way to the finish line to complete a really tough sprint course.
On Course 1, Patrick Jaffe held the early lead through the first technical section, but Ralph Street overtook him at no 4 and stayed in front for the rest of the race, finishing in 16:08 and claiming the Yellow Jersey outright. Fellow Brit Invader Peter Bray was second (16:56), Bruce Arthur third (17:45, Patrick finished fourth (17:56), and Peter Hobbs broke into the MFR pack for fifth (19:12).
The women’s race was really exciting, with Tash Key and Jas Neve only one second apart. The splits tell the story – Jas grabbed the lead from the start, and held it for 24 legs. Tash edged in front on leg 25, but slipped back to second. At the second last control they were tied – but Tash was 1 second faster in the finish chute! The result was Tash in 21:08, retaining her Yellow Jersey, with Jas second in 21:09. Lanita Steer took third (23:51), Clare Brownridge fourth (24:41) and Mel Gangemi 5th (26:33).
The Green Jersey competition saw some new faces, with Peter Collins fastest in the dash, followed by Ralph Street and Osama Ali tied, then Alex Ikin and Tim Wardrop, also tied. Shane Mallia keeps the Green Jersey. In the Womens, Tash tied the leg with Sonia Lawrie, with Mel third. This puts Sonia into the Green, with Mel only a point behind.
The Hill Climb featured contours and route choice, favouring the ones brave enough to stick to the red line. For the Men, it was a tie between Glenn James and Peter Collins, with Patrick third – all juniors. Max Dalheim is clinging to the Polkadot Jersey by half a point from Glenn. Clare dominated the Women on the Climb. and has three wins in a row, and a lock on the Jersey.
It was a good day for the Key family, with Jensen taking out Course 2 in 20:34, which was a comfortable margin over Paul Benson (24:07) and Torren Arthur (24:12). Jensen claims the Yellow Jersey, with Torren only two points behind. Again, the Womens race was a cracker, with the top three separated by two seconds! Margi Freemantle claimed victory with 27:18, from Anne Arthur (27:19), Cassandra Dutton (27:20), Philippa Lohmeyer-Collins (27:23) and Rachel Johnson (27:41). Anne held a slim lead all the way to control 19, then Margi took the lead and held it till the end. Philippa keeps the Yellow Jersey for now, with Margi second.
The Sprint leg was a tie between Steven O’Connell and Campbell James. Steven now holds the Green Jersey. Rachel Johnson was the fastest of the women, pipping Sarah Davies, but Debbie Dodd retains the Jersey. Torren won the Hill Climb from Jensen and Paul Benson, and has also taken over the Polkadot Jersey. Alicia Ciacic was the best climber in the Womens comp, followed by Cassy and Sarah. We now have a three way tie for the Jersey! Anne Robinson and Sarah Davies are joint holders based on countback (highest no of wins).
Our regular Course 3 competitors were joined by some Eltham College students eager to show off their familiarity with the school, despite lack of orienteering experience, and everyone had a ball. Ryan Ciacic had his first win, in 25:42. Callum White was second in 30:35, and Jesse Stevens third in 36:07. Callum keeps the Yellow Jersey for another week. In a family trifecta, Milla Key won the Womens (and the overall) in 25:14, followed by Alice Moon (29:16) and Claire Adams (32:22). Claire claims the Yellow Jersey – in fact Claire holds all three jerseys on Course 3, but under the rules you can only wear one, so the Green and Polkadot go to the next best placed person.
Will Davey was the fastest Sprinter, ahead of Callum, Mitch Boudry, and Felix Corcoran. Will is the outright holder of the Green Jersey. Claire and Alice tied the sprint leg, with Milla third, and Alice is now the Jersey holder. Will and Callum were also the strongest Hill Climbers, with Ashley White third, and Felix now claiming the Polkadot Jersey. Claire also showed her versatility by winning the Climb from Alice, with Chloe Mitchell third. The Jersey goes to Heather O’Donnell.
As you can see there have been a lot of swaps this week! Remember it’s the best 5 scores that count so if you miss the points one week, it’s a long way from over – these races will go right down to the wire.
Our next race sees a return to the VU campus at Edgewater (if you came last year you will remember running through giant sprinklers, and a wedding party!) Our course setters are Max and Rosie Dalheim, who have promised us a Map Flip, which always adds to the fun and challenge! We’ll also have another coaching session with the Brits – we had great feedback from those who tacked the Map Memory task, so come along after your race and improve your skills. Remember the Sprint Champs are only a few short weeks away!
Online entry for next weekend closes on Thursday November 12, at NOON (not Midnight). We do strongly encourage online entry as it helps us predict map numbers – we’ve run short at the past two events, so guarantee yourself a map by pre-entering.