The weather forecast didn’t quite convey the wild ride we were in for, on what turned out to be the wettest and windiest Sprint Into Spring race to date (in four years, I have never worn long tights at a SIS). Gusty squalls brought heavy showers up from the Antarctic, causing the organisers to beat a hasty retreat from our popup shelters, to a large undercover shelter with a proper roof. The downpours were punctuated by all too brief bursts of sunshine, and everyone tried to time their run accordingly, but most attempts failed. It didn’t seem to matter – we still had a great turnout, and (nearly) everyone came in with soaking feet, mud spattered legs, and big smiles on their faces.
The map covered two small but quite complex school campuses, separated by a nice little park. In fact we had two maps printed on the same page, which presented us with two loops of the bigger secondary college, and a circuit of the primary school. In contrast to Eltham College last week, there was barely a contour, but runners were slowed down by tightly packed buildings with blind corners, numerous fences and gates, and some small courtyards not to mention the conditions under foot. Any grassed areas were inundated with water, the basketball courts were awash, and there was plenty of slippery mud.
Course setter Dion Keech promised all sorts of twists and turns, and a “unique” hill climb (possibly the smallest hill in Sprint Into Spring history, but a climb nonetheless). The Sprint leg was testing, straight into a fierce headwind. More than a few people found themselves on the wrong side of a fence or locked gate, heading down the wrong covered walkway, or ducking into the wrong alcove.
On the Mo Farah course, Kerin Rattray settled for second place last week in the narrowest of defeats, but this time he claimed victory in 14 mins 37 seconds. Patrick Jaffe was just 6 seconds behind, and Brodie Nankervis only 13 seconds in arrears. Kerin now holds the yellow jersey and has a 2 point advantage over Bruce. There was a shakeup on the womens course too, with visiting Finn Lotta Kirvesmies in first place (16:31), Liis Johansson right behind in second, and Tash Key just squeezing out Lotta’s compatriot Noora Koskinen for third. Lotta is now the holder of the yellow – will it go overseas again, or will the locals manage to keep it here?
The green jersey leg entailed a flatout dash along a running track, right at the end of the course. Glen Charlton was quickest, but James Robertson was hard on his heels, and retains the lead and the jersey. Mel Gangemi remains undefeated and has two perfect scores for the womens green. Such a short hillclimb meant that a lot of points were shared, but Glen again was the clear winner. Kerin gained enough points to lead the polkadot tally, but because he has the yellow, the red jersey goes to Brodie. Clare Brownridge shared the top points with Liis, and snatched the jersey from Lanita.
The young guns once again went head to head on the Sally Pearson course, with Jensen Key again the fastest 9n 14:06, ahead of Torren Arthur, Brody McCarthy, Mason Arthur, and the highest placed “senior Sally”, Tony Simpkins. Jenny Bourne was well clear in the womens (17:34), ahead of Heather O’Donnell and Carola Ray. Jensen and Jenny both have two wins from two races, and retain the yellow jerseys. Things are not so clear cut in the green jersey comp. In the mens we have a tie between Brody and Steven O’Connell – we can’t separate them, as both have dead heated for first on the sprint leg, in both races! Kate Francis and Heather O’Donnell are also tied for the green, but Kate has the jersey because Heather is the clear leader in the polkadot points. The mens red jersey has will Davey in the lead after winning the climb, only half a point clear of Torren.
The Usain Bolt course was won by Ryan Ciacic, who also took full points for the sprint and hill climb legs. Overall, we have Ashley White in yellow, Ryan in green, and Angus Hewitt in red. There was some great racing amongst the junior girls, with Luca Bogdanovits fastest, ahead of newcomer Brooke Ayres, and Arika Bogdanovits in third. That was enough to give Arika the yellow jersey but only by a point ahead of Luca and Pat Mews. Paula Davey claimed the sprint and hillclimb to lead both those competitions, but Pat Mews gets the polkadot jersey as next highest points scorer.
We’d like to thank Ted van Geldermalsen for preparing a top quality map, Dion Keech for the exciting courses, and of course both Keilor Downs Secondary College and Keilor Views Primary School, for opening up their campuses and giving us a great new addition to our list of SIS venues. Ian and Jim did their usual excellent job of keeping the entries and results humming along, and Tuckonie Orienteers provided the on-the-day organisation, putting in a lot of work to set up and pack up. We’d also like to thank everyone who came along and braved the weather – it’s fantastic to see so many people out there loving their sprinting, even in those conditions.
We do have an important reminder – the entry process is two step. 1 – PAY. 2 – ENTER via the touch screen. You must do both things before you can start. It’s simple – if you aren’t in the computer database before you start, then you won’t be in there after you finish! You must also download at the end, otherwise we think you are a Missing competitor. Anyone who does not download has to be disqualified, as we can’t record a finish time for you.
Sprint Into Spring takes a short break next weekend, but will back with a bang at Ruffey Lake Park in Doncaster. This will be quite a contrast to the previous two weeks, and contours will play a major role in route choice. Warning: no more Mr Nice Guy – the hill climb will be big!