The Pursuit of Happiness (Megablog pt.2)

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The last month has been a busy one! First up I had a huge weekend over Queen’s Birthday, with 5 races – over 50km of orienteering including the ANZ challenge (NZ vs. Australia) 🙂

The Saturday started with a ‘multiday long distance’ – 14km in Woodhill sand dune terrain. The race went well for me, I lost around 1minute on the 8th control, where I misread the map. I saw my control but then there was another hill covered by the control circle that I couldn’t see, so I kept going. After that it went well, with only a few small hesitations. I won the race by about 3minutes, so I was very satisfied. See winsplits and routegadget.

In the afternoon we headed to Massey University campus in Albany for a sprint race. I had a shaky start to the race.. the map was detailed with a lot of shorter controls – it was raining and slippery and a lot of people managed to ‘arse over’ going around the corners. I had a lot of trouble becoming accustomed to all of the olive green. Duncan Morrison was running well in the first half of the course until he made a mistake and I caught him. I eventually managed to get into the map and start to push and managed another win 🙂 Here are the results in winsplits.
Day 2 began with another ‘multi-day long distance’ in Woodhill, this was a bit shorted, 13km but a lot more climb and some tougher terrain. I was tired, both physically and mentally from the start – probably from pushing too hard the day before. I made a huge mistake on the 2nd control. I ran nearly to the control but didn’t see it, then I went to the next broad spur to search for it and finally returned 6mins later. Damn! It was hard to stay motivated to run well for the rest of the course and I was very messy and lazy with my navigation, I lost a lot more time, but still felt obliged to finish the race because I was in the pinestars team against Australia. I finished well down the field as expected, I was also beaten by my younger brother Duncan Morrison which is a bit hard to swallow. See the routegadget and winsplits.

Kate Morrison who had been carving up in the elite field over the weekend, even though she is still a junior. Stage 4 was a 2-man (well a man+woman) relay against the Australians. This was by far my most favourite event of the weekend. The race was again in Woodhill forest in a smaller, very detailed sand-dune area. I was in a team with my little sister Kate was running well on the first leg, smashing everyone right from the beginning with the steep climb to the start triangle. Hwover Kate made the mistake of flipping the map to check a control description on the guys course (the map had the 2nd leg printed on the back) so she thought she was at the wrong control and lost some time. She came in about 1min behind the leader – Angela Simpson, and in about 5th place behind some of the Aussie teams. I headed out on the 2nd leg together with Duncan, and after the disappointing run in the morning I managed to step up and push right from the start. I ran a really good race only losing 5seconds on the 7th control. I had caught the leader Tom Reynolds by the 3rd control, and luckily we had different forkings on the 2nd pivot, so I was able to push a bit to get ahead. I managed to come back in the lead for Kate and I to win the relay for NZ and the central scorchers superseries team.

Day 3 was the third and final ‘multi-day long distance’ race. I was feeling very tired again in the morning, but it’s always easier to push when you know it’s the last race for the weekend. The beginning of the course went well for me, I only lost a little time on the 7th control, where I went right past it and didn’t see it behind some bushes. My biggest mistake came on the long leg – the 10th, where it was very vague before the control. I doubted my direction at the end (even though I had been right) and the went to the left to check for the control by some other hills.. Doh! I lost over a minute here. The rest of the course went pretty well, but I ran out of energy near the end. I finished in 4th place, and I was satisfied with my run after a tough weekend. Gene Beveridge, an NZ junior heading to Poland for JWOC this year managed his first big elite win with a very impressive run. Check out the routegadget and winsplits. Also check out the cool superseries trailer for the weekend (with promises of more to follow) made by Mick Finn below:

After a big weekend of racing it was back to reality with my first exam week. There was a lot of cramming late nights while trying to recover as well. The exams all went well, better than I had expected. My last exam was on Monday the 13th of June, the day before I planned to fly out to Finland in the pursuit of happiness. That night my brother had organised a final hill tempo session on Mt. Eden in Auckland and farewell dinner at ‘La Porchetta’ with all of the Auckland crew, and even my Dad who was up there on business. Cheers Duncan!

My first week in Finland was also a very busy one. I arrived on Wednesday afternoon and managed a very lazy jog before getting the much needed sleep that seemed to elude me on the plane. The next day I had an easy terrain training before heading to watch the first stage of the NORT tour/World cup race. It was great to see the top guys competeing, I just wished I was able to run too (It wasn’t possible to enter in just 1 stage of the NORT tour, you had to run in all three, and that was more than my wallet allowed for!). I got a chance to run the qualification course that everyone had run in the morning before the sprint, I felt the full effects of jetlag like never before, but it was a fun course.

Saturday was the day I had been looking forward to for a long time – Jukola! To the layperson Jukola is an orienteering relay with 7 team members that runs through the night. I managed to make the 3rd team for my new Finnish club Rajamäen Rykmentti, to run first leg. This year there were over 1500 teams on the start line, my team was starting in about the 4th row back, check out the start here(you can see me in Black and Yellow:

The start was fast (as always) and I felt a bit fatigued and stressed, I managed to get the first control well, still up with the leaders. The 2nd control however was not so good and I lost 1min 30sec. This put me back into around 300th place, aaaaaaahhh!!! The rest of the race went well, but it was just such a mission battling past other runners. I found myself taking unorthodox route-choices just to avoid people which actually resulted in making up some time. I ended up in 81st – the 1min 30sec I lost in the beginning ended up costing me a lot more over all. Check out my splits here:I also uploaded my gps route to the new 3d rerun thanks to Jan Kocbach (World of O creator) It’s really cool to see and compare to the other top teams. You can hold the ctrl key and click on the start triangle and the the little video camera by my name to mass start the runners from there and follow me(My GPS is a bit inaccurate on the way to the first control, but then it gets better) So you can see my big mistake on the second control. You can also hold ctrl and click on the 4th control to see a mass start from there, it was re-assuring to see that I didn’t lose so much time from here on in the course. So check out the 3d rerun here 🙂

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