Here are some images from Trondheim.
David Healy was one of 3 Irish team members who made it through the World champs qualifiers this year in Trondheim. Here David gives us an insight into some of the thinking that goes into the big race.
This years middle quali started off great for me from the start flag. The Public Enemies film soundtrack was the pre-race music of choice for me. I talked with Kim Andre Sveen the night before and he gave me some race goals that i carried out pretty well. I was on the start line, looking at the clock 10 seconds before i started, 30 meters between me and the start flag, and my feeling was something similar to nonchalance. This was my strategy. I didn’t want to be “up” for the race, i wanted to be calm. I didn’t want an enthusiastic clouded mind because i wanted my natural O instincts to take over. It’s a world champs race anyway, when you get out there you can’t help but be “up” for the race. When the start clock signaled GO! my instincts took over from the second or third step and i felt a level of control, relaxation and confidance that i’ve seldom had since after my junior years. I climbed a steep 5meter bank to the start flag and here i did a few things really well: i was planning the first leg; i was having a glance at the next 1-2 controls; and i was having a glance at the general structure of the course. The structure i saw was a long leg early on and a batch of downhill technical controls to be careful on near the end. I decided at the top of the bank to plan the 4th leg, a long leg, on the uphill to number 3. The trap with this steep bank to the start flag on top was to hold off reading your map until you got up it. It is a WOC race of course and people feel the pressure to run fast. Also when you get to the flag on top of the hill the hill dropped downhill so everything is pushing you onwards weather you’re ready or not. But i let the two other starters race up the bank and away from the flag while i held my map steady to read. I felt that wasting 5-10 seconds now was a worthy investment. So i made it to the start flag, plan just made, bearing just taken, head up, smile on, and then the Belgian guy with me fell forward and face planted the dirt. He was unhurt. I was focused. This years middle quali started off great for me from the start flag!
The first leg was my best leg on the course. I followed my bearing from the start flag to my attackpoint which was a sort of marsh/open veg change. The marsh/veg was quite big on the ground to see and arguably only just big enough on the map to classify as an attackpoint. But it was all i had. I decided if i didn’t take a good bearing to it that i’d change my course a little left to hit the track which would also bring me to the veg. I disregarded the track when i got to it because the first thing i could see was the veg! A good compass bearing to build confidence me thinks. I ran into the veg and then took another bearing into the set of hills where the control was, aiming off slightly so that when i finished pacing the distance from the veg to the hills i just started looking to the left and then saw the flag. Now the race had started for me! You don’t need a good first leg to qualify for the final, but it helps, alot!
I’m doing ok here but i’m not settled in and planned ahead yet. I didn’t have a superb plan for the 2nd but i did have some plan. It turns out my bearing to the big crag was all that was needed because it was easy to see and simple to get into the control from there. I had two guys with me at the 2nd control who started 2 and 4 minutes ahead of me and also the Finnish guy who started with me. Choo chooooo all aboard! I used the uphill to the 3rd control to plan properly the long fourth leg and four or five other legs after that. Now i was settling in nicely and was very well planned ahead.
On the fourth i was struggling on the final part of the climb, i checked the map and saw that nearly all the climb was done for the race so i dug in deep to up the pace because i had dropped it a bit near the end of the climb. When i got to the top i got this strange surreal feeling like being awake in a dream. I had a quick look for Leonardo, just in case he wanted to steal something from me. But i relaxed: I saw i was in some crazy back arse of nowhere marsh in Norway running a world championship qualification race. And i wasn’t alone because i saw other nutters doing the same bonkers hobby as me. This sport gives the most intensely beautiful memories at times. This was a perfect point for taking a mental break. I only gave a few seconds to this distracting thought and then i told myself to FOCUS! I’m approaching the fourth control, i thought i now needed to gear up for the downhill section starting at the 6th flag. I took the fourth control really well but the legs were feeling dead when leaving towards the 5th. So what. Things are going well now! I knew i could maintain this speed to the end because it was a short race. But it would be a bit of a suffering nonetheless.
I had a bit of a melted brain and mushy legs getting up to the 6th control. I was prepared for the next downhill section but i’m not sure how i got my mind together for it after being melted 30 seconds prior. You had to focus your hardest on these potentially nasty controls. The trap was that you ran hard uphill before them so then you feel like you want to run fast on the downhill, but you will make mistakes because they’re very very technical. I upped the pace a bit on the downhill. I tried to spring the trap. And i did them well for the most part. Until the one mistake i had on the 9th.
Leaving the 8th i was at my most confident on the course… And i felt i had the navigation nailed at this stage. I failed to check my compass properly flowing down the hill to the 9th. I paced as usual, for backup, and when i reached the end of my pace count i realised i made a mistake. We came a little to the right in a different re-entrant. The Belgian and German guy who were with me kept going downhill. I think they knew we made a mistake but they didn’t know how best to relocate and rescue precious seconds within earshot of the commentator. I did not want to go further down that steep hill than the extra bit i ran beyond the end of my paces. And there weren’t any good details on the hill to relocate with, at all! Well played mister planner. I think to relocate in this area you had to run uphill or downhill, not to the side. I knew we came about 3-4 contours lower and 30-40 meters farther than we needed, because of my pacing. So i turned and contoured left a little and went back up the hill a bit. I had tried to guess the mistake i thought i had made rather than to relocate. Low and behold a few meters uphill i saw a man sitting with a radio. I punched and continued to the last two easy legs without the Belgian and German. This mistake was costly, about 90seconds, but i ran well up to this point that it was still good for qualifying i thought.
I punched the media control number 10 and felt i should be upping the pace on these easy controls. I pushed as hard as i could to the finish feeling wasted in my legs. I heard the Irish support and things felt great. I got a good feeling standing at the top of the hill at the last control that i had done a race that i knew i could look back on in the future and take some big positive things from. So then i just fell into the finish and waited to see if i qualified.
I returned back after a purposely long cool down happy that i achieved my technical goals for this race. And now i could focus on the secondary goal which was to hope that my performance merited a final spot. It did. Third time’s a charm for me in the senior WOC!
You can view David’s route here.
Nicolas Simonin made two final races at WOC this year – His first was in the sprint competition. Nick describes it here:
Sprint Qualification: Sverresborg
Going into WOC this year I knew I was a better Orienteer then last year and had managed to find some good form in the two weeks building up to WOC. So I was hoping for a Final in either sprint or long before hand and knew with a good race I should be knocking on the door.
The 24hours running up to the Qualification race I was having problems with my stomach, I just tried to ignore it and take it easy and go through my normal race build up. The pain was not there the morning of the race but when I began to warm up I was empty and felt like I had nothing to give. I did well ignoring it and was fully focused in the start boxes for the job in hand.
My main goal was to focus on the orienteering and let the running take care of itself, as I knew my running is good enough to get me through. The race went well enough technically. I made about 30sec of mistakes in total on 4 controls. However from about the halfway way point my body felt like it had been hit by train. I just tired to keep fighting all the way. When I had finished I had no idea if I had qualified for the final or not until about 20mins after the last finisher. The organizers eventually read the 15 qualifiers from my heat out over the loudspeaker and then I learned that I had qualified comfortably in 10th place. Sweet revenge for last years miss by 4sec on a final place.
The sprint qualification map.
The final was now only a matter of 3-4 hours away and I had to get back to the hotel and rest for a while and get some light food and liquid into my body for the final.
Sprint Final: Kristiansten Festning
In the quarantine area I was feeling nice and relaxed and the warm up felt a lot better then in the qualification race. However I knew that I needed to be on top of my game to be competitive as one needs to be for a World champs final. I was mentally prepared for all the spectators I would meet at the arena and on the course. They are the ones that make the race just as difficult as the map and course planners do. I was nice and relaxed when I entered the start and finish arena to start my race. The course was good but nothing special. We where met a few times by typical Norwegian long urban legs which take you a long way from the line and are very difficult to see which route is the quickest. The best tactic is just to thrust your gut feeling and pick one before you start wasting needless time. By the time I got up to the castle I was well and truly stuffed. My legs felt about 10kg heavier and my brain was ready to explode. I managed to keep it together on the controls around the fort and forested area. After that is was mostly flat and downhill back to the arena. The atmosphere was great the entire way with spectators cheering everyone on. The best part of the sprint for me was the bridge which we had to cross twice which was packed with hundreds of spectators all cheering. The best thing to compare it to is a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Where you have people shouting at you from both sides of the road. However the Irish support was never in any danger of getting drowned out by all the cheering. I managed to finish in 41st place about 2:20 down on Mueller. I was happy enough with my run but if there is one thing I learned from the experience it is that WOC finals are a tough as they get.
Sprint final map.
I would like to thank Ivan and Kyle very much for there support over the week. But most importantly to all the Irish supporters both there and at home. Hope that we managed to keep you all entertained for the week and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing you again in France next year
You can view Nicks sprint route here:
Niamh O’Boyle describes her WOC long distance races where she acheived a fantastic 34th place in the womens long Final – The best Irish womens individual result at the World champs!
Long qualification, Tulluan Sud, Jervskogen
Result: Heat 3, 54:46, 12th
After narrowly missing out on the sprint final, I knew that I was in good shape and that if I managed a clean, consistent performance, I would have every chance of a place in the long distance final. Putting everything out of my mind except for the task at hand, I made sure to find good attackpoints for the controls, take the necessary time to evaluate the route choices, and to ensure that I was executing the route as planned. This strategy worked well and my largest single mistake was approximately 1 minute at the 9th control. A very safe route choice to number 10 also lost me a minute, but after the sprint, I was happier to take it. Mission accomplished.
Long final, Leinstrandmarka, Granåsen
The long distance final was a great experience. I wanted to use the same strategy as for the long distance qualification – simplify the routes, chose big attack points and ensure that I was sticking to the planned route and not drifting. It sounds easy, but on the start line for a WOC final there are a million other thoughts in your mind! Though a little edgy at first, after number 3 I settled into the course and navigated cleanly throughout. The Irish support at the spectator control in the arena was deafening, it was a proud moment for me. I allowed myself a smile before re-focussing on the last loop of 4 controls. Physically, I was in good shape but getting up the ski jump from the arena to the 19th control (13 contours in approximately 200m!) was tough and my brain didn’t want to work anymore. I dropped some places and time on the last loop but finished pleased that I had stuck to my race plan and that I had a good run when it mattered.
You can view Niamh’s GPS route here: http://www.tulospalvelu.fi/gps/20100812_long_f_w/
More team reports to follow.
Irelands WOC adventure in Norway drew to a close today at the Granasen Ski-jumping arena near Trondheim with the excitement of the team Relay.
The womens race was a very tense affair with the 3 Scandinavian nations of Finland, Norway and Sweden all entering the arena together at the end of the 3rd leg. It was however the Finish runner Minna Kauppi who sprinted to glory and her second gold of the week.
The Irish womens team where lead off by Rosalind Hussey who had a steady run handing over to Ciara Largey in 27th place not far off a gaggle of nations. Ciara had a super run gaining 3 places and handing over to Long distance heroine Niamh O’Boyle in 24th. Niamh ran another solid race bringing Ireland home in a creditable 24th overall in a time of 2 hours 43.53 mins just behind Spain and Italy and ahead of New Zealand, Romania, Japan and Brazil.
The Mens race was no less dramatic with French star Thierry Gueorgiou squandering a certain team medal by missing the 17th control en-route to the arena. It was left to Russia, Norway and Switzerland to fight for the medals. The Russians upsetting the home fans with victory, Norway second and the Swiss third.
David Healy was running his second big race in two days for Ireland and handed over to Andrew Quin in 28th place. Having just missed out on a place in the middle final earlier in the week Andrew Quin was looking for a fast time on the second leg of the relay. He had a great run catching five other runners and handing over to double finalist Nicolas Simonin in 23rd place. Nick had another solid race (his fifth of the week) bringing the Ireland team back in 23rd place overall in a time of 2 hours 38.35 mins ahead of the very strong relay teams of Spain and Belgium and also beating Brazil, Canada, USA, Japan and China.
What a great way to round off a great week for the Irish team and their supporters – though its not over yet for the team, they still have the challenge of the end-of-WOC-banquet tonight!
Full Relay results here
The final minutes of the mens Middle distance race here in Trondheim were thrilling. Carl Waaler Kaas of Norway won and Peter Öberg (SWE) took the silver.
Daniel Hubmann (SUI) and Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) shared the bronze medal.
Meanwhile in the womens race Minna Kauppi (FIN) beat Simone Niggli after the Swiss ace made an error in the closing stages.
Earlier David Healy had a good race for Ireland, finishing in 43rd place with a time of 41:41 mins. David said afterwards that he was “pretty happy with his race” and that “it was maybe not as technical as expected which may suit the faster runners” He will now be concentrating his efforts on getting Ireland off to a good start at tomorrows final event – the team relays.
You can catch up with all the WOC news and results here
The Irish relay teams to compete at Sundays world champs relay race have been named.
The teams are:
1st leg Rosalind Hussey
2nd leg Ciara Largy
3rd leg Niamh O’Boyle
1st leg David Healy
2nd leg Andrew Quin
3rd leg Nicolas Simonin
Long finalist Niamh O’Boyle is running third leg for the girls while double finalist Nicolas Simonin anchors a very strong mens team.
Good luck to both teams.
The Nick and Niamh fan clubs had plenty to cheer about in Grannasen ski-centre today. Irelands two Long distance finalists had great runs in front of the thousands of spectators.
Niamh came home in a fantastic 34th place in her race. She put all her Trondheim training to the good and ran a clean and strong race, coming through the arena with a very tough last loop of 1.5km she was in good shape and continued hard right to the end finishing in style to the delight of all her supporters.
The 9.9km womens race was won by the unstoppable Swiss runner Simone Niggli who captured her 17th World champs gold medal.
Then it was the mens turn with Nick one of the earlier starters we could follow his progress through the forest with the excellent television and tracking coverage. Nick too had a strong race and performed admirably in what will surely be the first of many World champ finals for him, coming home in 40th position.
The home favorite Olav Lundanes was eventual mens winner, the 23 year olds first gold.
View full results here
David Healy runs in the middle distance final on Saturday and Sunday sees the excitement of the Relays – The Irish relay teams will be announced tomorrow – watch this space.
The Ireland team proved that hard work and good preperation do pay off at todays long distance qualification races in Trondheim. Irish champions Niamh O’Boyle and Nicolas Simonin qualified for Thursdays final in 12th and 14th places and Ciara Largey was seconds away from making it 3 Irish in the big race coming home an impressive 17th in her heat..
Andrew Quin and David Healy both ran well in their second qualification race in two days but fell just short of qualification finishing in 24th and 26th place respectively.
Qualification is over, its been a fantastic effort from all team members. They have given it everything and the team have given the Irish supporters here 4 finalists spread through all of the distances to cheer on and 4 more within seconds of qualification!
Its a rest day today for the team and a sprint around Trondheim central for those at the WOC tour and then Thursday sees Niamh and Nick running the Long final. C’MON IRELAND!
Mens heat 1 8.7km
1st Thierry Gueorgiou FRA 56:16
26th David Healy IRE 1:23:06
Mens heat 2 8.6km
1st Francois Gonon FRA 55:09
24th Andrew Quin IRE 1:09:39
Mens heat 3 8.5km
1st Olav Lundanes NOR 54:48
14th Nicolas Simonin IRE 1:04:29
Womens heat 2 5.7km
1st Anne Margarethe Hausken NOR 43:40
17th Ciara Largey IRE 59:43
Womens heat 3 5.7km
1st Simone Niggli SUI 40:46
12th Niamh O’Boyle IRE 54:46
Full results and tracking replay can be viewed on the WOC 2010 website.
David Healy yesterday became the second Irish finalist at these World champs with a nail biting run in the mens middle qualification race. He was first Irish man into the forest Jervskogen and kept his head throughout the physically demanding course. He was cheered into the finish arena by the large Irish contingent in an incredible first place in his heat. As the afternoon saw the rest of the runners return from their courses we were all on the edge of our seats hoping that David could hang onto the magic 15th place and Final qualification – and so it was!
Another race and another case of what could have been as Andrew Quin almost made it a dream double by producing his best WOC middle distance result yet.
Andrew who was last starter on his course used all his Scandi know-how to come home just 45 seconds off qualification in a fantastic 18th position in his heat.
Rosalind Hussey and Neil Dobbs fared not as good with their races and were disappointed to lose time on a few controls. Neil was not so far off the pace losing four minutes or so with his misses. Rosalind is putting this one behind her and looking forward to the challenge of the womens relay!
So today is the Long distance qualification race. Ireland are represented by Niamh O’Boyle and Ciara Largey who have both been preparing well in the terrains around Trondheim recently. Meanwhile the mens team today see Dave and Andrew joined by Irish Champ Nicolas Simonin. The Irish crowd here are hoping for another fantastic afternoon at WOC and perhaps a dream third finalist in what is arguably the toughest discipline of them all.
We will keep you posted on all the action. Don’t forget you can follow the Irish live on the WOC website.