Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2011 National Junior and Youth Squads

The SAOF Selection Committee have announced the Junior and Youth national squads for 2011.

Members of the 2011 Youth National Squad are:
Girls (in no particular order):

  • Laura Troost (PenOC) and Cian Oldknow (RACO)

Boys (in no particular order):

  • Roark Robinson (PenOC) and Timothy Chambers (RACO)

Members of the 2011 Junior National Squad are:
Women (in no particular order):

  • Sarah Pope (ROC), Salome Van Hoepen, Stehpanie Courtnage, Jessica Hemer and Jessica Lund (all RACO)

Men (in no particular order):

  • Bradley Lund, JP Sissing and Anthony Stott (all RACO)
Team selection announcements will be made in April 2011, after the Western Cape Championships.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

JWOC banquet

At last, some pictures from the JWOC banquet. The girls wore dresses in the colours of the SA flag and the guys wore their Bafana soccer shirts.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

JWOC Summary

I took an idea from Dan Chissick's (Israeli Coach) blog and tried to show the results as a graphic rather than lots of statistics. For the juniors who were at their second JWOC, I compared their performance relative to the winner of the race with the same performance last year. If it was 105% or more then they got a red block with an unhappy face. If their performance was similar to last year they got a yellow block and if they were under 95% a happy face in a green block. For Michael and JP the evaluation was very subjective.

As you can see few unhappy faces and lots of smiley faces!

The I took just the returning juniors and rated the performances as follows:
Slower than last year - red
Less than 10% improvement - yellow
Better than 10% improvement - green

Sprint - disappointing
Long - very encouraging
Middle - good results
Relay - OK (I think we ran out of steam a bit!)

Overall I feel we achieved our objective.
We fielded men's and women's teams for the first time ever.
We improved on last year's results.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Denmark's Not Flat - The Relay

We headed to Rebild for the relay race. We were expecting a change in terrain, but we didn't think it was going to be that physical! The area had many more slopes and open areas than we have been running on. There were 5m contours for a change and most courses were over had over 5% climb to distance - so they were steep. The area suited us, but it everyone seemed to be comfortable and the terrain didn't cause too many navigation upsets. There were plenty of different route choices.

The girls set off first. Sarah was in the mass start. Jess was 2nd and Salome finished off. They all suffered physically on the steep course and in the heat. The team finished in 22nd place officially, disregarding the 2nd teams. We finished well ahead of Japan and not too far off Germany's pace.

Zoe joined a mixed team of Austria and Bulgaria. They all had very good runs to finish well ahead of our SA girls. Unfortunately the Austrian mispunched, so the result was unofficial. Zoe had a good time on the last leg. Steph sat out to give her hips a chance to recover.

Brad started us off in the guys team. Mike ran the second leg and JP brought us home. Brad had a solid run with a good percentage behind the leg winner. Again, it was an incredibly physical course. Mike was off next. His run wasn't as good as yesterday, but he finished well. JP handled the last leg well and got us home safely. Well done guys. Officially we were 29th without the 2nd teams. Unfortunately we did get Jap'ed and Kong'ed. Neverless, its the first official South African mens team for many years. Well done guys.

In the coaches race, the roles were reversed. The juniors manned the coaching zone with as many containers as they could find to drench Nic and Alex. And it was Nic and Alex's turn to experience the heat and hills. With some good advice at the coaching zone and plenty of water thrown over us, we held on for positions somewhere in the middle of the field. Only two girls beat us.

So now its off to the Banquet. Stay tuned for some more photos and accounts of the trip.

We fly back tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon.

And the top 10 lists seem to be square at 3-3-3.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Mike and Sarah's Middle

After yesterday's qualifiers, we had all our men in the C-final and all our girls in the B-final. There were lots of runners out there, so there was the possibility of some bunch running.
In the girls race, Sarah had the best run with about 32 min at 29th. Salome was next in 36th. Jess was 42nd and Zoe 46th. Despite a good qualifying run yesterday, Steph sat out to avoid any more damage to her hip injury.
In the men's race, Mike had the best run. He looked strong through the spectator control and hung on for 16th in 32 minutes. Brad also had a steady run to finish in 18th in 33 min. JP performed well for 38th in 58 min.

So we're getting great experience and we've seen some good improvements from last year.

Here are the results

Tomorrow is the relay. We have both a mens and womens team for the first time ever!

In other news, JP, Brad and Jess are tied on 3 top 10 lists each. Its really tight going into the final day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

JP's 3rd Top 10 (and the Middle distance)

Sorry Brad, JP stole your heading. On a serious note, Brad had the best South African run today with 42nd. He missed the B final by 39 seconds. He beat countries like Ireland, USA and Italy. Mike had 2 bad controls, but limited the damage to post a reasonable time. JP messed up #1 quite badly, but had a smooth remainder of the course.

In the women's heats, Steph and Salome had the best results. Unfortunately we still need to take a big step up to get into the A final, but everyone improved. Salome beat a few decent countries. Steph ran with her hip injury and still posted a decent time. All the girls had relatively smooth runs, but lacked the speed to get into the 20's.

The C final starts at 9h00 tomorrow.

In other news, JP is a hit on the Top 10 lists. He's been on the Swiss, Polish and USA lists. Brad is trailing a bit with just the French list, but is hoping to improve that with his Middle Final tomorrow. He isn't sure whether to go all in and use the rest of his hair product or make it last till Saturday night.

So we're having fun. Everyone is still focussed on having a good race tomorrow.

Rest Day and Relay Model

We like the look of the relay area – white runnable forest, proper slopes and 5m contours. The open ground is covered in heather. We enjoyed our jog around the controls on the model map.

On the way home we stopped at some chalk mines, made the daily bakery stop for pastries, and finally printed the team poster.

Here it is... we have bucked the JWOC 2010 trend and kept our clothes on for the poster.

Here is a picture of Zoe finishing the long. There weren't many photos with Nic at the start and Alex at the coaching zones. It should be better with the Middle Distance.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Long day out

Everyone had a long tough day. We had improvements on last years results in the long, so we were happy. Well done team!

Sarah had the best run out of the girls with 1h43 and 99th place. Salome took 1h48. Both felt that they could still improve and feel that 1h35 would have been a good run. Zoe was consistent and came home in 2h05. Jess had a tough day starting late and being out in the forest on her own - she took 2h18. Steph sat out to let her hip recover.

JP was off early. He twisted his ankle on the way to the first coaching zone which was only 4 controls in. He had a long day out with 3h54. This is comparable to the times of the girls in their first long distance race in Italy last year. Mike performed well in his first long distance race. He took 2h29. Brad had the best run of the boys, improving on last year's percentage behind the winner. He took 2h11.

At the front it was Ida Bobach of Denmark taking her second gold. A Czech named Pavel Kubat beat the Danes and Swedes to gold.

The forest was more runnable than we were expecting. The light green was not as difficult as we had experienced in training.

The results are here

Tomorrow is a rest day. We will got to the relay model event and try to have a relaxing day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Steph's Sprint

Aarlborg University was the area for this years sprint race. Amongst the South African's, this years race belongs to Steph. Mike also had a great run at his first JWOC.

Steph is running with her hip injury. She managed to run through the pain to finish 63rd - half way down the girls leader board. She's really sore now, so she's going to sit out the long distance race to recover for the middle. Well run Steph!

It's Mike's first JWOC and he finished best of the SA guys in 109th place out of 160 guys. He ran a consistent race. Well done. Showing a lot of potential!

Brad was having a good run until he skipped a control and had to backtrack. JP had a smooth start to his JWOC with no big mistakes and a steady run.

Zoe finished early in the day. She says she messed up #1 but had a steady run after that. Salome, Jess and Sarah were all not happy with their runs, but produced steady results.

Everyone felt that the area was not overly technical, but did have some surprises if you weren't reading ahead.

At the front end, the Dane's got 2 golds on home turf. The Swedish guys were very strong, with 4 in the top 6 I think.

Tomorrow is a big one - the long distance will be tough.

Some links:

Start Lists and Live Results

Live Results

Good luck team!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Svinklov Long and Middle Model

The Long and Middle events are close to each other so they shared a piece of map for the model event. We got 2 maps showing the same area but at 1:10'000 and 1:15'000. The model event is supposed to allow competitors to get used to the mapping style and the mapper's interpretation of symbols. We were generally happier on this map than we have been on the other neighboring coastal maps. The vegetation was very up to date and consistent. The contour features also seemed to be more distinct. We've had problems in the large blocks of forest with many difficult to read undulations - there weren't any of these on this map.

This afternoon (Saturday) there was a 'Technical Model', a 1.5km course around the barracks to demonstrate the Emit equipment. This was for both the competitors and the organisors. Many of the competitors haven't used Emit before. It was also a chance for the organisors to try everything out before Monday. They even had the commentators babbling and the results board functioning.

Emit is being used at this JWOC. Interestingly, the Emit system we use isn't as reliable as I thought it was. Events using Emit above a certain level (World Champs and World Cups for example) require an additional timing method. Our Emit cards are known to drift by 1 or 2 seconds over a long event. So at JWOC, the Emit card is used to record visits to the controls and to give splits, but an EmiTag is used for timing. The EmitTag is a separate device worn on the top of the arm.

Here is the model map:

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the Sprint Model Event at the Aarlborg University and the opening ceremony. Monday is the Sprint Race.

Rold Relay Training

Friday was the last of our proper training sessions. We have a model event before each of the races. For our last session we used the relay-speficic Rold map. It had a lot of runnable white forest and contour features that suited us. There were larger re-entrants and spurs, or more slope features, than we've had on the coastal maps. We did 3 x 6 control intervals. Everyone had a good session.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Team photo

Found one with everyone off the ground...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Its getting serious

Bulletin 4 was released today. It has the schedule for the competition.

This is our rough schedule...
Saturday: Long and Middle Model
Sunday: Sprint Model
Monday: Sprint
Tuesday: Long
Wednesday: Relay Model and rest day
Thursday: Middle Qualification
Friday: Middle Final
Saturday: Relay


Our O-suits were couriered in today! Now we look like a team when we train.

We did take some serious photos - we used Nic's fancy camera for that. I'll get them off him soon, but for now to prove we have them here are my team photos.
We weren't trying to do a Mexican jump... Everyone was supposed to jump at once.
Not sure how to explain this one...

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Legoland is a theme park in Billund. It was the destination for our rest day. The highlight was the amazing Lego creations. Here is a Lego airport, with lego planes and buildings.
And here is Amsterdam in Lego. There are lots of recreations of European towns, complete with moving trains, boats, cars and trucks. The city in the picture below is made of 2.1 million Lego bricks.
There were also lots of rides. Mike and Brad aren't looking too phased by this one... The best one was the 'Power Builder' - a robotic arm that holds 2 people. You can program it to throw you around and scare yourself a lot. You set the 'power level' and choose from a set of pre-programmed moves. Different to the usual rollercoasters and water rides.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Vester Torup and Bilbjerg

We went north west again to the two areas we visited last Thursday. This time the scales were switched around: Vester Torup at 1:15'000 and Bilbjerg at 1:10'000. Vester Torup was difficult at 1:15. The detail was hard to read. We set off in pairs and close together on the Bilbjerg training – it was fun to run under pressure at higher speed.


On Tuesday afternoon we drove to the coastal town of Fredrikshavn. We walked and cycled around town. They had bicycles available for tourists.

On the way back we visited one of the 30 blue flag beaches in the province. The brave ones swam in the North Sea...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Barracks Sprint Map

Today was almost a rest day. Everyone has worked hard over the weekend. We had an easy run on the barracks map. It wasn't very technical. The focus was on the 1:4'000 scale and having a trouble free run.

We'll have the afternoon to do some typical tourist things – we're off to the east coast.

The rest of the week will look like this: Middle and Long training on Wednesday, LEGOLAND on Thursday, Relay training on Friday, Model events over the weekend.

Monday - Lundby Bakker

On Monday we ran on the Relay specific Lundby Bakker. We missed the warning about the new mountain bike tracks, so we were all a bit confused on the way to number 2. After adjusting to the new paths everyone enjoyed the slopes and large contour features. We all felt more at home here.

Teams are starting to show up at the barracks. America, Australia, Great Britain, Japan and Spain are here. There's lots of space to play soccer and frisbee.

Monday, June 28, 2010

2 Day event Results

The results are here

Back to Aarlborg

We drove back from the event along the north west coast. We had to catch a ferry across a river mouth.

Denmark is really flat. We've heard that the highest point is 170m and the average height is 30m. So the country-side looks similar on most of our trips. There are lots of wind turbines - 19% of their electrical energy is from wind. The final fun fact for the day is the population is 5.5 million in an area of 43 000 (43 thousand) square km. South Africa is 1 200 000 (1.2 million) square kilometers.

We have moved into the Aarlborg military barracks. The Danish army has fancy accommodation so we're living comfortably. There is also lots of good food.

Husby Day 2

After a solid day 1 we were looking forward to the courses on day 2. Everyone ran the same distances as the previous day. We were expecting to be sent in the unused marshy areas of the map.

We ended running along the beach dunes for a good portion of the race. The 5 and 8km courses were thrown off by an incorrect control number. Apart from that, everyone seemed to have less solid runs than the day before.

The Black 10km course is above (sorry - the link should be fixed)

The 2 day event was good preparation. It is good to get some pressurized running in amongst the training.

Gravers Graversen

The event organisors arranged for us to stay with a club member. His name was Gravers Graversen. He stayed in a big log cabin in the town of Vemb. He was in his late 70's. He is a pilot, sky-dives, sails and orienteers. He runs 10km in 71 minutes. And his English is not so good. Here's an email from him after we left:

"Hi from Danmark
Tanks befor you viset my kontri and my home
Gravers Graversen."

He was awesome and we were really lucky to stay with him. He let us sleep on his floor and use his kitchen.

The people of Vemb were very keen to organise a Denmark – South Africa soccer match. The 10 of us took on 20 kids of all sizes. We think we drew 1-1

Husby Klitplantage Day 1

Into the Husby Forest for day 1 of the 2 day event. The girls ran Black 5km; boys Black 8km and seniors Black 10km. There was a complex path network which helped the South Africans. Sarah was 4th on the 5km. Everyone else was consistent without any big mistakes. It was a good for the teams confidence.

Brad leading Julia of Britain in...
JP looking good
And the Black 10km course. The shorter courses staying on the path networks in the centre.

Lemvig Sprint Race

We arrived at 17h00 for the 18h00 start. We drove around town for half an hour with lots of other orienteering cars looking for the event centre. We knew we were in the right place because the controls were out. The organisors casually rolled in after 18h00 and said the starts would be from 19h00. They made Witsoc look organised.

We also thought it was a prologue/final format. Apparently no one updated the English instructions, so we all ran the first course keeping some in reserve for the final. We couldn't figure out why everyone was leaving after the first course... no final!

Stephanie won course 3 and all the girls had good runs. Brad won course 2 with Mike and JP close behind. The coaching staff were far from winning course 1. Here's the map of course 1:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vester Torup

We drove for an hour to the north coast to run on Vester Torup. We did a morning session on a 1:10'000 and an afternoon session on a 1:15'000. We found the light green and green hard going. And the 2.5m contour details is sometimes hard to pick up.We watched the Denmark Japan game in a 'fan park' in the centre of Aarlborg. The Danes were grumpy about losing.

We're doing a light sprint training exercise this morning. We'll drive 2 hours west to the Juteland Sprint race this evening. A prologue at 18h00 and a final at 20h00. It will still be light at 20h00! Tomorrow and Sunday will be 2 proper long distance forest races.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Team Photo

Sarah, Steph, Salome, Zoe, Jess
Brad, Mike, JP, Alex
Coach Nic was already on holiday/training in Switzerland

First Training

The A OK Club House (Aarlborg Orienteering Klub) is situated on a school ground. The schools finish on Friday for summer holidays. Playing playground soccer looks like hard work:
We drove 40 minutes North to the town of Blokhus. The map shows part of the town, the dune forests, the grassy dunes on the coast, and the beach. The forest was thick and light green was hard going. The contour detail is generally small and hard to pick out with 2.5m contours. The grassy dunes were very technical and you can run fast. We did a short line course and an 8 control course.
We have two black stallions, complete with South African mirror socks.
Tomorrow's a double session... should be fun!

The journey

We went into Amsterdam during our stop over and watched Bafana's last soccer match in a restaurant. It was great fun except that we paid 5 Euros each for a coke or glass of water.
We also found a foozball table in the Airport which provided a few hours of entertainment. We finally arrived in Billund just after ten in the evening. Nic came through a few minutes later. We got our hire cars, then drove to Aalborg and found the clubhouse easily. After a quick shower we got to bed at about 3.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Start of our trip

We'll be in Billund, Denmark, 24 hours after leaving OR Tambo. We're going via Nairbo and Amsterdam. We'll meet up with Coach Nic in Billund and drive through to Aarlborg. We're staying in the Aarlborg Orienteering Club House. From there we'll have a few training sessions before heading to the west coast for a 2-day competition.

How to follow us

Follow this blog - we'll try to post our maps, results, routes and photos here.

We'll also use twitter to send out quick updates. Click the links in our tweets to view the photos. Follow us

We'll let you know about live results when the competition gets closer.

Action in the Cape

It's exciting to see how well Roark Robinson, a junior squad member in the Cape, is doing. Check out the Peninsular Orienteering Club website and take a look at some recent results. Roark is still under 16! Laura Troost is also doing well by the looks of things. Keep it up guys.


The Long-O was lots of fun and all the juniors did superbly.

On the Blue course Brad won with Michael not far behind. J.P also had a very good run. Sarah was the first lady on the course. Check out her map. Zoe ran impressively taking 2nd place.

On Green Steph showed everyone how it's done by winning the course by over 3 minutes. Jess Lund was 2nd lady and Salome was the 4th lady home. It was also good to see Jess Hemer and Anthony Stott doing well on Green.

There were some notable performances from upcoming juniors with Timothy Chambers winning the Light Green course and Christie Courtnage winning Orange. Well Done!

So we're off to Denmark for the next 18 days. We'll update the blog as much as possible and will probably tweet quite a bit so follow us on Twitter. We'll be doing a 3 day event and lots of training for the first 2 weeks. JWOC officially starts on the 4th of July.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sprint Training

We headed to Wits Education Campus for out last team training in South Africa. Nicholas is already in Europe so Michele planned the session.

The first exercise was a 1.4km course which focused on in the circle navigation and reading control descriptions. Multiple flags were placed in the area of the control without numbers. The aim was to identify which one was on the right feature and punch it. It was fast and tricky with only 3 people getting all 12 correct.

The next exercise was about 1.8km. It was an interval exercise with some good route choices.

Thanks to Michele for a great session!

There are only 10 days until we leave for Denmark! Unfortunately the team seems to have quite a few injuries at the moment. Hopefully by the start of JWOC we'll be running at full strength.

Looking forward to the Long O' next Sunday!


The second colour coded event of the season was on Sunday the 6th and the juniors had some outstanding performances.

Sarah won her first brown course, beating Tania by 30 seconds. Michael also had a great run on Brown finishing 3rd behind Coach Nic and Manager Alex. Jess Lund finished 11th on the course.

On Blue Salome was the first Lady. An accurate run by her meant she finished 10th on the course despite taking it easy to look after her knees. J.P had a solid run on blue to finish 9th.

On Green Brad, running with a sore knee, finished 2nd by only 2 seconds. Zoe was the second lady on the course.

If you want to read what some team memebers wrote about their races visit their Attackpoint logs. The links are on the right of the blog. Also take a look at Sarah's map and Nic's map with their GPS tracks. The splits are also really interesting.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Moon O'

The Moon O' fundraiser was a great success.

It was loads of fun racing round the Zoo in the dark! The moon wasn't much help as it was hiding behind the clouds, but everyone seemed to make it around the course okay. The soup and hot dogs provided by the moms went down very well as a cold front moved in.

Thank you to the Pillings for helping to organise the event and Richard for printing the maps.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Junior Squad Training - Protea ridge

On Sunday, 23rd of May the juniors had an afternoon training session at Protea Ridge. We did a contours only control picking exercise followed by corridor O'.
Below is the map with Sarah's GPS track from the corridor O'

Thanks to Nic and Alex for putting on a worthwhile session.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gauteng Champs- Long

We were back at Hennops on Sunday morning for the long. Running on 1:15'000 maps and a few tired legs made the day rather interesting. The juniors had some superb results, but there were also a few casualties and non-finishers.

There were no Juniors on the M21 course so it was up to Coach Nic and Manager Alex to do well. They did just that taking 1st and 3rd place respectively.

On M20 J.P took gold to finish off a great weekend and gained some valuable experience on his course.

The junior girls impressed on the W21 course with Sarah only a minute behind Tania and Jess L a few seconds behind in 3rd.

Steph continued her good form winning W20 by a fair margin. Zoe finished 3rd.

It was also great to see strong competition in the younger categories with Heather Wimberly, Christie Courtnage, Laura Troost, Josh De Klerk, Roark Robinson and Timothy Chambers all doing well.

Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who supported the fundraising efforts.

Gauteng Champs-Middle

On Saturday afternoon we headed out to Hennops Farm; a new map by Dave Peel. The terrain was very rocky and few enjoyed the slow going. There were some smooth runs from the juniors in their various categories.

Steph led the W20's home with Jess H in 2nd and Zoe 4th.
In the M20 category J.P had a very good run to take gold.

Jess L, Sarah and Salome did W21. Sarah was 2nd, just over a minute behind Tania. Jess L was 4th on the course. Salome is walking at the moment due to her injuries.

Nicholas, Alex, Mike and Anthony were on M21. Nic and Alex finished in the medals. Mike was 9th and Ant was 13th.

Check out Nic's map and route here.

Thanks to the mom's who spent the whole day fundraising and to everyone who supported us!