# JWOC 2019

JWOC, 2019

Max Griffiths, competing in his last JWOC shares some thoughts here:

I again had the opportunity to run at JWOC in my final year in Denmark this year alongside North West members Daniel Monckton and Tegan Knightbridge and the rest of the NZ team with coach Devon Beckman. Having run at JWOC in Hungary last year, I had an idea of what to expect but being held in Denmark, I knew the organisation would be a step up from last year and it seriously delivered on that front. The arena’s for all events were amazing with commentary, large screen, run throughs, gps on all athletes, and even an arena start for the middle distance final. All of my maps from the training week and competition week can be found here.

The team met in Copenhagen a week before the competition started before driving through to Silkeborg where we would train and compete over the following two weeks. The week of training was all about familiarising ourselves with the maps and getting into the zone before JWOC races at simulation trainings. The forest was varied in both steepness and runnability. On some of the broad white forest hills it was beautiful open running and clean underfoot, but some areas also had considerable ground cover, including blueberries which were draining on the energy to run through. The green forest was also varied with the light green usually being still quite runnable with just a few branches between trees and tighter spacing of trees, while the darker green sometimes was thick conifer bushes which hindered runnability and visibility severely.

The following week we moved into competition starting with the opening ceremony in the centre of Silkeborg. This is always a fun atmosphere, and was the point that we realised how large the support group of NZ’ers was that had travelled to Denmark to cheer on the team! Having this level of support for individuals and the team helps fuel the energy in the team and build confidence despite being on the other side of the world in unfamiliar terrain!

The sprint was up first and provided challenge through many tight corners and small buildings and hedges, so while there were no significant route choices in the courses, being able to pick a (near) optimal route quickly and have the acceleration round all the corners was key. One of the legs is shown below with 3 main route choices, but there are other combinations available. The 3 medalists overall ran green while the winner of this leg ran a slight variation on red. Other interesting legs to look at route choice are 5-6, 19-20 and 20-21. The map can be found here.

Next up the long distance provided a healthy dose of hills (somehow they found some in Denmark, with the M20 total climb being more than 3 times the height of the highest point in Denmark). While there were no major long legs with wildly different routechoices, there was still plenty of opportunity for time loss, both in smaller routechoices as well as technical errors, especially in some of the vague green areas. Many legs offered 2 main routechoices of a straighter, more physical, harder running underfoot, or a longer distance track running option. Interestingly looking at the routes of some of the top runners, many opted for less physically demanding but longer distance track based routes on a fair few legs. Leg 14 is shown with 4 of the common routes. Legs 4, 8, 15 are a few other legs with some straight or round routechoices. Take your pick and then compare with the GPS replay!

After a rest day, races continued for the middle distance qualification and finals based around the same arena. With the top 20 from each of 3 heats qualifying for the A-final, mistakes must be kept to a minimum. NZ had 3 qualifiers to the A final after the competition on the southern part of the map, Katie, Joseph and Will, with all NW members qualifying for the B-final. A snippet of my course with my route below from heat 2 of the qualification races is shown. 

Trying to keep hesitations and mistakes to a minimum but unfortunately too many small mistakes added up to too much time loss overall. The technical difficulty of both of these races was easier than we were expecting, especially the final which usually has much more of a focus on technical orienteering than the physical side (while still being important of course). The northern part of the map above the arena had broader more open slopes with a few pockets of green and tighter contour detail. That is, once we got to it after the first yellow-difficulty control!

Part of the Men-B-final, Lots of positive contour control sites (spurs)                     

A couple of different routes around the swamps and green on the Men-A-final.
The week concluded, as it always does, with the relay in which NZ always seems to struggle for various reasons. The recent change in the format for the NZ National Champs relay at Easter will hopefully improve this in following years as we get used to high pressure relays against top NZ runners, although this unfortunately won’t reach the level of exposure runners in Europe get at these kinds of competitions.

Unfortunately it wasn’t the year for the womens' teams with both teams mispunching in the hectic chaos of tight controls and criss-crossing runners. The terrain consisted of much flatter terrain than the previous days, with a maze of tracks and rides through a mix of fast open white forest and greener (but still very runnable) bush. The forking was set very well, as can be seen from the master map here. Even in the final loop there were a couple of splits, which, when combined with the course crossing on itself in this final loop, caused many runners in many directions to distract you if you weren’t paying enough focus; as well as the added pressure of being able to hear the arena in the background. 

The run-through and final loop, if you can manage to make sense of the forking and crossing course lines!

The best  placings were:
Tegan  Long 109th, Middle 46th (B Final)
Max Sprint 86th, Middle 23rd (B Final)
Daniel Sprint 54th,  Middle 32nd (B Final)

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