# WOC and JWOC Reflections 2017

WOC and JWOC Reflections, 2017

At the time the last newsletter, we were all noticing the lack of sleep with late nights dot-watching during WOC and JWOC! Thank you to two of the NWOC members who competed overseas in the NZ teams for their short reflections on an aspect of the experience.

Gene Beveridge - WOC

Upon reflection of my 3rd WOC I can see progress attributed to my improving physical fitness but not really from technical and psychological components. The terrain in Estonia this year was new for me and arriving 2 weeks before race day was valuable, but far from enough to feel confident at race pace amongst the dense trees and fallen branches. I’m happy with my 37th in the long distance but much more race-specific training was needed to perform better on the day, and I’m not yet sure if this was possible from New Zealand as we don’t have much relevant terrain. New Zealand has lots of great athletes and great races, and with the support I’ve had over the years I’m hopeful I can overcome as many of these challenges as possible.  Next year’s WOC in Latvia will be a similar situation and the current plan is to stay in New Zealand and do the best I can by finding tougher areas to train on. 

Cameron de L’Isle - JWOC

JWOC this year was tough. From the physically tough forests to the accommodation (we were staying in containers in a parking lot), it was far more challenging than last year. That and the sun in Finland never really sets – 10pm feels like 2pm, not fun when you’re trying to sleep! 

With so much attention (deservedly) on the sprint with Tommy winning silver (!!) I thought I would talk about another race, the JWOC relay. I ran first leg this year in the relay, mainly as I wanted to have that experience at one point and because I wasn’t chosen for the top team. 

Warming up before the start of the relay, everyone was crowded in a small pen, eyeing each other up while we jogged around. The start line was quite impressive – 60 fast runners lined up in 5 rows, far bigger than any relay start I have been in before. As a second team runner, I found myself in the 4th row – a tough place to start from.

The start itself was insane. As the countdown hit 3,2.. everyone started early and ripped away at an insane pace into a narrow chute. Being at the back I knew I had to be aggressive or face getting stuck behind the ‘slow’ guys where the tape turned into the forest and single file. Luckily I managed to fight into about 12th spot into the forest and avoid the tumbling bodies tripping all around me.

The forest in Finland is very soft underfoot and draining to run in. However at the speed we ran the first few hundred metres I didn’t notice at all. Hitting a road, the leaders accelerated to a very fast speed but I just couldn’t get going. I lost ~10 places from the start but found myself passing people once in the forest again. Unfortunately, I choose the wrong pack along the road, losing time where I should have taken the road towards 9.

I was running roughly at the back of the leading pack until 5. Here I took a slightly different micro route choice closer to the line and gained a few places. Unfortunately I had the trickiest control here (D) and passed just above the cliff. I lost ~2mins with a few other guys and with it the main pack. Some good micro route choices and hard running allowed me to catch the next group at 6 although we all made a small mistake on 8. I fought to the front of the group along the road to 9 before dropping them on the way to 11 and the finish.

I finished roughly mid pack despite my mistakes which was satisfying but certainly not where I would like to have finished. After JWOC I went on to Hungary to scout JWOC 2018. For any juniors hoping to go to JWOC next year, get excited! The terrain is pine trees on sand dunes, and it feels just like home (aside from the 42-degree heat!).

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