Race Report: Brian Gardner – South African Orienteering Championships

Day 1 of the event was the middle distance, and it was an extremely hot afternoon! I wasn’t quite prepared for mid-30’s, but everyone was in the same boat. I generally love this type of rocky bushveld terrain, but today‚Äôs run was a bit of a shocker for me! Two big navigational errors lost me close to 10 minutes over the other competitors. I also lost focus in the last 15 minutes of my run, as the heat was getting to me and my mouth was bone dry. Ended up in 4th place with a time of 55 minutes and 51 seconds, almost 10 minutes down on the winner. It seems there were many people that took strain in the heat today!

 

Day 2 was the long distance event which I far prefer to the shorter, faster middle distance event. The weather was completely opposite to day 1, with it being cool, overcast and about 20 degrees. I really enjoyed my run and had much better focus today. I started early (orienteering has staggered starts), so was mostly on my own with no one to try and catch. There was some amazing scenery amongst the Magaliesberg rocks around the Maretlwane River below Castle Gorge, and some really tough control locations in between the high cliffs and gullies. I made a few small navigational errors here and there, but was able to quickly correct them, and overall I had a good run and pleased with how it went. Legs felt strong and good focus on map contact and direction all the way around. I managed 2nd place in a time of 1 hour 17 minutes, only 20 odd seconds behind 1st. Very happy to get a podium at SA Champs!