Aislinn

WOC Middle Distance Final

 Posted by at 11:09 pm  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Middle Distance Final
Jul 132013
 
Hi All! The middle distance final was held today on the northern section of the ridge from yesterday’s qualification race. It was another super technical area, with a lot of rock detail. Today’s race differed slightly from yesterday’s in that there was a long leg in each race with an interesting route choice decision, and also perhaps less downhill controls on vague hillsides. The arena was set up really well today, with athletes running through a long passage alongside the finish chute before the final loop of their course. It was a bit of a brutal run-through with a nasty hill at the end. The terrain seemed very physical, with runners all looking tired on their way through the arena. The men started first today, with Simon off as second starter. We were all happy to watch him hit the controls cleanly on the GPS, and stick to his own race even when he was passed by Valentin Nobikov (RUS) and Tue Lassen (DEN). He held on to take 33nd place, with some faster early runners falling to pieces at the end. He told me his run was consistent with no big errors. Most of the spectators assumed that Theirry Gueorgiou would come through to take his 7th gold medal in the middle distance, so we were all surprised when Leonid Nobikov (RUS) ran in to take a narrow win! Theirry said that a big mistake near control #2, where he had misread a track, cost him the race. Gustav Bergman (SWE) was well ahead for most of the day and eventually took bronze. Jas was the first starter in the women’s race, so we got to see quite a bit of her in the beginning! Sadly after a very clean start she made an error on the radio control at #6 and couldn’t recover, finishing 43rd. Hanny started next and had a few wobbles on the first 2 before settling down and gaining back a lot of time. She was disappointed with her mistakes but took a very good 33rd! After Vanessa’s start, we didn’t get to see very much of her as the focus had turned to Kauppi and Niggli. I haven’t had a chance to chat to her yet but it seems she lost some time out there, finishing 42nd. Niggli made some errors early and it looked as if Kauppi would come very close to her. Minna must have felt the home crowd pressure though, making big mistakes later in the course. Simone ran in to a clear lead, and the exciting race was then between Tove Alexandersson (SWE) and Merja Rantanen (FIN). Tove was challenging Simone early in the course before a strange route choice and error on 7. She eventually took Silver, with an ecstatic Rantanen 3rd. Tomorrow is the relay, which is in the same arena as today. The men start at 1 55 (Simon 1st, Josh 2nd, Bryan 3rd) and the women at 4 (Vanessa 1st, me 2nd and Hanny 3rd). I am quite nervous and hope I can conquer this difficult terrain! Wishing you all well, Aislinn (Ed:  Men start at 8.55pm and Women at 11pm.  Good luck Aislinn!!)

WOC Middle Qualification

 Posted by at 1:33 pm  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Middle Qualification
Jul 122013
 
Hi All! Today was an early start, and all the Aussie supporters got to the arena in time to watch the first women start at 9. Today the map was the southern end of a long ridge which extends from our accommodation (at the sports centre) to the south. The northern part of this map is the steep ski slopes, which was used for a world cup race in 2012. The part south of that will be used for the middle final and relay, and the centre of the ridge was the middle model map. The map was incredibly intricate and detailed, and the difficulty became obvious straight away, with many big mistakes, even by the top runners. The terrain consists of hilltops covered in rock and cliffs, flat marshy areas, and vague sloping hillsides. The women’s race was over very quickly, so we were all relieved to find that the Aussie girls had all qualified! Vanessa took 8th in a very spread out heat (15th was 18 minutes down), Hanny was 13th and Jas nabbed 15th. The boys started next, but we had to wait for Bryan to finish before we knew how he was going because they weren’t showing his GPS. He was disappointed with his run, finishing 22 minutes down in 30th. Lachy’s gps showed him having a solid and consistent run until disaster struck near the end when he sprained his ankle badly and had to walk in to the finish. We then had a nervous (but thankfully short) wait to find out if Simon had made the final. He came in 12th but slipped to 15th, managing to hold on by just 3 seconds. It should be a good day for watching tomorrow with 4 Aussies taking part. It will be interesting to see whether Niggli can take it out again, or if this difficult terrain will make the race very unpredictable. Best wishes, Aislinn Ed:  The WOC Middle Final races are tonight (Friday 12 July) Australian time.  Competitors in the Middle Qual found the terrain and courses extremely demanding and technical, so we can expect the same for the final, and the results may well contain some surprises. The races are being televised on Swedish TV over the Internet, at http://www.svtplay.se/video/1330629/medeldistans-herrar-12-7-12-05 Simon Uppill (bib# 102) starts the Men’s Final (6.3km 245m climb) for Australia at 20:11:30 AEST, and is the second runner to start.   (The men’s runners are on 90-second start intervals, starting with bib# 101 at 20:10:00). In the Women’s Final (5.1km 195m climb), the Aussie starts are Jasmine Neve (bib# 1) at 22:05:00, Hanny Allston (bib# 9) at 22:17:00, and Vanessa Round (bib# 23) at 22:38:00.  (The women’s runners are also on 90-second start intervals, starting with Jasmine bib# 1 at 22:05:00). Best of luck, Bushrangers, and keep focussed on the details.

WOC Rest Day and Thursday’s Middle Qual

 Posted by at 10:46 am  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Rest Day and Thursday’s Middle Qual
Jul 112013
 
Hi All! Today was a rest day, so we all had some time to relax! We went in to Kajaani in the morning to buy some outfits for the banquet, then relaxed before preparing for an Aussie afternoon tea. We had a good turn out of supporters and parents – they’ve been great with their cheering during the races! Tomorrow (ed: today here – Thursday) is the middle qualification, and the Aussie starts are: Jasmine 9:13 (ed: 4.13pm AEST Thursday 11 July) Vanessa 9:19 (4.19pm) Hanny 9:43 (4.43pm) Bryan 10:25 (5.25pm) Lachy 10:47 (5.47pm) Simon 11:19 (6.19pm) Hope you enjoy watching the gps!! Aislinn

WOC Long Distance Final

 Posted by at 10:01 am  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Long Distance Final
Jul 102013
 

Dear Eureka Orienteers,

The competitors started late in the day for the long distance final, so many of the Aussies chose to go out to the Middle / Relay model map in the morning. I had done one training in similar terrain before, but this terrain had quite a lot more rock, and was a fun mixture of fairly bland (and slightly scary) hillsides and hilltops with lots of cliffs and knolls.

After a quick lunch we all headed off to cheer on Hanny in the Long Distance Final. The arena was the same as for the qualification – a natural amphitheatre – but now had the added excitement of the start chute (as the athletes started in the arena) and a run-through.

The terrain looked beautiful and open for much of the way, and I was very jealous that I was not running! The women had a brutal 13.6km while the men got close to a half marathon in an epic 19.8km course.

Hanny was starting near the end of the women’s field, and there was of course plenty of cheering for Finnish favourite Minna Kauppi. There were thousands of Fins there which made the atmosphere fantastic.

Plenty of TV and radio controls, as well as GPS, made the race really easy to follow at all times and built the atmosphere for an exciting finish. Despite early speed by Kauppi, some fast route choices by Swede Lena Eliasson soon put her out of the top spot. But of course there is no defeating Simone Niggli, and sailed through to take her 22nd gold medal, a cool 3 minutes ahead. Tove Alexandersson (SWE) just pipped her countrywoman for the Silver.

Hanny ran a solid and gutsy race, with few mistakes, aside from some difficulty in finding a hidden river crossing in green. She reported that the terrain was relatively easy navigation, and favoured those who had really practised running at a high tempo for a long time. She ran her own race (despite the distractions of Niggli, Alexandersson and several others along the way) and took out 22nd place.

The men’s race started during the excitement of the women’s finish, and it was soon time to turn our attention to their radio splits. There was no clear winner during the race, with Edgars Bertkus (LAT), Dimitri Tsvetkov (RUS), Jani Lakenen (FIN) and Thierry Gueorgiou all juggling the lead through the radio controls. Thierry came through the victor, adding another medal to his title of ‘the best male orienteer of our time’. He said afterwards that he would not do any more WOC long distances, and also that he did ‘not enjoy the race very much – too much running’! The Finnish spectators were rapt with Lakenen taking out the Silver, while Bertkus took out the bronze, with less than 2 minutes separating the medals.

Tomorrow we get a rest day, which will be greatly appreciated by some! The middle distance racers will be using the time to relax and prepare for Thursday’s qualification.

Hope you are enjoying the races!

Aislinn

WOC Sprint Qualification & Final

 Posted by at 10:21 am  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Sprint Qualification & Final
Jul 092013
 
Dear Eureka Orienteers, Today was the sprint day, always a great day for spectators! The morning was the sprint qualification, around an area of small holiday cottages / cabins on the shore of the lake in Vuokatti. The arena was cleverly set up with a spectator control at the back and a long finish chute crossing a bridge at the front. Our girls were starting first, with Jas out at 9.00 on the dot. She expressed a bit of doubt about the crowds early on (and whether they would be prepared for the runners), but ran a really strong race to qualify in 13th (and had a big smile on her face at the end!). Next out were Vanessa and Felicity, 1 minute apart. It was a quick qualification, with all the girls starting between 9 and 9:23, so we knew pretty early that all the girls were through! Fel had an impressive WOC debut in 9th, while Vanessa finished 13th in her heat. Next were the boys, with Bryan out first. He ran strongly in his WOC debut, but a tough field put him out of qualifying. Simon came next and gave us all confidence straight away, placing 5th at the end of his run and only dropping down to 8th by the end. The public racers had a chance to give the sprint races a crack next, and after some organisational disasters (registration queues 40+ minutes long and no toilets), Susanne and I – along with the Aussie support crew members – whipped around the flat but in places tricky terrain. Lots of small buildings made relocation hard for some, and some fences which had been specially placed on the map made route choices a puzzle. There were people everywhere, which made punching controls a challenge, and called for some ducking and weaving, but it was good fun and I ran pretty well. The opening ceremony began at 4:45, before a late sprint final. It was a short one, and after some formal speeches and a small dance display from some local girls, the exciting part of the day began. The Arena couldn’t have been better – the Sotkamo ‘Finnish Baseball’ stadium (I’m yet to learn the difference from normal baseball) was full to brimming, and had both a long start chute and finish chute running across its length. Two screens kept track of starters, finishers and radio controls, and we even got a taste of Copter Cam video (David Brickhill-Jones’s company – a flying camera apparatus). The coverage was fantastic and you could also reach some nearby controls to see the competitors mid-course. Vanessa was our first starter, and ran a great race to grab one of her best WOC results (and her sprint debut!) in 32nd. She said that it was hard at all times to know whether you had chosen the right route – many impassable fences made the map a maze of black lines and it was always a possibility that you had misread a ‘trap’. Otherwise she reported having a run without big mistakes. Jas was next, and despite getting control #1 cleanly (no mean feat with the pressure from the crowd in the stadium at the start), she struggled with #2 and found it hard to settle down. She ran into 41st place. Felicity had a brilliant finals debut to take 31st, 2 seconds ahead of Vanessa. She told me she had a slightly hesitant race but made no big mistakes, and was very happy with her run. She said she actually kept expecting there to be more traps than there were! The noise in the stadium was amazing when Finn Venla Niemi took the lead, but the spotlight was always going to be on the legendary Simone Niggli. Despite Simone having a commanding lead mid-way through the course, a fast-finishing Annika Billstam (SWE) gave the Swiss some worries. Simone eventually took the win in an exciting finish, just 8 seconds ahead. Simon looked cool as always at the start, and put in a really strong race to take his best WOC result in 30th. He scolded himself for losing 10 or so seconds at the second last, running past the entry to the stadium, but he otherwise put in a really consistent run. He wasn’t the only one to make the mistake, with Lizzie Ingham costing herself a top-10 result, and Jerker Lysell (SWE) dropping quite a few places in a tight field. It’s always great when the home country takes a win, and the cheers when Morten Bostrom was a definite for the gold medal were deafening (after a mistake from Mathias Kyburz (SUI) cost him crucial time). It was a great day for the Brits, with Scott Fraser taking the silver (and 3 top-16 results), while Jonas Leandersson (SWE) took the bronze. Tomorrow we all head out to cheer on Hanny in the Long Final, and hopefully see some more exciting finishes! She starts at 1 10pm Finnish time (8 10pm Victorian time). Apologies for the long email! I hope you’re all well and the Victorian winter is not too harsh! Aislinn

WOC Long Qualification

 Posted by at 10:25 pm  2013 News  Comments Off on WOC Long Qualification
Jul 072013
 
Dear Eureka Orienteers, Apologies for not emailing you yesterday – it was a very hectic day with lots of meetings and photos. The Australian team is staying in the Vuokatti Sports Institute along with most of the other teams, which gives it a good Olympic Village vibe. We are at the foot of the Vuokatti ski slopes, with a huge Ariel ski jump and an epic downhill go-kart course. The sports centre also has an indoor ski tunnel and a pool. Yesterday huge O-Gear shops were set up in the gym nearby, and the public race competitors started to arrive, so it is now very busy! Today was the long distance qualification race. The area was about 30 minutes by car east of Vuokatti. I was looking forward to racing in the lovely open terrain which we had been training on – complex contours but visibility for miles. We were sadly mistaken though – after two controls in some nice terrain, we were straight out into areas which were mostly open, felled, or low-vis young pines. This made for a quite physical race, and meant extra care was needed in particularly thick, vague areas. Hanny ran a great race, finishing in 3rd in her heat, behind the winners Tove Alexandersson (SWE) and Natalia Efimova (RUS). She told me she felt that she lost map contact in a few places but mostly made good decisions and had a clean run overall. Susanne unfortunately struggled in some low-visibility green and lost time, ending up just out of qualifying in 17th place. I haven’t had a chat to Lachy about his race yet, but he finished in 23rd place in his heat. I had a great first 5 controls, with perhaps a slightly slow route choice on the long leg across the map. I came unstuck on control 6, being spooked by some other competitors and making a big mistake (despite having known exactly where I was!). I also lost quite a bit of time at 8, misreading the gullies and stopping too short. The rest of my run went really well, which made it all the more disappointing when I missed the final in 20th, quite a way off the pace. Feeling pretty low right now, but I will be now able to spend my week cheering on my fellow Aussies. Tomorrow is the sprint qualification and final, as well as the opening ceremony. We have 5 Aussies running – Vanessa, Jasmine, Felicity, Simon and Bryan. I don’t yet know the start times, but they should be up on www.woc2013.fi by the end of the day. I would just like to say thank you very much to all of the Eureka members for your support this year (and every year!), and I’m sorry to disappoint you this time. On a positive note, I will now be able to keep you well updated on the other races! I hope you’re all well, and I’ll be in touch tomorrow. Aislinn Some of the lovely training terrain:

20130707-222355.jpg The Aussie team:

20130707-222413.jpg

WOC Long Final

 Posted by at 10:14 pm  2012 News  Comments Off on WOC Long Final
Jul 202012
 
Hi again Eurekas! I apologise for emailing a little later than usual, but as yesterday was an extremely tiring day and today is a rest day, I thought you wouldn’t mind! My long final day started with quarantine at a school in Cudy, before we were taken (by army truck, of course) to the pre-start. My nerves were running very high, having never before run in a WOC final. It was exciting and also a little scary to be fitted with a GPS tracker and to be filmed at the start, where an electronic start gate let me out onto my course. The terrain was similar to the long distance qualification, except with quite a few more contour features and some climb, making for a more interesting course. While there was still a great amount of tracks and vegetation changes, an extra challenge was posed by several deep creek networks crossing the map. The white areas on the map were still highly visible, but often had more cut timber and some slow undergrowth than the Qual. I made sure to stick to my usual strategies, and got into a good rhythm right from the start of the course. I chose fairly conservative route choices, often taking track choices until the last moment, but made sure that I took advantage of them by running hard on the tracks. The first half to two thirds of the course was fairly clean, with just a small error on 5 where I lost maybe 45 seconds searching on the wrong side of the spur. I found out afterwards that my route choice on the long leg to 6 lost me some time; while I decided to go to the right and stick mostly to tracks, it was faster to go slightly left and cut through the clearer areas. The later part of the course saw me start to make some silly errors with my compass, as I began to feel very tired. On control 13 I lost around 2 minutes searching in a higher creek network, and then on control 15 I drifted off the hill to the left and had to come around to the control. The spectator run through was soon after, and it was a tough one! I would say it was roughly 800 metres long and complete with a nasty uphill section. It was a challenge to get out of oxygen debt to complete the small last loop, but I managed to get through it, making just one error on the last control. I had confused the finish chute with the spectator run through, so I ran away from the control! The atmosphere in the arena was fantastic with a full contingent of Aussie supporters cheering, as well as some New Zealanders. I had been winning the splits until the end, which I am told made for some exciting watching. The women’s course played out much as everyone had expected, which was not so sad! The Swiss supporters were of course ecstatic to see Simone take out her 20th WOC gold, with a margin of 90 second. Minna Kauppi took out 2nd, with Swede Annika Billstram getting 3rd. Surprisingly, Helena Jansson decided not to run, due to illness, and Lena Eliasson pulled out of the course early on. I ended up in 35th, which I am very excited about for my first final. Hopefully if I can continue to improve, I can get an even better result next year. As Julian was a later starter, he sadly did not get as much air time as me, and we saw little of his GPS tracks on the screen. However, WiFi at the arena meant we could watch him online. He had very competitive route choices, often taking the same routes as Swiss Matthias Merz, who took the silver medal. He seemed to lose little time, with just a few seconds in some early control circles, and a small mistake at control 19. He ran very strongly to take out 30th place, and said that he was mostly happy with the result. The men’s race had some drama, with Swiss runner Fabian Hertner running strongly to take the lead, before being disqualified for having punched the women’s first control at 13. The Swiss team protested, as the controls were just 30m apart and on fairly similar features, however the protest was dismissed. Olav Lundanes ran in well clear of all his rivals to take a huge lead, and was not even challenged by Merz, who ran into second, 2 minutes down. Latvian Edgars Bertkus continued his fantastic WOC week to take out the bronze medal. Tomorrow is the relay. Our women’s team is Rachel, Vanessa and I, and the men’s team Simon, Julian and BJ. The women’s relay starts at 11 30, and the men’s at 1 30. Wishing you all the best, and apologies for the long email! Aislinn Aislinn’s Long Final course and her route choices:

20120720-220538.jpg

20120720-220559.jpg

20120720-220605.jpg

20120720-220611.jpg

WOC Middle Final

 Posted by at 6:53 pm  2012 News  Comments Off on WOC Middle Final
Jul 182012
 
Hi Eureka members! I’m sorry for my late email, but yesterday turned out to be quite a busy day, although I wasn’t running! After a jog around the long distance final model, Wendy, our physio Elin and I made our way up to the final to watch Vanessa run. The day was very exciting, with two radio controls, a fantastic arena and of course GPS tracking, meaning we missed none of the action. Vanessa ran through both radio controls quickly, taking 2nd place as she ran through the first and dropping little time through to the second (I can’t remember the her placing there exactly). All was going well and Vanessa was having a very smooth run until losing a small amount of time on control 13. She said that she had stood on top of the cliff and hadn’t been able to see the control, running away to relocate and then back in again. She ran in to the finish very strongly to take out 7th at that point in time in 47 minutes. Vanessa said her goal had been to run a very smooth race and to prevent making big errors. Instead of running risky route choices she decided to play it safe, and it worked, giving her 31st place, her best WOC result to date. She reported that the terrain was easier navigationally than the qualification, with large features such as knolls and depressions making it easy to know where you were at most points in the race. Despite having less steep slopes, however, the terrain was exhausting with cut wood and mossy rocks covering almost the entire map. Both Vanessa and Lizzie said they found the race very physically challenging. The women’s race was exciting until the very end, with several contenders likely to take the win. Young orienteers Tove Alexandersson and Ida Bobach ran very well to take 2nd and 4th, but after Simone Niggli-Luder’s surprising error, which saw her navigate from control 7 to control 15, Minna Kauppi was free to take the lead, with a very strong race. Tatyana Riabkina ran well to take 3rd place. The men’s race was also a surprise, with neither the main contenders Olav Lundanes and Thierry Gueorgiou taking out top honours. Lundanes made an error in the circle at control 9 from which he never recovered, and though Gueorgiou seemed to have no major errors, the very close time gaps meant that some of his more conservative route choices cost him time. Latvian Edgars Bertuks took out the win, with Russian Valentin Novikov second, and a very excited young Swiss Fabian Hertner third. The team is having a rest day today, and I’m hoping to get out to do some sightseeing in the afternoon. Suzanne, Bridget and Wendy have gone to compete in day 4 of the Swiss 5 Day, which is 2 hours drive from Lausanne. I’m very jealous as it is reportedly a very beautiful area with spectacular scenery! Best to rest up for tomorrow, though. Hope you’re all well and might enjoy some sleep tonight without a WOC race to keep you up, Aislinn

WOC Middle Qualification

 Posted by at 6:28 am  2012 News  Comments Off on WOC Middle Qualification
Jul 172012
 
Hi all! Just wanted to apologise for the lack of pictures recently…I’ve been a bit slack with the camera! The races have also been quite quick, there was only an hour or so after my warm down until the last man was running down the finish chute. I can suggest the World of O Facebook page which has some very good pictures of individuals running through the radio control in the long qualification race. The arena today was very picturesque, an alpine meadow with a great view across a road to the second last control. The final control was on a tunnel beneath the road with a punishing 200m uphill finish chute. The terrain was a lot different to the long distance, with the courses being mostly downhill and on steep slopes. Some areas were flat, with interesting depressions and knolls, while others were sheer-sided with little detail, and yet others were very intricate sections of cliffs, knolls and small gullies. It was much more difficult running, with moss-covered rocks and a lot of cut wood, even in areas marked white. Once again, I was the first starter, and my race was doomed from the start! Rushing out from the start triangle, I went to the wrong first control, and then lost four minutes trying to find the right one. I eventually relocated off a paddock to the west, but the damage was done and I had the difficult task of calming the nerves ahead of me. Luckily I hit the next four controls cleanly, but again came unstuck on a boulder in green. I was much too high, and wasted three minutes looking in the wrong places. Interestingly, many athletes lost time here, including Mari Fasting, who lost 9 minutes but still qualified, Simone Niggli-Luder, who lost a minute, and Vanessa, who lost 2 minutes or so. I managed a few more smooth controls before losing time on a dark green gully, and then a boulder in dark green. Overall, the run was very unsuccessful, and even my better legs were hampered by loss of confidence and a lack of planning. Despite my own disappointment, it was fantastic to watch Vanessa qualify (quite easily!), and make up for her near miss in the long distance. Even with her error, she managed to take 12th place and run very strongly into the finish. Suzanne had a similar experience to myself, losing a lot of time on the first control, and also losing some time on the third last. Despite this, the legs in between were smooth and fast and she came very close to qualifying, in 17th. We all held our breath and crossed our fingers when Simon ran in strongly to put himself in a tentative 15th place. Sadly, he was soon knocked out by qualifying Kiwi Ross Morrison and a few other athletes, pushing him into 18th. He lost a lot of time at the 4th control and some more time in other areas; however his later splits show that he also clawed back some time on the leaders in the later part of the course. His heat was very fast, with 15th place just 3 minutes down on the leader. Murray fell victim to a treacherous limestone hole, and sprained his ankle very badly. He walked (hobbled?) back into the finish and was taken straight to hospital, where X-Rays thankfully showed no broken bones. It looked to be a very painful injury, however, and he will be getting around on crutches for at least the next few days. Tomorrow the team will be watching Vanessa run her middle distance race, which seems to be on some nicer terrain than today. I’m a bit jealous to be honest, as training on the middle distance final maps seemed to be the most fun! Her start is at 12.21 (8.21 AEST). Some of the athletes will be getting out into the Swiss 5 Day races. Wishing you all well and happy watching, Aislinn

WOC Long Qualification

 Posted by at 6:20 am  2012 News  Comments Off on WOC Long Qualification
Jul 162012
 
Hi all! Not sure if you received my sprint final email, but hopefully it will make its way to you eventually. Today four athletes ran the long distance qualification; Julian, Rachel, Vanessa and myself. The qualification was held on a map about 25km from Lausanne, on an extremely flat piece of land, with just one steep-sided creek running through the middle of the map. The map was crisscrossed by a dense network of tracks, and had very variable vegetation, with patches of light green being mostly young beech trees, patches of stripey green being nettles and raspberries, and dark green being generally firs with nettles between. Clearings with striped green were to be avoided at all costs; these generally consisted of head-high nettles with fallen / cut wood between. The white, open areas were quite runnable and very visible, and control sites were mostly small clearings, depressions, thicket edges and the occasional ride. The openess of some of the forest meant that the course was more interesting than many of us expected; instead of track routes being the only viable options, it was sometimes faster to go straight. After being quarantined in the small town of Apples, I was the first Australian starter, followed by Rachel, Vanessa and then Julian. I ran hard but took fairly conservative route choices to begin; I lost only a small amount of time on controls which I could see but not reach! Later in the course I took some straighter route choices and lost only a minute on control #13, on the end of a ride. I hit the ride and went left, into the striped clearing, while the control was to the right. I finished being irritated by my error but otherwise very happy with my run, and qualified 14th (although the winning Russian was the last starter and was given the wrong map, meaning she should not have run in my heat; this meant that there were 16 qualifiers in my heat instead of the traditional 15). My early start made for a nervous wait to see if I had qualified, but it was nice to have the run out of the way. Rachel again came very close to qualifying, but sadly missed out. She reported feeling very tired and sluggish towards the end, a result of having been recently unwell. She was quite disappointed, and I hope she can build her confidence back in the relay on Saturday. Vanessa ran a quick race, but a fast heat and a few errors put her out of the final. She will now turn her focus to the Middle distance (which is her speciality, so I’m sure she will have a good result there!). Simone Niggli-Luder ran another great race to finish well clear of her rivals, while Minna Kauppi took top honours in her heat. The Australian supporters then waited nervously for Julian to finish, and despite his quick splits we were still quite worried until the end! He ran a smooth race however, qualifying in an impressive 7th. The Swiss men were of course the ones to watch again, with Matthias Merz winning his heat, and the other two men easily qualifying. Olav Lundanes took out his heat, finishing right near the end. Tomorrow should be an exciting day with the Middle Qualification races beginning from 1pm. There will be 5 Australian starters Aislinn 1.11 Suzanne 1.19 Vanessa 1.51 Murray 3.03 Simon 3.19 Hope you’re all well and that it’s not too cold at home. Being up quite high for the races has meant temperatures of around 15 degrees and some rain. Hopefully tomorrow will fine up! Thanks! Aislinn