Sa Orienteering Championships 2014
The Sa Orienteering Champs were held on the grounds and with the kind permission of Hilton College, Hilton, KZN on the 5th,6th and 7th October. Orienteering is an individual sport where a competitor competes within age categories and are required to find and electronically check in at various control points situated at various features ( Boulders, Path intersection, dry ditch etc…) in a predetermined sequence. The challenge is to get around in the shortest time. Courses are set for runners abilities with the elite class running furthest and being the most technically difficult. Runners are also started with a sufficiecent gap so as not to be able to follow runners on the same course.
The maps that are used are purpose made for the sport and the two mappers for this past weekends event have been back and forth for over a year surveying and mapping the features needed.
97 runners from as far afield as Cape Town and Polokwane competed. Ages varied from under 12 to over 80.
Saturday was the Middle distance race where the elite runners competed for World Ranking Points the mens course being 4.9km (straight line) and 290m of climb whereas the under 12s had a course of 2.9km and 130m of climb. In the sport every 100m of climb is the equivalent of an extra km. Carefully reading your map and choosing your route from control to control helps to minimise the climb and extra distance between points. The winner of the Mens elite race was Bradley Lund (Tuks O)36:02 and 24 secs behind Michael Crone from Witsoc. The winning lady in the elite class was Michelle Botha (ROC) in 37:09 almost 3mins ahead of Sarah Pope of Witsoc in 40:13. In the M40 class Dave Mercer from Durban Orienteering secured a bronze medal in a closely contested race with just over a minute between the top four runners. It was Daves first ever Championship.
Sunday was the Long distance event Elite 10.6km and 535m climb whilst Juniors did 2.9km and 70m of climb. The winner on the mens elite was Timothy Chambers from RACO who came straight from his Matric dance in Johannesburg to compete on the Sunday. His time of 1:16:17 was good enough for gold with Silver going to Bradley Lund (TUKSO) in 1:18:38. The ladies elite was won by Michelle Botha (ROC) in 1:10:52 ahead of Jessica Lund (TuksO) 1:12:10 . An outstanding result was Emma Hunbble (DOC) in the ladies under 20 competing in her first forest event took the title for her category.
Monday was the interclub relay . Here the race is competed in teams of three. The team has to consist of at least one runner who is not “Mens elite class” The planning on this is difficult as all teams need to run the same distance but have different courses to avoid following.
The winners were Rand Orienteering Club (ROC) 2nd was Wits orienteering and 3rd was Rand Athletic club. Durban Orienteering in there first ever Relay gained a creditable 5th place.
At the prize giving Ephraim Chuene recipient of the 2014 Silva Award for his outstanding efforts over the last 12 months with the Polokwane Orienteering Club, he has been instrumental in the formation of the club, running events and mapping.