Sprint Auckland Day was conceived originally partly as a way of honing sprint orienteering skills early in the season and partly as a half-baked idea of a physical challenge. The idea is simple. Take 15 or so school orienteering maps spread around the Auckland isthmus. Set short 1km – 1.5km courses on each of them. Pick a day, spread the word, and take them all on one after the other. Sprint Auckland Day included 15 stages plus a prologue, over 150 controls, 22km of sprint o and a whole pile of fun.
We assembled at the Beveridges house in Henderson. Arena San Bernadino would host the briefing and prologue. Sprint Auckland Day volume 1 and 2 had been enjoyed by 10 or so runners. For the 3rd edition things had blown out to over 30. Gene briefed everyone on the plan for the day, and the need to keep things moving, as we had 15 stages to get in and a fair amount of transit between locations.
The early stages were out West. The young guns fired on these stages, making the most of some fast long legs at Rutherford and Massey. Older hands, like Matt Ogden, Gene Beveridge and I hovered close by, aware of the toll the day would take on the legs. Cam Tier took the fastest split on the first four stages. Clearly signalling his intention to push hard.
At Green Bay we had a fire engine to contend with, as the local fire brigade tested some hoses in the car park. This map was a new one for me, and an area I really enjoyed. I found that the maps with a little height change were the best. The added physicality was part of it, but it was more the multi level nature of the detail that made for some good tough route challenges.
The mid point of the day was at Mt Roskill. Al Landels set this stage, all the way from Stockholm. By now we were racing in the heat of the day, and the distance was starting to add up.
Soon after this came my favourite of the day – the St Peters/Grammar stage. Toby Scott set this stage from his new base Germany. His memory is still intact clearly, as he took us to some of the best parts of the maps. This map had plenty of height change and an awesome block of small prefab classrooms near the finish to keep things technical right to the finish.
We wound things up on the North Shore. The final 3 were real tests of endurance. Massey Uni was epic, with the course zig-zagging around the Tuscan style university buildings. Cam Tier again taking fastest time. Kristin second to last saw Matt Ogden grab fastest, a feat he repeated on the high speed finale at Albany Junior High.
Cam and Matt may have had a whole lot of fastest stage times, but it was consistency through the day that made the difference. Some strong runs in the early afternoon put me ahead enough to hold off Cam in 2nd and a hard charging Matt in 3rd. The 3 of us were separated by less than 2 minutes over an hour and a half of sprint o. Greta nabbed the girls win from Imogene.
A whole lot of sprint orienteering, perfect for those heading to sprint the bay, perhaps not so perfect as preparation for Coast to Coast. It was a psychological training day for me really. I felt pumped after the running, a boost I needed to take my mind off my bung shoulder and refocus me on the fact I can run and ride, and paddling is just part of the Coast to Coast.
The real champ of the day was Gene Beveridge, he put the organisation together and pulled off another successful Sprint Auckland Day. How will we step things up for 2015?
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