Disappointment drives orienteering wins

Saturday 11 April 2009, 6:31PM
By Auckland Orienteering Club


DISAPPOINTMENT with their results in Good Friday’s opening event in the New Zealand Orienteering Championships drove two of the sport’s established stars to emphatic wins in today’s middle-distance title races.

Rotorua runner Darren Ashmore took a slightly cautious approach on a technical and steep farmland and forest course near Helensville to come back from his DNF in yesterday’s sprint.

That earned him his seventh national title – finishing an impressive 1m43s faster than second-placed “fellow-veteran” Carsten Joergensen for the 3.85km course.

And Henderson’s Tania Robinson, beaten by three younger runners in the sprint, today made it title number 20 with the opposite approach – taking the contest to her rivals with an aggressive, attacking run.

“It’s no good just playing it safe: At the world champs, for instance, you have to be right on the edge – just before out of control!” she reckoned.

The risky tactic paid off, with the 36-year-old completing the tricky 3.05km course in 30m18s – 1m59s faster than closest rival, 22-year-old Napier runner Rita Homes.

The “young ones can’t get rid of us that easy,” Robinson declared…of her and 37-year-old Ashmore’s titles.

Ashmore reckoned that, after his “blonde moment” and Robinson’s fourth yesterday, “we both had something to prove. It was a matter of doing it right today.”

Expecting the course to be physically even tougher than it proved, he held back a little in a technically tricky forest section: “I really respected the map today.

“I was hesitating quite a bit to be sure of where I was. In this terrain it was probably the best approach.”

Joergensen, 38, said he did “a couple of dumb things….but it was alright.”

Auckland 26-year-old James Bradshaw finished third – annoyed with himself for a series of small errors, but still clocking only his second NZ champs placing in the elite men: “Normally I bomb out pretty badly at the nationals.”

Second-placed woman Homes reckoned “it was a bit rugged out there – really hard going in the forest.” Tough or not, it was another impressive showing – after her standout results in January’s Oceania champs.

Another (like Ashmore) who today made up for a disappointing DNF in the sprint was third-placed Amber Morrison – beating Lizzie Ingham (Wellington) and Otago university student Greta Knarston, who were first and third respectively yesterday.

The reshuffle of the results from yesterday’s sprint continued as Aucklanders Neil Kerrison and Michael Adams and Hutt Valley runner Bill Edwards today rounded out the top six…while sprint champion Karl Dravitzki finished ninth and third-placed sprinter Thomas Reynolds was 15th. World adventure racing champion Brent Edwards DNFed, after managing only 15th yesterday.

Results: NZ Orienteering Championships, middle distance – Helensville. Elite men: Darren Ashmore (Rotorua) 34m56s, 1; Carsten Joergensen (Christchurch) 36m39s, 2; James Bradshaw (Parnell) 36m51s, 3; Neil Kerrison (Helensville) 37m25s, 4; Michael Adams (Auckland) 37m50s, 5; Bill Edwards (Hutt Valley) 39m13s, 6.
Elite women: Tania Robinson (Henderson) 30m18s, 1; Rita Homes (Napier) 32m17s, 2; Amber Morrison (Auckland) 33m54s, 3; Lizzie Ingham (Wellington) 34m01s, 4; Greta Knarston (Dunedin) 34m34s, 5; Rebecca Smith (Rotorua) 35m53s, 6.

For more information on the NZ Orienteering Championships, call…

NZ Orienteering Federation marketing & promotions officer – Mick Finn Ph 021 1868 933
Auckland Orienteering Club publicist Wayne Munro – Ph 021 955 099

WHAT? NZ Orienteering Championships
Sprint: 2pm, Good Friday (April 10), Epsom College of Education
Middle-Distance: Easter Saturday (April 11), Old North Rd, Helensville
Long-Distance: Sunday (April 12), Woodhill Forest (Restall Rd entrance)
Relays: Easter Monday (April 13), Woodhill Forest