Defending National orienteering Champion Lizzie Ingham is relishing the prospect of a return to high level competition at Easter’s national championships after nine months on the sidelines.
After picking up three national and two Oceania titles in two years, the 22 year old post-graduate student was just days away from competing in the 2010 World Championships when she was diagnosed with bone bruising in her ankle, abruptly ending her orienteering season.
Missing the final round of the national Silva Superseries also meant losing her series title: “It was frustrating, to say the least. Angela passed me in the final round and I had to sit out the first round this year. That was an extra kick in the guts.”
And while Angela Simpson is racing the W20 class at the Nationals, Canberra-based Ingham sees her as the likely winner of the 2011 Superseries: “Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it over the ditch enough to challenge her I think. But right now I’m focused on the Nationals and looking forward to racing the NZ girls.”
Ingham rates the Sprint distance as her best chance, and feels that fellow Wellingtonian Penny Kane is a big chance to defend her 2010 middle distance title: “Penny is always strong on the hills…but Amber Morrison (Napier) has been looking good, and will be hard to beat on home terrain.”
Sydney based Morrison is also on the comeback trail after injury curtailed her outstanding junior career and is a strong contender at all distances.
She faces strong competition from a field that includes Napier’s Rita Homes, Hutt Valley based Estonian Piret Klade and NZ representative and two-time Nationals runner-up Rebecca Smith.
The rocks and forests of Napier are a big drawcard for Rotorua based junior elite Angela Simpson: “The Hawkes Bay terrain will be awesome. The sprint will be a fast, quality race. The middle and long at Maraetotara will suit strong hill-runners who can take care through technical rocky areas.”
The 2010 Superseries winner feels that her strong buildup, including a PB of 84 minutes and first place in the Rotorua half marathon will give her an edge for the Nationals, but is prepared for some tough competition from her Junior World Championships team mates. “Kate Morrison and Jaime Goodwin in particular could do well, and have local knowledge. Laura Robertson has been training well lately and if Jula McMillan continues with her recent sprint form she could feature too.”
With a national Silva Superseries to defend, Simpson is also watching the results of the elite women at the Nationals closely: “It will be interesting to see if Lizzie Ingham can get back into top place. Piret Klade will also put up a tough battle.”
With Lizzie Ingham on the sidelines for the first round, Angela Simpson leads the series with three wins from three, and six races to come.
Both Simpson and Ingham are impressed by the record entrants(559) at this year Nationals, the biggest number of New Zealanders ever, with a strong showing from the Napier schools. “It’s a testament to the amount of work Hawkes Bay Orienteering Club puts in, especially at school level. It’s fantastic to see!” commented Ingham.
For more information on the NZ Orienteering Championships, call…
NZ Orienteering Federation marketing and promotions officer:
Mick Finn Ph 021 1868933 Email email@example.com
Hawkes Bay Orienteering Club Event publicity:
Phillip Herries Ph 06 874 9650 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
What? NZ Orienteering Championships
When and where?
Sprint: Friday 22 April, 2pm, Iona College, off Lucknow Road, Havelock North.
Middle: Saturday 23 April, 10am, Maraetotara, 35 mins south of Havelock North.
Long: Sunday 24 April, 10am, Waipoapoa, Maraetotara, 35 mins sth of Havelock North.
Relay: Monday 25 April, 10am, Maraetotara, 40 minutes south of Havelock North.