One of the most challenging orienteering areas of New Zealand was no barrier to champions Ross Morrison and Lizzie Ingham adding second titles to their weekend haul at the Nationals in Hawkes Bay.
After taking a backseat in 2010 to “the Master” Carsten Joergensen, - who won the sprint and long distances but mapped and set the middle - Morrison proceeded to demonstrate with uncanny similarity that he had learnt his lesson well from the former World Champion and NZ High Performance Director.
Morrison firstly mapped and set the national sprint course at Havelock North, then won the middle and long distances convincingly to shake the 'apprentice, tag for good.
It was a case of supreme fitness and self belief in the complex rock detail of the Maraetotara limestone hills, where steep hills and oxygen debt added to the demands of navigating around thousands of boulders and rockfaces.
After getting himself “into the best shape of my life” Morrison had to keep his head to find the 27 checkpoints in the complex rocks: “I made a few mistakes today; it was a lot trickier, but I figured everyone else was making mistakes so I didn’t give up.”
“The map lived up to expectations - great terrain and super detailed”.
With three NZ long and two middle distance titles to his name, Morrison is still planning to focus on the sprint and middle distances at the 2011 World Championships in Savoie Grand Revard, France.
After an outstanding 10th in the World Games 2009, an emergency appendectomy dashed his Championships podium hopes in 2010 but Morrison feels that he will be running strong in the finals: “I’m realistically aiming for a podium place [top 6] - but I want the win!”
Tom Reynolds (NorthWest) was once again runner-up after a second and third over the distance in the past two years, beating sprint champion and junior Toby Scott (Auckland) by just 20 seconds; seven time champion Darren Ashmore was relegated to fourth.
Also picking up her fifth NZ title and a second for the weekend, Wellingtonian Lizzie Ingham was convincing in her return from months of injury, holding off a fast-finishing Amber Morrison (Hawkes Bay) and 1999 World Champion Yvette Baker (Wellington, formerly UK).
Ingham was pleased with her recovery and her navigation: “I had a fast, clean run and lost just a few seconds where I hesitated.”
Amber Morrison was also on the back-from-injury trail, posting an impressive second at an important selection trial for the World Championships: “I’m pleased with that; I’ve been working on my focus and consistency and it paid off today.”
Another elite to win two from three was Auckland junior Matt Ogden, ahead of club and junior team-mate Gene Beveridge and Wellingtons Nick Hann, in the M20 grade.
Angela Simpson (Rotorua) was the junior elite womens winner, ahead of sprint and middle distance champion Kate Morrison (Hawkes Bay) and Laura Robertson (Hutt Valley.)
Final race of the championships is Easter Monday’s club relay champs, held at Maraetotara, south of Havelock North.
2011 NZ middle distance Orienteering Championships, Hawkes Bay. 22 April, 2011.
1 Ross Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 1:30:38
2 Thomas Reynolds NW North West 1:33:41
3 Toby Scott AK Auckland 1:34:01
4 Darren Ashmore BP Bay Of Plenty 1:34:55
5 Michael Adams PP Peninsular & Plains 1:36:34
6 Karl Dravitzki TA Taranaki 1:42:34
7 Tane Cambridge PP Peninsular & Plains 1:46:34
8 Carsten Joergensen PP Peninsular & Plains 1:48:13
9 James Brigham-Watson WN Wellington 1:48:23
10 Simon Jager AK Auckland 1:49:20
1 Lizzie Ingham WN Wellington 1:04:11
2 Amber Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 1:12:00
3 Yvette Baker WN Wellington 1:12:51
4 Penny Kane WN Wellington 1:17:12
5 Piret Klade HV Hutt Valley 1:19:42
6 Rebecca Smith BP Bay Of Plenty 1:20:21
7 Imogene Scott AK Auckland 1:20:47
8 Georgia Whitla PP Peninsular & Plains 1:21:07
9 Rita Homes HB Hawkes Bay 1:31:30
10 Tessa Ramsden RK Red Kiwi 1:34:02
Junior Elite Men
1 Matt Ogden NW North West 54:33
2 Gene Beveridge NW North West 58:33
3 Nick Hann WN Wellington 59:00
4 Duncan Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 1:03:10
5 Ryan Cambridge DN Dunedin 1:07:14
Junior Elite Women
1 Angela Simpson BP Bay Of Plenty 43:53
2 Kate Morrison HB Hawkes Bay 50:04
3 Laura Robertson HV Hutt Valley 56:44
4 Jaime Goodwin HB Hawkes Bay 59:48
5 Selena Metherell PP Peninsular & Plains 1:06:01