Irish Orienteering Championship 2018- Sprint
Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan gives us an insight into his IOC 2018 Sprint race.
Irish Orienteering Championships 2018 – Sprint
Sligo IT & Clayton Hotel
As with every year IOC 2018 was a main target race for this season. This year was always going to have a high quality field as nobody travelled to EOC 2018 in Ticino, Switzerland due to a clash of timings. It was the largest M21 field I have seen at an IOC Sprint (feel free to correct me if I am wrong) which was fantastic.
With a gap of 5 weeks between the JK2018 Sprint in MOD Stafford to IOC 2018 it gave me some time to prepare more on a physical and technical level. Since the start of 2018 I have been getting good feedback from training sessions along with technique camps such as the Bergen Sprint Camp earlier this year in Norway. One of the key things I have learned in recent times is the importance of the “nerding” process prior to a major race. In this vein I did research using Google Maps, Open Street Map, Open Orienteering Map, Google Street View and there was also a map of the area (used in 2014) on the Sligo Orienteering club Facebook page which I didn’t find, but Conall mentioned he had located it.
Race day for me is normally initially a nervous start but then it changes to excitement. I fuelled well before the race in the same way as always and I warmed up in the same way as usual. My legs felt a bit heavy, but from experience I know not to worry about this on a race day. I checked out the start during my warm-up (which can be useful to know if possible), it was exactly where I expected it to be based on the information given in the final details.
I noticed (and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one) none of the controls were on the inside corner of anything which could be deemed un-crossable (fenced, walls, hedges) when in the start boxes. This limited, though didn’t rule out, the chances of any traps set by the course planner.
As everyone in the start area noticed the start headed east and around the building, easy section of dead running to get into the course. The early part of the course was relatively straightforward but in that it was important to run flat out. The early route choices from 3-4 and 4-5 were relatively even but I took the right hand option to 4 and then left to 5 in order to avoid corners and the steps.
The next section through the spectator loop and to control 8 was a footrace. At control 8 it was myself and Nick joint in the lead in 4:56 with Paul just 3 seconds behind. Coming in towards control 9 I saw Shea and Conrad so this perked me up a little bit to keep the speed high and chase hard. Control 10-11 was a simple left (~240m) or right (~215m) routechoice, I think most guys took the right hand alternate (?). Again there was a routechoice presented from 12-13. Here Shea took the routechoice back past 10 while myself and Conrad crossed the river which was ~20m longer. I lost 1second to Shea on this leg, 2seconds to Eric and Nick and 3seconds to Kev (although I am not sure which routes they took).
Simple nav through 14-15 although I didn’t quite spot the kite at 15 and then messed up punching losing some seconds. I made another small error running to 17 where I saw the crossing point symbol on the map but the line was across the gap, this meant a quick stop and map check before going through the gap, maybe just 2-3seconds lost here. At this stage I was breathing pretty hard from the high paced running but the last section through 17-18-19-20-21-F was straightforward and I could see Shea and a few of the others a bit ahead so kept working as hard as I could. I was able to post fastest splits to 19-20-21 although not fastest on the all-important run in!
Immediately after finishing I had the feeling it had been a good run (being within 5sec on all splits), I mean there were not many places you could go wrong out there, but I went straight to download to ensure I hadn’t done like 2 weeks previous in Dungarvan and missed out a control. All OK on the read out and at the bottom it said I was currently in 2nd place which lead to a nervous wait for the later starters to come in (Kev, Colm M). Tightly bunched results list and nice to have a BOC 1-2 for the first time in M21 (I think?) !
This was my first Senior national podium place as an individual after (too) many years of trying, 20 seconds behind Nick and just 8 seconds ahead of Paul. The progress had been coming in the last few years (2015 – 7th (+45sec), 2016 – 6th (+39sec), 2017 – 5th (+31sec), – 2018 – 2nd (+20sec)) it was just a matter of piecing it all together when it mattered. I’m sure many will feel (myself included) that it wasn’t the most tricky of sprint races but you can only race what is put in front of you and it is the same course and same challenges for everyone out there. As was said after the JK 2018 Sprint, if it’s easy you aren’t pushing hard enough.
My season continues next weekend (hopefully) with the NIOC Sprint and Middle Distance championships held by FERMO but with the obvious longer term goal of the WOC Test Race in Latvia (6th July). This is plenty of time to fine tune some technique issues and also to progress further on the running speed side of the game.
Well done to everyone who raced and to SligO for organising this years IOC Sprint.
Keep training, keep racing, keep smiling and here is to bigger and better things!