I changed into nice dry running gear and greeted a battered and bruised Jonty who told me he had slipped on the cobblestones at the first control. Now theres something to look forward to. Of course I had completely forgotten this by the time I had steamed up the grass hillside and arrived, drenched already, at the first control. I remembered in a hurry as my feet started to go from under me but recovered and made a mental note to be a bit more circumspect at this control in the future - as a pivot control, this was only the first of three visits I would make to it.
The first loop was around the southern end of the school buildings and while 2, 3 and 4 were straightforward enough, my route choice from 4 to 5 left a lot to be desired. I turned left at Control 7, aware of the uncrossable wall ahead of me but aiming to go around the northern end of it but forgetting that there is a fence there that needs to be negotiated. The second loop was also in this area and it was tempting to run the same route past Control 4 to Control 7 but I chose to have a bit of variety by running through the middle. I did, however, go around the building to the right on my way back to the pivot control for the last time.
I had spent some time with Allan at Control 9 before the event began as the control description was "Wall end" but the wall had been incorrectly mapped and actually ended a lot further south than shown. Placing the control on the wall end would advantage those approaching from the south while placing it where it was indicated on the map would advantage those coming from the north. And of course, different courses had logical approaches from both ends. In the end we put it on the wall end as per the control description but some 30m from where it was mapped, if you navigated off the building outline. In the end, no one complained so they must have all found it. Knowing all this, I had no hesitation approaching it from the south.
A control by the tennis courts led to the first crossing of the playing fields and into the Green Bay Primary School grounds. This was fairly treachorous underfoot with the playground on the way to Control 11 and the grass near Controls 12, 13 and 14 being particularly slippery. A plague of ducks also had to be negotiated just after Control 12. Despite, or perhaps because, some 100 kids had preceded me the ducks showed no indication that they were going to move out of the way and I ended up actually vaulting one small, unconcerned group.
Back across the playing fields and one last loop around the High School buildings. I was tiring noticeably by now and actually walked up the hill to Control 18. Likewise I chose a simple route choice to Control 19 when a somewhat more complex route through rather than around the buildings would probably have been quicker. Then, after punching the last control, I was faced with what is probably the longest last leg I've ever run in a sprint race. I set about it with great gusto and wasn't too disappointed with my race at the finish. There was hardly anyone there to discus it with, most sensible people having departed long ago at the first reasonable opportunity to get out of the rain. In fact, Hayley travelled from the other side of Auckland in the hopes of an unofficial run after the official starters and then piked out without getting wet.
Continuing an unwelcome trend, I had run over a minute slower than Jonty.
Links and Results
The results for the kids this blog follows were Jonty third in Senior Boys; Alice, running up a grade as she already has maximum points in Intermediate Girls, showed her class by winning Senior Girls instead; Alyssa came third in Intermediate Girls; Fergus made the most of his home school advantage by winning Junior Boys with Patrick third and Tam fifth while both Caden and Liam had good times but sadly mispunched; and Alex continued his good form with another win in Year 7/8 Boys.
AKSS Sprint Series: Jonty 3, Steve 2
All events this year: Jonty 12, Steve 7
All events since blog began: Steve 13, Jonty 13