The Saturday of the Oceania Long Distance Champs dawned rainy and cold and the weather deteriorated from there. It was so bad that David refused to get out of the car and chose not to run his course. It was also the occasion of two significant firsts for me: I was using a thumb compass for the first time and it was my first real experience with Australian Granite terrain. The thumb compass was an immediate success - I should have bought one years ago - but the Granite was not so good. I spent over an hour figuring out how to read the map and struggling around the first seven controls and less than an hour from there to the finish with my confidence and speed improving at each control. This meant that I didn't come last but I didn't do much better than that. A model event the day before would have helped me, I think.
The long leg from 6 to 7 is worth mentioning. I did the first two thirds of the leg at a fast pace along the stream and then heading due south up the intermittent watercourse (anything but intermittent that day, I can tell you) following two elite women and a kangaroo. My troubles began as I left the watercourse and headed up he hillside to the west. I found the series of bare rock confusing and ended up missing the control - probably not by much, in hindsight - by passing to the east of it. It was at this time that the longest, heaviest, coldest period of rain of the day began. After recognising I had gone too far and blundering around a bit I decided to relocate off the track and hill to the south of Control 8 which thankfully turned up right where I expected them to be. To confirm I was in the right spot I ran down the track and found Control 8 and then navigated from there back to 7 (and then back to 8, of course).
So what could I have done better? My route choice was OK if I had had more experience with that sort of terrain and, indeed, much of the time I lost was due to me standing around looking at my map uncertainly. However, on the day I would have been better to follow the same route that Jonty took on his equivalent leg; following the main stream most of the way and then using the obvious kink as an attack point.
Split times can be seen at Winsplits.
Route choices can be compared at Route Gadget. Sadly, by the time I had access to a computer, too much time had passed for me to remember my whole route so I haven't updated my run.
And, as a special bonus, check out the Trac Trac site which shows GPS tracking for the Elites. Both Mens and Womens are available.