2021 has got away to a good start, with lessening COVID 19 restrictions, and a very active Twilight and Sprint program, culminating with the Sprint Champs at Roseworthy Campus for a challenging event in great weather.
The Easter 3 Day will be soon upon us, and it will be great to be able to participate again in major interstate events.
This year's OSA calendar will also provide some of the most ideal orienteering terrains, being the national Orienteering League and Orienteer of the Year events in April at Renmark, the Flinders 3 Day in June, Burra in August and a feast of local bush events.
The orienteering ranks will be swelled shortly by Bridget and Simon's new arrival. That is one way to increase numbers!
Remember the AGM on the 28th March at Belair.
From the editor
This newsletter again covers a wide range of topics and hopefully has something of interest to all readers.
There are a couple of articles on Covid (a counter to the exaggerated reporting on the risk of surface transmission and how European orienteering is increasingly being affected), a summary of SA event results, SA's Sprint Champion of Champions, Sue Millard Award winners, OSA annual awards, a few snippets, some tips and myths on healthy running, a first-time competitor's experience of orienteering in the '80s, recollections and photos of schools' orienteering in SA in the '80s and '90s, the potential up-side of long first legs in orienteering, a summary of and link to the March Orienteering Australia magazine, photo gallery of OSA and NT events, the competition program to June, and that's about it.
A reminder that if anybody has an interest in being editor of this newsletter, please don't hesitate to show your interest, either directly to me (see comment/feedback link at bottom), or put your hand up at the AGM on the 28th.
Follow up to Letter to the Editor
Covid and orienteering
Readers might recall Aylwin Lim's letter to the editor in the December newsletter. He was concerned that two articles on Covid-19 in the December Orienteering Australia magazine were alarmist and that recommendations on the management and disinfection of hired SI sticks were excessive and unnecessary. While the Covid threat seems to have receded in Australia, it is probably a good idea to review his concerns for possible future reference if the threat should return.
Since Aylwin's letter, an informative article written by Hassan Valley, an Associate Professor in epidemiology, sheds more light on how the coronavirus is transmitted. Valley states that there is little evidence for surface transmission, and the main way the virus is spread is by air, either in larger droplets via close contact or in smaller droplets called aerosols. One of the drivers of the exaggerated perception of surface transmission was studies that should not have been generalised to real world situations but were given enormous publicity, with some media reports overstating the significance of the findings.
So it looks like Aylwin was correct, and his recommendation that "risk minimisation at our events ... is best done by emphasising the need for social distancing and good hand hygiene ... to stay away if unwell, to cover coughs, and to wear masks in areas where social distancing is not always possible (e.g. at Registration and Download tents)". There is no guarantee that the virus will not return to cause havoc in our community, but if it does it will be a good idea to remember Aylwin's advice and not be excessively concerned about surface hygiene as a source of virus transmission.
SA and NT event results
Orienteering in SA and NT has been relatively active since publication of the last newsletter. Highlight events were the Twilight Series, Snap Sprint Series, Adelaide Sprint Camp, Lincoln and NT events, and the SA Sprint Championships. All results published on Eventor since December are below - click event name to go to the respective results' pages. For all results, including splits, RouteGadget and OY results, going back to 2013 click here.
The SA Sprint Championships was held on 28th February at Roseworthy Agricultural College, north of Gawler. Results are here, and split times here. Of the 103 entrants, 100 started and 97 recorded finishing times.
After adjusting times for distance, gender and age (read here how this is done), Angus Haines competing in M21A was identified as the star performer. The M21A winner is given a performance figure of 100, and the performance of all other champions is measured relative to this. Max Grivell M20A was 2nd, Paul Hoopman M65A 3rd, Olivia Sprod and Lanita Steer W21A were joint 4th, and George Reeves M85A was 6th.
The unusual and surprise Champion of Champions in the unofficial junior shadow class sprint was (no first name given) Uppill in M0A (competing in W21A with a lot of help from Mom), ahead of Sophie Thorpe (W4A competing in W10) and Hugo Westover (M6A competing in M10). I suspect that the M0A winner had considerably more help from his shadow than the other two shadow champions!
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery. The first images are of the courses (1-6), followed by a few photos of competitors taken during the event and finally the prize winners.
Sue Millard Award Winners - Zoe Carter and Mitchell Stephens
Both juniors have shown significant improvement in their orienteering ability this year. While there have not been many interstate events these two juniors have consistently attended training events throughout the year and attended state events when they have been held. Both juniors have shown outstanding results in their age classes for the Flinders long weekend as well as at local sprint events. We hope these two juniors continue to keep up the enthusiasm with orienteering as they did in 2020 and we are sure they will achieve great results as interstate events resume this year.
The delayed presentations for 2020 were held on the 17th January at “The Hub”, Glenunga. About 50 members attended, with early orienteering activities completed by some (a scavenger hunt and matching of photos of control sites to a map of Stirling). The presentations celebrate the achievements of the best orienteers in SA during 2020.
Orienteer of the Year. Complete results can be found here.
Night Championships. Tintookies.
Course Setter of the Year. Bridget Uppill.
Sue Millard Awards. Zoe Carter and Mitchell Stephens.
Some orienteers will have been horrified to hear of the major fire that burnt through Pewsey Vale. The fire was first reported on 23 February and was eventually controlled by several aircraft and ground-based assets. According to the CFS, nearly 115 hectares was burnt. The affected area was in fact about 10km west of the bush area used for orienteering.
OSA event summaries
Rather than repeat articles already published on the OSA website, summaries of some are provided here with links to the main articles.
Robin Uppill reviewed key SA orienteering events in 2020, which can be accessed here.
An overview of mobile DIY orienteering and of new MapRunf courses on the Belair golf course were described here.
Finally, there was an overview of February's sprint events (the most successful for 10 years), which included the Snap Sprint Series and SA Sprint Orienteering Championships.
Top End Orienteers continue to be active and produce interesting newsletters. The March 2021 newsletter describes some of the challenges of organising orienteering events in the wet season (wet, mud, rain, mould, seeding grasses, wildlife, etc). At the time of writing, six street events had been held this year and it appears that most, if not all, have used MapRunF. This has simplified post-event route analysis, because the routes of everybody who had a phone were automatically logged. Route analysis is the subject of one article, which is well worth reading. Two of the maps used in the analysis are reproduced below.
Click/tap to zoom.
International impact on orienteering of Covid-19.
In previous newsletters, the effect of Covid-19 on orienteering was described for five leading European orienteering nations. Since the last newsletter, reported figures (obtained from here) indicate that Covid-19 infections in these countries have increased significantly, and continue to increase. As of 10 March and since mid December:
Sweden had an increase in reported cases of 96% to now total 6.7% of its population,
Switzerland's number increased by 48% to be 6.5% of its population,
Denmark increased by 86% to be 3.7% of its population,
Norway increased by 82% to be 1.4% of its population, and
Finland increased by 97% to be 1.1% of population.
To put these figures into perspective, reported cases in the USA increased by 75% over the same period to now total 8.8% of its population, and Australia increased by 4% to be 0.1% of its population.
Although restrictions on European orienteering competitions are slowly being lifted, the European Championships, which was due to be held in mid March in the Czech Republic, was cancelled for the third time.
Competitions, especially ski orienteering, in Sweden appear to be returning to normal after its government announced that it intended lifting pandemic restrictions. Restrictions (social distancing, group size limits, etc) still apply in Norway, Finland and Denmark, probably until at least April, with some training events allowed and competitions generally limited to the under 20s and elite sports. Swiss orienteering did not appear to have been too restricted by its government, but this might change after four of the men's national orienteering squad recently tested positive for Covid-19 and were placed in isolation with the rest of team ordered to quarantine.
OO Mapper is free mapping software that can be installed on Windows (7 and higher), MacOS (10.12 and higher), and Android (4.1 and higher) computers.
Since the last newsletter there has been one update (current version is now 0.9.5), which provides enhancements and fixes some bugs.
OCAD is Windows-only software and is now only available as a subscription version for single users or teams.
The annual license for the full team version is just under twice the single user fee (about $A375 compared with $A220), and two users can use OCAD per team license. Although sounding restrictive, OCAD offers the option of transferring licenses between team users within 24 hours. Thus, several team members could have OCAD installed on their computers but only two per license would be able use it at any one time. Discounts are available for three year licenses and volume purchases, and there are also limited and cheaper versions.
The current version of OCAD is 20.5.9, which has corrected minor problems and added some enhancements. Users are notified of new updates when they start the program. Older non-subscription versions of OCAD have not been updated for some time. For more information on updates and features go to the OCAD service update page.
As a 12 year-old growing up in England, I began running seriously after watching televised highlights of the 1960 Rome Olympics. In particular, three Australasians (Peter Snell NZ - 800m, Herb Elliot Aus - 1500m, Murray Halberg NZ - 5000m) won gold medals on the track. All forms of running, including orienteering from the mid to late '60s, dominated my spare time for the next ten years, until work and family commitments gradually took over ... and crippling Achilles tendinitis stopped all forms of running another twenty years later.
A farm accident became my second inspiration to start running, but it wasn't until about four years ago that relatively pain-free running could restart ... when, again, crippling Achilles tendinitis returned. Three things have kept me running since then: the words of my surgeon to exercise more to strengthen wasted muscles; discovery of a non-surgical cure for Achilles tendinitis; and memories of effortless and painless running when I was young and fit.
I'm still working on the latter, but effortless running has probably gone forever. However, while aiming for painless and healthy running I've picked up a few tips and uncovered some myths about exercise and healthy living, which might be of interest to others.
Achilles tendinitis is no longer always a running-ending injury. The Hakan Alfredson heel-drop protocol for treating mid-portion Achilles tendinitis was discovered by accident in the mid-90s, and has been used successfully as a cure by many runners. The exercise (see here for an example) is initially painful and took me about six months before all symptoms went, including swollen tendons I'd had for over two decades. The symptoms have not returned.
Don't expect to keep running at the same speed beyond your thirties.Articles I read in 2019 identified a relationship between age-related muscle loss and running speed. Beyond the mid-thirties, potential running speed declines naturally at about 10%/decade, until at about age 70 the decline can increase up to about 20%/decade. A runner in their twenties and thirties should thus expect to run no faster than 65-70% of their twenties/thirties speed when 70, and 45-50% when 80!
Fish oil supplements have some health benefits. Supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been promoted as a cure for many ailments. There is minor to strong evidence of health benefits in several areas, but cardiovascular benefits are disputed. A 2018 study found that fish oil did not reduce the risk of heart disease, and concluded that eaters of oily fish had lower rates of heart disease because they had healthier diets and consumed less meat. Contradicting this conclusion, a 2021 study claimed that fish oil did reduce the risk of heart disease!
Too much exercise can be bad for you. A study reported in 2017 found that sports people who had been doing moderate intensity activity for 25 years, and more than seven and a half hours a week, were 27% more likely to have damaged coronary arteries than those who did the recommended two and half hours of exercise, with white males having 86% higher risk. Another study identified increased risks of abnormal heartbeats and scarring of heart tissue in some long-term endurance athletes, with sudden cardiac death occurring in the absence of cardiovascular disease. Generally, 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day appears to be OK, with recovery days and occasional longer or harder sessions interspersed, even in your seventies. There is increasing evidence that shorter, less frequent but more intense exercise, is more beneficial to health than longer sessions at older ages.
Running shoes should feel comfortable. According to John Brewer, Professor of Applied Sports Science at St Mary’s University, near London, the most important thing to consider when choosing a running shoe is comfort, and not to become a victim of marketing and pseudoscience used by manufacturers. A similar conclusion on shoe selection is reported by Benno Nigg Emeritus Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary in Canada. Nigg concludes that shoe selection based on analysis of running gait on a treadmill creates false data because this will be a new experience for many runners and produce a different gait to outdoor conditions.
Slight dehydration can help you run faster. Much emphasis today is placed on the importance of drinking enough during long-distance events. Some experts believe these claims have been overstated. A 2012 study found that the winners of nine major city marathons had lost an average of 8% in body mass with no significant correlation between fluid intake, running speed and ambient temperature. However, excessive rehydration during running events has been detrimental to performance, caused by low sodium levels, with several deaths and hospital admissions attributed to this cause. Fluid and sodium loss during exercise can be highly variable between individuals (see here for example), so it is important to match intake with personal needs and ambient conditions.
Running will not damage your knees (and probably not your hips). A study of nearly 75,000 runners reported in 2013 found that running significantly reduced osteoarthritis and hip replacement risk, whereas other sports and exercises increased this risk. A later study of healthy adults (age range 25 - 73 years) running their first marathon found that the majority already had damage to weight-bearing knee structures, but which had improved following training and the marathon. Although some degeneration of the patella cartilage and other structures was seen, knees were overall in better shape. On a related subject, the evidence is mixed that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements improve joint health and relieve joint pain, and at best might slow down the breakdown of joint cartilage and provide some joint pain relief.
Treadmills are not a soft alternative to outdoor running. This claim is supported by biomechanics experts who describe it as an urban myth that applies only to those who run faster than about 15 km/hour. David Siik, an elite runner and fitness instructor, has devised treadmill routines (for example here) that improve running fitness by varying belt speed, incline (up to 6%), duration and recovery. Other benefits of treadmill running include not being affected by weather, by COVID lockdowns, and being protected from the inconvenience of muscle pulls and strains that have a habit of occurring in mid-run and maximum distance from home.
Diet is important.Inadequate nutrition when running can lead to so-called "relative energy deficiency in sport", or RED-S syndrome. Problems that could arise are poor recovery between training sessions, reduced training capacity, recurring injuries, suppressed immune system, and increased risk of osteoporosis and heart problems. Carbohydrates provide most energy needs during exercise, with fat and protein required as the duration of the exercise increases. In addition to the need for appropriate hydration during exercise, iron is one of the most important nutrients for endurance athletes.
Ageing can be slowed down. From our twenties, our body's immune system begins to degrade making us more susceptible to infections, and from our mid thirties muscle loss begins. However, it is possible to delay the ageing process. Experts, eg Janet Lord, Professor of Immune Cell Biology, and Dr Jenna Macciochi, a specialist in nutrition and lifestyle interactions with the immune system, explain how daily exercise and appropriate dietry habits are key to strengthening and maintaining a healthy immune system. Key recommendations they make are walk 10,000 steps a day, try high intensity interval training three times a week, be active, take vitamin D supplements, eat 30g fibre a day, maintain good oral hygiene, and do resistance work.
And even better, there might be a cure for old age! Some scientists believe that the inevitable drift into old age with its heightened risk of frailties and diseases can be halted in a process known as negligible senescence. A submission to a UK parliamentary committee inquiry in 2019 indicated that drugs, genetic modification, lifestyle and environmental factors, were key to identifying how ageing could be prevented. Perhaps there will come a time when 80- and 90-year olds will be able to compete at the same level as M/W21s and there will no more be a need for veteran classes!
The first SA Schools Champs was held at Belair in 1979 and attracted 163 entrants (132 starters). Of these, 32% were girls.
In the initial years there were only solo classes but in 1986/7 classes of pairs were established and they ended up being about 45% of all starters. This saw start numbers explode to a maximum in 1989 of 834 and subsequently there was a move to eliminate pairs, which happened in 1994. Rather than eliminate pairs it perhaps would have been better to limit entrants from each school or insist on some sort of O training programs being run in schools.
The first unofficial Australian Schools Champs occurred at Watson’s Creek, near Yarra Glen east of Melbourne on Sunday 13 September 1981. The organising club was Nillumbik. A minibus was organised to take competitors who didn’t have their own transport from Eltham railway station to the event. The event was sponsored by Cadbury. I think that this was the Victorian Championships but Orienteering Victoria wanted other state competitors to be able to attend, so named it an Australian Championships. Four South Australians were in the event, two from Unley HS (Jamie and David Masefield) and two from Banksia Park (David Baker and Brett Klunder). Also, there were four from ACT, one from Queensland and one (plus one in the Tertiary B class) from NSW. Does anyone know who travelled with the SA students?
Australian Schools Championships were endorsed in 1982 by OA but generally states didn’t send teams, but rather individual students or small school-specific groups attended. However SA was an exception, sending managed teams from 1982. Joyce Heinjus and Stephen Baker were the officials for the 1982 team of 23 students. The SA Schools Championships was an important selection event (there were normally 3 / 4) and this was the way many runners from non orienteering families got the incentive to try for the team. The Schools Championships were generally held in bush, rather than parkland areas.
In 1985, SA had a team of 42 students, including 5 from Pt Lincoln / Whyalla.
In 1987, the Australian Championships were near Wagga Wagga and 42 students were in the official team, and seven others travelled as non team members. Coaches were: Kay Haarsma; Gil Hollamby, Stephen Baker, with Joyce Heinjus as manager. This event featured one of the most boring educational excursions ever – a visit to a Laminex factory.
During these years there was a trophy for the best secondary school and Morialta High won this twice, in 1985 and 1987 I think.
In 1989, the first “official” Australian Schools Championships was run under the Australian Secondary Schools Sports Association, with two age classes per sex, as today, with four runners per state in each class. SA was a trendsetter, being the only state to have state O suits.
Year 7 sports camps
In the early 1990s the Department of Recreation and Sport decided not to support Primary Schools' National Carnivals, as statistics showed that few from these teams went on to national elite teams. Instead they allowed each sport to have a 4 / 5 day training camp of talent-identified year 7s. In orienteering’s case we were allowed 35 students and five coaches/ managers. I think these went for seven years.
In the Australian Orienteer September 2020 Ross Barr wrote an article on very short first legs.
However the examples below are the opposite – very long first legs. Our family was recently contemplating the fact that none of us are going to the Australian 3 Days in 2021, and this is the first 3 Day event Simon has missed probably since the late 1990s (2020 excluded). Simon reflected on the first day of the event near Goulburn in NSW where the Day 1 courses had extremely long first legs. In some classes these legs probably decided the overall winners as some fancied runners wasted significant time. Of the three below, Adrian had the longest (around 2.5 km, M50A), Simon in M16A was around 2 km, and Robin’s (W45A) just over 1 km. fortunately we all executed our examples well.
A very short leg will probably not decide the winners of a multi-day event, but such long legs may. An article in the June 2002 Australian Orienteer describes this leg for M35A – in their case it was around 3 km. A comment by Chris Wilmott the course planner – “A leg like this will not win you the event, but it can loose it”.
Click/tap maps to zoom and see route detail - double click/tap to zoom to maximum.
The March 2021 edition is ISSUE No 200 and we look back over the years to the creation of the magazine in 1979. As well, Ross Barr looks at the progression of control descriptions in Park-Street O; Debbie Dodd tells how MapLink helped to keep Victorians sane; a claim reinforced by Bruce Paterson in RadiO CorOna; Brodie Nankervis shows how young mappers have come to the fore in Sporting Schools; there's nutrition advice from the NSW Institute of Sport; Duncan Currie's "JEFF" cartoon expands to a full page; and there's the usual O-Spy, Spot the Difference, MTBO and Top Events sections.
For better legibility we recommend that you download the magazine (rather than view on-line), particularly for reading complex maps such as those in Spot the Difference.
The photos are a small selection of over a thousand taken at sprint/urban events held up to mid March. They include some pre-Christmas fun, Twilight Sprints, Adelaide Sprint Knockout, a Lincoln event (clue: look for the orienteer crawling on all fours through dense vegetation!), a Top End event (plus scenic sunset), and the Snap Sprint Series. Most photos were copied from OSA's Facebook page, with a few from Lincoln Orienteers and Top End Orienteers websites and newsletters. Considerably more photos taken at OSA events can be found on Evalin Brautigam's SmugMug website. Other photos (SA Championships and OSA Awards) have been included in other articles above.
Click/tap to zoom image. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery.
The autumn period is when the local orienteering calendar transitions from urban (Friday evening) to bush orienteering (Sunday morning) events. For the latest program information go to the OSA Event page. The confirmed program on 7 March for Adelaide and surrounds, Lincoln, Saltbush, and Top End clubs, and major national events, is as follows:
Warning: because of possible Covid-19 restrictions, all events can be subject to change or cancellation at short notice. It is important that you regularly check event details with organisers.
If you have any thoughts on what you would like to read or see in future newsletters, would like to submit an article or photo, or have comments on this or previous newsletters, please let the editor know using the form here.