Unlike last year a lot of orienteering has happened during this first half. The Easter Carnival was well attended by OSA members and their successes on challenging maps have been reported.
The NOL and OY events at Renmark provided some great competitive orienteering in splendid weather.
The Flinders 3 Day is just upon us so hopefully all have their entries in!!
Many of our members have been putting in a great deal of their time to running junior events and training in general. Of note are the SA School Championships at Wadmore Park, and the first official competition, the Mid North Schools Orienteering Championship at Balaklava.
Lincoln Orienteers have expressed their thanks to Evalin and Angus for their energetic support with training events recently.
See you all in the Flinders.
From the editor
Firstly the good news. Congratulations to Abigail George - Tintookies, Joanna George - Tintookies, Emily Sorensen - Tintookies, and Dante Afnan - Yalanga, who were all selected as members of the Junior World Orienteering Championships Honour Team, and to Olivia Sprod (also Tintookies) who was selected as a member of the World Orienteering Championships Merit Team. The bad news is that because of the pandemic it is unlikely that any Australian-based orienteers will attend the world championships this year.
This edition of the newsletter has the usual range of articles, plus a couple of new ones. This time I have included a section on club and state snippets based on information found in newsletters and meeting minutes that might be of general interest to other members. I have also included two articles on national and international topics. I'm not sure whether it is because of the pandemic, but I've noticed that the media appears to be covering more health and fitness topics than usual, so I added an article that covers a few subjects of relevance to orienteers. One article is on osteoporosis (a condition that increases bone fracture risk), which mainly affects the over-50s. Bone health has been the subject of increased attention by the Australian medical profession since about 2015. By its nature, orienteering is a high risk activity for bone fractures, but there are some things we can all do to make sure our bones remain strong as we age.
Letter to the Editor
Having been an orienteer in South Australia for nearly 40 years and having enjoyed deep and abiding friendships both within my own club and with people from many other clubs in South Australia and beyond, I would like to suggest that all clubs in South Australia adopt the tagline “Orienteering – a friendly sport”. Using the term “a” friendly sport (rather than “the” friendly sport) properly and generously acknowledges that there are other friendly sports as well.
This I think reflects the collegiate spirit of clubs in South Australia and the true nature of our sport – it is a friendly sport, for individuals, within clubs and between clubs. It is the friendliness of the people within orienteering that keeps our sport healthy and enables us to run successful local events for each other and band together when we are running national events. Given that all clubs are friendly, as shown for example by the activities and events run, and the generous efforts of all orienteers who give freely of their time so that all of us can enjoy our sport, the tagline should belong to all of us – it is something we all share, so it would make sense for all clubs in South Australia to adopt this tagline (rather than separate club taglines) and promote one of the important elements of our sport, along with our love of nature and enjoyment in the challenge of map reading, route selection and running through the bush.
It would be interesting to hear the views of others on this topic.
Teri McComb (Onkaparinga Hills Orienteering Club Member)
!!Change of venue to Watts Gully for Sunday 4 July 2021 event!!
At very late notice the Tjuringa Orienteering Club was notified by Forestry SA that extensive logging has begun in Kuipto Forest making it unsuitable to hold our planned events there on 4 July. We have been very lucky with Paul Hoopmann assisting to hold an event in another location. We will now hold the Foot Orienteering and MTBO event starting on the southern end of the Mount Crawford Goldfields map near Rocky Creek Road.
The SA MTBO Champs will use the majority of this map with some areas deemed out of bounds by Forestry SA. The foot event will use a smaller map covering the area named Watts Gully.
On my brief inspection of this area I have seen no evidence of gorse. The map lends itself to some challenging navigation.
Hope to see you out there.
SA and NT event results
SA and NT have both been active since publication of the last newsletter. Highlight events in SA were: Encounter Weekend; the transition from urban/sprint to bush events; National Orienteering League, World Ranking Event and SA long distance championships held in the Riverland around Renmark; Schools Championships held around the state; and finally the Flinders Ranges long weekend events. All results published on Eventor since March are listed below - click event name to go to the respective results' pages. I have anticipated event result pages for events not yet added to Eventor (eg some NT events and those held after mid June). For all results, including splits, RouteGadget and OY results, going back to 2013 click here.
The SA Long Championships was held on 25th April at Crooked Straight, about 12km north of Renmark. The Championships was one of three events held over the ANZAC long weekend and reported here.
Results for the Long Championships are here, and split times here. Of the 209 starters, 192 recorded finishing times over 42 classes of course lengths ranging from 1.7km to 14.5km.
Although courses for different age groups and genders were of different lengths, it was possible to estimate each competitor's performance relative to a common standard, which here was the performance of the winner of the M21E event. A time correction derived from a study of several multi-competitor international events enabled an adjustment to be made for course length, gender and age. The M21E SA champion was given a performance figure of 100, and the performance of all other class winners was measured against this. If the M21E winner was of state champion standard, all other winners awarded a performance figure of 100 will have performed at a similar (state champion) standard in their respective class. If higher than 100, then better than state champion standard, eg national champion, or international champion, and so on, and the opposite if less than 100. The adjustments are accurate if courses are of the same difficulty and scale similarly for distance and climb.
Angus Haines competing in M21E was (again) the top SA performer. Olivia Sprod W21E was 2nd with 96 (ie about 4% slower than the standard set by Haines), Paul Hoopman M65A and Toby Cazzolato M18A were equal 3rd with 93, Ethan Penck M20E 5th with 88, and George Reeves M85A 6th with 86. By way of comparison, the M21E winner was Aston Key of Victoria with a time of 1:37:57, which would have given him a performance figure of 107.
SA Long Champion of Champions' Ranking
Very unofficial junior shadow class winners!
There were some interesting results on the M/W10 Shadowed course. After adjusting for gender and age the surprise Champion of Champions in the unofficial M/W10 shadow class was Euan Uppill competing as a M0A (can he walk yet?), just ahead of Scarlett Ashforth (W9A), and Sophie Thorpe (W4A). All competitors did really well. It was difficult to identify a clear shadow class winner, so all were given a performance figure of 100 and equal first. However, I suspect that the M/W10 Shadowed winner will have had considerably more help from his shadow than the following competitors!
Long Championships Photo Gallery - Random Selection
Click/tap to zoom. Then click/spread to see at full resolution. Click left/right arrows, or drag, to see the complete gallery.
SA's Australian Honour/Merit Team Selections
Junior World Orienteering Championships 2021 - Honour Team
Orienteering Australia recently announced the Australian honour team for JWOC 2021. This is the highest level of representation so it’s a very impressive achievement. Congratulations to all.
The team of 12 comprised four of SA's best: Abigail George (Tintookies), Joanna George (Tintookies), Emily Sorensen (Tintookies), and Dante Afnan (Yalanga).
The OA Board decided that Australia would not be sending athletes to JWOC 2021 in Turkey (now postponed to September) because of ongoing Covid-related travel restrictions. The decision was not unexpected. OA had planned to review its position in the event of a postponement, but has noted that the decision to postpone the event to September is unlikely to result in Australia sending a team to Turkey.
A formal presentation of the JWOC 2021 honour team will take place during the Australian Championships 2021 Tasmania in September.
World Orienteering Championships 2021 - Merit Team
Orienteering Australia announced the Australian merit team for the World Orienteering Championships 2021. This is the highest level of representation so it is a very impressive achievement.
Olivia Sprod of Tintookies was one of four women selected for the team.
Similar to this year's JWOC, the OA Board decided that Orienteering Australia would not support or endorse sending Australian-based athletes to WOC 2021 due to ongoing travel restrictions and the COVID-19 situation in Europe. Whilst unfortunate, the likelihood of this decision and the reasons behind it were notified to team members in the selection criteria.
Mountain Bike Orienteering in SA
The following is an edited version of a report by Peter Mayer presented to the June Orienteering SA Council Meeting.
This year worked much better with all MTBO events being part of club events that include foot O. Riders enjoyed the line courses where offered, as this is more in keeping with interstate events and enables longer legs with more route choice.
Riders much prefer controls to be on stands as they can be punched without dismounting. Plate controls or hanging flags are easier to put out but difficult to use.
Participation numbers have not grown this year, but we have a dedicated group of younger riders who are doing well at a national level.
At the Vic champs in May Harrison Waugh came 2nd in Middle Distance, Jack Allison 2nd in Sprint. Kay Haarsma again set a high standard winning the W60 Long Distance, was 2nd in Middle and 3rd in Sprint.
John Allison also rode competitive times in M60. With restricted travel opportunities it was good to see our top riders do well against a competitive field.
Our final event for this year will be the State Champs organised by Tjuringa. Unfortunately they have had to change the location to Mt Crawford due to significant logging about to start south of Harvey Rd Kuitpo.
The first Mid North Schools Orienteering Championship was held Friday, June 4, at Balaklava Primary and High Schools.
About 120 students participated on the day, travelling in from Manoora, Saddleworth, Watervale and Auburn to Balaklava to navigate through 40 ‘controls’.
The event involved young people using their thinking, plus a map and compass, to navigate from point to point across the two schools.
The competition was hosted by Orienteering South Australia, who had been hosting training at Mid North Schools in the region funded by a Federal government Sporting Schools grant.
Orienteering SA Schools Coordinator Zita Sankauskas was pleased with how the training program had culminated in the first ever Mid North Orienteering Championship, calling it a success story.
“The best thing of all is that it’s local, Mid North schools don’t have to travel too far and take part and do sport, which is what we want,” Zita said.
“Off the computer, off technology and come out and enjoy being outdoors.”
“Orienteering SA will now target more of the Mid North country schools, both large and small, to join in for next year.”
The orienteering maps were produced by Balaklava born and bred orienteer Adrian Uppill.
A newsmaker press release on the event with more information and photos is here.
OSA event summaries
Several articles have been published on the OSA website since the last newsletter. Summaries of these are below with links to the main articles.
New Resources for Delivering Orienteering in Schools (25 March 2021). In 2020, Orienteering Australia developed a National Sporting Schools Orienteering Curriculum. The two new programs are for Primary School (Years 3-6) and Secondary School (Years 7-8) students. You can read more here.
SA Orienteers at the Australian 3 Days near Orange (8 April 2021). The Easter Carnival was centred on Orange, NSW, this year after a twelve month deferral due to Covid 19. There were several notable performances by SA competitors. The complete article is here.
Three events in the Renmark area - ANZAC Long Weekend (27 April 2021). Three days of events were possible because Monday was a public holiday in some states including SA. Two events were National Orienteering League events and many junior and senior elites attended. In addition a number of interstate orienteers in other age groups attended, pushing the numbers for the Saturday and Sunday events over 200. The complete article is here.
Southern Darts Training Events (22 May 2021). For all younger juniors who enjoyed the after school weekday orienteering events, weekend orienteering training activities are now planned from mid-June. Details can be found here.
SA School Championships at Wadmore Park (24 May 2021). There were 202 entries from 21 primary and secondary schools. Winners were Woodside PS (Williams Trophy) and Heathfield HS (Wale trophy). The full report is here.
June Long Weekend Orienteering near Wilpena, Flinders Ranges (17 June 2021). Over 100 competitors took part in three days of orienteering in the Wilpena area during the June long weekend. The first event on Saturday was at Manawarra and run by Onkaparinga Hills OC. The second event was a day later at Wilpena Spurs and run by Tintookies OC. The final event was held on Monday at Rawnsley Park and run by Tjuringa OC. A full report with links to results can be found here.
Club tit bits found in meeting minutes, newsletters and on the web
To date, total state and Top End club membership this year is down by about 15% (366 in 2021 compared with 436 in 2020). The 2021 membership includes 47 new members. A reduction in orienteering club membership is not unique to Australia. Covid-19 restrictions have adversely affected orienteering membership in many European countries as well.
Fun fact: In 2020, Wallaringan Meredith Rasch spent the most time orienteering with a time of nearly 23 hours. Also, excluding DNFs, Wallaringans spent more than 11 days 17 hours orienteering.
Club Life Member Peter Ashforth provided a collection of photographs of Wallaringa members taken in the early 1980s, shortly after the formation of the club. Some of the young people in the photograph have been identified. Let Peter Kreminski know if you can put names to the unlabelled faces.
Did you know that Wallaringa's two oldest members are both 94? Rae Harris is two weeks older than John Clark.
If you would like to read more about Wallaringa go to the club's newsletter webpage here. Wallaringa's history page is also an interesting read.
The club has been active, attracting over 60 competitors to events in and around Port Lincoln. For more news on the club and photographs visit the club's website here.
As many of you will have heard, the club's newest member, Euan Oliver Uppill, was born on 17 March. Congratulations to Simon and Bridget. Euan seems to have got off to a brilliant start in orienteering, already out-competing those up to 10 years older in M/W 10 shadow competitions, even though he can't walk!
Something OSA members might not have heard is that Brett Weihart of OHOC, a former JWOC representative and currently residing in Sweden, had been named as the coach for the now Covid-depleted Australian contingent selected for this year's WOC.
Based in Whyallia, in conjunction with the Lincoln club, Saltbush organises up to 10 - 12 events a year on the Eyre Peninsula. Recent events have attracted 30 to over 40 competitors. The club's website is here if you would like to read more.
The club continues to be active, and is the only one covering the vast area of the Northern Territory. The Territory's area is approximately equal to the combined areas of France, Germany, UK and Italy! Orienteering this year has included bush, sprint/urban, night and training events.
The club's June 2021 newsletter reported that around 500 students from 15 schools in the greater Darwin region participated in the annual school orienteering program, and the schools championships held last year had 340 participants. So far this year, club events have attracted an average of about 60 competitors with as many as 110 attending a come-and-try-it event in January. The club's newsletter is again an interesting read.
Visit the club's website and facebook page to learn more about the club and see some amazing photographs taken at the club's events.
The club's newsletter is now in the form of a blog, which can be found here. Other clubs might be interested in trying something similar. Members can add articles, photos, and the blog also provides an aid to readers by filtering items according to month/year and various categories such as club news, people, events and technical.
Paul Hoopman has been updating the Paradise map for the Burra weekend in September. The part of Paradise Station that will be used for the event has not been used for 15 years.
In 2019, one of the club's members was remapping an area of bushland when they found a stash of 34 CDs in a gully. The CDs were handed to the police, who later charged and successfully convicted a male to two years in jail. The full story, including details of what was found on the CDs, can be found in the April 2021 Tjuringan newsletter.
OSA is converting existing maps to the new specifications as needed for major events and also for some minor events as time permits. The symbol set conversion on OCAD2018 is used for this process. Any maps with problematic hand drawn boulder fields are replaced by the correct ‘point’ symbol which is rotated and positioned to preserve the area and shape of the boulder field. Converted maps are checked for compliance to minimum gaps, areas and lengths of objects.
All new maps are made to the latest ISOM specifications as per the available symbol sets on OCAD2018. The scale is 1:15000 (or enlarged 1:10000) compliant to ISOM as specified.
At the National level it is an Australian rule that maps be compliant to mapping specifications. It promotes and enhances fair play. It is a sensible rule while also ensuring maps are kept up to date with changes that improve map legibility and to take advantage of improvements in printing and colour technologies.
OSA has flown several map areas to capture high resolution LIDAR data using Aerometrex and Airborne Research Australia (ARA). It has been found that contours from LIDAR greatly improve the accuracy and shape of old contour lines and together with Hillshade and Karttapullautin vegetation provide invaluable basemap material to the remapping and or conversion process.
The 2018 Australian Champs Carnival maps ‘Weila/Bunyip Reach’, ‘Crooked Straight’ and ‘Keynes Gap’ were all flown to capture LIDAR and mapped to ISOM2017.
More recently two existing maps were flown to capture LIDAR:
‘Narinyerri Hills’, used for SA Champs 2020
‘Belair National Park’
Map conversions to ISOM2017 include:
‘Mannawarra / Prelinna’
‘Bri Glen / Merridee / Tundarri / Mulga Valley’
‘Para Wirra / Mack Creek / Lady Alice’
‘Mt Crawford’ - Intially used for 2018 Schools Championships
‘Gumeracha Goldfields’- Initially used for 2018 Australian Long Championships
‘Wirra Wirra’ – Initially used for 2018 Schools Championships
ISOM2017-2 maps of Belair National Park and Narinyerri Hills both converted to MTBO (draft symbol set) maps which is easy using the OCAD conversion process.
Reports on implementation of ISSprOM2019:
All new maps are made to the sprint specifications.
Some existing maps converted especially if to be used for the SA Champs.
Adoption of the IOF Schools Map symbology is supported and used by OSA for all school maps. Prior to this school symbols used ISSprOM2007 plus 3 additional symbols
Mapping Convener arrangements and communication. Suggest using online video conferencing for mapping meetings.
Symbol sheets – ISOM2017-2 (bush/forest) Richard Mathews produced a symbol sheet for ISOM2017, which has recently been updated to ISOM2017-2. ISSprOM2019 (urban/sprint) for schools to be updated.
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.
The current version remains as 0.9.5, which provided several enhancements and fixed some bugs found in earlier versions.
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 20.5.11, 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.
Orienteering Australia has announced that Hanny Allston (2006 Sprint World Orienteering Champion and Long Junior World Orienteering Champion) has joined the Board of Orienteering Australia as Director - Coaching, and Matthew Dunstan has been appointed as General Manager.
Local Sporting Champions Grant Scheme
SportAus' Local Sporting Champions grant scheme provides financial assistance for coaches, officials and competitors aged 12-18 participating in state, national or international championships. It is probably most relevant to younger orienteers in State squads.
If successful, applicants will receive $500-$750 towards the cost of attending their championships:
Base Grant: $500
Applicants travelling 800km - 1999km to their nominated championships: + $100
Applicants travelling internationally or greater than 2000km to their nominated championships: + $200
Applicants residing in a rural electorate: + $50
The above link provides eligibility criteria, in summary: age 12-18 years old; be an Australian citizen; be participating as an athlete, coach, or match official in an official state, national or international championships; live more than 125km from a state championships venue; maximum of two grants per year with at least one of the two championships being an international competition; and incur out-of-pocket expenses at least equal to the grant.
Youth Grants for the Deaf
The following information was received too late for this newsletter. Deadline for grant applications was 6th June. If you are interested it will be a good idea to note in your diary for next year.
Deaf Children Australia is hoping to reach as many deaf and hard of hearing youth (age range 15-23 years old) as possible, and is offering up to $2,500 to help people reach their goals. Suggested projects relevant to orienteering included events (e.g. camps), training or courses, activities (e.g. sports classes), sports, fitness, and included representation in local, state or national teams. Details of successful recipients are on the Deaf Children Australia youth grants webpage.
For more information, contact:
Alex Gudic Hay
Communications and Media Assistant
597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne VIC 3004
T: 03 9539 5300
or go to the contact page on the Deaf Children Australia website.
International impact of Covid-19 on orienteering.
In previous newsletters, the effect of Covid-19 restrictions was described for five leading European orienteering nations. If you follow European news, you would reasonably conclude that orienteering (and life in general) has returned to near normal, with World Cup Round 1/European (Sprint) Orienteering Championships being held in mid May in Switzerland, and the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships held in early June in Finland. The European Orienteering Championships was the first major international foot orienteering event to have been held since the World Cup final in China in 2019. An astonishing 1.3 million viewers, about 13% of the population, watched this event on TV in Sweden, with Sweden also winning most medals!
Official videos plus commentary of all finals (including knockout semis), and live GPS of all finals and knockout sprint qualifiers, are available here starting with the Sprint Relay on 13 May. The video subscription period has expired so all can now be watched for free. Also, videos of the World Mountain Bike Orienteering Championships can be found here starting with the Mass Start on 12 June. While orienteering for elites might appear to have returned to near normal, the videos of the foot orienteering events shows that the events were not normal. The relay finish is in a near empty stadium, spectators are strictly limited at the knockout and sprint finishes, and competitors are handed face masks and not drinks at the finish!
New Covid-19 cases for key European orienteering nations continue to rise significantly, with Sweden and Switzerland leading the way. Most European nations are attempting to live with, and not eliminate, Covid-19 in the community. The intention of restrictions (e.g. social distancing, group size limits, mask wearing, limited lock downs, restrictions on movements when needed, and now vaccines) is to keep local infections at manageable levels. As a result, in Sweden the percentage of population now infected by the virus exceeds that of the USA, and reflects the country's looser application of and compliance with Covid-19 restrictions.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sweden have continued to grow at a similar rate to preceding months, and now totals over 10.5% of its population, compared with 6.7% just three months ago!
Switzerland's cases are just under 8% of its population, compared with 6.5% three months ago,
Denmark is around 4.8%, compared with 3.7% three months earlier,
Norway is 2.2%, compared with 1.4%, and
Finland is 1.7%, compared with 1.1%.
To put these figures into perspective, reported cases in the USA are now about 10% of its population, compared with 8.8% three months ago, and in Australia the number increased by a fraction of a percent to remain at about 0.1% of its population.
Restrictions on European orienteering continue to be slowly lifted, although social distancing, group size limits (a killer for some big events), mask wearing etc still apply. Some annual multi-day national events attracted international competitors. Many nations experienced drops in orienteering membership because of Covid restrictions applying to training and club events.
Because of the current high rate of new Covid-19 infections in Sweden, a planned event participation ceiling increase to 150 was delayed and was now expected to commence this month. There is some doubt about what the figure of 150 means, ie 150 in the start and finish areas, or 150 total including those out in the forest. Media criticism of the government's restrictions has been harsh because of the major affect it has had on orienteering (as well as sailing, running, cycling, etc). Apart from elite competition, fewer restrictions applied to events involving the under 20s. Sweden took out individual golds in mens and womens European Sprint (respectively Emil Svensk and Tove Alexandersson) and European Knock-Out Sprint (Tove Alexandersson). The Swedish team came second in the sprint relay. Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, they do not appear to have had much of an effect on the national elite orienteering team!
For more, go to Swedish O-news releases. Tip: in Windows use a Google Chrome browser, and right click to automatically translate from Swedish to English.
The relatively high Covid-19 infection rate did not appear to have a major effect on competitions, although restrictions on the size of events did apply. Indeed, preparation for the European Championships held in Switzerland went well, both for the event organisers and competitors. Matthias Kyburz, who won the championship knock-out sprint, ran an impressive 5000m track time trial of 14:27, seven seconds ahead of Joey Hadorn (who also came second in the knock-out sprint and sixth in the individual). Elena Roos, who came 2nd in the European Championship individual sprint ran 17:25 for the 5000m. In the European Championship individual sprint, Elena Roos was just one second ahead of fellow team member Simona Aebersold, who came 2nd to Tove Alexandersson in the knock-out sprint. The national team won the European Sprint Relay Championships, so again Covid-19 did not appear to have had much of an effect on Swiss elite orienteering.
Other Swiss O-news including reports of events can be found here.
Restrictions stricter than those applying in Sweden and Switzerland apply in Denmark, Norway and Finland, as is evident in the reported Covid-19 infections given above.
From the end of May, the number of people allowed in an outdoor assembly area (presumably start and finish) was raised to 100, but the maximum number of competitors allowed in an event remained at 500. Larger events could be held but these required participants to have Covid-19 tests and valid carona passports. This resulted in large events being split into smaller events spread over time. Selection events for the European Championships were held during March and April, with a national team travelling to the Czech Republic in April. Travel was by car in an attempt to minimise contact with people en route. The Danish government is open for applications for compensation for major sports and cultural events in the period 1 September 2020 to the end of February 2021 but the conditions for running events must have changed significantly as a result of the corona situation.
Strict restrictions apply, with events being cancelled. However, events for the under-20s are less restrictive. Outdoor group sizes are limited to 200, with emphasis placed on social distancing and competitors all must live within the same municipality. Major events can be held, which presumably means only for elite sports people.
Runner's high most likely caused by endocannabinoids and not endorphins
Some of you will have experienced the so-called runner's high during and following a hard workout. Well, a recent study reported by the ABC found a new candidate for this feeling, namely endocannabinoids created by the body and which are related to compounds found in marijuana. This could explain why some people become addicted to running! Not only that, running is also a great stress buster.
How to become running fit, how to maintain it, and how quickly do you lose it.
How to become a running orienteer
Some more articles from the ABC. If you are thinking of transitioning from a walking to a running orienteer, this article and this one give a some hints on how to make the transition to running, and what to look out for. If you are more ambitious and also plan to do a marathon, this article provides some more hints.
What is the minimum amount of exercise to preserve endurance and strength?
A recent article published by the US National Center for Biotechnology Information concludes that endurance performance can be maintained for up to 15 weeks when training frequency is reduced to as little as two sessions a week, as long as exercise intensity is maintained. Strength and muscle size (at least in younger populations) can be maintained for up to 32 weeks with as little as one session of strength training per week and one set per exercise, as long as exercise intensity (relative load) is maintained. In older populations, maintaining muscle size may require up to two sessions per week and two to three sets per exercise, while maintaining exercise intensity.
After all the hard work, how quickly do we become unfit?
A recent article in The Conversation looked at two measures of fitness, namely, cardiovascular fitness and strength. The key to becoming fitter means doing more than our body is used to. The resulting stress makes our bodies adapt and become more tolerant. The time to get fit depends on factors, such such as current fitness, age, intensity of training, and the environment.
Cardiovascular fitness, measured by VO2 max (a measure of how efficiently our body is able fuel itself), decreases rapidly in the first few weeks after stopping training. For a person who is initially very fit, VO2 max will stabilise at a higher level than an average person. For an average person, the decline in VO2 max will fall to pre-training levels in less than eight weeks.
Stopping after strength training will result in a significant decrease in the ability to lift weights, but after about 12 weeks this will stabilise at a level higher than the pre-training level.
Most of you by now will have heard about Nike's revolutionary running shoes with carbon fibre inserts. These resulted in both the men's and women's marathon world records being broken by about 80 seconds in 2018 and 2019. When the shoes were first used in 2016 by selected athletes, they were described as the equivalent to doping and should not have been allowed in competition. Those wearing the new Nike shoes had a clear advantage over everybody else. Since then, several other running shoe manufacturers have introduced their versions of the Nike technology, so the field has now levelled out.
The Nike shoes and their equivalents are reported to feel bouncier and add up to 15mm to stride length.
World Athletics is reported to now insist that all new shoes and prototypes will be reviewed against regulations before they can be used in international competitions, but also claims that regulations must not be too restrictive to prevent innovation in design.
Immune system, massage, vitamin D and Covid-19
Not surprisingly, during the pandemic several articles on the immune system have been published.
In addition to relieving sore muscles after a hard workout, one recent small study found that massage boosts specialist cells associated with the immune system. This prompted a search for similar larger scale studies.
Bone is a living tissue that is constantly being broken down and replaced. Peak bone density is reached by about the age of 30, after which bone is generally lost faster than it is produced. As bone density reduces, bones become weaker, more fragile, and susceptible to fracture.
For older orienteers, hazards encountered in events held in forests and over rocky terrain, combined with inevitable age-related declines in eyesight, balance, mental acuity, and muscle mass and strength, increase the risk of bone fractures caused by tripping, or falling from a bike if you are a mountain bike orienteer ... especially when reading maps on the move.
Forest and urban foot orienteering might be of similar benefit to bone density because of the need for rapid changes in direction to avoid obstacles when running over uneven terrain. However weekend orienteers who do not keep fit with weekday runs would probably benefit less.
There are many causes of bone loss, such as:
calcium and vitamin D deficiency,
genetics (eg family history, skin colour/vitamin D relationship),
life-style factors (eg drinking alcohol, smoking, physical inactivity, or physical activity that does not stress weight-bearing bones),
some medications and diseases,
low body weight/small body frame (bone loss is generally less in overweight people),
certain occupations (eg sedentary office work, astronauts working in zero gravity environments!), and
declining hormones (oestrogen in women and testosterone in men) beyond the age of about 50.
Osteoporosis is the name given to the condition when bone density falls below a so-called T-score threshold of -2.5 (ie more than 2.5 standard deviations below average), and osteopenia is an intermediate condition defined by a T-score of between -1.0 and -2.5 (ie between one and 2.5 standard deviations below average). Bone density, or to use the correct term, bone mineral density or BMD, is measured by a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan in what has become a relatively simple process that is now routine and government-funded for the over 70s in Australia. For the under 70s, a government-funded DXA scan can be requested by a family doctor if a patient has risk factors identified in Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) guidelines (see below). A DXA scan focuses on vulnerable areas, which are generally weight-bearing-bones such as the femur, hips, spine, and also includes the forearm.
In 2012, an analysis reported by the RACGP estimated that 66% of Australians over the age of 50 had poor bone health, and over 15% had osteoporosis. By 2022, an estimated 6.2 million Australians older than 50 will have osteoporosis or osteopenia, an increase of 31% from 2012. The lifetime risk of osteoporotic fracture in people aged over 60 is approximately 56% for women and 29% for men, but fewer than 30% of Australian women and 10% of men are treated or are diagnosed. Osteoporosis itself does not have symptoms, and is often only diagnosed after a fracture has occurred. See the RACGP report and a summary for more.
Over the past decade, the RACGP developed and published guidelines for the assessment, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Treatments to increase bone density include medication, improved diets, possibly calcium and vitamin D supplements, and exercise such as running, brisk or uphill walking, and high-intensity resistance training. These aim to load and strengthen weight-bearing bones. The RACGP advises that leisure walking, swimming and cycling do not improve bone density, and high-impact activities such as running by individuals at high risk of fracture should be avoided!
I am aware of two active orienteers who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and osteopenia, but only after they sustained fractures. In one case, a combination of medication, running, and a diet that increased calcium and vitamin D intake, improved bone density from the osteoporosis to osteopenia range, and is now approaching normal after three years of treatment. It's not known what their doctors would have said if they knew their patients had been running and orienteering, including scrambling over rock-strewn courses, at the time of their osteoporosis diagnoses, but I can guess.
If you are over 50 and are concerned that you might be in the high fracture risk category, my family doctor's advice is ask your family doctor for a fracture risk assessment in accordance with the RACGP guidelines and have a DXA scan if necessary. Definitely arrange to have a scan if you are 70 or over. If you are assessed to be low risk, start to think about the things you can do to stop or reverse any bone loss you inevitably will experience as you age.
The June 2021 magazine is possibly the last (again) to be edited by Michael Hubbert. As usual, it covers a wide range of topics. In this one we concentrate on the Easter Carnival and the Melbourne City Race, with coverage of the mapping, course setting and the competition at these events. As well, the March "Spot the Difference" was intentionally hard to prepare you for Easter, so we have included the solutions in the June magazine, as well as another one to test you. We congratulate members of the JWOC Honour Team and the WOC Merit Team. There's news of a Chinese Orienteering Museum, a Swedish mapper finds Bronze age treasure, O-SPY finds some more to puzzle and interest you, and the new SPORTident SIAC controls are put through their paces.
Another one definitely not to be missed.
Some OSA and Top End photos found on the O-web
The photos are a small selection of over a thousand taken at sprint/urban and bush events held up to the publication date for this newsletter. Most photos were copied from OSA's, Top End, Port Lincoln, Saltbush, and Tjuringa Facebook pages. They are in approximate time order, starting with a Top End photo and finishing in the Flinders.
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 winter period is when the orienteering calendar is mainly bush orienteering (Sunday morning) events. For the latest program information go to the OSA Event page. The confirmed competition program on 30 May 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.