World XC Report: To be added. Was good.
So leaving Kahli's Oskar accelerated way too quickly and caused the car to break down. Thankfully Nick Wilmott lived 4k down the road and was good friends with Oskars dad. He took us there helped us pack up the tents another 4k down the road while Oskar sat with the car. We arrived and got lunch leftovers while Oskars car got towed to Bathurst. Ali picked Sam and I up for the World XC and we arrived just after 3:30 when the mixed relay started.
Missed most of the first lap but saw Ollie Hoare come in 3rd. Jess Hull got us into 1st. Started properly spectating and the atmosphere was insane when Stewy went around. Unfortunately he dropped a place to Kenya and sent Abby out in 2nd with Ethiopia and South Africa both within 5-10 seconds. I was quite surprised to see Caster Semenya though but realized that was completely legal (400m-1609m she is banned). Abby lost a spot to Ethiopia but still Aussie got 3rd!!!!!!!!!!!!
U20 races began with the women first Amy just off the pack and then must have just died and it wasn't too interesting from there as it was like 35 degrees. Mens race Logan was up front earlier but was probably too ambitious and maybe DNF'ed while Archie managed a solid 17th. Recognized a few people in the golden ticket races but I don’t think I would have made it but probably should have entered for fun and hope. Apparently quite a few people collapsing with heat exhaustion. Around this time I helped Aston win a chess game .
Then came the Open Women. Again not expecting Aussies to be up there but Leanne was just off the pack on lap 1 then on the back for lap 2 and 3 before I believe a surge kind of broke them up on lap 4. Leanne still looked strong but was now off the back probably in like 15th? I heard Letesenbet Gidey made a break and just thought the race was over then. She was striding down the hill a couple hundred meters from the finish in her typical fluid style. Up the hill she still had a 50ish mette gap but she didn’t look like she was running that fast (taking it easy because she’d wrapped it up maybe), but a surge from Chebet was happening in the background and the gap was visibly closing. Around the final turn 100m from the finish and I thought Gidey had this but she didn’t look like she was running properly at all and had looked back a couple times. Chebet rounded the corner and started gassing the finish and it was just getting closer and closer and Gidey was not getting faster. With 20m to go Chebet stormed past and Gidey tried to push but collapsed and was overtaken. Unfortunately her team (non-runners) tried to help and I knew she’d be disqualified because of it. Heartbroken for Gidey knowing that if she didn’t try speed up that would’ve have been an easy silver and less team points for Ethiopia (golflike scoring). Leanne came in a bit later and looked like she’d gained a couple spots but looked way worse than Gidey on the final stretch and just drifted downhill (finish stretch was slightly slanted) which sucked because the proper finish line was in the Centre (not the whole way across), she also collapsed at 15m from the line and lost a bunch of spots but got up and finished. Amazing run.
Now for the men’s. What a stacked field even without people like Jakob. Race was moved 20 minutes earlier to avoid to upcoming thunderstorm and a cool shift moved in (these guys were probably only in 25 degrees or at least that’s what it felt like). So the race started and wow it was Africans leading nooooo way. Saw Tim and started shouting pretty loud on the first section, then I ran back and forth to the highest point of the course after "the billabong" to the hill just before "the beach". Watching the Africans then cheering for all the Aussies before Tim strutted along. After about 3kms I saw him with Ed Goddard and I was like wow I knew Ed was fast but Tim is just as fast. At 4 (or 6) km a bunch of orienteers including me were shouting at Tim and he even looked over at his personal cheer squad. He eventually dropped Ed as well while the Africans just stretched their lead with all the contenders still there (Kiplimo, Cheptegei, Kamworor, Kandie) while Jack Rayner was first Aussie followed closely by Ky Robinson. After 8kms Ky Robinson had overtaken Jack whilst Golden ticket entrant Liam Adams appeared to have moved up like 20 positions. Was at the beach trying to cross the track shouting at Tim when he went past (to some odd looks from the spectators) and then there was a gap in the runners and everyone rushed over the track to head to the finish. Got a decent ish spot, then a lady dropped her sunnies and I handed them back to her before she let me stand right on the fence to watch the finish. Absolute Gold. Kiplimo came in first somewhat unsurprisingly (he's in great form ran WR half mara solo and is still young) with Aregawi in second (who's also quite young and holds road 5k record) and Cheptegei (probably everyone's favourite) in third. Further back is Ky Robinson in 23rd, then Jack and Brett and Andy all close ish behind. Rorey Hunter a bit further and Andre dropped a bit to end up behind two kiwis. Then came TIM!!!!!!!!!!! YEWWW 61st.
Such a great experience but everything had to leave immediately post race due to thunderstorm so no chats with the runners. Apparently Australia came 4th in the mens and womens behind none other than Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya (and 50+ points down).
Also Tim is Tim Robertson the Kiwi Orienteer. Unfortunately they didn't mention his WOC silver and bronze medals at the start line (bet none of those Africans had achieved that huh).