LOST IN THE MOMENT: Jens running around in circles, looking for the thingamajig

Irish international Orienteer, Jens Waechter got lost at Saturday’s Northern Ireland National Orienteering Champs and still managed to win. Here’s Jens’ race report…

Start to c1: I went off ok, there was a run into the start point. I had to veer east through a marsh. I had a good compass direction and hit the first control from the top and with confidence. Apart from the marsh, it was dry and easy running.

To c2: heading north contouring along the terrain, I made sure I had I stayed on my compass bearing. Had good visibility in the terrain. I climbed a little bit as I got slightly pulled by a gully. Running was more difficult through constant marsh, sinking in up to my ankles at nearly every step. I was looking for some animal trails to follow but it was difficult. The grass was nearly waist high which didn’t help.

To c3: I tried to concentrate on smooth running downhill through deep mud not seeing where I was stepping and trying to keep my bearing. Executed the leg good enough but a bit hesitant into the control circle.

To c4: I set the bearing, looked up, saw a couple of rocks up on the hill at the far side valley and figured these are the ones. So headed up there. Tough going again on a steep climb. I was so sure that I didn’t even look around as I was heading up there. Otherwise, I would have seen my control. So I wasted 11minutes.

To c5: I was able to let go of that massive mistake and head up to the next control and got that clean again.

To c6: this control was in the woods. There wasn’t really a route choice. Back down to the river and up the other side. Luckily I had a target up ahead. A runner that found c4 early than I did and I guessed he had a 3 min lead on me. There was a track made by previous runners but it was also hard walking/running as I was sinking in again with every step. I couldn’t find a rhythm again but eventually made it to the track halfway up the hill. I was able to gain on the runner here. I planned the route ok. However, as soon as we got into the green I had difficulties to make out the details on the map and slowed down. The map was muddy from all the falls, so was the compass and magnifier. I followed a gully to end where the control was. Now a compass bearing to the next control…

To c7: it was uphill with low visibility in thickets. It was slow going and I made only slow progress not really sure where I was but the heading was correct so I kept going. Got onto a track which I anticipated. From there I got the control easy.

To c8: through the forest and out into the open again. It was fast running here until I came into the open. I dropped the other runner here. I took a beating again in the open and it was once again hard going through the open mountainside. 

All the rest of the controls I got clean. I got frustrated towards the end not being able to find a rhythm for running and it felt more like falling. At this point my feet and shoes were so wet I kept moving in the shoe. I didn’t want to pick up an injury so that slowed me a bit. 

I am not a fan of Open Mountain Running, especially after the rain we had in the past few days.  It left a bit of a sour taste of what was actually a good run.

I need to find the positives in the next few days from this so not to get too negative.

Jens report makes cross country sound like a parkrun.