Today and tomorrow it’s qualification races, for the medium (~7km) and long (~14km) finals respectively. Today’s heats were only about 3.5km but the terrain was tough and the courses were pretty evil. 🙂 There was live GPS tracking for the women’s heats, and heat 1 was especially devilish: the first leg was a long slog through thick woods to a knoll hidden behind a cliff! Few of the competitors spiked it. Although it’s quite exciting, watching the runners getting lost, I empathise totally. I’d have no chance in such difficult terrain, and wearing the GPS box you know that every wrong step is being followed by hundreds of people in the arena and around the world…

Results-wise, it was a pretty good day for Team GB. Five out of six qualified for Saturday’s final. Hollie Orr almost made it – she was going really well till she overshot control 7 – and I’m sure she’ll do well in the next few years. Graham Gristwood (GG) had a nightmare draw, starting 2 minutes ahead of Tero, who promptly caught GG up. As soon as something like this happens a runner is in danger of being disqualified for following. (Since this is a navigation sport, following is a big no-no.) I’m not sure about the Middle final, but the Long final will have loops in it to split the runners up, to avoid the invidious situation of runners having somehow to prove that they weren’t helping each other.

The French had a great day, with all six runners through, and Poland will be happy with 4 qualifiers. By contrast only two Russians made it, and no Americans. World of O has a country-by-country results and photo service.

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