Probably the best thing that can be said about the Rio Pance Park, where today’s World Games middle-distance final was held, is that it was a brand new area. I suppose it wasn’t much worse (or better) than the area where the 2009 middle-distance and relays were held in Taiwan, but it must still come as a shock to the talented orienteers assembled for the race. The closest UK equivalent I can think of is Rosliston – I must dig the map out.

Because of all the Green, the race was really a double-length sprint race, and to be fair to the planner an attempt was made to help the runners “get into” the terrain: controls 1 and 2 gave them an opportunity to suss it out, and #3 was a short leg where they could dip their toe in the Green. For the few controls where it looked like it might be worth venturing into the jungle, it won’t be possible till later to analyse how good or bad it was to risk the direct option rather than go round on the paths. Murray Strain, who had another good run today, tells me that “some of the Green had a special type of Colombian man-eating bramble through it,” so I hope he was wearing suitable protection!

runin flags mmtop8 kyburz scott s murray s minna int w river m women minna catm random guy with bike wgstand wg map

What can you say about Matthias Kyburz? Massive champion yesterday, he annihilated the field again, blasting the 6.3 km in 34 minutes. Trailing in his wake, the battle for the other medals was very tight: Daniel Hubmann pipping Vilius Aleliunas and Thrane Hansen. Aleliunas gained a surprise medal for Lithuania by overtaking Hansen in the last minute of the race, partly by electing to run through the river rather than across the bridge to the Finish. (We could just about see the runners splashing through the river but the camerawork wasn’t as good today as yesterday, and it was a shame there wasn’t a TV control somewhere out in the forest.)

In the women’s race Cat Taylor ran well, finishing 9th, but Tessa never recovered from an early encounter with the aforementioned carnivorous Green. Minna Kauppi won, proving that a one-person team can be a strong team, and Tove collected yet another Silver medal. The Relay tomorrow is in the same park so now everyone knows what to expect… I wonder what surprises the planner might have in store?

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