For three years now, the Auckland training environment, aptly named the Auckland Orienteering Training Cult (or AOTC for short) has taken part in a mammoth day of sprint orienteering around Auckland. Auckland has numerous schools through its volcanic geography, each one inadequate for a full size sprint. I believe it was Gene Beveridge who came up with the idea to instead utilise these small maps in a series of 1-1.5km o-intervals. In typical AOTC fassion we blew this idea way our of proportion, deciding to maximise the amount of orienteering we could do in a day, hence Sprint Auckland Day (SAD) was conceived.
This year we incorporated SAD with an Ultra-Sprint, organised by Auckland Orienteering Club and a couple of drills and agility sessions to make for a solid weekend of training. On Friday we took part in a running drills session, led by Michael Adams. This is a regular occurrence for the cult now, normally taking place on Saturday mornings. A beautiful evening greeted us as we went through specific exercises which target the various components of a runners gait.
On Saturday morning we competed in the Ultra-Sprint at Cornwall Park. These events have become quite popular in New Zealand, allowing organisers to make use of very small areas which are not large enough for traditional orienteering forms. The one-tree-hill map was completely remapped by Dwayne Smith to 1:1500 scale, with every feature, no matter how small, being mapped. The morning began with three short micro sprints, which contributed to a mass start final. These ‘gimmicky’ races are extremely fun, making for good punching and direction change training. In the final I lined up with Tom, Cameron and Jourdan. Luckily Tom has not been doing too much speed training, preparing for the Coast to Coast, so I could rectify some mistakes in the later part of the course with a solid sprint finish, winning the Ultra-Sprint.