Orienteering is a finicky pursuit.
While navigating the brush and paths of a course, one missed control (timing-station) can cost a competitor the race.
This was the case at the Yukon Orienteering Association’s meet held at Hidden Valley School Wednesday.
Collin Abbott, 18, who just returned from the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Sweden, finished the long-advanced course first with a time of 49:45.
But Abbott failed to enter his time-key into the final control of the race, thereby voiding his time and giving the win to Afan Jones who finished exactly eight minutes later.
“I’m more used to the terrain here than in Sweden. So I found it nice to be able to run — it’s a lot bushier in Sweden,” said Abbott, before the results came in.
“It’s great to be orienteering in the Yukon; there’s so many good maps around.”
Abbott, who qualified for the national team last year at the Canadian Orienteering Championship in Saskatoon, did not advance to any finals at the World’s, but nonetheless feels he profited from the experience.
“It was a good experience, a bit if a humbling one,” said Abbott, who is heading to Carleton University in the fall, where he will be studying geography.
“There’s not nearly as much of a base of competition in Canada; there’s a lot more orienteerers in Sweden, Norway and the Scandinavian countries. There’s a lot more competition over there — it’s a lot more intense.
“We both had some good personal races,” said Abbott, speaking of himself and fellow Yukoner Lee Hawkins, who also was on the national team but did not advance to any finals.
“But again, with such steep competition, we were a ways down the results list.”
About 50 competitors came out for Wednesday’s meet, which featured four courses for the orienteerers to tackle. There was a 1.8-kilometre beginner course, a 2.6-kilometre intermediate and two advanced courses, a short 3.9-kilometre course and a longer 4.7-kilometre one.
“That’s as the crow flies,” said Juri Peepre, who organized the race, speaking of the length of the courses. “When you’re orienteering, you’re picking the best route between the controls.
“So sometimes a trail goes around the long way, or you might bushwhack and go through straight. So you have to decide what is the best route.
“In orienteering, a decent time is about 10 minutes per kilometre,” adds Peepre. “The top competitors will run six, seven minutes per kilometre.”
The four courses were made more difficult because many of the controls were close together and some were even shared between courses.
“I set the courses really close together so people have to concentrate on orienteering,” said Peepre.
“I set the course to really use the terrain. There’s a lot of beautiful hill and valley country.”
1.9km, 8 controls
1 Cheylsea, Taylor & Katlynn Mitchell 17.06
2 Pia Blake, Miriam & Christoph Erle 25.39
3 Elvira & Joan Maura 31.47
2.9km, 8 controls
1 Ev Pasichnyk 44.18
2 Terry Boone 46.23
3 Wendy Taylor 46.27
Short Advanced Course:
3.6km, 13 controls
1.Erik Blake 58.04
2.Grant Abbott 70.30
3.Dahria Beatty 72.17
4.7km, 16 controls
1. Colin Abbott 49.45
2. Afan Jones 57.45
3. Pam James 70.31