Orienteerers go long as championships end

When the two junior orienteerers who will be representing Canada next month at the Junior World Orienteering Championships heard Brent Langbakk's time on the long advanced course, they were taken back a bit.

When the two junior orienteerers who will be representing Canada next month at the Junior World Orienteering Championships heard Brent Langbakk’s time on the long advanced course, they were taken back a bit.

“(Ten minutes) is significant for sure,” said national team member Colin Abbott. “Brent has a lot of experience; he has probably 15 years of orienteering behind him to work with, so he doesn’t make as many little mistakes.”

Competing at the final event for the Yukon Championships, the long distance race, held Wednesday in the Chadburn Lake day-use area, Langbakk, a five-time World Championship competitor, finished more than 10-minutes ahead of second place Abbott on the long advanced course with a time of 54-minutes and seven seconds.

“I had a really good run, didn’t really make any mistakes,” said Langbakk. “This terrain suits me really well. This is the classic Yukon terrain, so we’ve been running on this terrain—even on this map actually—for a long time.

“And it’s very fast, very open for the most part, so I’m used to the navigation and it’s really runable. Obviously it’s not open like a field, but it’s possible to run full-tilt through the forest here.”

Finishing third, the same spot as in the short- and middle-distance events of the championships, was Lee Hawkings, who will be joining Abbott at the Junior World Championships next month in Trentino, Italy.

“I felt pretty good with my races but I’m not super happy—nothing too bad went wrong,” said Hawkings. “I still have to work on my constancy and my speed through the forest.

“We’ll have a bit of training in Italy before the Worlds right before with Team Canada.”

Langbakk also took the top-spot in the short distance event of the championships on June 3, with Abbott coming in second. Last week, in the middle distance event, those results were switched.

Hawkings and Abbott both competed in the Junior Worlds last year in Gothenburg, Sweden, but failed to make the finals. This year they are hoping to improve on those results.

“It’s the biggest junior orienteering event in the world, so the best of the best is there,” said Abbott. “It’s going to be interesting to see how we stack up.

“Last year we were (roughly) 130th, 140th, 170th place and I don’t think there was a single Canadian to crack the top 100.

“So I’m really gunning for that this year. I’m way better than last year; I’ve put so much time in on maps and I’m a lot more confident.

“I’m ready to go.”

“We’ve looked at some of the maps and it looks there are really big mountains and some of routes are above the tree-line,” said Hawkings. “It’ll definitely be a different type of terrain than we’re used to running in but that’s all part of the sport.

“I’m pretty excited. We’ve improved a lot since last year and I think we’ll up our results a bit.”

This year the Yukon Orienteering Association made changes to the way the Yukon Championship series has been run. In the past the short, middle and long events were held within one week and at the end of the summer. In hopes of keeping numbers growing, the events were spread over three weeks and were held earlier in the season when numbers tend to be higher.

“We’re always looking for ways to increase our numbers,” said Barbara Scheck, president of the Yukon Orienteering Association. “We have found over many years that May and June had the highest number of people turn out for meets; I think people haven’t left for holidays and stuff like that. (The changes) have shown to be successful because our numbers have been really good for these past weeks.”

On Canada Day the Yukon Orienteering Association will be holding a free event for the community at Shipyards Park in downtown Whitehorse from 2 to 4 p.m.

“We’re not going to have the electronic timing system, because we can’t have it out downtown (for fear of theft),” said Scheck. “But we’re going to do a bit of a trivia competition and people can go out in the downtown area with a map and it’ll be a lot of fun. Hopefully that can introduce a lot of people to orienteering.

“(The checkpoints) on the map will be at, say, a monument and there’ll be a question to make sure they get to the right spot, like ‘Who’s this Yukon pioneer?’”

More information can be found at www.yukonorienteering.ca.

Results

Long Advanced 7.9 km

1st Brent Langbakk – 54:07

2nd Colin Abbott – 1:04:31

3rd Lee Hawkings – 1:08:11

4th Forest Pearson – 1:10:13

5th Afan Jones – 1:14:25

Advanced 5.6 km

1st Dahria Beatty – 1:24:33

2nd Ryan Kelly – 1:27:32

3rd Grant Abbott – 1:33:30

4th Darren Holcombe – 1:43:21

5th Sabine Schweiger – 1:45:59

Short Advanced 3.3 km

1st Bruce McLean – 50:28

2nd Pippa McNeil – 52:13

3rd Miko Miyahara – 57:34

4th Julianna Scramstad – 1:00:09

5th Perry Hynes – 1:10:34

Intermediate 4.3 km

1st Caelan McLean – 37:35

2nd Trevor Bray – 48:02

3rd Ev Pasichnyk – 51:38

4th Terry Boone – 53:06

5th Pia Blake – 55:33

Novice 2.8 km

1st Leif Blake – 26:45

2nd Savannah Cash – 28:08

3rd Mael Pronovost – 33:02

4th Katharina/Susann Wirth – 34:34

5th Maddie Nicholson – 41:31

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com