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vrijdag, maart 16, 2007

Fabien Pasquasy: 4'29 / km at Weyervlakte

At today's military event at the Weyervlakte, Fabien Pasquasy ran at an incredible speed: 4'29 /km. With his time of 42 minutes he was 2,5 minutes faster than his teammate from SNO Pål Skogtjärn. This is most likely one of the fastest times ever run at an orienteering event in Belgium.

controls 12 and 13 in white forest (click for full map)

The course was not that hard and Fabien seems to have had a really good race today (splits), but his performance remains nonetheless impressive. No really top Flemish runners were present, except Thomas VDK, but Thomas is better known for his good performances in rough terrain rather than as a fast runner, so it's hard to compare his performance with what Jan Gilot, Pieter Hendrickx or Bart Delobel would run on this course. Such a comparison would be interesting, since this map will also be used for the Belgian relay championships in september. That is also most likely the reason why Fabien did participate today.

These terrains look a lot like some of the WOC terrains in Ukraine this year, so if Fabien will be able to remain free of injuries during the season, a top result is certainly possible.

Another fast split time today was the last leg by Thorsten Langer, Belgium's best biathlete. He is not in Khanty-Mansiysk, it seems he prefers orienteering in Flanders. He had a time of 35 seconds, 6 seconds faster than the follow-up runner.

Military competitions in Belgium are really cool. For example, today there were 567 competitors, that's two times the number of participants of a regional event. While on a typical event two or three people are helping with the entries, the Belgian Army had about 10 soldiers prepared for this role. When you start during normal hours, the forest is full of orienteers and when you punch a control 10 people will start running in your direction, with the intention of following you, but most likely that fails due to reasons unknown to us.

The reasons for this immense popularity are simple, first of all orienteering is a nice sport and when you can do that as part of your job... Another reason is that they get a free lunch (!) and rumour has it that they can go back home after they return from the race.

Our own (Thomas and mine) performance of today was quite ok, we arrived there at 8h30, started before the masses without warm-up, made some mistakes and finished in about 50 minutes, five minutes after the finish we were on the way back to Leuven (Reduced speed on motorways due to smog...) and arrived there just in time for Thomas to make it to his lesson at 10h35. (Well, for the VDK's only 5 minutes too late == on time)

I would also like to congratulate the army with the spelling of my name. I was already Jercen Hoecky, Jeroen Hoeckx (most of the time unfortunately), Hoeks, Hockx, Hoex, Hoecks on orienteering events (always unpronouncable since oe != ö in Dutch, unlike German), but I have never been De Roen Hoekx! I also seem to have changed clubs from hamok to KOL. I know my handwriting is bad, but if they can't even read it while I write in all caps...