Junior test races and Score-O in Helchterenbos
The Flemish junior team did some test races this weekend. On saturday, there was a middle distance at De Maasvallei and today, a long distance was run at Helchterenbos, where a score-O was held for normal runners.
At the middle distance event, only four boys and five girls were present. Official results are not yet available, but as far as we know, Jeremy Genar and Elisabeth Henkes won the races. The course started off with some controls on an old (awfully steep) mining hill and continued to the tricky "green" area of the map, where according to Jeremy "Quarters of hours were lost by some". Interested readers can find the map over at Jeremy's and Adriaan's blog.
Today's race was a long distance of 11,9 or 8 km in varied but rough terrain. The expected winning time for the boys was 70 minutes and 60 minutes for the girls. The races were won by Yannick Michiels and Miek Fabré. Yesterday's winner in the girls category, Elisabeth Henkes, did not participate. The results in the boy's category were quite interesting, because the first three runners were within one minute. We expect the map to be uploaded to Jeremy's blog shortly.
These test races were held because the Flemish juniors do not run JWOC this year, instead focusing on next year's JWOC in Sweden. The French speaking Belgians are sending two runners, the experienced Johan Goubau (his 4th JWOC) and newcomer Gilles Deneyer, but they are only leaving two days before the start of the event, so results could be not as good as possible by jetlag.
One of the problems with the Belgian JWOC teams the last years, besides hardly any training in relevant terrain, was the lack of much training or orienteering in june because of exams at school/university. At least 6 weeks are pretty much lost for quality training, which was not different this year as far as I know. You can do some running without compromising your marks too much, but doing some more intense trainings is very much impossible, let alone participating in orienteering events, which I think is really important if you want a good result. These problems are way harder at university than during secondary education, but next year's JWOC is doable for all, because most boys (Jeremy, Wouter, Yannich and Adriaan) will not yet be at university and with some support of the federation, the girls (Elien, Miek, Saartje) and Jochen will be able to change the date of their exams. Jochen, by the way, is injured since march and he will only know what's wrong in september, which is not good at all.
The group of juniors seems quite small, and a bit more competition would be good, but things were no different the last years. Those who did run these races are really motivated, and they can already run good results in senior classes. The trainer Stefan Thiels is also doing good work, so there is still some hope for good results in Swedern.
The regional event was a Score-O. There are hardly any Score-O's in Belgium, so it's always a fun challenge. There were three courses, one of 60', one of 50' and finally one of 40'. Course setter Yves Briers had some 40 controls spread all over the map, which is pretty nice, with rough open land, lots of sand and small contours. Results are available, along with the map with route choices of the A-race winner. No-one managed to find all 40 controls within the timeframe of one hour.