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Orienteering-news website

dinsdag, april 21, 2009

Belgian Clubs Relay

ASUB won the first edition of the Belgian Clubs Relay. The event is similar to the French CFC. This means a club must have good runners in all age classes.

Teams should consist of at least one youth runner (-16) and one "older" runner (+50) and there have to be at least two female runners in each team of 6.

There were courses of 3 different distances: the first leg was 5km long, the second one 7km, the third 3km, then one of 5km, another one of 3km and the last leg runner had 7km. Every team is free to choose which runner will run which leg. This allows for some tactical choices.

The event itself, near Arlon, using the same type of map as the Belgian 3 days of last year was organised the way a relay should be organised: speaker, a few spectator controls, prewarnings and a nice changeover zone. It was organised by the club ASUB, from Brussels, and they also won the event, but not without a lot of effort.

The clubs that were expected to fight for the victory were hamok, Trol and Omega of Flanders, Asub of Brussels and Ardoc from the German speaking part of Belgium.

On the first leg, only Ardoc was running with a H21 runner. Christian Bastin was challenged by the Asub team with their youth runner Julien Gillet and the hamok team with Greet Oeyen. Trol and Omega lost a few minutes there already and knew they had to play catch-up the next legs. In the sprint to the finish, it was Gillet who finished first, but only a few seconds ahead of Bastin. Oeyen arrived 2 minutes after the leading pair to send hamok in the forest in third place.

Michel Bastin, of Ardoc immediately took the initiative and started to run away from Benjamin Hofmans (ASUB). Your reporter was the second leg runner of hamok and caught up with Hofmans about halfway, but made too many small mistakes to even come closer to Bastin, who managed a clean course and thus increased the lead to 6,5 minutes.

Ardoc placed their weakest link in third position, with mother Bastin up against hamok youngster Tristan Bloemen and Annamari Vierikko of ASUB. It was Bloemen who ran a superb race, putting hamok in the lead, 2 minutes ahead of ASUB. In the meantime, it was already clear that Omega was out of the race, with their Dutch second leg runner Wouter Foppen skipping a control.

The fourth leg reduced the number of teams in the running for a good place to three, as Trol's Wim Vervoort also mispunched. Now we had Wim Hoekx in the forest for hamok, Vinciane Mulpas for Asub and Veronique Bastin for Ardoc. None of the had a very good race, but now Asub and hamok were just seconds apart.

The fifth leg would probably decide the matter, with Martine Taffeiren head-to-head with Philippe Clapuyt. At the second spectator control, they were still within a range of few seconds, but Taffeiren lost some time right before the quarry and had to give Asub a decisive 10 minutes gap. That's the hard part of the terrains in Arlon: once you start missing, you're missing hard.

It looked like the final positions were clear, but that's the thing with orienteering, you're never sure until the finish. Gilles Deneyer of Asub did not lose his advantage, but it was Michael Hennes of Ardoc who ran quite a bit faster than Jeroen van der Kleij, putting Ardoc in second position on the winners rostrum. Actually it was Omega who finished second, but they were already out of the competition as mentioned earlier.

Next year, Trol will be organising the relay in Flanders.