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zaterdag, november 28, 2015

Yannick Michiels about Sylvester5 and 2016 season

Only 2 days left untill the first entry deadline for the Sylvester 5-days. The perfect moment for a short interview with Yannick Michiels about this event and his future plans in orienteering and athletics. You can read the interview both in English and in Dutch.

One day before the Belgian selection races for the European Cross Country Championships, Yannick Michiels had time for a short interview with Delaatstepost. He gives his opinion and advice about the Sylvester 5-days 2015 and talks about his plans for the 2016 season.

WOC 2015 middle distance (Photo:

-) In the end of 2015 you'll not show up at the start of Sylvester 5-days in Belgium. Which other plans have you made during this period? 
During the Sylvester 5-days i'll compete in 2 international roadraces (in France and Germany) and on the 1st of January i'll leave to South-Africa for a trainingscamp. I'll also take part at the last stage from the Big-5-O, a WRE sprint race.

-) Which is your favourit map from the Sylvester 5-days 2015 and why? 
Ossendrecht will probably be the most challenging map and terrain during this O-event. The technical zones (a wealth of subtle contour detail with many smal lumps and bumps which will require careful map reading) in combination with the tough runnability will be a real challenge for the participants. Also the WRE in Pijnven looks very interesting. The running speed will be higher, but the detailed countourlines and the dense network of small paths can make the race tricky. I'm also curious if our young elite athletes can challenge the older generation and the international athletes like in 2014.

Pricegiving ceremony at WOC 2015

-) Can you give some advice for ambitious participants at Sylvester 5-days? 
This multidays event will be won by the most stable athlete. Each day you have to be able to handle the difficulties and traps from the terrain and coursesetter. So the athletes who can handle those difficulties and adapt their o-strategies easily will be able to fight for the victory.
It will also be important to push hard from stage 1, but i think that, starting from stage 3, the timedifferences will be bigger. It's tough to push hard 5 days in a row. Maybe some runners will think more tactical, since the rules are changed in 2015 (only 4 out of 5 results are counting for the overall ranking).

-) What will be your personal goals in 2016? Will you keep on focusing on orienteering since you're also performing very strong in athletics recently?
My maingoal for 2016 is WOC Sprint in Sweden, but also EOC Sprint (Czech Republic) and the Worldcup races in Poland are on my program. Besides those national team events, i'm also ambitous for Tiomila and Jukola. The teamspirit in TuMe is really high and we hope to fight for the podium in the big Scandinavian relay competitions.
Besides orienteering i'll also focus on athletics. My goal is the European Championships in Amsterdam (in the beginning of July), where i'll have ambitions on the 5000m track and field race. Also on other distances i'll try to run some PB's (personal bests) in 2016.

(Tomorrow Yannick Michiels will try to qualify for the European Cross Country Championships in France during the Belgian selection race in Roeselare).

Cross Country race in Tilburg (Photo: Sven Janssens)


Eén dag voor zijn selectiewedstrijd voor het EK Veldlopen (Crosscup wedstrijd in Roeselare) had Yannick Michiels nog tijd voor een kort interview met Delaatstepost. Hij vertelt over zijn ervaringen met de Sylvester 5-daagse en ook over zijn plannen in 2016 op vlak van oriëntatielopen en atletiek.

 -) Dit jaar zal je niet deelnemen aan de Sylvester 5-daagse, welke andere plannen heb je deze periode?
Tijdens de Sylvester periode zal ik twee internationale stratenlopen lopen (FRA en GER) voor mijn vertrek naar Zuid-Afrika op 1 januari (waar ik de laatste etappe van de Big-5-O wel zal meelopen, een WRE Sprint).

 -) Welk is je favoriete kaart van de Sylvester 5-daagse 2015 en waarom? 
Ik denk dat Ossendrecht de meest uitdagende kaart zal zijn tijdens deze Sylvester, de zware beloopbaarheid in combinatie met technische heuvelzones vormen een ware uitdaging voor de loper. Maar ook van de WRE op Pijnven verwacht ik veel, het terrein is wel sneller, maar met het fijne reliëf, het kriskrasnetwerk van kleine paden kan men ook hier een hoogstaande wedstrijd verwachten. Ik kijk er dan ook naar uit of onze jonge senioren hier in de clinch kunnen gaan met de buitenlanders en gevestigde waardes zoals in 2014.

Podium WOC 2015 sprint distance

 -) Welke tip kun je geven aan lopers met ambitie om deze 5-daagse te winnen? 
Een Sylvester wordt gewonnen door de meest stabiele loper. Elke dag vormen er zich andere uitdagingen qua terrein en qua baanlegging. Diegene die zich hierin het makkelijkst kan aanpassen, strijdt sowieso voor winst. Het is natuurlijk belangrijk om vanaf dag 1 vooraan te eindigen, maar ik denk dat vanaf de derde dag de verschillen worden gemaakt. Het is immers 5 dagen na elkaar knallen, maar met het nieuwe systeem (slechtste dag laten vallen) kan er wel een tactisch worden gelopen.

 -) Wat zijn je persoonlijke doelen in 2016? Blijft de focus op OL na je recente resultaten in atletiek? 
Mijn ambitie voor 2016 blijft voornamelijk de WOC Sprint, maar ook EOC Sprint en de World Cup in Polen staan op mijn lijstje. Daarnaast is de teamspirit in TuMe zeer hoog en gaan we voor podiumplaatsen tijdens 10mila en Jukola. Dit probeer ik te combineren met een EK Atletiek (begin juli) waar ik ambitie heb op de 5000m. Daarnaast zou ik ook graag op de andere afstanden nieuwe PR's lopen en stilletjes aan ook naam maken in deze wereld.

(Morgen zal Yannick Michiels zich proberen te selecteren voor het EK Veldlopen in Frankrijk tijdens de Crosscup selectiewedstrijd in Roeselare).

Website Sylvester 5-days
Sylvester 5-days registration
Facebook event Sylvester 5-days
Facebook Yannick Michiels athlete page

woensdag, november 25, 2015

Sylvester 5days: first entry deadline

So far there has been much interest for the Sylvester 5-days in the north of Belgium. By 25th november 106 foreign participants have registered for this event. Traditionally more than 350 Belgian participants show up every day. This figure gives an indication that the end of december will once again be a real festival. 

Last year 120 foreign athletes registered before the first entry deadline (1st of December). We still have 5 days to break this record. The registrations are encouraging for the ongoing work from the organisation. They now have the confirmation that their concept in Flanders is attracting many orienteers. Probably many people will take the opportunity to combine the orienteering with a holiday in the north of Belgium (with some interesting cities like Brugge, Brussel and Antwerpen). But ofcourse also the orienteering will be demanding and interesting, specially during stage 2 (Ossendrecht) and stage 3 (Pijnven - WRE).

The first entry deadline is in 5 days (the 1st of december) and late entries are possible untill the 16th of december. The orienteeringonline website is the place to be for the registration.

Welcome to Sylvester 5-days article 
Event website
Facebook event

zondag, november 22, 2015

Video: Flemish nightrelay 2015

One week ago the Flemish nightrelay championships took place in Hechtel-Eksel (map: Sanicole). Below you can watch the video from the race:

Map (Desmond Franssen)

woensdag, november 04, 2015

Welcome to Sylvester 5-days in Belgium

Interested in participating in the last world ranking event (WRE) in Europe in 2015? Then the north of Belgium will be the place to be at the end of december.

The Sylvester 5 days are held every year between Christmas and New Year in the northern part of Belgium. It is an organisation from several Flemish and 1 Dutch clubs. With the Scandinavians training in the snow, there will probably be no snow for this event. Some years we have had a little bit snow, but never enough to keep the runners out of the forest!

Ausrine Kutkaite (winner WRE Sylvester 2014) in action at WOC2015 and hopefully also at Sylvester 2015 later on

Fast terrain and high level:
You can’t expect very technically difficult maps in an area like Flanders, but the high running speed combined with a lot of paths and details will still be a challenge. Some of the maps will have tricky sand areas and detailed countourlines as well (specially stages 2 and 3 in 2015). On day 2 you can expect the most demanding stage on the map Ossendrecht. Day 3 will take place in Pijnven, the 2nd last world ranking event in 2015.

Map extract from Ossendrecht (stage 2). Used in the past for the Belgian middle champs in 2008.

It will be fast definitely, with the elites probably running under 5’/km some days, so it's definately good speed-training! Ofcourse most of the Belgian top elites will be racing there. The previous years always some strong international runners showed up in the elite classes. In class H21E Philippe Adamski (France), Hannu Airila (Finland), Yannick Michiels (Belgium) and Tristan Bloemen (Belgium) were the 4 last winners of the world ranking event. In women's class Amelie Chataing (France) and 2 times Miek Fabré (Belgium) took the victory in 2011-2013 at the Sylvester 5 days WRE. Last year the winner was the Lithuanian Ausrine Kutkaite.

Tristan Bloemen - winner Sylvester WRE 2014. Will he succeed to win again in 2015?

Edition 2015:
In 2015 only 4 best out of 5 races are counting for the overall ranking. So it's possible to skip one stage and still aim for the total victory. We already can announce some athletes from the Netherlands, Ukraine, Switserland and 2 athletes from Nydalens SK (Norway) with among them the German WOC athlete Bojan Blumenstein in the elite classes.

Map extract from Pijnven-noord

Besides the orienteering there is a lot to see and taste in our country:

A lot of tourists come to Belgium for our beautiful cities, and cities like Antwerp, Brussels (see picture), Gent, Leuven and of course Brughes are less then 2 hours by car or train and definitely worth a visit!

Belgium is of course famous for our great beers and chocolate. I haven’t been to many orienteering events in other countries where people are drinking strong beers like Leffe after their race :)

Belgium is pretty central in Europe and has very good transport possibilities. Ryanair has an airport in Charleroi and the airport in Eindhoven (the Netherlands) is even closer to the races. Trains and buses can bring you close to the competition areas from the airport within 2 hours. The national airport near Brussels (Zaventem), also offers quite cheap flights to Brussels.

The website of the event has some suggestions about accommodation.
Because Belgium is so tiny, most orienteers just drive from home every day, so there won’t be a camping site or sports hall or so where everybody stays.
Looking at the maps that they will use, staying near the city of Hasselt or Antwerpen probably is a good idea if you would like to have some entertainment as well. (shops, restaurants, cinema…)

If you can’t hire a car, staying near Leopoldsburg is probably your best option as a lot of orienteers live near that little town and you could try to arrange a lift beforehand. There is however not so much to do....

Entries have to be made before 1st of december. Entry fee is only 35 euro for 5 days of orienteering!! (late entry is more expensive)
Registration is possible on the orienteeringonline website.

Invitation Sylvester 5 days 2015

If you have any questions about this event, add a comment to this post or contact the organizers from the event’s website!