Ian and Anne (Chris's parents) arrived in at Pirabadet terminal from Kristiansund on Saturday evening - just after I had said farewell to Al and Amber and watched them disappear on the train back to Oslo. The Forne's had been traveling around Southern Norway for the week before making their way to Trondheim.
Chris was feeling apprehensive before the start of WOC, he had put in a lot of preparation over the past year and a bit we had been living in Trondheim - and on top of that he had just been asked if he could deliver the 'Oath of Fair Play' on behalf of all the competitors at the opening ceremony.
Sunday morning was warm and clear, as Ian, Anne and I walked down to Sverresborg Folk Museum where the sprint qualification would take place. Lara Prince and Rite Holmes were the two girl's representing NZ who would compete in the 3 different disciplines (sprint, long and middle) while Tane Cambridge, James Bradshaw, Ross Morrison, and Tom Reynolds, as well as Chris, would represent the men.
The afternoon sprint final in town saw Chris and Ross racing the world's best around the old streets of Trondheim, starting in the square and heading across Gamle Bybro up to Kristiansten Festning, then back down to the square. It was a very exciting race - the square was packed and big screens showed the athletes every move. The Swiss dominated winning gold and silver in the mens and gold in the womens.
Chris finishing in the sprint in the center of Trondheim Torg
Chris delivered his oath amid a very bizarre opening ceremony, then we headed home and crashed after a busy day.
Next up was the qualification for the middle event, then on Tuesday the qualification for the long. The Kiwis all raced hard, but making it into the finals is extremely tough. Only the top 15 from each heat of 45 makes it into the final....for most New Zealanders this means you must have a perfect run to have any chance of getting in.
Ian, Anne and I headed out to the event and ran our own course through the forest as part of the WOC Tour. Ian enjoyed getting some tuition from Emily the swamp expert (-: Ross and Chris both qualified in good positions for the middle distance, and Chris and Lara both qualified for the long....so we had some more excitement ahead of us. It was also great to see my local friend Helen, who runs for the British team, have a fantastic run and easily qualify for the final.
Rita finishing her long qualification race
Wednesday was a rest day, so while Chris lazed around saving up energy Ian and I headed out on the bikes to explore the Bymarke single tracks. The weather was continuing to put on a great show for all the Trondheim visitors.
Ian and I head out on the bikes
Anne and I on Gamle Bybro
Anne and I on Gamle Bybro
The long awaited long final took place in the Granåsen Ski Arena, about 15 minutes bike ride from our place. It was exciting to finally go there after the area had been embargoed for all the time we have lived in Trondheim.
There was a big crowd turn out to watch the race, and the exciting commentary and big screens with live tracking made it very exciting to watch the competition. Chris raced very well, but said afterward he was feeling a bit flat and tired throughout the race. However it didn't appear this way when he out sprinted Daniel Hubmann into the finish who he had been clinging on to for the last part of the course. Lara completed her first long final in a great time too.
Chris verses Daniel Hubmann!
On Saturday WOC continued with the middle final, also at Granåsen. Ross had a few big mistakes in his race which left him feeling pretty demoralized and meant Chris caught him up, but I have to say it was super cool to see Chris and Ross run through the stadium together in their flashy black tops. The commentator liked it too!
Chris and Ross run through the stadium together during the middle final
Chris had a blistering run and his finish sprint was tremendous. I will never forget that finish, it was so exciting! He finished in an excellent 21 place and is now the NZ record holder in the men for all 3 WOC disciplines. I know I shouldn't brag, but I am very proud of him!
The whole NZ team, plus Ian, Anne, me, Mat Scot, Viv and Aaron Prince all squeezed into our living room for a communal dinner
So, WOC had nearly come to a close except the relay....and the party of course! Tom, Ross and Chris were running in the men's relay team - in that order. Lizzie Ingham had arrived in Trondheim by this stage, she was supposed to be competing in all the WOC events, but had to withdraw due to a bad injury in her ankle. This left Rita and Lara without a third runner for their relay team.
After much persuasion I was convinced to run for them so that they could still be a complete team and get a finishing result. This proved retrospectively to be a very controversial decision within the New Zealand Orienteering Federation - however at the time I didn't know this because the people making the decision within the IOF decided it was OK; it meant we still got to have a New Zealand team and there was a record number of international teams entered into the World Champs relay.
I was really nervous before I ran - I had had a couple of reasonable runs with the WOC tour leading up to Sunday, but I was thinking the whole thing was pretty crazy. My running is always hampered by my completely bunged up ankle and I still felt that I had not quite mastered the art of the Norwegian marsh.
We finished the WOC week with the infamous party, the boys in pink shirts with cool shades and the girls in stylish black and white dresses. Of course there was a beer O included in the party antics....need I say more (-: