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Rome Orienteering Weekend

3 days of Orienteering - Friday 27, Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 October 2017

Jennie Taylor Communications Officer caught up with Sarah Gales from Thames Valley Orienteering Club before she headed off on her trip to Rome and asked Sarah if it was possible for her to keep a diary of her experiences whilst competing in the W21 Elite races in Rome. Sarah kindly agreed.

Read Sarah Gales’s Diary Account of her 3 days of orienteering.

Extract from Sarah’s W 21 Elite Map used on Day 1

Day 1

03:30: Wake up ready for a 03.40 departure! Ten minutes turnaround no problem when it means a few extra precious minutes in bed.

10:50: Touch-down Rome and make our way to Caffarella Park – the venue for the first race. The weather is perfect for racing but it’s a couple of hours until we start so we try unsuccessfully to nap under a tree.

15:37: First race Caffarella Park (3.4k, 50m climb): 24 controls in an area of mainly open parkland with some thick vegetation. The navigation is not too challenging and I have a fairly clean run dropping just a few seconds on every control from the leaders. 

Afterwards, I reflect on how I’ve reached a level where I am not making major mistakes, but now need to focus on what separates the best from the not-quite-there. Going the wrong way round a patch of vegetation, not being precise enough on control approach, hesitating unnecessarily or not being 100% sure of my route out of a control...it all adds up. Overall though, I’m pleased with my time of 21.41 (9th place) with 3 other girls just ahead in the 21-22 minute bracket.

19.00: Happy hour at the Legends Hostel – a gem of a find, close to the central metro terminus and good value. Enjoy some free wine and crisps with a group of backpackers from all across the world, all with tales to tell and some with funny habits like eating whole cloves of raw garlic. Thankfully, he isn’t one of the people sharing our dorm.

Famous sights in Rome
Sarah Gales

Day 2

Villa Pamphili (5.7k, 80m climb) – a more varied and interesting area than Day 1 – some open areas, sections of steep woodland with complex path networks, more contour detail, a lake and a big road crossable at only one point. I make a frustrating 3-minute mistake on control number 3, entering the area of steep woodland off-course and searching for a while in the wrong place only to emerge about 75m away and much too high up. Other than that, a few minor mistakes and a time of 46.55, 12th place. The winning time is 36.53 by Dominika Plochová who appears to have a completely clean run, beating Sarah Rollins from Southern Navigators into 2nd place – although Sarah still holds the overall top spot by a narrow margin of 40 seconds.

Afterwards, I reflect on how I’ve reached a level where I am not making major mistakes, but now need to focus on what separates the best from the not-quite-there. Going the wrong way round a patch of vegetation, not being precise enough on control approach, hesitating unnecessarily or not being 100% sure of my route out of a control...it all adds up. Overall though, I’m pleased with my time of 21.41 (9th place) with 3 other girls just ahead in the 21-22 minute bracket.

19.00: Happy hour at the Legends Hostel – a gem of a find, close to the central metro terminus and good value. Enjoy some free wine and crisps with a group of backpackers from all across the world, all with tales to tell and some with funny habits like eating whole cloves of raw garlic. Thankfully, he isn’t one of the people sharing our dorm.

Extract from W 21E map used on Day 2

Day 3

Rome Centre (5.4k, 80m) It’s a pretty surreal experience starting the race overlooking the Coliseum, and I warm-up imagining the people who witnessed this view en route to a slightly more dangerous competition. It only gets more surreal as the final few controls take me through the ancient Roman Forum, and I spoil a lot of surprised tourists’ photos during this very hilly, tricky section of the race. The race as a whole is planned well, with a fast and furious beginning in a park area, followed by a long run to a back-and-forth section through narrow, residential streets, and finally the complex section in the Forum. I wasn’t counting the number of steps I climbed, but it was a lot!

Performance-wise, urban city races would normally be my strength, so it was disappointing to make a 2.5 minutes mistake on Leg 13-14. For reasons unbeknown to me, I chose a strange route choice which wound back on itself around a wall, got confused, turned right instead of left, and then got even more confused! Besides that, I felt happy with my race and finish 9th in 45.08. Sarah Rollins from Southern Navigators won in 37.15, taking a well-deserved overall victory ahead of Dominika Plochová.

Extract from the W 21E map used on Day 3

Overall Reflections

Overall, the Rome Orienteering Weekend was a blast, and I’m grateful to the organisers for three very different yet equally well-planned races. I was happy with a top-10 finish in the ‘elite’ category, but if I want to improve from here, I need to look at some fine-tuning and eliminate silly mistakes. Lastly, it was great to compete against orienteers from all over Europe, but even better to see fellow Brit (and far superior orienteer) Sarah Rollins taking the title; a fantastic result for British Orienteering!
 

RESULTS Day 1 - Parco della Caffarella Date: 27 October 2017

1 Rollins Sarah SOUTHERN NAVIGATORS 00.19.11

2 Gassner Anika NF-WIEN 00.19.43

3 Bochenková Martina ODDIL OB KOTLARKA 00.19.55

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9 Gales Sarah THAMES VALLEY OC 00.21.41


RESULTS Day 2 - Villa Pamphillj Date: 28 October 2017

1 Plochová Dominika ODDIL OB KOTLARKA 00.36.53

2 Rollins Sarah SOUTHERN NAVIGATORS 00.37.31

3 Brandi Adrienne CC ROMA 00.38.47
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12 Gales Sarah THAMES VALLEY OC 00.46.55

 

RESULTS Day 3 - Roma Colosseo Date: 29 October 2017

1 Rollins Sarah SOUTHERN NAVIGATORS 00.37.15

2 Plochová Dominika ODDIL OB KOTLARKA 00.39.28

3 Brandi Adrienne CC ROMA 00.40.42

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9 Gales Sarah THAMES VALLEY OC 00.45.08


OVERALL RESULTS ROME ORIENTEERING MEETING 2017

Class: W 21 Elite

1 Rollins Sarah - SOUTHERN NAVIGATORS 00.19.11 (1) 00.37.31 (2) 00.37.15 (1) 01.33.57 +00.00.00

2 Plochová Dominika - ODDIL OB KOTLARKA 00.20.09 (4) 00.36.53 (1) 00.39.28 (2) 01.36.30 +00.02.33

3 Brandi Adrienne - CC ROMA 00.21.06 (7) 00.38.47 (3) 00.40.42 (3) 01.40.35 +00.06.38

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9 Gales Sarah - THAMES VALLEY OC 00.21.41 (9) 00.46.55 (12) 00.45.08 (9) 01.53.44 +00.19.47

 

Sarah Rollins, South Navigators, said: “I have close family in Rome who Orienteer. This is as a result of accidentally being in Hungary on their summer holidays back in 2009 and visiting us there at World Orienteering Championships and loving it. They went back to Italy and looked up the Rome O Club and so we go back for the Rome O Meet every two years. Racing around the city parks is always great and I’m always astonished to be running past the Coliseum. My sister-in-law is always one of the organisers and so I’m very biased but they are always fun events with pretty much lovely October sunshine. This year was no exception and great Italian food. I’d highly recommend the races to everyone if they haven’t tried them yet.”

 

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sarah Rollins on her winning performance at the Rome Orienteering Meeting. Say thank you to Sarah Gales for writing up your daily account of your 3-day orienteering trip to Rome.  Well done to all British Orienteering members who competed. As Sarah says, this is a fantastic result for British Orienteering!

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