Tom Bray, Assistant Coach, writes 'Today the GB team raced in the EYOC Long race at Miikovtsi, Bulgaria. We were expecting tough continental style terrain, with large spurs and valleys, and a predominantly light green forest. The model event on Thursday had been useful preparation to understand the probable mapping and key navigational techniques, and in last night’s team meeting we reviewed the lessons from Thursday together to make sure we were all ready for today’s challenge.
After a very early breakfast and lengthy bus ride, all the national teams entered quarantine, with a long wait for some of the later starters. The quarantine location was a summer school for Bulgarian children learning English, and they asked for autographs from many of the athletes, which helped to break up the wait.
The courses were tough, as expected, with some of the trickiest navigation coming from holding bearings through the low visibility caused by the summer foliage. All courses featured long legs to test route choices and were physically challenging, with significant climb.
GB’s best results today were a 14th for Alastair Thomas on M18, and the three M16's of Flurry Grierson, Peter Molloy and Matthew Gooch in 14th, 15th and 16th respectively, with only 34s separating them.
Peter was pleased with this positive result on his international debut, and after the race he noted that the key to today was discipline - slowing down to get his navigation correct on hard controls (i.e. in the low visibility forest where it lacked obvious attack points) to minimise mistakes and then running hard on the technically easier sections. Flurry was equally satisfied, stating that he'd had very few mistakes and he was happy with the route choices he'd made. Matthew was more despondent, reflecting on one or two key errors that cost him some time and a potential top 10 placing.
43rd Megan Keith
51st Lizzie Stansfield
24th Niamh Hunter
32nd Eilidh Campbell
52nd Tara Schwarze
14th Flurry Grierson
15th Peter Molloy
16th Matthew Gooch
14th Alastair Thomas
36th Daniel Spencer
53rd David Bunn
Well done to all the team today, who can be proud of their performances, and they are now all looking forward to tomorrow's relay.