Three NZers Place in World Marathon-O Series

Scotland-resident Kiwi Greg Barbour (with Australian partner David Rowlands) has finished fourth in the mens category of the IOF World Marathon Orienteering Series. However the pair's 50 points is the same as that shown for third place. Christchurch-based Jenni Adams was second in the mixed category, while Rachel Smith (also Christchurch) is shown as second equal in the womens, on the same points as winners Barbora Waldova and Magda Horova from Czech. We don't know the basis for separating competitors on the same point score.

But the New Zealanders' 50 points appear to have come only from the World Rogaine Champs in January, and it is likely that few teams attended more than one of the three events, at any rate with the same partner. The other two events were a mountain marathon in France and another one in Slovenia. The mens winners were Benoit Laval and Sebastien Seay from France (91 points) from John Kewley (GBR living in Italy) and Felix Moser (Switzerland) on 80. Delphine Regeard and Eric Vannier (France) won the mixed category with 100 points

The lack of "persistence" makes a bit of a joke of the series, although it was IOF's first tangible recognition of rogaining. Part of the problem will be the team aspect of marathon orienteering, with the difficulty of two or more team-mates to be able to attend several events together over a span of many months. We suspect that the points are going to have to be ascribed to each individual in a team, so that you can gain further points with a different partner if necessary.

Another part of the problem is the blinkered views by some mountain marathoners and rogainers towards the other sub-discipline, in spite of the fact that both are extremely tiny variations of navigation-sport, itself very small in the world sporting scene. In France mountain marathons reign supreme, while rogaines are what you do in Australia if you want an endurance event.

However there are positive signs in the Czech Republic, where one association runs both mountain marathons and rogaines, and in New Zealand, where both are run under the auspices of the orienteering federation. Possible solutions for a world marathon-O competition include an expansion of the existing MM-plus-Rogaining series, or a World Champs which alternates between one and the other, in the same way that the World Mountain-running Championship alternates between uphill and up-down, each with its own specialists.

Other NZers in the top 20 of the IOF Orienteering Marathon points table are:

Competitors from 19 countries took part. Full results are on the IOF website.

This page was written by Michael Wood, and installed on 8 Nov 00.