Next to competitions and thrilling decisions the WMOC was also the stage for some smaller incidents that amused our organising team every morning at the breakfast table. Some of these shall be presented to the reader.
Favourite Sweden missed its goal of gaining most gold medals in the long-distance competition as well as in the Sprint races. While Switzerland was most successful in the sprint competition Finland gained most triumphs now – seven on the whole. Behind them the nations Sweden (six gold medals), Germany, Norway and Great Britain (two gold medals each) follow.
The WMOC ended on Saturday with the long-distance final. The orienteers of 42 nationalities were sent on track near Torfhaus for one last race. “It nearly felt like home – our woods in Finland are of the same kind” Scandinavian Pirjo Järvenranta said after finishing her course. The steeps had been hard she judged but “the map was incredibly good – and a good map is half the rent for a good race” the Finn made clear.
On Thursday at the second long-distance qualification the competitors for the title “World Champion” have been identified. From 11 o’clock the ambitious orienteers were sent on track in woodland near Clausthal-Zellerfeld (and near also to the accommodation where most of the countless volunteers reside). The weather kept up – and the finish area transformed, thanks to some attractions and several shops, into an event centre once more.
Six medals in the sprint competition in Goslar is a nice result for Germany. But what about other nations’ medal counts? Which country won most medals in proportion to its number of participants? And who missed the podium by seconds most often? These questions are to be answered in the following article as well as the ones about the most thrilling competitions where one second separated the second best from the winner – contrasted with such races that allowed the winner to take an extra turn before crossing the finish line. A short trip into the world of statistics…
Perking up one’s ears some kind of connection between the rest day and the first long-distance competition was perceivable: during the rest day several participants had conquered the Brocken, the highest mountain in the Harz region with 1141 meters, taking the “Brockenbahn”. And that narrow gauge railway toot-hooted in the wind, because it always did that for more than 100 years crawling uphill. Thus it was not too surprising that the first long-distance qualification in the area of Drei Annen Hohne was also accompanied by that characteristic whistling from far away.
The World Masters Orienteering Championships are in full swing in and around Bad Harzburg. The winners of the sprint-distance have been honoured on Tuesday, now we look forward to the outcome of the long-distance competitions. But this week in the Harz Mountains is not only athletically attractive. An extensive programme provides relaxation between the competitions and many offers are apt to introduce the hosting region to our guests around the world.
Who has never wished to see the competition area from above? To have a point of view that shows control points at once and clearly differentiates peculiar kinds of terrains. Or to watch the runner who started earlier and thus find the optimal course to the next control.
They are respected and applauded as soon as they enter the finishing straight: meant are those participants of the WMOC who are 70 years old and older. Born in the 1920s or 1930s lots of runners are in top form, many have well-trained calves and show the quantum of ambition that is indispensable. Sprint world champion in the class of highest age M90 is Walter Brauchli.
The runners rushed at their most rapid pace through the streets of Goslar at the sprint final of the WMOC. The course led over cobblestone pavement and small bridges or into hidden backyards. Often it winded its way along the old town’s timber-framed houses that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Only the weather would not cooperate: most starters suffered under rain showers, some finished their course soaking wet or even slithered on the slippery ground. Anyway: runners and spectators felt that the picturesque finish straight directly beneath he magnificent Kaiserpfalz made up for their wet shirts and socks.