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JWOC Jaffe Files - Sprint Final

Thursday, 13 July 2017

The day dawned grey and bleak looking with drizzle and showers for most of the morning. However, this didn’t seem to dampen spirits and no one knew what the Sprint area would be like .  It was set  in parks, beaches, industrial buildings and housing estates of Tampere. The location was quite different to the model map and the Finns did a good job of setting a mixture of technical legs, a few traps and an arena that had the run in past the local lake beach and had many runners running through sand across another beach.  The spectators could see the last two controls and a spectator control  at about half way round and it made for a great atmosphere although the commentators seemed to pick late who was in contention. 13-15 minute winning times were predicted.

Simeon B was off early and had set himself for the sprint.  He had a bet with Ralph that if he finished top 20 he could do what he liked to coach Ralph’s hair so a huge incentive.  He was charging through the spectator control and looked great. Zoe was first girl away and looked OK.  It was clear that Simeon was planning well ahead and like many of the top guys hardly slowed past controls using the emit air system. I heard later he had six legs planned before he got to number two.  Simeon was very pleased with his time of 1528 but Joey Hadorn, last year’s swiss winner was soon posting a time of just over 14m. Patrick was through next and tracking him on GPS he looked clean but didn’t seem as fast as Simeon and he finished 39 seconds further back but happy with a clean run which put him above half way in the field of 170. It was his highest finish in a JWOC sprint. Rachel, Caroline and Winnie looked purposeful but were a bit slower than Zoe.

Then it started to get exciting, Tommy Hayes of NZ started threatening Joey’s H’s time and at the last split was ahead.  The NZ army went crazy and the Aussies also cheered Tommy home. He was in the lead by 7 seconds with about 1/4 of the field to go including Alex Chaplin the top Brit and Oli O of Finland who had never podiumed in a sprint at JWOC but was one of the last starters.  Meanwhile Toby and Jarrah looked fast but it turned out Jarrah lost time picking up the wrong map at the map change. Toby was 5 seconds slower than Patrick, and Jarrah another minute back.

Our hopes rested with Tara and Asha in the girls and Joe and Aston starting 2 minutes apart. Tara looked by far the quickest of our girls at the spectator and had a determined look.  After a somewhat disappointing middle she had her pedal to the metal and powered round. She was really flying and ended up in 40th…the best of our girls on the day. Asha also looked really good and finished 46 seconds behind Tara which got her 66th and her best JWOC sprint place (I think). She was pretty happy with her run. Tommy Hayes was still in the lead whilst Simona A from Switzerland doubled up from last year’s sprint and this year’s middle. She is quite a runner and was 8 seconds clear of Czech Thereza Janosikova  with Swede Linnea Golsater third.   The Czech’s were delighted but the Swiss are probably the best supporters and we regret not bringing our cow bells to match them.

Then we saw Joe D and he was motoring. He had the 11th best split at the spectator and kept up the pace. We were all excited as he finished a ‘current”  14th but as others were yet to come that turned out to be 17th.  Top 20 at his first JWOC was amazing and he was only 43 seconds down on the eventual winner.  Aston was also flying, 15th at the spectator and looking good. Tash predicted as he ran past us that he would struggle to hold that spot and he came in 24 seconds down on Joe but a great 32nd spot.  We were almost too excited to note Oli O come from 8 seconds down on Tommy at the spectator to pip him by 8 seconds. He was the only guy to break 14minutes so also got the middle/Sprint double and the Finns were happy. Tommy pipped Joey Hadorn of Switzerland by another 7 seconds  The Kiwis were really happy to have a medallist and who can blame them.  So that’s how high the standard is, two minutes covered something like the top 80.  

So there we have it. An exciting day with a top 20 place for Joe D, Aston going about 20 places better than last year, Tara making 40th and Asha having an excellent run. Not quite Henry’s podium of last year but Joe, Aston and Tara have more years ahead. The finns set some excellent courses today mixing enough complexity with good running.

Tomorrow is the rest day.  We are looking forward to helping transport some of the team to the long model map in the morning and attending the Supporters and Sponsors (ie parents) afternoon tea by the lake in the afternoon. Must stock up on delicious Finnish cinnamon buns to help feed the hungry team. 

David Jaffe

O correspondent

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