In the last part of September I participated in Park World Tour in China. I have been in China four times before, three times on PWT and once on Tour de Ski China in cross country skiing, and also this time I got the opportunity to run some challenging orienteering races in combination with visiting some new and exciting places together with a nice group of international runners.
I had a quite though start of my travel, since my flight to Beijing left Oslo Airport three hours after I finished the Norwegian Champs in Long distance (where I came 4th, after a good performance). From Beijing I continued with a flight 1000 km north east to Changchun, where I met the other runners. We were 30 International runners in addition to the Chinese runners.
PWT-1 - Sprint
The first race was already the following day, with a Sprint in a nice park. I did a good performance, and was able to win the race in front of Matthias Müller and Tomas Dlabaja.
PWT-2 - Middle
The next day a Middle distance was arranged from the same place as the Vasaloppet China is held in the winter. The forest was mainly nice, but had partly reduced runability. I did several smaller mistakes, sometimes because I thought it was difficult to understand the map, and ended in 4th position. Timo Sild did a great race, and won with a huge margin. He thought the terrain was very similar to Estonia.
The Great Wall
Now we had three days until the next PWT race, and travelled back to Beijing with high speed train. In Beijing we visited the Great Wall, before we took a flight 1500 km south west to Chongqing where we were going to participate in the Chinese Championships. Chongqing is one of the World’s largest cities, with a population of 28 millions in the municipality.
"100 m Orienteering"
The first race in the Chinese Champs was something called “100 m Orienteering”. The course was actually 900 m, and the terrain and map scale like we know from “Orient show”. The race was held as a knock out sprint, with 12 runners in each heat/final, and each runner got his/her own forking. All the control circles and numbers on the map made the map reading intense. For the international runners the race was not counting as PWT, and we were just running an open course for fun.
PWT-3 - Sprint
The next race was the Chinese Champs in Sprint, held in Wansheng, the smaller city we lived in. The area was really cool and challenging, with a lot of small houses and narrow passages, and the rain made it even more difficult with slippery surface. We where allowed to cross cultivated land, as long as it was not growing anything there, so it made it a bit difficult to plan the best route choice in advance. I did a very good race, and won with more then 30 seconds down to Julian Dent and Máté Kerényi.
PWT-4 – Middle
The last race in the Chinese Champs was a Middle distance. The area was hilly, with a lot of cultivated land. Also this day we where allowed to cross it, as long as it was not growing anything there, but several places I thought it was difficult to know where I could run. It was also raining heavily, and we where running partly in mud. I did not do any major mistakes, but lost some time several places, and finished in 6th position, 3 min behind Tomas Dlabaja. After the race we traveled back to Beijing.
PWT-5 - Sprint
The last race was held in Beijing Botanical Garden. I was running well the first half of the race, and was then close to the lead. But in the last half I lost 5 – 10 seconds several places, partly because I was unsure where I could pass some flowerbeds, since there was some places more of them in the terrain than marked on the map. Afterwards I can see that I should have picked easier route choices (on paths), and not tried to run so much straight. My result was a 5th place, 37 seconds behind Yannick Michiels and Tomas Dlabaja, who shared the victory. After the race I went directly to the airport, to go home for the Swedish Champs in Relay.
In my Picasa gallery you find almost 200 pictures from PWT in China.
News from the races:
PWT-1 Sprint: orientering.no and pwt.org
PWT-2 Middle: orientering.no and pwt.org
PWT-3 Sprint: orientering.no and pwt.org
PWT-4 Middle: orientering.no and pwt.org
PWT-5 Sprint: orientering.no and pwt.org