Forth Valley Orienteers sent a strong contingent of 19 athletes to the World Masters Championships in Denmark, and were rewarded with some strong displays right across the board.
The World Masters is undoubtedly one of the busiest events in the world orienteering calendar, as the stars of yesteryear meet up to do battle once again, and with this year's event being in the heart of Scandinavia, the birthplace of the sport, there was a larger than normal field of entries.
First on the agenda was the Sprint qualification, at the Dansk Technical University, Horsholm, and 14 FVO athletes made it through to the 'A' finals. Martin Dean was best placed in his heat, finishing 4th in M60 (14.41), while there were top ten qualification slots for Rona Molloy (W50 - 5th in 16.13), Jon Cross (M50 - 6th in 15.57). Ross McLennan (M40 - 7th in 16.30), and Will Hensman (M35 - 8th in 18.03).
The final was held around Christiansborg Castle the following day, and as the best athletes cranked up the heat, the FVO team was more than holding its own. Having only just made the W55 final, with a 19th place from the heats, and 20 to qualify, Hazel Dean went off as little more than a stalking horse, but ran hard and clean to lead the field until the end of the day, claiming 7th place overall (14.13). Martin Dean backed up his fine qualification run with a top ten finish in the final - 9th overall in 15.22, and Ross McLennan was just outside the top ten in M40, finishing 11th in 16.19.
After a rest day, it was time for the forest qualification race at Tisvilde Hegn. This acted not only as the qualifier for the Middle final, but also a seeding race for the Long final on the last day. Ten FVO athletes made their respective 'A' final, with Hazel Dean (5th in W55 – 43.39), and Martin Dean (8th in M60 – 50.15) once again the best of the local cohort. Cathy Tilbrook was 9th in W50 (40.20), and there were 10th place qualifying slots for both Roger Goddard (M40 – 57.20) and Rona Molloy (W50 – 41.18).
The action stayed at Tisvilde Hegn for the Middle final, albeit on a different part of the forest, and it proved a tough day for all concerned. Hazel Dean was the only FVO athlete to take a top 20 placing, as she finished 15th in W55A (35.09) although Brad Connor, having missed out on the M45A final by 12 seconds, secured second place in the 'B' final, coming home in 32.08 to not only get on the podium, but also secure a spot in the Long final, thanks to the system that promoted the top ten athletes from the Middle 'B' races, at the expense of the bottom ten from the 'A' final.
By now, fatigue was beginning to set in, and the Long final at Grib Skov, proved to be a real tester, There were nine local athletes in the 'A' finals, and Hazel Dean once again was the pick of the bunch, snagging 10th place, in 55.26. There were however three podium places in the minor races, as Beccy Osborn won W45B in 51.21, Roger Goddard was 3nd in M40B (73.11) and Dave Coustick took 2nd spot in M70C (58.17).
As well as the feature races for the Masters athletes, there was a parallel series of events for those too young to race in the championships, and Ruaridh Flint secured a fine series of results, with first place finishes on sprint 1 (18.12) and Middle 1 (41.17) and 2nd place in the Long race (39.17).
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