More than 200 orienteers of all ages and abilities will be in action in the top of the south region starting tomorrow as the Marlborough and Nelson clubs co-host the three-day South Island championships.
The two clubs last co-hosted the annual competition in November 2007 and this time around the Marlborough club will run the sprint distance event in Blenheim tomorrow, while the Nelson club will run the middle and long-distance events in the St Arnaud/Lake Rotoiti area at the weekend.
Mondo Kopua is the course planner for the sprint distance event in Blenheim and said they were expecting about 160 people to take part.
Athletes will complete one of four courses depending on their level, with start times staggered from 4pm-6.30pm. The courses start and are based mostly in Pollard Park, but the longer courses will also take in Bohally Intermediate, the Waterlea Racecourse and the Blenheim Golf Club. Kopua said winning times for each of the courses would be around 15 minutes, the sprint distance version of orienteering designed to be short and sharp and get the competitors' lungs burning as they attempt to navigate their way around the course.
Along with foreign athletes, elite New Zealand orienteers will be in action, including Chris Forne, who is also a member of Team Seagate, the world adventure racing title-winners. A few Marlborough orienteers are expected to compete. The event doubles as a national trial for the 2013 junior world championships in the Czech Republic.
- The Marlborough Express