Alex Jospe is headed to Finland!
The U.S. Orienteering Championships is actually three races -sprint, middle distance, and long distance. Each race has a distinctive “flavor” to it (marshes and pine pollen!), meaning the sprint emphasizes quick decision-making and fast running, the middle tests your ability to navigate well on a very technical course, and the long distance emphasizes physical fitness and the ability to carry out good route choices, often throwing a whole bunch of climb at you. These races were used to pick the team that will be representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Finland this year.
I had a decent race in the sprint; I never felt like I could really open up my stride, but I ran clean, and it was fast enough for third place. I ran in a pair of X-Talons, which were great, as usual -light and grippy, narrow enough to keep your feet from sliding around when you’re side-hilling. These are the ultimate orienteering sprint shoe! It was a good start to the weekend, but then the middle distance went pretty terribly. I was feeling good, and that was my downfall, as I kept outrunning my brain. I wore the Oroc340s, which provided great traction in the wet leaves and mud, especially given the torrential amounts of rain coming down. They aren’t light shoes, but they certainly get the job done! After a terrible result, it’s best to just move on and not dwell on it -I was still in a good position to make the team, so I refocused on the long distance and got ready to run a little smarter.
Success! I made it through the race running strongly and with no mistakes, back onto the podium. The terrain was hilly, rocky, and physical, which suits my strengths, and back in the X-Talons, I had great grip on the bare rock hilltops and rocky ground that littered the map. These races were good enough to put me third overall in the champs, and named as the fourth runner to the US Team (we take 5), so I will be heading to Finland this July! Very exciting!