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Locals find their way to nationals podium


Three Whistler orienteering enthusiasts took part in the Canadian Orienteering Championships outside of Canmore, Alberta last week, and two of the competitors found their way to the podium.

Day One, July 6, was a disaster for a lot of the top competitors, including the defending champion who made a 10-minute error between control points. The deadfall in the forest, as well and the high grass, made it difficult to navigate and tripped the competitors up as they stumbled over hidden rocks and other obstacles.

The Whistler group was used to the rough terrain and managed to stay in the hunt. Alex Kerr, competing in the super veteran division, was third overall. Marie-Catherine Bruno was fourth among the elite women, and Martin Pardoe seventh among the elite men.

The wooded course on day two of the championships was more open, but the terrain was still challenging because of the contours. Kerr had a stellar run, winning his division by almost three minutes to earn his second Canadian title. He was third overall is his competition, but the results of the Norwegian and German competitors who finished ahead of him don’t count towards the national championship.

He could have won by an even larger margin if he hadn’t made a mistake at the beginning of the challenge.

"Control number two was perfectly in line with number one, so I (skipped the first control and) went straight to number two. When I realized my mistake, I had to backtrack to number one. Luckily it was not too far," said Kerr.

The athletes use an electronic card punching system, which means you have to complete the controls in order.

Bruno had another good run to finish the day in third place overall.

"The heat affected me a lot today," she said. "I felt nauseous on the climbs. I know I could have been a lot faster on a cooler day, but that’s the way it is – maybe I should move to the Caribbean to train in the heat.

"But anyway, we had a Canadian sweep, so I was really pleased for the other girls anyway. It was good to be on an all-Canadian podium."

Pam James from Halifax held onto the national title, and Cherie Mahoney of New Brunswick won the silver.

Pardoe was on his way to the podium on the second day when he made a mapping error that cost him four minutes. He went from a guaranteed third to fourth place in less than a minute, and finished ninth overall in the nationals.

The competitors also participated in the North American Championships and the Asia Pacific Games in the same region last week, making it a total of seven days of racing. The results were not available at press time.

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