Orienteering Championships are coming to Sunbury

Tara Murray

The Australian Orienteering Championships are coming to Sunbury.

One of four Australian Championship events will take place at Salesian College on Friday.

This event is the Australian Sprint Championship with the winners targeting a time of around 13 minutes to claim victory.

Orienteering is an endurance sport where competitors race around a prescribed course on specially designed event maps.

The sprint distance format is equivalent to a 5000 meter track race and involves running at high speed through complex cityscapes such as schools or universities making quick decisions on the best route at all times.

The Australian Sprint Championship has over 800 competitors including over 100 New Zealanders and 550 interstate.

The favorite for the event is Melbourne-based Aston Key, who have just come back from a best fifth place at the World Championships in this discipline.

He also finished in the top 10 at the last World Games.

Others in the running are South Australian Angus Haines, Sydney’s Alistair George, another Melbournen Patrick Jaffe and former Australian marathon champion Marty Dent.

The women’s race is more open, with Krystal Neumann, Caitlin Young, Tash Key and Emily Sorensen among the favorites.

Orienteering Victoria Vice President David Jaffe said the Central Highlands region of Victoria was a good location for the Championships.

Nine races in nine days will take place from September 24 to October 2 with over 1,000 orienteers set to compete across a number of different events.

“The area has particularly good maps due to the complex landscapes left behind by gold diggers,” Jaffe said.

“Additionally, there are granite-covered hills such as Mount Alexander and Mount Tarrengower. this makes a world class card.

The Australian Championship races cover 18 different age categories, ranging from 10 year olds to a 95 year old entrant who is the only competitor in his age category.

Sunbury locals can try orienteering on the day with a beginner-friendly event that is free to join on the day.

All events are free for spectators.

Dino J. Dotson