Running warm up/down 10:00  2.0 km (5:00 / km)
shoes: Inov-8 X-Talons 212 (4)
Warming up with the England boys. Was very surprised to see how spread out first leg had become, then when the second legs came it became clear we had a huge mountain to climb.
Orienteering 29:54  5.94 km (5:02 / km) +50m 4:50 / km
spiked:18/20c shoes: Inov-8 X-Talons 212 (4)
It was a Scottish top 4 after 2nd leg: Sasha and Dan sent out a couple of minutes before Tam and Andrew. A couple of minutes after them the English came in. Ali sent out a few metres ahead of me, then Harri and Aidan close behind. We were pretty pumped; a Scottish 1,2,3,4 was looking like a real possibility but equally we knew catching Andy and Tam was doable.
Having seen all the Scots cruise out of the start us English didn't have that luxury and set the necessarily quick tempo. Even after the first couple of controls we could see the scots ahead and the gap had decreased by a significant amount which was encouraging. However, Ali and I (on the same first gaffle) lost some time on 3, maybe about 20-30 seconds of faff. We then lost some more time on 4 from bananaring. At this stage the pace was higher than I could reliably navigate so it was useful to be able to work off the others.
Harri was running very well and was leading the English train. All four of us were essentially together from 5-11. A few minor micro-route choices aside, losing maybe 15 secs in total through these, we were clean and pushing hard. I was just about hanging on, stumbling through the controls making sure the codes were right and a plan was set for the next leg.
12 we probably lost a little more time than we realised in the moment. Harri got a gap and Ali and I faffed around a bit in the undergrowth, I think our navigation was suffering from the oxygen debt. Probably should have hugged the red line a little more. Still, we could see Andy ahead and Harri up there as well. Small miss in the circle though. Dieing to 13, the gap was probably down to about 150m, Harri had pushed on well so thankfully it wasn't going to be a Scots top 4.
From here Ali and I had different gaffling, think we were both a little scrappy through this section but the pace dropped considerably. Struggling through the terrain which got tougher and really losing form. Entered into the field just ahead of Ali but he had more and strolled past.
Mixed emotions about this relay; obviously hugely disappointed with the result, however it was immense to be running in a pack with all the English boys pushing as hard as we could to do a job which was just a little too much. We gave it everything but on the day the Scots performed better; they had it wrapped up before it even got to the 18s which is top work in a relay.