Orienteering championships puts Narrogin on the map

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Grace Crane.
Camera IconGrace Crane.

Nicki’s map skills prove a class act

Queensland’s Bronte Gannon.
Camera IconQueensland’s Bronte Gannon.

Narrogin’s Nicki Rehn has fulfilled a lifelong dream, competing in an organised orienteering event in her home town.

Ms Rehn, now living in Canada, extended her annual Easter trip home to take part in the Australian Easter Carnival which had three events in Narrogin last week at Narrogin Senior High School, Foxes Lair and Dryandra Woodlands.

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Grace Crane.
Camera IconGrace Crane.

“It was a lot of fun running around the school. I was running between classes rather than running on the map,” she said.

“There were a couple of places where I knew the fastest ways from A to B without having to look on the map.

“Perhaps it was an advantage, perhaps it wasn’t the fastest way. Maybe there was a faster way but in my mind it was the fastest.”

Hundreds of competitors — and even more spectators — gathered at each location between Thursday and Saturday last week.

Nicki Rehn in action.
Camera IconNicki Rehn in action. Credit: Michael Traill

“It’s kind of hard to believe that there are all these people running around my high school,” Ms Rehn said.

Joining Ms Rehn in the carnival was her sister Linda Kilpatrick. It was her first orienteering race.

“It’s great to have it at the high school, but even through town it has been great,” Ms Kilpatrick said.

WA’s Hadrien Devillepoix.
Camera IconWA’s Hadrien Devillepoix.

“It’s great seeing a whole lot of new people coming into town and experiencing Narrogin from all over the world.”

Carnival champs

Henry McNulty, Natasha Key, Krystal Neumann and Matt Doyle.
Camera IconHenry McNulty, Natasha Key, Krystal Neumann and Matt Doyle. Credit: Michael Traill

These are the faces of Australia’s newest orienteering champions, crowned in Narrogin last Friday and Saturday during the 2019 Australian Easter Carnival.

West Australian Henry McNulty won the Men’s Elite Australian Sprint Championship at Narrogin Senior High School on Friday, finishing the 4km course in 17 minutes and 18 seconds.

Natasha Key from Victoria finished the course in 18 minutes and 32 seconds to claim the Women’s Elite title.

On Saturday, the Australian Middle Distance Championship was held in Foxes Lair, with Queenslander Krystal Neumann winning the Women’s Elite category in a time of 32 minutes and 22 seconds.

Canberra’s Matt Doyle came first in the Men’s Elite, taking 30 minutes and 41 seconds to complete the 6.3km circuit.

Global orienteers find way to region

You might have noticed a raft of out-of-towners in Narrogin last week.

Competitors and spectators from around the world converged on Narrogin for the Australian Orienteering Easter Carnival.

Hundreds of competitors took part in three orienteering events at Narrogin Senior High School, Foxes Lair and Dryandra Woodlands, from Thursday to Saturday.

Club shirts from Hungary, Canada and New Caledonia were among those spotted at the carnival. The event even attracted one family from the sport’s heartland, Finland.

“It’s one of the most popular sports (in Finland). It’s a normal hobby,” Juha Lehtonen said. “The courses are a little bit easier here (in Australia). The bush is a little bit thicker in Finland and there’s low visibility — it’s not good for running.”

Mr Lehtonen recently moved to Australia with his family and said the sport was a good way to explore and settle into the country they now call home.

“It’s a good community, it’s like a big family,” he said. “We are from abroad. Orienteers in Sydney meet us and it helps us make friends.

“Most of the events are booked in beautiful spots. You actually learn to know places perhaps even Sydneysiders don’t know.”

The Lehtonen family.
Camera IconThe Lehtonen family. Credit: Michael Traill

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