Orienteering and Mountain Running – not walking, Part One

Louise Fairfax: Orienteering and Mountain Running. Part One
1989 World Orienteering Championships, Sweden 
1989 World Champs, Sweden  
1990 Asia-Pacific Champs, and World Cup events, USA and Canada (1 gold, 1 silver)
As an orienteer and mountain runner (inter alia), I have enjoyed seeing many beautiful parts of the world, and have made many very special friends. The diversity of forest and cornucopia of superlative views from an abundance of different peaks have made me very aware, not only of how extraordinarily lucky I am to have seen such things, but, and possibly more significantly, the importance of such places to the peace of our souls, as well as to the continuation of our species, and to the contribution to the happiness of those yet to come. Our world is such an amazing place – whether we are thinking of forests, rivers or the views to eternity from a mountain top. We have to fight hard to keep these dwindling places of beauty alive.
The blogsite is titled ‘walks’, and I have put in lots of those. I have always intended to add in some of our European distance walks once I had written up the Tassie ones.
Bit by bit, European sections will be added. I am not sure how to separate them from Tassie ones (and I want to keep the two facets distinct), so my first solution is to put them all as predating the walking, even though there is an overlap. Here is my first posting on European experiences, and I am beginning with some of my happiest moments as an international competitor. These photos are taken from my comp file, and not my separate training file. One thing at a time. This one is already complete, so can be posted. Perhaps these photos help contextualise some of what comes later. Who I was is an integral part of who I am still. One moves on, but never entirely away from what went on before.
1990 Trans-Tasman Champs NZ (1st)
1991 World Champs, Czech Repub
1992 Asia-Pacific Champs, Japan

1992 Asia-Pacific Champs, Japan (2 silver)

1992 IAAF World Mountain Running champs, Italy 
!992 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships. Louise Fairfax AUS 4th place.
1992 World Triathlon Champs, Canada (4th – Masters)
 1993 Internationaler Matterhornlauf 1st
1993 Schweizer Frauenlauf 
1993 World Triathlon Champs (7th Masters)
1994 World Duathlon Champs – 1st Masters
1993 IAAF World Mountain Running Champs 11th
 1994 Internationaler Matterhornlauf 2nd
1994 Swiss Alpine Marathon Sertiglauf 1st, race record
1994, Tasmanian Sportswoman of the year
1994, World Stair Racing Champs, 5th (here, training in Central park)
1994 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships GER 13th
Orienteering World Cup
1993 Swiss Alpine Marathon Sertiglauf 1st
1995 Ovranaz-Rambert 1st
1994 Swiss Alpine Marathon 1st
1995 training on  glacier, Champez du Lac, SWI

Orienteering and Mountain Running – not walking, part two

Louise Fairfax as athlete and orienteer:
Mountain Running (Athletics – IAAF) and Orienteering part two

1994 Schwarzeelauf 1st
Sierre-Zinal 1994 and 1995, both 3rd
Mountain Running World Cup, Austria
1996 IAAF World Mountain Running Championships – just pipping Germany as I head for the finish.
1996 World Cup Orienteering, SWI
Trans-Tasman Championships, Orienteering 1996
Training with my daughter, CZE
1997 IAAF World Championships, Mountain Running 13th.
1997 World Championships, coming 13th
1997 IAAF World Cup Race
1997 Sexton Race, ITA
1998 IAAF World Champs La Reunion
1999 World Champs, Malaysia

Mt Kinabalu race, Malaysia 1999

2000 Race, Klagenfurt, AUT
2000 IAAF World Championships GER
2000 World Masters, Athletics. 6 x first place
 1500 ms, 5 kms, cross country, steeple chase, half marathon and mountain running that year (second in 10 k) – all First Place.

2001 World Champs AUT

2001 Winning the World Masters by 4 mins
2000 Winning World Masters Cross Country
2002 IAAF World Championships Alaska
2002 World Masters

Overland Trail 1988 Jan – with 7 and 9 year olds

Overland Trail 1988
Thanks to the adventurous Hoban family, we walked the Overland Trail with children who had just turned seven and nine. They managed perfectly, the only problem being that one of them (luckily, not one of mine) ate her entire lolly bag on the first day and had to learn the hard way about the art of rationing.  You can see from the final photo the enthusiasm with which they embraced the track.




My records inform me that Bruce and I walked the Overland Trail in 1975, 1988, 1992, 1998 and 1999. This is my favourite, though – the 1988 edition, the first with our children, but by no means the last. Every other time since then has been with our girls.

South Coast Track 1982 TAS with babies and infants

South Coast Track with children   Jan 1982

What family would be crazy enough to even dream about taking babies and young children on the astonishingly muddy and thus quite arduous South Coast Trail? Answer: Our family and that of our best friends in Armidale – in fact, it was their idea, so if a prize goes for ingenuity and get-up-and-goism, then they get it, but we agreed to the venture with gusto. We used to have weekly adventures taking the children into the bush, usually finishing after dark – almost on principle – so, why not this one? We forged our plans.

I think we were very fortunate that in that particular week of the earth’s history, the weather was pretty appalling down there, so much so that the plane just couldn’t fly us into Melaleuca inlet. Days went by while we waited for the chance to fly, but we kept being denied the trip.

This little poppet is now a mother – and is teaching her own children to bushwalk (of course).
Now that I’ve seen the whole thing, especially the mud around the Ironbounds, and knowing the huge amount of rain that preceded our visit, I am nothing but thankful that we couldn’t fly. Eventually, frustrated, we drove south, our time having been whittled away, and began the track in.

We would now walk in as far as we could get in half the number of remaining days and walk back out again in the rest. Better than nothing. It just so happened that that meant we avoided the worst – but not all of – the mud. When I did my first face plant with my baby on my back, mostly because I couldn’t control the very heavy weight I was carrying (normal pack plus baby) I was glad it was into gentle bushes and not deep mud!

In nuce, the babies had a wonderful time. Both were crawling, and ours delighted in traversing the ashes of the fires we were allowed to have in those days. She was absolutely filthy.

I think all children rejoiced that baths were not a possibility. The three and five year old loved both the walking and the playing in the sand and water at the end of the day. All of the children, it seems, were born believing that tents were the most exciting possible accommodation life could offer, and bushwalking, the best activity.

After the epic had finished, our friends had to fly out. We took our two on another – tamer – bushwalk, but still with overnighting, before we too, had to leave this wonderful island. We had already been plotting to move house to Tasmania one day, ever since we had first got married. This trip only strengthened us in that resolve.