COSTA CÁLIDA – WORLD CUP REFLECTIONS
As oasis appear in the desert, there are also some of them in the south-eastern Spain, the most arid part of Europe. It’s one of these spots which was selected for the Costa Cálida - World cup this year. Sandstone grounds, unlike the prevailing limestone of the rest of Murcia, originate a very intricate relief with thousands of rentrants and spurs and allow the subsistence of more varied and dense vegetation than in surrounding areas. So no complaints about this terrain which offers top-quality orienteering. The course-setting was fairly good, and the only I have to analyze as a runner are my mistakes in the race, which were quite a few and, on Saturday, important ones. But as I was just a runner then, it’s not a real problem because these mistakes only affect myself. And I won’t write anything about technical mistakes this time.
The real problem comes when the organizer makes a deadly mistake such as happened in this edition of the race: picking up two control points before the race finished. I won’t say any harming comments to the person who took this decision, as nothing can be done now. We all make mistakes. But this one was really an important one, that should have been on a “red list” of every organizer of such an important event, because, as Ionut Zinca said on Facebook, it becomes a theft for the competitors. The further the participants come from, the more money and time they have spent in attending the competition. So when organizing an international event you just can’t afford such things.
I won’t rub salt in the wound although I’d have some reasons for it… but I’m afraid for the consequences it may have for the foreign people thinking about coming to Spain for international competitions… as the amount of foreign runners in Spain has already decreased in the last years, due to some more historical deadly mistakes of people who still hold important positions in the Spanish Orienteering Federation... As a consequence, most European runners are going only to Portugal every year. Something very reasonable and I feel happy for them.
But instead of focusing on the darker aspects of it, I will take this opportunity to state clearly that Spanish orienteering has a lot to offer, and that it shouldn’t be overshadowed for a mistake on one single day.
We’ve got forests whose leaves bloom in the month of June, karst beech forests, sand dunes, evergreen oak forests and “dehesas” (unknown for most of Europeans)with thousands of granite blocks of all sizes, limestone rock labyrinths, lots of particular relief areas… so it’s not just a country for pre-season races and sunny beaches.
This year you’ll have a good opportunity to see some of it in the “Cinco días-Five days” competition in Palencia http://www.o5dias.com/en This orienteering event is intended to offer enjoyable orienteering in different kinds of terrain in the very unknown areas (also for Spaniards) in the north of Palencia province, and also some kinds of “alternative” ways of orienteering (antiofficial http://www.o5dias.com/en/contenido/unofficial-courses)
On its first edition in 2009, it was quite a cross-border event and every participant was very satisfied with the races. Even when we were wearing our “Cinco días” t-shirts in other international competitions along these years, we were approached by people asking for a new edition of the five days (and only the unfortunate death of two of our very dear friends and masterminds of the event has prevented it to happen) So finally this summer you’ll have the opportunity to check out what Spain can also offer. I’d recommend everyone to keep an eye on it.