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STEEL FOCUS – Leif Blake competes in the sprint race at the Canadian orienteering championships in Perth, Ont. Last weekend. He won two races, placed second in the sprint and claimed bronze in the team relay. Photo by ADRIAN ZISSOS

Leif Blake bounds onto podium four times at national orienteering championships

Route choice cost Leif Blake an individual sweep at the Canadian orienteering championships in Perth, Ont. last weekend.

By Marissa Tiel on August 11, 2017

Route choice cost Leif Blake an individual sweep at the Canadian orienteering championships in Perth, Ont. last weekend.

Blake, 18, won the middle and long-distance races and was second in the sprint race.

The sprint, held in downtown Perth, included a water feature.

“Normally water features are out of bounds,” said Blake, who competes in the men’s 17-20 division.

On this map however, there was a section that was marked as passable. On his first crossing, the junior national team member opted to stay dry and go around, but he quickly realized it would be faster to go through. On his second crossing, he did just that, going in up to his knees.

Blake believes that a couple of his route choices, including that run around the water may have cost him the sprint title.

Nevertheless, he continued to look at the positives of his race.

“I had a pretty good run,” he said. “I’m fairly pleased with the race overall.”

The terrain around Perth was different from what he’s used to seeing around Whitehorse. He said it was hilly with open hardwood forest.

“It was quite intersting terrain. Quite varied,” he said. “Not too similar to anything I’d raced in before.”

He won the middle race and ended his competitive season with a solid long race.

“In the long, everything worked well,” he said. “I managed to nail control after control. It was a really nice note to end on.”

Blake also teamed up with Jennifer MacKeigan and Sabine Schweiger to race the fun relay after the individual races at nationals had wrapped up.

They placed third.

With two more years in the junior division, Blake is hoping to use this season as a building block for next year.

He knows the type of training he needs to do to be prepared for next season’s races.

Team Yukon’s other athletes’ results included: Jennifer MacKeigan (female 21-34), who was sixth in the sprint, eighth in the middle and fifth in the long; Sabine Schweiger (female 45+), who was fourth in the sprint, fourth in the middle and seventh in the long; Erik Blake (male 45+), who was 14th in the middle and 12th in the long; and Nesta Leduc (female 80+), who was first all three events.

MacKeigan and Leduc also raced at the Eastern Canadians. MacKeigan was third in the long and fourth in the middle, while Leduc was first in both events.

Comments (1)

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Gord Hunter on Aug 13, 2017 at 12:54 am

I'm from Ottawa and was at the orienteering championship events. Leif was not just good on his courses he was great. For the tough long course he had the best time of all the classes on his particular course, including beating Emily Kemp Canada's phenomenal elite woman who consistently finishes near the top at World Championships. You can replay his route and hers' at http://orienteering.ca/cgi-bin/reitti.pl?act=map&id=595/

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