Why did you start practicing orienteering?
I began orienteering when my older sister (Laura Robertson) started during highschool. My family were all into athletics and cross country so it didn’t take long before my father got bored waiting in the car for Laura to finish her course and decided to try a course for himself. Shortly after, I ran my first orienteering courses and ever since, my whole family has been hooked. I was 11 years old when I started.
Can you tell us about an early memory of orienteering that you have?
My first memory of orienteering in New Zealand is that we had to draw the course onto our competition maps and the time that we took to draw was included in our competition time. As a competitive kid, I would often draw the course as quickly as possible and sometimes this would result in my control circle not being in the correct location. Thank goodness our courses are pre-printed now!
What is special with orienteering?
I think it is unique that my family can travel together to a competition. Compete in our individual classes at the event and then share our experience of the map together after the race.
Orienteering has also taken me to some beautiful and remote parts of the world. Orienteers don’t just travel to the capital cities of countries, but rather into the less explored areas where we get to see unique forests and landscapes, meet local people and experience more of the true culture of a country.
What is your advice to children and youths when it comes to practice orienteering?
Orienteer as much as possible! It doesn’t matter if you are competitive or if you just enjoy the nature. Either way, the more orienteering the better.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Ask an elite runner from your countr for some tips and advice. From my experience, top runners have always been willing to share some of their thoughts and insights toward training and competing.
What are your dreams when it comes to orienteering?
I hope that my passion for orienteering will continue as I get older. Although I won’t continue as an elite forever, I wish to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of young orienteers from New Zealand and around the world.