Run race 1:10:53  **** 7.6 km (9:20 / km) +340m 7:37 / km
It was a sunny day in the late autumn of 1991, at a map just to the south-east of Bungendore, ostensibly the ACT Long-O, with mass start, but no-one expected the winning time for a 16km course to be anywhere near two hours. In the blue corner: the dominant Australian orienteer of the time, who was coming off winning Easter by 15 minutes. In the red: a final-year junior who'd had a go at making the WOC team but hadn't quite got there in the Easter trials. The pace was fast and the pack quickly thinned out; by late in the first of two loops, the last remaining competitors had fallen off the back and it was down to two. The first move was made when the younger of the two didn't stop for a drink at the map change, but the 50-metre gap thus obtained was swallowed by the next control, and from there surges were traded to the last control, still with a kilometre run-in to the finish. They hit that control together, but the one big disparity between them was in finishing speed, and that settled it. The 16km had been run in 76; the last 6 in 26, the last kilometre in 3.15 (at least by the winner).
It took me another year to claim Jock's scalp for the first time (bizarrely, at an ACT badge event the morning after my 21st), but Turallo Creek 1991 will always rank high on my list of career highlights - and certainly the best head-to-head duel.
22 years later and a couple of kilometres to the north-east, we once again went out together on the second leg of the relays. Turallo 1991 this wasn't - our kilometre rates were roughly double this time (and only half of that could be attributed to the terrain). This time round Jock was significantly faster and the only reason it stayed a contest for two-thirds of the course was that he lost more time at 2 than I did at 1.
I took the straight-over-the-top route on the long first leg, taking my cue from Simon Uppill's post-race interview where he said it was clearly the fastest option, but I'm not sure that that was the case for my control, which was six contours lower than the other split; I would, I think, have been better off minimising climb, if only for the sake of not throwing my back at such a challenge first up. (In any case I lost a minute on the control, once again having trouble telling the difference between big and small rock). That was my last navigational time loss of any consequence - although I was pretty unsure going into 7 and was saved by seeing the flag and others punching it - but was plodding throughout, and didn't run anywhere near as much of the hill into 9 as I would have liked. Went out thinking I didn't have a hope of getting us through inside the mass start, and I didn't, but the 15-minute delay to it meant I wasn't far away. Simon Rouse had a decent run to bring us home in 10th. Ribs a non-issue today, at least outwardly, although there was still some intuitive tentativeness, I'm sure.