Here we bring the last of the interviews with the course planners. Now it is Jan Mrázek, who prepared those for the Sprint relays held in the Petřín area, scheduled on Friday.
Hi Jan, your position amongst organisers is a bit unusual. Last time at European Championship held in the Czech Republic (2016) you were in a position of a competitor. Tell me, was this amongst reasons that you were offered to plan the courses?
To be honest, I have no idea, you should ask David Aleš (event director - note). He was the one I got an invitation from. Maybe the reason was so that when I am unable to pass the course successfully, so I rather shall plan it. :) However in my opinion, I see it as an advantage. It is an advantage to see the situation from the position of a competitor, when it is a case of such top event, where some procedures are a bit specific.
I bet that you have planned many courses so far. However sprint relay championships take only place since 2014 in the Czech Republic, did you have chance to plan any course of this kind so far?
I haven’t got a chance to plan such a race yet. And if I consider this race and two sprints of the Czech Cup, for which I planned courses during recent year, I think I am going to have a rest from sprint now for some time.
When has the preparations started? Were you forced to make many changes, upon requirements from advisor, TV and above construction works taking place in the race area?
The first ideas were made on the older map. It had been about one and half year before that race. Not long after, I received a new version of a map and one year before the race, we finished almost the last version of the track, which we presented to the IOF advisor. During an autumn I run throught the coruses and tested the versions. Fortunately, I was successfull with suggestions of TV points positioning, therefore I almost didn´t have to change it anymore.
In the course of this year, we only solved details, technical issues and race center layout.
I suppose that the tracks has to be finished one week before the races (note – that is when the interview was done). But very probably you still made some changes until recently? Wasn't quite hectic? During the inspection of the race area at the turn of August and September, just the space of arena was turned into fenced area, with stores of construction material and diggers parking inside.
In January, I was quite shocked when I wasn´t able to find the race center between diggers and piles of material. However Jan Picek (technical director - note) assured me that until the end of June all would be away. Now, it is October and still some locations are under construction, however there is no issue, which would influence the race or require the courses to be changed.
Could you describe the system of the race?
It is sprint relay race consisting of four legs. Women run the first one and the last one. Eeach leg should last around 15 minutes. There will be the quarantine of course. Spectators can watch the races on TV and also on a big screen in the center area.
Yourself, you currently deal with quite an opposite to sprint races – you are now pointed to long cross-coutry and uphill races, perhaps even more than to orienteering. You just returned from Skyrunning World championships held in Scotland. Is it simply about new challenges and moving the horizonts and own capabilities?
Every year I make new chalenges. This year, it was the skyrunning races. I participated in two races of the World Cup on Canary Islands and on Madeira, as well. It is not so much about new horizonts are exploring my abilities – these races are not of so extreme kind. The main point is to compete in other environs with other competitors. But I feel I miss the classic orienteering in a forest a little bit. So I will take part in some races of this kind next year again.
So what's then your position towards the sprint orienteering races after all, do you like sprint orienteering still, is your speed still sufficient for that? And what is your opinion about the new orienteering disciplines and formats, not just knock-out sprint, but also sprint relay still can be considered as one of them?
I still like the sprint races, but I really miss sufficient speed :-) In my opinion, it was not good decision to separate World Championship into the forest races and sprint. The latters ideally complemented the forest races. I would prefer World Championships and European Championships taking place once per two years, alternating each other, with only one of them held in a year. It would be more prestigious then. Now, it looks like the IOF made an artificial section called sprint (even without exact idea what kind of discipilines shall take place). And now the competitors have actually to follow suit, as only few would not mind to take part at WOC only every other year. And for example, Daniel Hubmann proves, that both can be managed during one championships.
Questions by Petr Kadeřávek