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Race report from the 2011 World Masters in Hungary

Race Report from the 2011 World Masters Orienteering Championships in Hungary – Submitted by Ilona Dobos

Canada was represented at the 2011 World Masters Orienteering Championships by 4 Canadians – Val Duca, Sevastian Irimie, Peter Dobos and Ilona Dobos. All are members of the Stars orienteering club in Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario.

The Hungarian organizing team of 2011 World Masters Orienteering Club (WMOC) was all ears and eyes at the WMOC 2010 in Switzerland. They were determined to organize their event at the same level of efficiency, challenge and cultural interest. Whomever I talked with, they agreed that the Hungarians did and excellent job on all three levels.

The setting for the events was in the Mecsek mountains, a favourite orienteering terrain for many Europeans. It is an area pockmarked by sinkholes of various sizes, dry ditches, hilltops and rocks. The event centre was the newly built, very modern, university library (Knowledge Centre) in Pécs, a beautiful old city, designated as the UNESCO heritage city for 2010.

The sprint qualifier was in the old, partially walled-in city centre. To raise the level of challenge several courtyards, that are usually not open to the public, were left open for the occasion. The sprint final was held in Komló, a former mining town up in the hills.  At first glance it didn’t seem complex, but once you had the map, there were many nooks and crannies, stairways and ditches to pay attention to. Q1, Q2 and the Final were held on a terrain that was interesting and technical. The courses, at least mine and Peter’s, were well designed and challenging.

At each event the catering was Hungarian style quick food, the most popular being the lángos – light bread dough fried in oil. You could season it with salt and garlic, or have a more substantial topping of ham, cheese or sour cream. At the middle distance Q2 the smell of a pig being roasted greeted you near the finish line.


Pécs has several interesting galleries (Csontváry and Vasarely) and museums well worth the visit. A new exhibit of the famous Zsolnay ceramics opened in 2010: the László Gyugyi Collection: The Golden Age of Zsolnay. Although there was construction around the building, a guided tour could be arranged. It was well worth the effort and cost to see this amazing collection of ceramic art, some of them prize winners at world exhibits (the first gold medal won in Paris in the late 19th century). The second cultural highlight for me was an organ and trumpet concert at the St. Peter and Paul Basilica.  It is a huge cathedral that houses the largest organ in Hungary – it has 6000 pipes! The organ console sits in the middle of the sanctuary. The capability of this organ and organist was best displayed when he played BACH by Liszt Ferenc. The space around me was filled with sound.

As you can see, going to a WMOC is satisfying at many levels. We are looking forward to many more – the oldest age category is 95! Keep running!

The 2012 World Masters are in Germany, 2013 in Italy and the 2014 in Brazil.

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