By now many of you will have noticed our new Hobart based coach-in-residence Christoph (Chris) Prunsche at events and training sessions. From Germany, it’s Chris’s second visit to Tasmania, as he was also coach-in-residence in the 2015-2016 summer season. He liked it so much he came back—lucky for us!
We asked Chris to answer a few questions about himself to help the orienteering community get to know him a little better. So be sure to say hi to Chris at events, come along to training sessions and make the most of our time with him in Tasmania before he heads back home to Germany in February.
1. How long have you been orienteering and how did you start?
I did my first beginner's course at the age of 4 together with my parents and have been orienteering ever since; so pretty much my whole life. The first competition I ran by myself was in 2000 at the age of 8 in Denmark. I started mainly because of my parents, who are still into orienteering too.
2. What are your orienteering goals for the next few years?
Getting rid of my Achilles tendon injury is the most important thing, which is why I don't have any specific plans for next year. Apart from that my long-term goal is WOC 2021 in Czech Republic and certainly a lot of nice orienteering competitions before then.
3. What made you want to come back to Tasmania?
Mainly the beautiful nature which is so different to what I know from Germany or Europe and the friendly people and the orienteering community here in general. Apart from that it's nice for orienteering too and the job as a coach-in-residence is just the best possible practice for my job as a teacher of English and PE too. So there are actually quite a lot of different reasons, which all led to me enjoying my time here three years ago and made me want to come back now as well.
4. What do you do when you’re not orienteering or coaching?
I do a lot of other sports in general; here it's mostly road or mountain biking, but back home I do different team sports such as handball or soccer too. I'm also quite into walking and love to spend time with friends. And I do read a lot, as I find it's a good way to calm down and relax a bit.
5. How is orienteering in Germany different from orienteering in Tasmania/Australia?
It's actually not too different. Just like here it feels like one big orienteering family where you pretty much know everybody else. The biggest difference is probably that we don't have a Championship week like you have, but our Nationals are on different weekends throughout the season. So you normally drive there on Friday and then have competitions on Saturday and Sunday. And we normally all do sleep in a gym (so about 800 people in one gym is normal), which you get used to quite quickly and which is actually quite enjoyable.
6. What is your favourite orienteering area in Tasmania? Australia? The world?
In Tasmania and Australia it's definitely Pittwater (even though I have seen maps like Kooyora [Victoria] which look amazing - but I haven't been there yet). Pittwater is actually one of my absolute favourites. Another one would be the Curonian Spit in Lithuania - also open dune forest but even more detailed than Pittwater. Apart from that I often enjoy our typical German forests, which mainly have good runnability and are just fun to run in, but there are heaps of other amazing terrains all over Europe, like the Scandinavian forests, Czech sandstone terrains or the super-demanding forests near Clermont-Ferrand in France.