First Races in UK Elite League are the Northern Championships Weekend - Spring in Sheffield - 9th-10th March.
Picture: Overhead shot of a GB Runner orienteering
South London Orienteers have, with funding from Sport England, produced a series of eight short videos illustrating techniques used in orienteering. The videos are filmed in different locations and each is presented by a member of the GB Team. The aim of the series is to help juniors deal with more technically demanding courses, but these films can also be used to help newcomers to the sport. Each video focuses on a specific orienteering skill.
Videos are being released on Fridays (5 pm UK-time) in January and February.
Picture: Cat (GB top) and Hollie (Lakeland OC top)
The senior squad inaugural took place the weekend of the 1st-2nd December. This was a chance for the squad to get together, to celebrate the 2018 achievements, and to make plans for the coming year. Training started with some technical night-o in Haverthwaite on the Friday evening and then two forest sprints in Windermere on Saturday morning - one a mass start and one a chasing start to simulate the pressure and distractions of head to head relay running.
Picture: Kris Jones at the team medal ceremony (screen grab from TV)
The SPAR European Cross-Country Championships were in Tilburg, Netherlands on Sunday 9th December. Kris Jones had been called in as the sixth member of the GB & NI team earlier in the week. With only three to count the odds were probably against his counting for the team....
Kris was the second British finisher, coming 12th.
Photo: Southern Championships Forest, November 2018.
Dull November brings the blast; Then the leaves are whirling fast.
Sara Coleridge The Garden Year
In November, the 2019 GB Squad was announced. There was one major domestic race: the Southern Championships, which incorporated South London Orienteers' "OK Nuts" Trophy. The UK Elite Orienteering League announced its 2019 fixtures. Alasdair McLeod married, and the groom had company at a Parkrun that morning (and no, they didn't let him win as it's a time trial not a race.)
Photo: Hollie Orr at World Champs 2017, by Maprunner
With the international season over and only the last races of the 2018 season in Scandinavia before the snow comes, it is generally a quiet time for news. We do have a roundup of a few items of interest.
One is a run by JK Champion Hollie Orr, who wasn't at the World Champs this year, and has perhaps been doing as much fell running as orienteering recently. .
Warm weather trainng
British squad members Alex Carcas, Matt Fellbaum, Jonny Crickmore and Sasha Chepelin were in the Edinburgh University performance orienteering team (EUOC) attending a warm weather camp in Barbate, Andalucía, España. For a week they’d be switching the rain, wind and snow for the sun, skog and suspicious parents. The Edinburgh University Performance Orienteering team is funded by Winning Students and the University, to help the athletes to produce good results at the British University Championships and at international competitions.
Chris Smithard, last year's Senior Men's winner, pictured in the JK Sprint.
In the UK there are several “leagues” scoring over multiple races. The League that appeals to many runners in the open and top junior classes is concentrated in the main Spring season when most UK forests are at their best. Runners enjoy taking part in the top quality races where there are large fields and strong runners.
It is called the UK Elite Orienteering League. In 2019 the League will run for the fifth time. The races are within two months over five weekends, from a sprint race in early March to the British Champs in early May. The included weekends for 2019 are the Northern Championships Weekend, the Lakes Spring Weekend including the Red Rose Classic, the Scottish Spring, the JK Festival, and the British (Long) Championships. All but the last weekend include multiple scoring races. (The final league positions are best six scores from earlier rounds plus the final race.)
It is a quiet time for the international orienteering calendar. In Britain we must wait until next year for major events (except for one - the Southern Championships are on November 25th - with On The Red Line staff involved.)
So we look ahead to next year's calendar. The World Championships (WOC) are just the forest disciplines, as the new way of alternating forest and sprint begins. They are in Norway, so will be different from recent experience in Baltic countries. It is not a year for the biennial European Championships. And as in 2018 there are plenty of athletes aiming for the selections for World Cup Round 1 and the World Champs.