On The Red Line is an independent site that aims to help top British orienteering athletes get more of the attention and support that we feel they should have. You do not get good at orienteering without a lot of hard smart work. We think the athletes are wonderful in the way they work at and excel at the challenges offered in different terrains and disciplines, showing their skill and fitness, and exemplify the main qualities demanded in orienteering:
resilience, self reliance and determination.
In so doing we hope we are showing what a great sport orienteering is, and so helping to develop it.
TV coverage of major orienteering events, with English language commentary, can be an enthralling experience. The action is illustrated with many cameras, often including an athlete's persepctive, and by skilful use of GPS tracking.
Also, many of the athletes write well about orienteering, their training and their personal experiences, not just on physical and technical matters, but often very much on the themes of self-awareness and strength of mind that characterise our sport.
We hope this site enables orienteers and others who are interested to learn more about he athletes who represent GB in the senior international programme. To follow their training and competitions, to find out about other activities they pursue, and most important follow and support their progress when they wear the GB colours in the international competition calendar.
The international programme is based on a calendar year and typically consists of four internationals, each in a different country, and each featuring multiple races. It includes a World Championships (which is described as the main competitive focus for the GB team), a European Championships, and two other "World Cup" Rounds.
Most athletes who run for GB at the major internationals are members of the senior squad. Nearly all squad activity is online. (It is not necessary to be a squad member to be selected to run for GB and it brings no financial benefit per se.) Since 2021, with support from the Orienteering Foundation, there is a funded "aspiring elites" programme for selected athletes under-25.
The main races we follow in the UK are the events these athletes run in, especially British Championships and the JK (which usually includes races designated for selections.) We also support and take an interest in the UK Elite Orienteering League.
There are two other races that many of the athletes run in that we like to follow: Sweden's TioMila relay and Finland's Venla/Jukola (the biggest races in the World!)
If you want to know more about orienteering we strongly suggest getting in touch with your local orienteering club. The thing is, whilst orienteering is "a sport for all" in that certainly almost everyone can join in, in practice it doesn't suit everyone - and having a go, with your local club, is for most the best way to see if the sport is for you. For the UK an index of clubs is available:
Clubs Index (Index of Club and Association sites).
For the UK, Orienteering's National Governing Body is the British Orienteering Federation.
For newcomers we suggest a local club site ( as above) will probably be a better starting point because the Federation site site covers a very broad area with a main purpose of providing reference material for experienced orienteers and event organisers.
For Scotland, please see Scottish Orienteering.
For Northern Ireland.
On the Red Line started at the beginning of the 2018 season. Both the squad and international programme structures have changed since then, and of course COVID forced big changes, for example allowing not much more than a token GB presence at the 2021 European Champs.
We had learnt in 2017, through work for a funding appeal specific to that year's World Champs, there was significant goodwill towards and interest in the GB runners. But also that we were lacking a practical way to follow them through their clubs, competitions, and day to day training. The team that would launch this site attended the World Champs, well they were in Estonia, and reported on the GB team before during and after in various ways, building in many cases on what the athletes were writing anyway.
We believe that increased awareness of our international team will be a good thing for the sport's development, especially with younger people, the next generation of orienteering athletes.
On The Red Line was set up by the Maprunner Team and Sarah Brown of South London Orienteers Sarah@slow.org.uk.
We acknowledge with thanks the work of the photographers who have granted permission for us to use their work here. Many of the photographs are our own, some are not and we acknowledge these in the text near to the photograph or in the title. We particularly thank Robert Lines for use of pictures from his extensive collection cataloguing lots of exciting moments in orienteering in recent years. We also thank other enthusiastic and regular photographers Steve Rush and Wendy Carlyle. Thanks too to Hannu Kaasalainen for several of the pictures used in the athlete profiles. They were taken during World Cup Round 1 in Finland in 2017 - celebrating 100 years of Finnish independence. The splendid photo of the JK assembly field in stormy weather that is sometimes used in the scrolling images on the home page is by the Swiss orienteer Valérie Suter, a former member of SLOW, who was controller of the final race in the World Cup 2017 - the sprint relay in Grindelwald.