Matt Image: Matt Speake, photo by Karl Orud for WOC 2019 Norway

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 there was in 2018 there are plenty of athletes aiming for the selections for World Cup Round 1 and the World Champs.

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mcd Photo: Megan Carter-Davies, WOC2018 Middle Race, courtesy of Janis Ligats / WOC2018 Latvia

With four disciplines to run, I thought the major challenge of the week would be physical: making sure I was in good condition at every start line. Of course, I've raced hard at the JK and World Uni's day after day so I knew I could cope well enough.

Anyway, it transpired that the biggest challenge I would face would be mental.

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al Photo: Alice Leake in the current leader's chair at World Champs Sprint Final, Riga 2018, by Maprunner

On The Red Line editorial. On Saturday 4th August, after qualification races earlier in the day, the World Champs (WOC) Sprint Final took place in Old Town Riga, Latvia, and Alice Leake, the current British Women's Sprint Champion, came eighth. Alice made her WOC debut three years ago, and in previous years was 35th, 22nd and 22nd. She said on Twitter "8th in the world. What is even happening." It was the highest position by an individual British athlete at the 2018 World Champs. It's the fifth best British Women's sprint result at WOC ever. Like many of her fellow athletes Alice combines full-time work with her orienteering and time and money are precious. The Riga race was rightly hailed as "a breakthrough performance".

Alice explains what happened.

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mapExtract Image: section from a previous map

Followers of the GB Orienteers need to have their eyes in more than one place this coming weekend, with World Cup forest races taking place in Norway ( starting on Friday, preview - World Cup Round 3 ) and the British Sprint and the British Middle Distance Championships being hosted by the South West Orienteering Association, Bristol Orienteering Klub and North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club.

Saturday is the sprints, Sunday the middle distance.

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mapExtract Image: from the special notes explaining the lower service area level at Bath University.

Followers of the GB Orienteers need to have their eyes in more than one place this coming weekend, with World Cup forest races taking place in Norway ( starting on Friday, preview - World Cup Round 3 ) and the British Sprint and the British Middle Distance Championships being hosted by the South West Orienteering Association, Bristol Orienteering Klub and North Gloucestershire Orienteering Club, near Bath.

Saturday is the sprints, Sunday the middle distance.

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Alasdair Photo: by Steve Rush, Ali McLeod running in to win the JK this year

Many of the GB team travelling to Latvia have a single race at the World Championships that they are training for. This situation will influence the preparation and training for the weeks beforehand. The ideas below may help when you are thinking about an important race for you, be it the forthcoming World Masters, a home internationals, your club championships, or looking ahead at a particular championship race next year.

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woc2018team Photo Composition: GB WOC Team 2018 by On The Red Line

The World Championships are in Latvia with races from 4th - 11th August. They are also Round 2 of the 2018 World Cup.

WOC Bulletin-3.

An IOF article in January is entitled

A very special WOC on a very special year for Latvia

The championships in Latvia will be 35th WOC and the last one in modern history of orienteering with both sprint and forest races on the programme.

The British team is quite large, with seven women and seven men, all members of the senior squad.

Of the fourteen athletes, three are selected for sprint only, three for sprint and forest, and eight for forest only. We noted in our 'one race' article how half the team, seven athletes, are concentrating on a single race.

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mapExtract Round 3 of the 2018 World Cup takes place in Østfold, Norway on 31st August and the 1st and 2nd September. It is "pre-WOC" as the 2019 World Orienteering Championships are in the same south-eastern part of Norway. 2019 is a year for a forest championships.

Description of how to follow the races live

The round includes a shortened long distance race, a prologue + pursuit, and a relay.

More detail in World Cup Round 3, Bulletin-3.

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map-this-item Image: Training Map Extract: 2018 Latvia

On The Red Line editorial - Charlotte wrote about other team members making a trip to join her in Latvia and run the test races organised by WOC. Several of the nations who will win medals use these as selection races so they re high quality. Jess wrote this article on Friday morning before the Sprint Test. Yesterday was the Middle test race. Today Sunday is the long test. There are live results and GPS.

Training Trip Latvia

Some of the team have travelled to Latvia for a pre-camp to suss out the terrain and prepare for the World Championships in less than a month’s time. There’s no point being in your best shape if you don’t know the faster lines to run, the best ways to attack the controls or what constitutes a good route choice.

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map-this-item Image: Map Extract: 2017 World Cup Latvia Middle Race

Learning in Latvia - Preparing for the WOC Middle Race

At the beginning of the year I applied to the athlete support fund for a grant to spend an extended period of time training in Latvia prior to the World Championships. We already knew that the terrain would be similar to the World Championships 2017 in Estonia. Having raced the Long there I felt I could have done much better if I had gone and spent some time learning about the terrain beforehand. Looking to other members of the team who had got better results than me, and other top athletes, it became clear that all those winning medals at WOC spend considerable time training in relevant terrain. The athlete support fund very kindly gave me a grant and I was selected for WOC middle so I was all set to go. I must also thank the North West Orienteering Association for their support on this training camp as well.

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