British Champs This Weekend

ph2Photo: Peter Hodkinson, the 2018 men's champion, with the (heavy) trophy.

This coming holiday weekend it is the British (Classic Distance) Championships, and also the British Mixed Sprint Relays and the British Relays. The three days are hosted by the Yorkshire & Humberside Orienteering Association.

  • May 4th: British Mixed Sprint Relays, Bradford University.
  • May 5th: British Long Distance Championships, Arncliffe & Kilsey North,
  • May 6th: British Relay Championships, Middleton Park, Leeds.

Final Details.

On The Red Line report from last year's championships in the Highlands.

British Individual Champs

The individual championships race are on open moorland.

It ... is typical Dales limestone. It is almost entirely open, with extensive areas of pasture, some featureless, some with very detailed contouring. Runnability varies considerably, but is mostly good. There is a lot of rock.

Peter Hodkinson, last year's men's champion is in the start list, but Jo Shepherd, last year's women's champion isn't. If you saw her interview after her run at TioMila last weekend you will know that her eyes are now very much on August's World Championships quite near her home and work in Halden, Norway. (and if you saw our interview with Peter you will know that he has a similar focus, the difference being he is based in Britain.)

As we saw with the JK Long Race just over a week ago, between outright injuries and managing rehabiliation, it is likely not everyone will take their place on the start line.

The women have 11.2km and 510m of climb (winning time 70-80 minutes), the men 16.1km with 655m of climb (winning time 90-100 minutes).


Last 10 Women's Starters
  • 12:10 Kirstin Maxwell
  • 12:16 Chloe Haines
  • 12:19 Fay Walsh
  • 12:22 Sarah Jones
  • 12:25 Hollie Orr
  • 12:28 Grace Molloy
  • 12:31 Megan Carter-Davies
  • 12:34 Cecilie Andersen
  • 12:37 Alice Leake
  • 12:40 Cat Taylor
Last 10 Men's Starters
  • 12:53 Murray Strain
  • 12:56 Mark Nixon
  • 12:59 Will Gardner
  • 13:02 Peter Bray
  • 13:05 Alasdair McLeod
  • 13:08 Chris Smithard
  • 13:11 Ben Mitchell
  • 13:14 Matt Speake
  • 13:17 Sasha Chepelin
  • 13:20 Peter Hodkinson

British Mixed Sprint Relays

I think Mixed Sprint Relays are a great day out for runners and spectators both, and are also likely to appeal to newcomers to the sport with a running background. Also that they'd combine well on the British Sprints weekend, allowing the Middles to move to a tme of year with less undergrowth.

They have been going since a trial staging in 2016, but these are the first year entries (in the international format race for 2 men + 2 women, rather than one of the three person classes) have reached double figures. There are 24 teams from 19 clubs entered. Maybe they are catching on, but looking at the clubs that have entered it seems rather that the central location and scheduling with the other races is the main reason for the pickup.

The terrain is Bradford University Campus. Campuses are typical British Sprint terrain, and Bradford seems an excellent and exciting venue because the site is undulating with different levels, underpasses and sets of steps.

Forth Valley Orienteers won the trial in 2016, and also the championship races in 2017 and 2018. In 2017 there were six teams running. Nottinghamshire came second and Sheffield University third. Last year, whilst there were five teams only two were challengers. So Forth Valley will start favourites this year, but perhaps one of the local clubs Airienteers or South Yorkshire, or one of the Universities (Edinburgh, Cambridge and Sheffield all run) or indeed someone else can give them a race.


British Relay Championships

These races take place in Middleton Park, Leeds, an area of mixed woodland including 270 bowl-shaped pits from early coal mining. Previous map on routegadget.

Splendidly the arena is in a sports stadium, and the premier classes have a spectator loop passing through. It should create a great atmosphere.

There are 22 men's premier entries, and nine for the women's premier. Last year Forth Valley won both these races too.


ValeriePictureKilnsey, three years ago (credit: Valérie Suter)

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