The GB team who were "fourth nation" at World Cup Round 1, photo:Rob Lines
There are eight athletes, four men and four women, running for GB at this year's World Championships in Denmark. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay..
There are three race days.
All the GB athletes raced in World Cup Round 1 in Sweden last month, and the photos below are from that competition. Thanks to Rob Lines for most of them. Rob's gallery of orienteering photographs is on Flickr.
Bulletin-3 is a full summary of what's going on (there is also a Bulletin-4 which goes into detail for the teams e.g. permitted routes to car parking.)
As usual all the races are televised. If you're not in a country where a national broadcaster is carrying the Championships, such as for example the UK, then the internet service Live Orienteering is what you need.
(Countries where TV is broadcasting the races: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic and France.)
Before, during and after the races the On The Red Line Twitter feed, coming from the race locations, will inform and entertain from a GB point of view. For example here's part one of Murray's interview at the end of the final race of World Cup Round 1.
@GBRorienteering coach @murraystraining talks with @kathbett about the team’s performance in Borås and looking forward to next month’s WOC in Denmark. (Pt 1/2) #orienteeringworldcup pic.twitter.com/tH3ZwmhO5t— On The Red Line (@OnTheRedLineO) May 29, 2022
As you will hear repeatedly, this is the first World Champs dedicated to the sprint formats. For one of the formats, the knockout sprint, this is the first time it is contested as a WOC race. A sprint only WOC is a concept that was already a long time in the making before COVID added a two year delay. Denmark was awarded these championships in 2016, before On The Red Line was a gleam. When we did start, in Spring 2018, this Summer of 2022 was a distant, rosy future - a home World Champs in our best formats - as the second sprint World Champs would be taking place in Edinburgh. (These are now scheduled for 2024.)
Denmark is a country of nearly 6 million people in a land area twice the size of Wales. It has low elevation and a lot of arable land. There are hundreds of islands, some of which are very big. Wikipedia says "Denmark is a highly developed country with a high standard of living: the country performs at or near the top in measures of education, health care, civil liberties, democratic governance and LGBT equality." It is the member of the EU with the most opt-outs now that Britain has left (it is currently re-considering the defence opt-out.).
Denmark has hosted WOC twice before, in 1974 and 2006. The country hosted the Junior World Championships (JWOC) in 1995, 2010 and 2019. In 2019 Grace Molloy, who is in the GB team this year, won three medals, the relay gold with Fiona Bunn and Megan Keith, and the bronzes for sprint and long. More on the 2010 JWOC below.
Denmark is not unlike Britain when it comes to orienteering and the history of World Championships. Many of the top runners join Swedish or Norwegian clubs; and you will see few clubs except OK Pan Århus running teams at the major club relays TioMila and Jukola. In Internationals, their runners tend to be aiming for top-20s and podiums as much as medals, but they have their chances and sometimes the chances come off. Much of the obvious difference in the stats, which show Denmark has won many more medals than GB (29 to 11), comes from one truly outstanding athlete: Maja Alm is the winner of seventeen World Champs medals including the sprint bronze last year. She has lots going on outside orienteering at the moment Maja Alm Instagram.
Britain is comparatively stronger in sprint than in the forest. The team is always getting top20s in individual sprint, and a podium in the sprint relay. Despite that, getting in the top three for a medal is very, very hard. There are though good reasons to say there are chances again this year: athletes have been going well, they are experienced and will be well-prepared. Kris has been close in the past and he won a bronze in the European Champs Sprint in 2018. He surely would have been top three in Borås had he not had to dib each control after the run-through. Kris, Megan and Ralph have all won medals in World Cup sprint races in the last few years. And the Sprint Relay team is always in with a chance, although GB has not yet finished higher than 4th in a World Cup or World Champs. In all of the last five international races (since mid-2019) Sweden, Switzerland and Norway have, in some permutation, taken the top three spots.
The GB Team is Alice Leake (AIRE), Charlotte Ward (HALO), Grace Molloy (FVO), Jonathan Crickmore (SYO), Kris Jones (FVO), Megan Carter-Davies (SBOC), Nathan Lawson (OD) and Ralph Street (SLOW).
All have run at WOC before. Five of the team ran last year's WOC, with Alice fourth in the individual sprint and Megan sixth in the long race. Our report on the 2021 World Champs. Charlotte and Kris last ran WOC in 2018. For Kris it was the year when the rain and a complex alleyway in Riga spoilt his medal chances in the individual sprint - he was still 10th. His best year for results was 2016 when he was 4th in the Individual Sprint and the Sprint Relay and the Forest Relay. And Jonny has had a five-year break.
Four of the team, Alice, Charlotte, Kris and Ralph go back to running in the GB home WOC in 2015. Kris and Ralph had made their debuts in 2013, the year Scott Fraser won the sprint silver, the last time a medal was won by a GB athlete at a World Champs. Alice and Charlotte debuted in 2015 in the individual sprint. Megan and Jonny ran WOC in 2017. And for Grace and Nathan last year's WOC was their first.
With this being a sprint-only WOC the team balance has shifted: the team has fewer athletes based abroad and fewer alumni of the Scottish Junior programmes: Which is not to say there is no Scottish element. Grace is Scottish, Alice went to Edinburgh University, and Kris lives in Dundee but is Welsh. Megan is also Welsh, and lives in Wales. The other five are English, and only Ralph lives abroad. Alice and Charlotte are from Yorkshire, Jonny and Ralph from the South-east, and Nathan from the Midlands. All from time to time use their running ability outside orienteering. They have county cross-country vests, park run achievements, good results in trail and fell races, and noteable road and track times. Kris in particular has been hugely successful away from orienteering, with a European Cross-Country team silver medal, a GB track vest, and a 63:05 half-marathon.
AT WOC level, Alice, Charlotte and Nathan are sprint-focused, and although Jonny's previous WOC run was in the long he is no stranger to sprint with two British titles in recent years. Grace, Kris, Megan and Ralph have run both forest and sprint.
Three of the selected Sprint Relay team, Charlotte, Kris and Megan, ran with Peter Hodkinson to win the World Universities Sprint Relay in 2016.
As noted above Grace won three medals at JWOC 2019 in Denmark.
In 2010 Denmark hosted JWOC, and the British team included Kris Jones and Ralph Street. They already knew each other when they met in a car park in Sheffield as they started University in September 2009, but that marked the time when their orienteering paths became close. With Chris Smithard, Dave Schorah, John Rocke and others in ShUOC there was plenty happening, and in Graham Gristwood they had a mentor. They won the JK Relay and the Harvester in 2010. The club staged the Harvester the next year, Chris organising, Kris mapping and Ralph co-planning (with Laura Goy née Daniel.) In the years since their paths have coincided several times, and they have got on a WOC relay podium together three times (two forest, 1 sprint). They had a noteable 1-2 on Jukola's first leg in 2018. Results of Jukola first leg 2018 .
The 2010 JWOC had many names who would become well-known at full international level. Ida Bobach and Tove Alexandersson won the D21 individual golds. Matthias Kyburz won his 4th JWOC medal, bronze in the long. Gaute Steiwer won the middle. Yannick Michiels, Lucas Basset and Florian Howald were running. Wonderfully, Kris won the sprint silver, then only the second time a Briton had won a medal at JWOC. Ralph's best result was 7th in the Middle: and a couple of lads who would go on to run at the sharp end of TioMila and Jukola in 2022 were there too: Gustav Bergman and Albin Ridefelt were 4th and 5th.
Here's a photo of Kris and Ralph from back then, and also one of Albin and Gustav:
In alphabetical order. Please click on the picture for our athlete profile page.
Alice is a member of Airienteers.
Charlotte is a member of Humberside & Lincolnshire Orienteering.
Grace is a member of Forth Valley Orienteers.
Jonny is a member of South Yorkshire Orienteers.
Megan is a member of Swansea Bay Orienteering Club.
Nathan is a member of Octavian Droobers.
Ralph is a member of South London Orienteers.