chloe-potter-2023WCupNorway-middle-startChloe Potter on the start line

The second race of the 2023 World Cup was a middle distance. It was expected that the men's race could be won by any of a dozen runners and the women's race would be won by Tove Alexandersson, the current World Cup champion. Tove won the long race on Thursday and has been the outstanding athlete in this type of race for some years. Compared to those expectations both results were a surprise.

Tove Alexandersson only came second as her compatriot Sara Hagstrom ended 10 seconds ahead in the 35 minute race. It was very exciting. Tove was 5 seconds quicker at the penultimate control, less than a minute from the finish. At the same time Sara Hagstrom was being interviewed as the big screen showed drone and fixed camera footage of Tove coming through the last control and dashing over the line, as the seconds ticked down.

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TVinterview-2023wcup1-longA TV interview at the first race of the 2023 World Cup in Norway

The first race of the 2023 World Cup was a long (target winning times: 82 minutes women, 90 minutes men.) It was expected that Scandinavian runners would be the strongest in the Nordic terrain and so it proved.

In the women's race Tove Alexandersson (82:07) and Sara Hagstrom (83:02) of Sweden were one-two, with Marie Olaussen of Norway taking third place. Full Results.

In the men's race Kasper Fosser (88:06) of Norway finished 3 seconds and 9 seconds respectively ahead of the Swedes Emil Svensk and Martin Regborn. It was very, very close. Full Results

Official Results

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sasha-chepelin-and-megan-carter-davies_JK23JK2023 Overall Winners, Sasha Chepelin and Megan Carter-Davies

The four days of the Easter JK Weekend enjoyed lovely conditions in the Lake District. The weekend included World Ranking Events in Sprint, Middle and Long, and then forest relays on the final day, Easter Monday.

Congratulations to Sasha Chepelin (Interlopers) and Megan Carter-Davies (Swansea Bay OC) the overall champions. Megan took the win on all three Women's Open elite courses, but her club Swansea Bay were not able to retain the JK Women's Trophy. Sasha won the Men's Open elite middle race and was second to Joshua Dudley in the long. He anchored Interlopers to the JK Trophy win, coming from fifth place (90 seconds off the lead) at the start of the last leg.

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mapclipHighDam_2021High Dam mapclip, from Routegadget

The JK Weekend is upon us, the biggest of major events for all UK orienteers. This year it's again in some of the most delightfully scenic and challenging terrain in the country, and a great weekend is in prospect. The elite race fields are both encouragingly large and look very strong. Four successive days of top competition is very tiring so it is not unusual to see several of the top runners choosing not to run (or not to fully run) the long race on the third day, especially if they have been injured during the winter.

As in 2015 the weekend is hosted by the North-West Association at Lancaster University (Sprint) and in the southern Lake District. On Friday (7th) it's the sprint, on Saturday the middle at High Dam, and on Sunday the long distance at Bigland. All are World Ranking Events (WRE). The weekend rounds off with relays at Dale Park on Easter Monday.

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peter-taylor-bray_BOC23_cr_WCPeter Bray, running in after 17.8km and 480m climb, photo: Wendy Carlyle

The new British Champions are Peter Taylor-Bray and Julie Emmerson.who took the wins in the open classes at the British Long Champs on Saturday 25th March 2023.

The races were in rolling mixed woodland at Cold Ash in Berkshire, as used for the JK2019 Long Race.

The day afterwards, the British Relay races were held at Hambleden Woods near Henley-on-Thames. The premier class relays were won by the Coventry club Octavian Droobers (men) and Edinburgh University (women).

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ColdAsh_mapclipCold Ash Mapclip, from Routegadget

The British Long Champs are next Saturday 25th March, in rolling mixed woodland of Southern England at Cold Ash in Berkshire, as used for the JK2019 Long Race.

There's a good entry and the men's race in particular looks very competitive. A few though are saving their powder for two weeks later in the rockier terrain of the Lake District, when it's GB selection races.

Courses at the British are much the same length as in 2019: W21E has 12.2km, 285m climb, compared to 12.1km + 340m, M21E has 17.8km + 480m compared to 17.8km + 500m. This could be the last British with such a short winning time on the women's, and such a long winning time on the men's.

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WelomcetoColdAsh2023photo:Jane Courtier, from the British Champs website

While we're waiting, let's mention the IOF World Federation League Table and pose a few questions (for your personal amusement, no prizes.) This decides how many runners a country can enter in an individual World Cup Race. There are separate tables for men and women, combining forest and sprint.

If you've kept interest this far you can probably say what are the top four countries in the tables. But how about a guess for their order (it has changed in the last year)? And how about who's fifth, and where GB stands in each table?

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CUOC_Icenian_2023_byDikNgDuncan Birtwistle leads off the Men's Open at the Icenian Sprints UK Elite League Race, photo:Dik Ng

March is here and with it the British Championships, Long and Relay weekend. The Long is at Cold Ash, venue for the JK Long Race in 2013 (Matt Speake, Cat Taylor quickest) and 2019 (Chris Smithard, Megan Carter-Davies quickest.) The relays are at Hambleden, venue for the British Nights 2020 on the eve of the pandemic, and the JK Middle Race in 2013.

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graham-gristwood-long031022_red_CAGraham Gristwood was the highest placed GB runner at last Autumn's World Cup Final Middle race in Switzerland, photo: Christian Aebersold

Experience counts for a lot in orienteering. That was very evident in last year's results from the GB team.

We look forward to four major international foot-O meetings in 2023, and five in 2024, the latter including the Home World Championships in Edinburgh. The tremendous GB success at last year's sprint World Champs is evidence of real strength in the team. And this year there's an almost entirely unchanged group of athletes, with a great deal of experience amongst the older runners. One of the challenges for management and coaches is the differing needs of athletes. The many experienced athletes know what works for them, and they'll be the ones aiming at the target results (top 20, top 10, podium, medal.)

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fiona-bunn-wcuplong_20221003Fiona Bunn finishes the long race in a "new best time", photo: On The Red Line

The 2022 international season finished with three forest races in Switzerland on 1st-3rd October. It was Round 3, the final one, of the World Cup for 2022. Saturday was relays, Sunday was middle distance, and Monday was the long races. They were on the steep slopes of alpine valleys in the east of Switzerland, with two of the starts reached by cable car.

The international racing was well attended, with over a hundred runners in each individual race. This was partly because next year's World Championships will be held a little to the west, in Flims Laax, in July and there were training camps running after the competition.

At the same arenas there were public races on Saturday and Sunday too so there were plenty of crowds. As ever, the Swiss team were well prepared for races on home terrain.

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prevMapDavos

The international season draws to a close with three forest races in Switzerland on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. It's Round 3, the final one, of the World Cup for 2022. Saturday is forest relays, Sunday is middle distance races, and Monday is the long races. The venue is Davos Klosters, best known for World Economic Forum Conference, near the Austrian border. The terrain is Alpine, high up with plenty of climb (of course) and it might snow.

Next year's World Championships will be held a little to the west, in Flims Laxx, in July 2023.

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