NZmapImage: Lonely Mountain Sprints location (image from the event website)

In this the first year of a sprints only World Orienteering Championship it seems that in January it has been the team's sprinters that have been making the news.

Peter Hodkinson, Jonny Crickmore and Chris Smithard were amongst other internationals taking part in the Lonely Mountain Sprint Series in New Zealand. There is a great report, with photos and maps, at orienteering NZ.

There was a knockout sprint. (If you are not familiar with the knockout sprint format South London Orienteers' have a description, written after 2019 World Cup Round 3 in Laufen, Switzerland.)

The women's final was won by Laura Robertson, the New Zealand athlete based in Edinburgh where she is a member of Edinburgh Southern (Laura is in the Top-10 of the UK National Rankings.)

The men's final was won by Peter Hodkinson, ahead of local runner Joe Lynch. Also in the final were Jonny Crickmore, and the French international Frederic Tranchand, who has two World Championship medals in the individual sprint.

And there were two individual sprints, both on the same day. Winners here were New Zealand runners Lizzie Ingham and Tim Robertson (Tim was second, two seconds behind Daniel Hubmann, in the World Championships Sprint Race in a wet and crowded Riga city centre in 2018.) Second behind Tim were Peter Hodkinson in one of the races and Chris Smithard in the other.

In the UK many of the orienteers have been running Cross-Country (XC) - which is a much bigger sport than orienteering. One of many videos of a Cross-Country race.

The standout achievement was Kris Jones winning the Stirling Cross-Challenge - which was also the Home Countries International. There is a great report with video at Athletics Weekly Stirling Cross Challenge. How it looked from that muddy course: Kris's blog on Attackpoint.

The English Nationals are on February 22nd in Wollaton Park Nottingham.

The county and regional championships were in January.

Alice Leake was twelfth in the Northern Championships, helping her Leeds City A.C. club take the team win - Instagram picture. Charlotte Ward was also high up, Hallamshire Harriers' second runner in 25th place.

In the County Championships three weeks earlier there were high places for several orienteers

In the Yorkshire XC Champs Alice was tenth, and Charlotte twenty-third. Aidan Smith was 19th in the men's race.

Incidentally you can hear Charlotte on the Run-In podcast - the UK's Orienteering Podcast.

In Northants, JK Sprint Champion Will Gardner was fourth and Duncan Birtwistle ninth. In Sussex Jack Leitch won. In Surrey Ralph Street was second behind current British Relay Champion Dane Blomquist. Dane-Ralph

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