ggGraham Gristwood starts the WOC long distance (credit: Philip Gristwood)

Over the last two weeks, in the middle of an Østfold forest previously unused for orienteering, the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2019 organisation has built a spectacular arena. Today it was filled with crowds watching the classic distance in pleasant August sunshine. The 16.6km men's course was won by the Norwegian Olav Lundanes in just over 90 minutes, and the 11.7km women's race by the Swede Tove Alexandersson in 69 minutes.

Britain had two runners in each race. The men's race was first.

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team

A sport's World Championships aren't just about medals. They are an occasion when the sport celebrates its attraction and strengths, and shows the top level of the sport to those who take part at any level and to a wider audience.

Expect therefore that next week the International Orienteering Federation will say how many countries are taking part, and for all the competitions to have features that help make a spectacle. So for example there will be some easier controls sited with TV in mind - there will be many other tougher controls out of sight of the cameras. (The championships are carried live by Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Estonian National TV, as well as by Web-TV - just 10 euro for the three days.)

Nevertheless it might be interesting to think about the destination of the 18 medals.

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olijohnson Oli Johnson (who was sixth) coming into the finish field of Day 3's World Ranking Race (credit: Wendy Carlyle)

This year's Scottish 6-Days Orienteering top classes were won by Chris Smithard and Lizzie Ingham.

The World Ranking Events on days 3 (middle) and 5 (long) were won by GB World Champs 2019 team members Graham Gristwood and Cat Taylor.

Overall Results - all classes

M21E Tracking - Day 3

W21E Tracking - Day 3

M21E Tracking - Day 5

W21E Tracking - Day 5

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GGPH Graham Gristwood and Peter Hodkinson at the last control (On the Red Line)

The World Ranking Middle Distance World Ranking Races at Dundur on Day 3 of this year's Scottish 6-Days Orienteering were won by Graham Gristwood and Cat Taylor. Graham was the final starter of 68 and caught two minutes on the penultimate starter Peter Hodkinson at control 17; they ran the last part of the course together for positions 1 and 2. Alastair Thomas, still an M20, ran very well to take third. Second behind Cat was the Norway-based New Zealander Lizzie Ingham, and Fay Walsh was third.

All Results

M21E Tracking

W21E Tracking

Livestream Replay

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Graham left the squad at the start of 2019 so as to avoid any potential clash with his role as Technical Director for the 2022 World Champs which will be held in Edinburgh. He continues to be available for forest selection. After winning the British Nights early in 2018 he spent the rest of the year...

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team The nine athletes of the Great Britain Team for the 2019 World Champs. Credits: Matt Speake by Karl Orud, Jo Shepherd by WOC2018 Latvia, Charlotte Watson and Megan Carter-Davies by South London Orienteers (from the "Get up to Speed" videos), others by On The Red Line

The Great Britain Team for the 2019 World Championships includes nine athletes, all of whom have run WOC before. The championships include middle and long (classic) distance, plus relays.

World Championships Website.

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Day2 PrizewinnersJK2019 Middle Distance Prizewinners, credit: Iain Shepherd

The 2019 took place in central Southern England from April 19th - 22nd.

  • Friday was a World Ranking Sprint Race at Aldershot Garrison
  • Saturday was a World Ranking Middle Distance Race at Old Windmill Hill
  • Sunday was a Long Distance Race at Cold Ash
  • Monday was the JK Relays, the biggest UK relays competition, at Minley.

The weather was exceptionally warm and dry, and everything about the competition was very good, except the results service and timing which were not up to it.

(It's late Tuesday evening now, and "All results are now under review and will be published as soon as they are validated.")

W21ETop three in the Women's Overall enjoying the weather, credit: Iain Shepherd

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W21ETop3 Jo, Megan and Cecilie together after their runs on Sunday (credit Iain Shepherd)

It was another warm day in Southern England for the biggest relay event in the UK Calendar: the JK (Jan Kjellström) Relays.

As with the other days of this JK festival pretty much everything was brilliant - planning, parking, layouts, final details, helpful officials, atmosphere.

Most runners were challenged by the good courses and enjoyed their orienteering. The premier classes had good races. The one "but" as most will know was the timing and results service, which as on the other days proved itself not up to the job.

The prizegiving postponed from Day 2 did take place and some of the relay classes could be presented but not all.

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KrisPhoto: Kris Jones in last year's World Champs Forest Relay, by Janis Ligats for WOC2018 Latvia.

(This is a republication of a post inadvertently deleted, although given how Kris's predictions turned out - not entirely Kris's fault with both tipped men not starting - we perhaps need not have bothered )

Kris Jones is not running the JK this year. He is currently recovering and training in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kris wrote about his injury for "Fast Running".

Kris provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB athletes might take the wins.


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GG_Running inGraham Gristwood runs in at Windmill Hill

Quick runs from top runners coming back from longtime injuries were one of the stories of the day. Graham Gristwood was second in today's men's race, and Cat Taylor won the women's. Neither is able to take on tomorrow's long race though, but we should see them in Monday's relays and in TioMIla next weekend..

The men's race was won by a terrific run from Peter Hodkinson, and third place was taken by Peter Bray.

Second in the women's was Jo Shepherd, and third was Megan Carter-Davies.

Official results

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KrisPhoto: Kris Jones in last year's World Champs Forest Relay, by Janis Ligats for WOC2018 Latvia.

On The Red Line Comment. Most years the JK Middle is arguably the most competitive domestic race. This is because of the quality of the terrain, map and planning, the quality of the field (and that they are all going 100%) and the timing with regard to selection. This year the men's field has all the top runners from the UK ranking list (Alasdair McLeod, Will Gardner, Peter Hodkinson, Jonny Crickmore) an experienced international based in Norway (Matt Speake) plus a proven world-class international coming back from injury (Graham Gristwood). The Women's field has top runners from the UK ranking list (Megan Carter-Davies, Alice Leake) experienced internationals based in Scandinavia (Jo Shepherd, Jess Halliday, Charlotte Watson) and a proven world-class international coming back from injury (Cat Taylor.) And by the way It's one of three forest races in the UK this year with World Ranking status. As many will know the JK was in South Central England in 2013, again using Cold Ash for the long race, when the overall winners were Matt Speake and Cat Taylor.

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Peter Image: Peter Hodkinson at Falkland (credit @UKEliteOLeague)

It was the Scottish Spring with middle, sprint and long races. Middle and Sprint on Saturday, long on Sunday. Who knows who was trying how hard the weekend before the JK (and two weeks before TioMila), but it was top races with strong fields. All three races were counting as the third weekend of the UK Elite League 2019 - just the JK and British (Long) to go now in that competition.

The league tables have been updated.

Results.

Thanks to Graham Gristwood, weekend co-ordinator.

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Will Photo: Will Gardner at Portugal O Meeting 2019

The Portugal O Meeting traditionally attracts large numbers: 2.600 this year. The top open classes, have large entries. This year over 100 in the women's, and well over a 120 limit in men's meaning there is a split to "super-elite" and "elite" based on world ranking position. The races see many of the world's best having their first competitive races after the winter. Several top clubs such as Halden and Kalevan Rasti are there in strength, and the Swiss National Squad ran Sunday and Monday's races.

  • Friday March 1st - Sprint Relay Competition and Open classes.
  • Saturday March 2nd - Middle distance
  • Sunday March 3rd - Middle distance
  • Monday March 4th - Middle distance World Ranking Event
  • Tuesday March 5th - Long distance, chasing start for elite classes.
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BritNightsPrizegiving Photo: M21 prizegiving, British Nights, from Scottish Orienteering Twitter (L-R Hector Haines, Graham Gristwood, Thomas Wilson, and in background - controller Richard Oxlade)

For most of the athletes the winter is mainly about training for the big events to come. And for On The Red Line it has been quite a quiet time with mostly background updates - such as to athlete profiles. There have been happenings, but we have been content to use Twitter. We have also been taking in the eight skills videos produced by South London Orienteers. The primary target for these is teenagers as they take on harder courses, but we think all orienteers can enjoy them. They were released through January and February, and are each presented by a different member of the squad.

Now, as February ends, after the hottest ever temperatures for this month in Britain, here is a roundup of some of what's happened through the winter months of December, January and February..

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overhead Picture: Overhead shot of a GB Runner orienteering

Link to the "Get Up To Speed" Videos.

South London Orienteers have, with funding from Sport England, produced a series of eight short videos illustrating techniques used in orienteering. The videos are filmed in different locations and each is presented by a member of the GB Team. The aim of the series is to help juniors deal with more technically demanding courses, but these films can also be used to help newcomers to the sport. Each video focuses on a specific orienteering skill.

Videos are being released on Fridays (5 pm UK-time) in January and February.

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catHollie Picture: Cat (GB top) and Hollie (Lakeland OC top)

The senior squad inaugural took place the weekend of the 1st-2nd December. This was a chance for the squad to get together, to celebrate the 2018 achievements, and to make plans for the coming year. Training started with some technical night-o in Haverthwaite on the Friday evening and then two forest sprints in Windermere on Saturday morning - one a mass start and one a chasing start to simulate the pressure and distractions of head to head relay running.

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SprintScotlandMap Image: Sprint Scotland Map Extract - Grangemouth Course 2

Sprint Scotland, mimicking the World Champs Sprint Weekend, had three races in two days. All but one of the British WOC team sprinters were there, and they were joined by some of the best in the world. It was generally assessed as terrific preparation immediately before the World Champs. All the races had World Ranking (WRE) status.

Meanwhile other WOC athletes were doing their final preparations too - some days of O-ringen, last training camps for example - and writing about them. And the World Universities wrapped up with the relays.

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gg Photo: Sprint Scotland Organiser Graham Gristwood

Sprint Scotland has three sprint races this weekend with all but one of the British WOC team sprinters running. They are joined by some of the best in the world, two weeks before the World Champs. All the races have World Ranking (WRE) status.

(The British WOC team sprinter not in Scotland is Megan Carter-Davies. She is in Finland.at the World Universities Championships.)

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sprinters Photo: Charlotte and Kirstin at the sprint weekend

The top GB sprinters gathered in York two weeks before the European Champs sprint races for a final group training weekend.

Graham Gristwood was the planner and he has put together a short video of the running giving a flavour of what went on. Several locations and several formats are evident.

Thanks to Steve Whitehead, Paul Murgatroyd, Peter and Christine Roberts, Bill Griffiths and EBOR Orienteers.

Tove Photo: Tove Alexandersson wins for Stora Tuna in 2017, overtaking 11 other teams on the last leg - SVT sport.

One of the highlights of the orienteering calendar, TioMila, takes place near Stockholm next weekend. A lot of the GB Squad will take part, and they have written several articles. This item is a quick summary and an index to the articles.

For a taste of the TV pictures and a bit more on last year please see the SVT 2 minute video (It's in Swedish.)

A video view over the arena is recently available.

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Alice Photo: Alice Leake at JK2018, by Wendy Carlyle.

This post contains links to several stories On The Red Line has noticed over the weekend. By the way if you are a user of Twitter we now are too. We will tweet when we publish major news items.

Athletics Weekly reports on the English Road Running Association's National Relays.

The 6-stage Women's race was won by Leeds City AC including Alice Leake (fastest runner on leg 5). The 12-stage Men’s race was won by Tonbridge - with Swansea Harriers including Kris Jones (fastest runner on leg 9) third.

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heads_gg

Thankyou for your interest in the squad competition for the JK. It comprised a ciphered message in the programme giving you a web address where three "lead-in" puzzles were to be found. This was an unindexed page of the Scottish Spring Weekend website which Graham Gristwood (pictured) was managing. Incidentally if you wondered where Graham was over the weekend and haven't checked the gg Attackpoint log he is injured. Injury is also the reason Alan Cherry wasn't running. We wish both a good recovery.

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Jo Shep Jo Shepherd is one of 12 athletes gaining early selection for the British team at the European Championships. Jo is selected for sprint, middle and forest relay.

To see all the early selections for the European Champs please see our 2018 calendar article or the 21st December announcement on the British Orienteering website.