Chloe Potter, first leg for South Yorkshire "Killer Bees" team, British Sprint Relays 2023, Brunel University London, photo: Rob Lines
There have been two important sprint format competitions in the UK this September. One was the gathering of top domestic and international runners for Sprint Scotland on the first weekend, and the other was a British Championships two weeks later. In between a 14-runner GB team for next month's sprint formats European Champs was announced.
Graham won the first championship race after the 2020 COVID break, the British Middle Distance, in June 2021. He has since won the 2022 British (Classic) and the British Nights.
Graham left the squad at the start of 2019 so as to avoid any potential clash with his role as (Volunteer) Technical Dir...Continue reading...
Graham 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.)
Fiona 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.
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.
Part of the terrain for this year's JK Middle Race (mapper squad member Ben Mitchell)
The "JK", the biggest annual festival in the UK orienteering calendar, held every year at Easter, is back and upon us. We really missed it in 2020 and 2021. This year the Welsh Association are hosting, and some of the areas used are the same as in 2014 when they previously hosted.. How's the winter training gone? Have you got everything planned out and have you read through 37 pages of programme? How did you fare on your big weekends in the Winter and early Spring?Continue reading...
photo: Rob Lines
The British Relays were won by South Yorkshire (Women) and Forth Valley (Men.)
On Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th March, the British Champs 2022 were south-west of London near the Surrey/Hampshire border in an area not previously used for orienteering. The same arena was used for both days, with Day 1 called "Golden Valley and Cognor Woods" and Day 2 called "Iron Hill and Parkgate Rough".Continue reading...
from British Orienteering website, image: mapper Dave Peel.
With the weather set fair, the British Long Distance Champs are on Saturday March 26th, using an area new to orienteering south-west of London. There's a strong field including 59 names on the M21E startlist. The course is 16.6km with 815m climb; with the recommended winning time of 90-100 minutes. There are 18 entries on W21E for 11.3km with 495m climb and a winning time of 70-80 minutes.
The British Relays are the following day, using the same arena.
The British NIghts and the British Middles have taken place, the former in the very opposite of fair weather.Continue reading...
Alastair Thomas took the M21E win on Saturday
It was a great weekend of top quality orienteering in the Lakes on the weekend of October 3rd/4th. Many thanks to Lakeland O.C, Warrior O.C., and the many top orienteers who attended. It was surely the strongest field in the UK this year that has been so disrupted by COVID.
The weekend was part of the UK Elite Orienteering Leaguewho encouraged attendance, and will be as close as we are going to get to a National Champs this year. The League is doing a great job of promoting the sport across the open age categories and both days had a distinct buzz in the socially distanced car parking.Continue reading...
map: Part of Graythwaite
Heavy driving rain is in prospect to add to the challenge of tomorrow's race on the steep and rocky slopes of Rusland Beeches. It's the first of two days orienteering in the Lake District, named "Lakes Reloaded" as it's been put together relatively quickly by normal standards - with the aim of a chance for some top competition. Because of Lockdown, this year's domestic season ended in March almost as soon as it started and before all but one of the major races took place. Also the entire international programme has had to be scrapped.
Encouragingly "Lakes Reloaded" is being well-supported and the startlist seems the strongest field of 2020 in the UK.
It's a middle race on the Saturday afternoon, and then a full length (90/75 minutes target times) long at the Graythwaite Estate on Sunday. The racing will run like the JK individual forest races, with the Saturday seeded and Sunday starts in reverse order of Saturday's times.Continue reading...
Chris Smithard, JK Champion 2019, Co-ordinator Lockdown Orienteering, 2020.
At Easter 2019, Chris Smithard won the overall JK Individual Trophy with two hours and nine minutes running, by a margin of just seven seconds. Peter Bray was second and Will Gardner third (28 seconds down.)
At Easter 2020 Chris was coordinating an online festival "Lockdown" for 500 international orienteers. It included 12 stages, and a good deal of social media activity including TV discussions and live coverage of the final. A lot of people are learning a lot, not just about online activity linked to orienteering, but also improving their own skills.
"Lockdown Orienteering" has been the most newsworthy of many online activities in the second half of March and all of April as we "locked down" in the UK. Chris co-ordinated a further "sprint-focused" weekend two weeks later, and there will be another "forest-focused" one 8th-10th May (entries close May 5th.)
The final day of traditional orienteering before the shutdown was Sunday March 16th, the day for the qualifying round of the inter-club competition the CompassSport Cup. Many orienteers therefore enjoyed a nice day out with a focus on club and clubmates to take with them into the shutdown; perhaps we can see it as fortuitous timing.Continue reading...
The British Night Championships were held on Saturday evening in the woods at Hambleden, a shooting estate on the north bank of the Thames near Henley. The estate was the location for two days of the Easter JK festival in 2013 (the middle and the relay),and had not been used since.
The fast hilly woodland proved great for the Night Championships. Our thanks to hosts Thames Valley O.C. who did a very good job. There was quite a buzz in the crowded and warm marquee after the race as the final runners came in, and results were readied for the prizegiving. The organiser was John Dalton, planner was Neville Baker and controller Alan Rosen. Results were posted online through the evening.Continue reading...
Megan Carter-Davies took the Women's British Sprint and Middle Distance titles last weekend. It has been a very successful 2019 for Megan in domestic races: she adds these titles to the British Long Distance, the JK Sprint and the JK Overall.Continue reading...
The home international, with individual races on Saturday and relays on Sunday, was hosted by Swansea Bay Orienteering Club (SBOC) on behalf of Wales. The competition is for teams of 18, six from each of W21 and M21, three from each of W20 and M20.
The weekend was a great success, with the athletes enjoying the terrain, great courses, the competition and the company.
England won, beating Scotland 27 to 23 in the individual and 28 to 23 in the relays. Wales beat Ireland by 13 to 9 and 11 to 10.
Weekend Points Scores (on the SBOC website).Continue reading...
The perhaps self-contradictory term "Home International" is used in the British Isles to describe sports competitions amongst national teams Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England.
In orienteering there are three "home internationals" and this coming weekend is the Senior Home International. Teams are 18 strong, six men and six women in the open class, and three men and three women 20 or under. This year's competition is organised by Swansea Bay O.C. on sand dune terrain in South Wales. The event dinner is being done by the Welsh Junior Squad.Continue reading...
The 2019 Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships (WOC) took place in Østfold, Norway from 13th - 17th August. Østfold is the county of the south-east part of Norway, between Oslo and Sweden. The event centre was the city of Sarpsborg. The Championships were very well organised, and the accompanying spectator races were also well attended.
Graham Gristwood, in the WOC2019 Relay. credit: Rob Lines.
The British Women's team of Charlotte Watson, Megan Carter-Davies and Cat Taylor were ninth in the World Champs Relay 2019. The race was won by Sweden with Karolin Ohlsson overtaking Julia Jakob of Switzerland at the end. Russia were third.
The British Men's team of Peter Hodkinson, Graham Gristwood and Ralph Street were 17th in their race. That race was also won by Sweden, with Finland second and France third.
Graham 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.
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.Continue reading...
Oli Johnson (who was sixth) coming into the finish field of Day 3's World Ranking Race (credit: Wendy Carlyle)
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.
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.
JK2019 Middle Distance Prizewinners, credit: Iain Shepherd
The 2019 took place in central Southern England from April 19th - 22nd.
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.")
Top three in the Women's Overall enjoying the weather, credit: Iain Shepherd
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.
Photo: 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 provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB athletes might take the wins.
Graham 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..Continue reading...
Photo: 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.
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.
Thanks to Graham Gristwood, weekend co-ordinator.Continue reading...
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.
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..
Picture: Overhead shot of a GB Runner orienteering
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
The top GB sprinters gathered in York two weeks before the European Champs sprint races for a final group training weekend.
Thanks to Steve Whitehead, Paul Murgatroyd, Peter and Christine Roberts, Bill Griffiths and EBOR Orienteers.
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.Continue reading...
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.
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
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.