As Lockdown began there were eight GB athletes in the top 50s of the Sprint World Rankings
The pandemic has made clear there are important things bigger than any sport. Health, wellbeing, work, travel, weddings, family visits. Gosh, it even stopped professional football and reduced how much it was in the news.
Those for whom orienteering is a big recreational interest felt quite a sense of loss, as planned outings and trips were cancelled, and events didn't happen.
And so midsummer 2020 passes with no Jukola. There were no events in the spring. The 2020 international orienteering programme has been lost to the pandemic.
The cancellation of the international programme was particularly hard on the top international sprint-focused orienteers, as they had "waited" through 2019, a year with no World or European Champs in the sprint disciplines. And with the pandemic, with another cancellation for 2021, none were scheduled for 2020 or 2021 either.
Several GB squad athletes were in this position. They are mainly focused on the format and they were on track to be at the top of their game this year.
The recent news about next year's international programme, namely that (fingers crossed) there will be major international sprint orienteering at European and World level, is therefore very good.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...
My first club was the Mid-Wales OC which I joined aged 8 with Mum, who had tried orienteering in her university days. I grew up near Aberystwyth and became a member of the Welsh Junior Squad after a couple of years, and ran my first Junior Inter-Regionals and Junior Home Internationals aged 12.
Kris Jones at the finish, World Cup Sprint Race.
Kris Jones took the men's silver medal at the final day's racing of World Cup Round 3 in Laufen, Switzerland. It was a sprint race around the narrow streets and passageways of the Old Town. It was again a tremendously exciting day, brilliantly organised and planned with the courses having a lot of technicality.
The race was won by the Belgian Yanniock Michiels. Tove Alexandersson won the women's race.Continue reading...
Ralph Street on stage for the World Cup Knockout Sprint Flower Ceremony
The second day's racing of World Cup Round 3 in Laufen, Switzerland was Knock-Out Sprint. It was a tremendously exciting day, brilliantly organised and planned, as morning qualification and then quarter-finals setup a spectacular afternoon's racing. This was in and around the narrow streets and passageways of the Old Town, and there was great TV coverage for the large and noisy crowd gathered in the specially constructed arena.Continue reading...
Jonny Crickmore had a long stay in the leader's chair today
The first day's racing of World Cup Round 3 in Laufen, Switzerland was middle distance. The races were won by Tove Alexandersson and Joey Hadorn.Continue reading...
Ralph Street finishing in an urban area at a Swiss World Cup race, 2017
The three days racing of World Cup Round 3 are in and around Laufen, Switzerland this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is televised with English language commentary on the internet at Live Orienteering.
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.
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.
It was a forest only World Championships. All three finals, long, middle and relay, were held from a specially constructed arena at Mørk Golf Club, in the middle of the previously unmapped forest. Long and middle used an arena start, and all courses had an arena passage.
Great Britain took a team of nine athletes, supported by Team Manager Ed Nicholas, Coach Liz Campbell and Physio Jane Ashbrook. Of the nine, four are based in Britain (two of whom have spent several years in Sweden), four in Norway and one in Sweden. All had run at least two World Champs before.
Full results are in IOF Eventor - WOC2019.
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.
The Finishing Line (credit: Philip Gristwood)
Today was the second day of the World Champs Middle Distance, a colossal step up for drama, crowd size, and sheer noise compared to Tuesday's qualification races. Wednesday's long distance finals were noticeably big and noisy: today's Middle Distance Finals even bigger and noisier. There must be every chance that tomorrow's relays will be even more intense. If Norway are in a close race for a medal expect that, as the phrase goes, "it will be so loud you can't hear yourself think".
Peter Hodkinson, credit IOF/WOC2019
It was a qualification only day at the World Championships today - the first one since 2013. There were no medals won, no cameras in the forest, no big screen and it was all over in quite short time. So there was not the high sustained drama we look forward to for the three finals days coming up. There was however plenty of interest and good orienteering, there were nervous athletes, and there were of course individual dramas, triumphs and sadness. As Peter Hodkinson says in his interview (see below) "You can't win but you can lose". So it was perhaps more of a necessary day rather than a hugely memorable day for most of those present.Continue reading...
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...
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.
Charlotte Watson in Lillomarka OL Relay Kit
The Venla and Jukola relays, the latter the biggest orienteering race in the world, took place in Finland last weekend. There were over 20,000 runners and an estimated 50,000 people attending the competition centre and camping in 70 hectares near Kangasala. The weekend is both top-level and mass participation sport. Most of the top British forest orienteers were there, running for their Scandinavian clubs.
Kangasala-Jukola Logo from the Organisation Website
The weekend of 15th/16th June is the Venla and Jukola Relays in Finland. It's both a big festival weekend - the above logo is out directing traffic on the main motorways several days beforehand - and one of the main competitive weekends of the international orienteering calendar. The relays are a mix of top-level and participation sport like the London Marathon but with a team ethos. It's a tradition, and it gets a great deal of general interest in Finland. There is also something of a link to Finnish national consciousness with it moving round the forests and its naming from the first great work of Finnish literature.
Some numbers: The competition centre, accommodation and parking takes 70 hectares. There are about 1750 tents, 450 provided by the military. 50,000 people will be in and around the competition area over the weekend.
As they say "For a good accomplishment the orienteer needs resolution, persistency and brisk sports spirit."Continue reading...
The Great Britain Sprint Relay Team for World Cup Round 1
The race starts at 17:57 Finnish Time (2 hours ahead of UK) on Tuesday 11th June. It can be watched on the internet for 6euro.Continue reading...
Sasha Chepelin at the arena passage
Today was the chasing start longish races at World Cup Round 1 in Finland's Nuuksio National Park. ("Longish" rather than "long" as the official description was just "chase" and "long" has specific meanings which do not exactly match the situation.)
Peter Bray, shortly after the race
It was "phew what a scorcher" conditions for the runners tackling the first World Cup Race of 2019, a middle distance at Tervalampi in Finland's Nuuksio National Park. It was 90 seconds start intervals, and a typically well-mapped Finnish forest, with plenty of boulders and contour detail.
British Champions 2019, Photo: Rob Lines
Today is the 1st June and as the vegetation in the forests gets high the orienteering season for many of the leading British runners passes from a domestic focus to an overseas one. Most of the big domestic competitions (the "major events") have been run, and the first senior international races, in Finland, are next weekend. That is World Cup Round 1, which also includes a sprint relay in the centre of Helsinki the following Tuesday The weekend after is Jukola and Venla. These relays have a record entry of over 20,000 this year - the organisers attribute it partly to the "growth ... of fitness orienteering". In early July, test races for the World Champs take part, after which the British team will be selected. The World Champs themselves are forest disciplines only, in Norway in August, just after the Scottish 6-Days. And then, with more of a sprint focus, there are World Cup Round 3 (September, Switzerland) and 4 (October, China).Continue reading...
Nuuksio National Park, photo courtesy of the World Cup Round 1 organisation
Six men and five women are selected to represent GB at the first round of the 2019 World Cup, being held in Finland in June. All will run the middle and chasing start races, and there will be one team in the Sprint Relay. There are three officials in support.
British Orienteering Official Selection Announcement.
The biggest orienteering relay in the world, Jukola, happens not so far away the following weekend. Most/all of the GB team will be joining their Scandinavian club teams after the World Cup to prepare.
British Champs Podium, Kilnsey May 5th 2019, credit: On The Red Line
The Sprint Relay champions are Edinburgh University.
The Forest Relay champions are
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
Dave Rollins and Heather Monro
There was no prizegiving for the the racing at Cold Ash today but there was a presentation by past members of the British team, represented by Heather Monro (ran at 8 x WOC, and a bronze medal in 2005) to former manager Dave Rollins who led many GB international trips.
The provisional results - today only (not the two days combined)
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.
Will Gardner on the run-in
The races were at Aldershot "Home of The British Army", which was a great venue and looking particularly lovely in the warm sunshine. Nearly all of each course was in the secure garrison area, with fast running mostly on tarmac or flagstones. There are many buildings, fences, and hedges, and interesting and fair courses weaving in and out set many short route choice decisions.
But, and this is a rather significant "but", the timing system fell short, both in regard to displaying the information to commentary and the audience, and runners being confident about reliably recording which controls were visited
We are nervous about the timing system for the rest of the weekend.Continue reading...
Kris Jones, winner of the JK Sprint the last three years (and planner in 2014), is not running this year. He is currently recovering and training in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So we will have a new men's champion. Kris wrote about his injury for "Fast Running".
Kris provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB Squad athletes might take the wins.
We think both these races look very open.
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.
Photo: Saturday's Assembly. Credit: Lakeland Orienteers on Twitter
It was the Red Rose Classic* - the second weekend of the five that make up the main domestic open class series - the UK Elite Orienteering League. On Saturday there was a middle distance at Haverthwaite, and on Sunday a long distance at Hampsfell.
*A Red Rose is traditionally associated with the County of Lancashire, as the White Rose is with Yorkshire. Wikipedia - Wars of The RosesContinue reading...
Photo: Cecilie Andersen ahead of Megan Carter-Davies and Kirstin Maxwell, leading three in the Women's Sprint, towards the end of the course (credit: Steve Rush)
South Yorkshire Orienteers - terrific job, thanks - organised both events for the Northern Champs Weekend, 9th-10th March. The (Long) Championships were on Wharncliffe on Sunday. On Saturday, as the majority of orienteers attending the weekend ran an urban race, there was a sprint race to start the UK Elite League.
On The Red Line article about the League.
Saturday was wet and the terrain of Ponderosa, a mixture of parkland and estates with intricate alleys, was slippery. Sunday was wet and windy too, with snow on the moorland for earlier runners. The sprint races were longer than usual, and the championship races a bit shorter.
In the women's Megan Carter-Davies won both the sprint and the Northern Champs race. Megan, of Mid-Wales Orienteering Club, is not eligible for the Northern title, which was won by Charlotte Watson of West Cumberland O.C..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.
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...
Photo: Southern Championships Forest, November 2018.
Dull November brings the blast; Then the leaves are whirling fast.
Sara Coleridge The Garden Year
In November, the 2019 GB Squad was announced. There was one major domestic race: the Southern Championships, which incorporated South London Orienteers' "OK Nuts" Trophy. The UK Elite Orienteering League announced its 2019 fixtures. Alasdair McLeod married, and the groom had company at a Parkrun that morning (and no, they didn't let him win as it's a time trial not a race.)
World Cup Round 3 was three days of international racing in Østfold, Norway on 31st August and the 1st and 2nd September. Normal World Cup rules applied with the strong countries having eight runners per race rather than the limit of three that is used at the World Champs, and fields of more than a hundred. It was a tough programme of four races in three days.
This was pre-WOC 2019, being where the 2019 World Championships are,and in similar terrain. Compared to rounds 1 (the European Champs, held in Switzerland) and 2 (the World Champs, held in Latvia) the Swedes did better and the Swiss less well. Tove Alexandersson of Sweden won on all three days, establishing a formidable lead in the 2018 World Cup women's competition. In the men's the Swiss Matthias Kyburz and Daniel Hubmann lead, but Olav Lundanes of Norway is close and three others still in range.Continue reading...
Photo: Megan Carter-Davies, WOC2018 Middle Race, courtesy of Janis Ligats / WOC2018 Latvia
With four disciplines to run, I thought the major challenge of the week would be physical: making sure I was in good condition at every start line. Of course, I've raced hard at the JK and World Uni's day after day so I knew I could cope well enough.
Anyway, it transpired that the biggest challenge I would face would be mental.
The 2018 World Championships took place in Latvia (celebrating 100 years) from 4th - 11th August. The event was based in Riga and Sigulda. The Championships were supported by Nokian Tyres.
This was the last all-disciplines World Championships. Next year it will be the Forest races (Norway), in 2020 the Sprint races (Denmark.)
Britain sent a team of 14 athletes. They achieved one podium place, in the men's relay.
See also the virtual arena (with links to many GB photos) at Maprunner WOC 2018Continue reading...
Photo: Kris Jones starts leg 2 for the GB men's team, WOC Relay 9th August 2018, by On The Red Line.
The races took place in very hot weather in the forest next to the Turaida fortress in Latvia. Both were decided right at the end.
In the women's the favourite teams pulled away. On the last leg it was Sweden and Switzerland together at the last difficult control after a climb to the wall of the fortress. The race was decided in the short parkland section right at the end.
In the men's there were nine teams almost together at the run-through on the last leg, and at the end here were eight teams within a minute. But after all the drama it was the favourite teams who took the medals. It was the long leg up to the fortress that had decided it.Continue reading...
Megan Carter-Davies recorded the highest British position in today's women's middle distance World Champs race. She was 20th. Cat Taylor was 26th and Charlotte Watson 53rd.
The forest was tough, with mostly low visibility; it was not possible to stay on a bearing because of obstructions, and climbing and crawling needed to be part of an athlete's technique.
Photo: The five GB athletes who will run the Middle races
The World Champs Middle races are on Tuesday 7th.
GB has three women and two men running. Good luck to them. The women's race is first; and a two minute start interval is used.
First starter 9:56 UK-time
Photo: Kris Jones, WOC Sprint Relay, Riga, Latvia August 2018.
Great Britain, helped by a great run from Kris Jones on second leg, were seventh in the World Champs Sprint Relay in Riga, Latvia. The medals were won by the same countries as in 2017, and 2016, although as last year there was some swapping of positions.
The race, held in Riga but across the Daugava River from the Old Town, was an experience far removed from that of yesterday's individual sprint finals. And indeed from the experience of the vast majority of British orienteers.Continue reading...
Photo: WOC Latvia (of Sandra Grosberga)
Update 2nd Aug 10am: Timings updated from Bulletin-4.
If you like this coming weekend, in the morning you can run, and in the afternoon you can watch World Champs sprint orienteering - perhaps with some fellow members of your club.
Here are timings for the World Champs races in Latvia.
You can choose between paid-for Internet TV (it is €20 for the week, there'll be an individual race option too) and free-of-charge online results and social media.
Most interesting:Continue reading...
Photo Composition: GB WOC Team 2018 by On The Red Line
The World Championships are in Latvia with races from 4th - 11th August. They are also Round 2 of the 2018 World Cup.
An IOF article in January is entitled
A very special WOC on a very special year for Latvia
The championships in Latvia will be 35th WOC and the last one in modern history of orienteering with both sprint and forest races on the programme.
The British team is quite large, with seven women and seven men, all members of the senior squad.
Of the fourteen athletes, three are selected for sprint only, three for sprint and forest, and eight for forest only. We noted in our 'one race' article how half the team, seven athletes, are concentrating on a single race.Continue reading...
Image: Section of the Relay Map
In the women's, Marie Olaussen of Norway won the gold, Johanna Öberg of Sweden the silver, and Paula Gross of Switzerland the bronze.
For GB, Megan Carter-Davies was 15th, Cecilie Andersen 24th, Fay Walsh 32nd and Sarah Jones 77th.
In the men's, Jonas Egger of Switzerland won the gold, Paul Sirum of Norway the silver, and Håvard Haga also of Norway the bronze.Continue reading...
Image: Section of the Women's Sprint Course
It has been noted that of the 12 British athletes in the team, four are Welsh. Team Selection Announcement.
It has been very hot. The Sprint Relay had very little navigational challenge, the Sprint had a better balance, and the Middle was very technical: some difficult controls in low visibility forest with modest contour and rock detail. You can see all the maps and courses via the GPS link. All the runners carry GPS and are races are live on GPS and a streaming channel.
Photo: Sasha Chepelin at European Champs 2018
Tomorrow, 16th July, at 4pm Finnish time (2pm UK-time) the Sprint Relay is the first race at the World Universities Champs.
The schedule is:
You can follow the races online (free). All runners have GPS.Continue reading...
Photo: by Steve Rush
Charlotte Ward won the World Ranking (WRE) Sprint in Antwerp yesterday, with the field including athletes from several nations preparing for the World Championships. Teresa Janosikova (CZE) was second and Sigrid Alexandersen (NOR) third.Continue reading...
Photo: by Brian Ward
Thankyou to the generous orienteers who donated and supported the cakestall run by Charlotte Ward at the "Sea, Sand and Spires Weekend" put on by her club HALO (Humberside and Lincolnshire Orienteers.)
It was mass-start Sprint Races in Cleethorpes, a Middle Distance Urban in Louth, and a spectacular indoor steel maze in Louth Cattle Market - do checkout the map!Continue reading...
This year's TiomIla Women's race is in the afternoon of Saturday 28th April. It starts at 12:15 UK-time and the winning team will finish about a quarter to five. You can watch it on the internet, with English commentary from Boris Granovskiy and Graham Gristwood. There will be several hundred teams. Apart from the sprint specialists, most of the GB Squad women will be running, and they are looking forward to it.
Video showing the start of the 2016 race There wasn't English commentary in 2016 but you can see Jess lead off for the lowest numbered team.Continue reading...
(Photo: Steve Rush)
Alasdair was the only man running under 100 minutes for today's 17.9km M21E course at Beaudesert. His win did take the overall JK title, which is awarded on combined time for the middle and long distance races.
Hollie's win was a narrow one, and not quite sufficient to win the overall JK title, which was taken by Jessica Tullie by 2 seconds, with Tessa Strain and Megan Carter-Davies third and fourth again only some seconds further back.Continue reading...
Orienteering was included in the 2017 World Games held in Wrocław, Poland, with the orienteering races on 25th, 26th and 27th July. Wrocław is Poland's fourth largest city, the largest city in Western Poland. The World Games features a whole set of non-Olympic sports. In many countries the Games are highly prestigious with much media coverage akin to that of the Olympics. But not in Great Britain, where Parliament has decided Olympic medals are the be-all and end-all. This time some orienteers won or lost significant performance-related funding deals from their governments based on a few seconds.
In the final event, the sprint relay, held in heavy rain in the park and zoo by Centennial Hall, Great Britain came 5th. Below is a link to a video of the whole race.Continue reading...
The 2017 World Championships took place in Estonia from 1st - 7th July. The event was based in Tartu. The Championships were supported by Nokian Tyres.
Britain sent a team of 16 athletes. They achieved one podium place, in the sprint relay.
Full results are at the Estonian World Champs site. A summary of British results follows below.Continue reading...