Sarah Hagstrom in the walled town of Soave, a few minutes from taking the EOC 2023 Sprint Relay win for Sweden. Note grapes used for Soave wine drying traditionally in the tower! Photo: On The Red Line
The European Championships in 2023 were in the sprint formats in historic towns of Northern Italy. The event centre was in Pescheira del Garda and the races were in Verona, Soave and Vicenza. The Sprint Relay was won by Sweden, and the GB team was 6th. Ralph Street made the podium on all the race days with the sprint relay and two fourth places, but he didn't win a medal. Megan Carter-Davies, Jonathan Crickmore and Nathan Lawson had top-20 results. Cecilie Andersen, Peter Hodkinson, Eddie Narbett all got through qualification on one or two days, and Freddie Carcas missed out by the narrowest of margins. In fact the individual days were full of the competition of narrow margins.
Tove Alexandersson and Matthias Kyburz both won two gold and one silver in three races. Sara Hagstrom and Jonatan Gustafsson won two medals each and made the podium every day.
Freddie Carcas just missed out on the knockout stages. He was tied in the final qualification spot in heat 3 and lost out because he has fewer ranking points than the other runner.
The European Champs Knockout Sprint racing took place on Sunday 8th October in Vicenza. The morning qualification (athletes in quarantine by 7:30) was in the suburbs, on the Creazzo map. The heats reduced the fields from 142 men and 131 women to 36 of each for the finals, for six "quarter-finals" of six runners each. The finals were in the largely pedestrianised centre of the City, with quite a few pedestrians and cyclists, mostly unaware of "high-speed" runners until whistles and shouting announced their approach.
The qualification races were very tight as expected, and for the many near the cutoffs it was quite chancy. The knockout stages were full of excitement and noise, fast running in the streets, some possible danger and some tiny margins.
Nathan Lawson running leg 2 for GB in the International Sprint Relay at Soave 6th October 2023, photo: Rob Lines
The European Champs Relay took place on Friday 6th October in the walled wine town of Soave. Strong runs from Wednesday's silver and gold medallists in the women's individual sprint, Tove Alexandersson and Sarah Hagstrom, helped Sweden to what was, by the standards of these races, a clear win. A close race on the last leg for the other medals was won by Elena Roos of Switzerland holding off Venla Harju of Finland who was 3rd, and Victoria Haestad Bjornstad of Norway who was 4th. France were 5th and GB 6th.
Ralph Street made the podium but not a medal in the European Champs Sprint 2023: 5 seconds off gold, 2 seconds off silver, 1 second off bronze, photo: On The Red Line
The European Champs Individual Sprint racing took place on Wednesday 4th October in Verona.
It is a 2-race format, with qualification and finals. Both sets of courses were relatively straightforward by the standards of international sprint racing, and it was mere seconds deciding the quakification and the medals - especially in the men's race..
In the morning qualification races, held away from the centre of Verona, the fields were reduced from 144 men and 134 women to 45 of each for the finals (actually 46 women as in one heat two runners tied for the final qualification spot.)
In the afternoon, next to the Roman Amphitheatre and running through the Old Town near Juliet's balcony, the medals (and places, and World Cup points) were decided.
Cecilie Andersen is one of 14 GB athletes in Northern Italy for the European Champs, Cecilie photo: by Rob Lines at the previous round of the World Cup this year.
The European Champs start early on Wednesday morning 4th October, continue on the 6th, and finish on Sunday 8th. It's the turn of the sprint disciplines and a large British team has gathered in Northern Italy. If you're not there the best way to follow it via the Live Internet TV with English commentary at 25 Euros for three broadcasts (or individual ones at 9 euros each), but if you don't have that then there are free online services.
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.
Peter Molloy, running in 2023 World Cup Round 2, photo: Rob Lines
As summer ends and Autumn begins GB orienteering attention is very much on the sprint formats. Our article Stepping to Edinburgh noted the next steps after World Cup Round 2 being the Antwerp Sprint Meeting in Ghent in mid-August and Sprint Scotland the first weekend in September. Both include knockout sprints.
Grace Molloy, photo: Jiri Cech, Český svaz orientačních sportů
After the Sprint and Sprint Relay the World Cup Round in Czechia switched to the forest. On Saturday 5th August it was a Middle Distance, and on Sunday 6th August a Long Distance. These were the last forest races in the World Cup until after next year's Sprint World Championships in Edinburgh. The next 10 international races, four competition rounds, at World Cup / World Champs level, are in Sprint of one sort or another.
In general in the forest the GB athletes had quite good technical races, but the physicality of the courses did not suit them. Almost all the running required climb or descent (and often both) or contouring on often steep slopes.
Rachel Brown finishes in the World Cup Sprint Relay in Česká Lípa, photo: Rob Lines
The second race of World Cup Round 2 was an exciting Sprint Relay with 59 teams taking part. Nations could enter up to four teams with the highest placed counting for the World Cup and podium. Team GB1 mispunched on leg 1, and it was left to team GB2 to secure 17th nation place. At the front it was expected to be a close race between the Swedish and Swiss first teams, with an intriguing contest for third and the other podium places. It went like that for a time as Sarah Hagstrom and Simona Aebersold built a sizeable lead on leg 1, and at the end of the second leg Sweden 1 and Switzerland 1 were just two seconds apart..And over a minute ahead of a group of chasing teams. But then Matthias Kyburz pulled away on leg 3 and gave Elena Roos a good margin for the final leg. So Switzerland won. Sweden 1 were overtaken right at the end by the Czechia 1 team to the delight of the home crowd.
Ralph Street won the World Cup Sprint Race in Česká Lípa, photo: Rob Lines
Česká Lípa in North-East Czechia, close to where the World Champs were held in 2021, is hosting World Cup Round 2. The first race, on Wednesday August 2nd, was an individual sprint and Ralph Street won. He was the fifth last starter, came sixth in last year's World Champs, and has been running fast times in sprint relays in the last few years. Nevertheless his victory was unexpected by the commentators who bravely pick possible winners before a race! It was noted that the win came only a few weeks after the forest World Champs, which Ralph had prioritised in his training.
Derwent Valley and Octavian Droobers as a junior, Sheffield University Alumnus. Selected for 2021 World Champs Sprint after impressing in the selection races, and reached the final coming 25th. Named to the Development Squad for 2022.
Česká Lípa is the location for World Cup Round 2
Close to where the 2021 World Champs races were, and like then with both sprint and forest races on the programme, Česká Lípa in Czechia hosts World Cup Round 2. It's the third of the four big international competitions in the year. World Cup Round 1 (Norway) and the World Champs (Switzerland) have passed and the European Champs in Sprint (Italy) are ahead in early October.
GB has a team of 14 athletes. Britain has six places for the sprint, middle and long races, and can enter three sprint relay teams. It is expected that most of the athletes will run all the races: Sprint, Sprint Relay, Middle Distance and Long Distance.
There are accompanying spectator races under the label Kwak Czech O-Tour.
Will Gardner (L), Nathan Lawson (R), of Octavian Droobers (OD) after the Sprint Race in Armagh where they were 2nd and 1st respectively (photo: OD Twitter)
The 10 Day Emerald Isle Orienteering Festival culminated in the British Sprint Champs on Saturday 6th May, and the British Middle Distance Champs on Sunday 7th. The sprints were a qualifier and final pair of races, held in Armagh. The middles were at Drumkeeragh Forest, just inside the Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Thanks to the clubs of the Northern Ireland Orienteering Association, and indeed all the volunteers who put on the extensive programme of events.Continue reading...
Peter 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).Continue reading...
Duncan 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.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.
Megan Carter-Davies jumps on the World Champion's Podium, photo: On The Red Line
The GB Orienteering Team had a tremendously successful World Orienteering Championships 2022.
Megan Carter-Davies is the World Champion in the Individual Sprint. She also won the silver medal in the new Knockout Sprint format, and a silver medal in the Sprint Relay.
Alice Leake won the bronze medal in the individual sprint.
Britain had won a medal at a World Orienteering Championship eleven times previously, most recently in 2013, by Scott Fraser. It was the most successful GB team performance ever.Continue reading...
The GB team who were "fourth nation" at World Cup Round 1, photo:Rob Lines
There are eight athletes, four men and four women, running for GB at this year's World Championships in Denmark. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay..
There are three race days.
All the GB athletes raced in World Cup Round 1 in Sweden last month, and the photos below are from that competition. Thanks to Rob Lines for most of them. Rob's gallery of orienteering photographs is on Flickr.Continue reading...
Leeds Beckett University hosted the Sprint Relay at the Carnegie Sports Centre
On Saturday 11th June, Forth Valley Orienteers team of Scarlett Kelly, Chris Smithard, Kris Jones and Grace Molloy won the British Sprint Relay Championship Race. They won by just over a minute from Edinburgh University with last year's champions South Yorkshire Orienteers a further 15 seconds behind.
27 teams were on the start line, and when non-eligible runners, incomplete teams and mispunches were all taken into account, 12 teams were all complete in the results (representing 10 clubs).Continue reading...
Nathan Lawson, Borås Stadtspark, photo: Rob Lines
The GB first team of Charlotte Ward, Jonny Crickmore, Nathan Lawson and Megan Carter-Davies, were sixth, fourth nation, in the Sprint Relay in the centre of Borås on Sunday 29th May.
The race was won by Sweden's second team. The favourites, Sweden-1, made noticeable mistakes on leg3 and leg4, causing them to finish third. Switzerland-1 was second. Norway-1 were fourth, so third nation. Switzerland-2 were fifth.
Official Results - Orienteering World Cup Sprint Relay May 2022. There are two lists: one for just the leading teams for each country and one for all teams, including up to four teams per country, plus the "mixed" teams.
The GB second team of Alice Leake, Chris Smithard, Will Gardner and Grace Molloy were twenty-second of the fifty-seven teams that started, just behind Czech-1.Continue reading...
Megan Carter-Davies leads a quarter-final
Megan Carter-Davies won the silver medal in the World Cup Knockout Sprint in Borås, Sweden.
The Knockout Sprint races took place on Saturday 28th May. They comprised a qualification early in the morning, and then quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in the afternoon.
Ralph Street got through to the men's final coming 7th (the final had an extra runner after a protest). Charlotte Ward, Cecilie Andersen and Jonny Crickmore qualified for the knockout stages and were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
The excellent photos here are the work of Rob Lines. You can find Rob's oeuvre of orienteering photographs on Flickr.Continue reading...
Charlotte Ward, interviewed after her terrific run
A GB team of 12 athletes, six men and six women, is in Borås, Sweden for three races forming World Cup Round 1. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay.
The individual sprint was on Thursday 26th May, and Kris Jones and Charlotte Ward both finished with a "top 10" result.
Thanks to Rob Lines for the excellent photos.Continue reading...
GB has named a team of 13 athletes, seven men and six women, for 2022 World Cup Round 1 in Borås, Sweden at the end of May. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay.
Broadly, selection was made on two domestic sprint competitions earlier this year, Sprint Scotland and the JK Sprint, and last year's international races in Switzerland (European Champs), the Czech Republic (World Champs) and Italy (a sprint relay).
The team will be supported by Lasse Grøn, Jo Stevenson, Murray Strain, and Emil Wingstedt. All have recent experience with the team.Continue reading...
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...
Women's Relay Presentation, from the IOF Internet TV Broadcast
The World Cup Round 2 at Idre Fjäll in Sweden did a good job of testing the best orienteers and in beautiful wilderness forest. There was a long race on Thursday 12th, a middle on Saturday 14th, and Sunday was forest relays. Running times were often a bit longer than expected.
There were challenges throughout the races, mental, technical and physical. In particular, some of the hardest navigation problems came later in courses, after big climbs or stretches of featureless forest slope, and often where visibillity decreased as spruce supplanted pine. We saw runners get close to controls and not see the kite, so assume that many were set low. Any faster runners who managed an error-free run did well, and amidst many smaller errors there were some big, spectacular and unexpected mistakes from very good orienteers. The surprises made for very exciting spectating on the Internet TV, and unexpected names on the podiums of the middle and relays.
Britain sent a full team of 14 athletes including six World Cup debutants. Alastair Thomas, Nathan Lawson and Grace Molloy made their senior debuts at the World Champs. It was first time in the senior team for Joshua Dudley, Fiona Bunn and Laura KingContinue reading...
The World Cup Round 2 at Idre Fjäll in Sweden has races on Thursday 12th (long), Saturday 14th (middle) and Sunday 15th August (forest relay.) For all races the terrain is mainly high runnability and high visibility pine forest at 600m-900m, with plenty of contours and marsh, and little else.
Britain is sending a full team of 14 athletes. Six men and six women can run each individual race, and there will be two GB teams in each relay.
All races have internet TV coverage with English commentary.Continue reading...
Pedestrian Crossing Signal in Fredericia
Great Britain had a very successful championships. It was simply incredible.
The success began with the first of the five races, the Sprint Relay, where GB won silver. It was GB’s first medal after seven World Championships without one, and the first ever in a Sprint Relay. The success was crowned for GB in the last race as Megan Carter-Davies became World Champion in Individual Sprint. The team won four medals in all, which is as many as in the previous 17 years combined. Additionally there were two top-6 results, two top-10s, and three top-20s. Only 2 of the 13 entries were not at least top-20.
Update November 2022: The full TV broadcasts are available free of charge - International Orienteering Channel on YouTube; they are very good.
Alice Leake on her way to "4th in the World". photo: Lukáš Budínský.
The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia began with the Individual Sprint races on Saturday 3rd July. Morning qualification was followed by afternoon finals.
The racing was at Terezín, which was a great setting. It's an eighteenth century fortress, comprising a citadel and a walled garrison town by the Ohře river just south of where it joins the Elbe. It's multi-level and the planners cleverly used artificial barriers to set some intriguing problems for the athletes. The TV broadcast was very well done. It was compelling viewing, showcasing the top-level of the sport at its best through great filming with smart graphics, GPS tracking and astute and well-informed commentary.
The finals, with the men going first, used very similar courses. The wins were not similar though. In the men's race many of the runners ran quickly enough to take the win, and it was the route choices and ability to reduce hesitations that made the difference. Isac von Krusenstierne who was ranked just outside the World's Top 50 beforehand, and who had been 13th in his heat (with 15 to qualify), handled things best and took the win. In the women's race Tove Alexandersson's speed was unmatched by anyone, so much so that a 30 second error (possibly partly the result of artificial barriers towards the end of a long leg) was not enough to stop her taking gold.
Five of the British runners (photos of all six below) qualified for the finals, Cecilie Andersen missing out.
Alice Leake achieved an outstanding 4th=, a mere 4 seconds off the medals. Grace Molloy in her first senior race, was 12th, saying it couldn't have gone much better. Peter Hodkinson was 14th, Chris Smithard 24th and Nathan Lawson, also debuting for the senior team, was 25th.Continue reading...
Nathan Lawson, on a wet day in the Lakes
The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia begin with the Individual Sprint races on Saturday 3rd July.
The qualification races are from 8am UK-time. The final begins at 1:30pm (first men start), with the TV broadcast starting at 1:50pm, ending about 4:15pm. From the three heats it is the first 15 that qualify for the final.
Most countries, and that includes Britain, enter three men and women, and the team manager will elect one early, one middle and one late starter. The expected winning time in the heats is 12 and a half minutes. In the final it's 14 and a half minutes.
The racing is at Terezín, a really interesting location. It's an eighteenth century fortress, comprising a citadel and a walled garrison town by the Ohře river just south of where it joins the Elbe. It's multi-level and the planners are also using artificial barriers. The courses are half grass and half paved - a high proportion of grass for a typical sprint race, and the fortress has some steep grassy slopes which could be "testing" if wet.Continue reading...
photo from Competition Bulletin 3
The Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2021 take place from Saturday 3rd to Friday 9th July. The host town is Doksy, a summer vacation resort in the Liberec region of the Czech Republic / Czechia. The Sprint Relay is in Doksy. The individual sprint is in/around an internationally known eighteenth century fortress. The forest races are in two types of distinctive terrain: the middle on steep bouldery slopes with plenty of thick vegetation, the long and relay in the sandstone where the best route can often be a long way from the straight line.
The previous championships, in 2019, were in Norway and were in the forest disciplines. The last time the sprint disciplines were contested in a World Championship was in Latvia in 2018.
The first entry in the competition programme is that there is no O-training on Thursday July 1st - because it's the main COVID testing for entry to the "WOC Bubble". These are the times we live in, and our first thought is gratitude to the Czech organisers, for running the World Champs, a huge task of itself, but even more this year in the significant shadow of a storm of COVID regulations. Thanks to them too for adding Sprint and Sprint Relay races to the original forest championships.
All finals will be televised. In Britain the broadcasts will as usual be a paid-for service on the internet (6 Euro per broadcast or 20 Euro for all five.) IOF Web TV Broadcast Schedule.Continue reading...
Ralph Street in a WOC Test Race, credit Petr Kadeřávek
The World Championships (WOC) in Czechia begin with Sprint Qualifications and Final on Saturday 3rd July.
The Great Britain Team has been selected. The team includes six women and seven men, and includes five athletes making their WOC debut. As the other eight all have at least three previous WOCs, it is an easy description that the team combines a lot of experience with the several newcomers.
Many congratulations from On The Red Line to the whole team and especially the WOC debutants: Alastair Thomas, Cecilie Andersen, Grace Molloy, Nathan Lawson and Peter Bray. Alastair and Grace are first year seniors. Nathan is not (yet) a member of the squad.Continue reading...