lucy-walker_BOC24_WCLucy Walker at this year's British Championships, photo: Wendy Carlyle

Although the first three senior internationals in 2024 are sprint format (World Cup Rounds 1 and 2, and the World Champs in Edinburgh) it was the forest team for the European Champs (EOC) in Hungary in August (16th-20th) that...

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peter-molloy-c-WorldCup23SprintRelay_RLPeter 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.

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WOC23LongSteep terrain for the World Champs long races (the sight looking from control 8 on the women's course)

The World Champs Long Races in Switzerland lived up to expectations with very challenging physical courses, difficult route choices and superb performances by several athletes.

The highlight for the British team was Megan Carter-Davies's seventh place, an exceptionally good result, and close behind the bronze medallist. The other British athletes had sound races. Cecilie Andersen and Jo Shepherd were 30th and 31st respectively. Peter Bray and Joshua Dudley were 37th and 39th respectively.

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IbexBulletin4One of this year's trophies, from the World Championships Bulletin-4

On Wednesday 12th July the racing in the 2023 World Champs (WOC) begins. The Champs are at Flims-Laax in the mountain canton of Graubünden in Switzerland. The competition will be top-notch and the scenery will be stunning.

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peter-taylor-bray_BOC23_cr_WCPeter 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).

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CUOC_Icenian_2023_byDikNgDuncan 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.

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graham-gristwood-long031022_red_CAGraham 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.)

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fiona-bunn-wcuplong_20221003Fiona 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.

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prevMapDavos

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.

Next year's World Championships will be held a little to the west, in Flims Laxx, in July 2023.

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ralph-street-middlefinal-eoc2022_cr_FHRalph Street on his way to 13th in the Middle Final, photo: Fred Härtelt

The European Orienteering Championships for 2022 took place in Estonia and were for the forest disciplines. The medal races were the 4th, 6th and 7th August.

Eventor - Orienteering World Cup Round 2 and European Championships 2022

All races used the same arena, in the Põlula forest, near Rakvere, midway between Tallinn and the Russian border. For the previous European Championships, back pre-COVID in 2018 and covering more disciplines GB had a team of 17 including only one runner outside the 25-30 age group. This time Britain took 13 athletes, but it was much more slanted towards development. Our preview article on the team

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Capri2_at_WOC2022Capri, the World Champs 2023 Mascot, on stage at the World Champs 2022

The sprint racing that has filled the international calendar so far this year is done. This week it's the second round of the 2022 World Cup, the European Championships. All races are in tough forest in Estonia: long (classic), middle and relay races.

Fourteen athletes are in the British Team, seven women and seven men. It's a larger and also much less experienced team than went to the (Sprint) World Championships in Denmark in June.

Congratulations to Rachel Brown, Chloe Potter, Peter Molloy and Joe Woodley who make World Cup debuts. Rachel and Peter are W/M20.

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Capri_WOC2023_TSThe WOC2023 Mascot, Capri, photo: copyright steineggerpix.com + woc 2023, by Thomi Studhalter

It was to Swiss mountain forests of the Flims-Laax valley for the World Orienteering Championships 2023. The courses were both as physical and technical as expected and the races threw few surprises in the medallists:.Tove Alexandersson and Matthias Kyburz both won two golds and a silver. They lost out in the long to the golden couple of Simona Aebersold and Kasper Fosser. The weather was heavy at times, but did not get as bad as two different days the next week, when the 5000 runner Swiss-O week cancelled races up the mountains because of dangerous storms.

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peter-bray-2-WOC2021-MF_TBPeter Bray in the final, photo: Tomáš Bubela

The World Championships Middle Distance was on Tuesday 6th July in tough mountain terrain in the Jablonec nad Nisou district of northern Czechia. The borders with both Poland and Germany are not far away.

World Championships middle races have a reputation for being held in the toughest of forests, the sort that rips numbers off backs and means runners finish showing blood. In warm, humid weather the extremely challenging navigation on courses running longer than recommended provided a full-on experience. In the men's race particularly many of the leading runners picked up runners starting in front of them (there was a 2 minute interval) and had company for many controls, which could help them both.

The athletes have certainly earned a rest day before Thursday's forest relays.

In the morning qualification four British athletes qualified for the finals later in the day: Cat Taylor, Megan Carter-Davies, Peter Bray and Ralph Street. Alastair Thomas, who drew the earliest possible start came 16th in his heat (with 15 to qualify). Grace Molloy was 20th in her heat.

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TrainingCzechia1"Relevant terrain" - a training area

The World Championships Middle Distance races are on Tuesday 6th July.

They are at Jizerské hory. It's tough mountain terrain with plenty of high cliffs, broken ground, and marsh at altitude 530 - 83om. The racing is on steep slopes with granite boulders and cliffs, and variable visibility. Runnability is also variable, from very good in mature beech forest, to significantly limited by the steepness of the slopes covered in uneven rocks, in some parts with fallen trees, high blueberries and thickets too.

The qualification races are from 8am UK-time. The final begins at 2:50pm (men start), with the TV broadcast starting at 3:20pm, ending about 7pm. The first 15 in each of three heats qualify for the final, plus some lower placed runners where they are the highest placed finisher from their country. British runners will assume they need to be in the first 15 of their heat to make the final.

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Landscapephoto 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.

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LongTestRace2021-ralphRalph 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.

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ATAlastair 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.

Saturday Results

Sunday Results

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mapClipmap: 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.

Saturday Startlist

Weather Forecast

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FlagsThe season finished not soon after it started.

In the UK we had racing until the middle of March. And then it all stopped. The British Nights were held. The first round of the UK Elite League took place.

There were immediate cancellations/postponements of the big Spring events and the Welsh multiday summer festival. Other events, such as the Home Internationals, held out hope for varying lengths of time, but in the end none could see a way to take place. And that was pretty much it for racing in the UK.

There may be a short Autumn flurry, as has already started in Sweden and Norway - let's see.

But there was considerable creativity on recreational lines. Clubs created MapRun courses for independent exercise, and many regular orienteers reminded themselves about permanent courses. There were the Lockdown festivals.

And so it was across the world, and we had little of our usual fare to report or link to. But there were a few things, here's a roundup.

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cwCharlotte 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.

Our preview article.

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TeamThe Great Britain Sprint Relay Team for World Cup Round 1

Preview

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.

Live services.

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SashaSasha 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.)

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PeterPeter 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.

World of O Briefing on World Cup Round 1

The highest placed British runners were Megan Carter-Davies 29th in the women's and Ralph Street 24th in the men's.

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FinnishForestNuuksio 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.

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