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.
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.
(Profile photo of Peter by Rob Lines at the World Cup Czechia 2023)
2022 - British Long Champion M20E at Golden Valley and Cognor Woods, JK Champion in South Wales. 12th, 17th and 26th in the individual races at JWOC.
M20 British Sprint Champion 2021 and 2022.
In 2023 World Cup Round 2 in Czec...Continue reading...