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...
Image: Lonely Mountain Sprints location (image from the event website)
In this the first year of a sprints only World Orienteering Championship it seems that in January it has been the team's sprinters that have been making the news.
Peter Hodkinson, Jonny Crickmore and Chris Smithard were amongst other internationals taking part in the Lonely Mountain Sprint Series in New Zealand. There is a great report, with photos and maps, at orienteering NZ.Continue reading...
Charlotte Ward and Kirstin Maxwell. credit: Hello 5G.
The Sprint Relay of the China World Cup Round took place at 06:45 UK-time. The venue was:
An extremely scenic location of an open-air film studio complex with numerous replica townscapes and temples, combining the landscape of a city park and suburban park with strong cultural atmosphere. There is both planted and natural vegetation, with some small areas of open forest depending on route choice. Very good runnability.
There were five teams in contention at the start of the last leg, three of them Swedish. Handling the complex navigation well and running strongly it was Elena Roos of Switzerland who took the victory. The Swedish second team, with Sara Hagstrom, were second, and Norway with Andrine Benjaminsen were third.
The Great Britain team of Charlotte Ward, Peter Hodkinson, Ralph Street and Cecilie Andersen, were 13th, eighth nation.Continue reading...
The fourth and final round of the 2019 World Cup takes place in Nanhai District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, China. This is close to Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, around the Pearl River Delta. Teams from China, Hong Kong China and Macau China are taking part.
There is Live Internet TV coverage (for a fee) with commentary from Katherine Bett and Jonas Merz. Sunday's Sprint Relay, in Nanhai Movie and TV Town - a purpose built facility occupying over a square kilometre and used for over 500 TV programmes and movies rates to be particularly good to watch, and being so early it may get you in the mood for taking exercise in the rest of the day.Continue reading...
I started orienteering with South London Orienteers and have run for them ever since, except for three years while at Sheffield University (winning JK and British Relays, and co-planning a Harvester). My first orienteering race was Highland ’99 alongside the World Championships. I joined the South E...Continue reading...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
Alasdair McLeod (pictured) and Ralph Street ran the World Champs middle race in Sigulda Latvia today. Ali was 52nd and Ralph was 13th. Ralph improved from being 38th at the first timing point and was less time down on the winner at the end than he was on the then leader at the first timing point.
Kris Jones asked Ralph a few questions after the race.Continue reading...
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: 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...
Story (and great photo) on Jukola website about two British runners who were first back from leg 1
Photo: Screen grab from the international TV broadcast of Kris and Ralph running together to the map exchange.
See the race develop in one of the most technical forests, even by Finnish standards - Leg 1 GPS
In an interesting postscript, and emphasising Kris's summary of his running in his recent interview "no two races are the same", Kris won a 5K track race the following weekend.
UPDATE 26th 4:30pm - race video at http://www.runjumpthrow.com/videos/24296Continue reading...
Squad member Ralph Street won a bronze medal with Bækkelagets Sportsklub in the Norwegian Sprint Relay Championship Race in Stavanger yesterday.
The winners were Nydalens SK, with whom Ralph won a bronze last year. After the four legs and an hour's running they finished 20secs ahead of NTNUI, with Bækkelagets SK a further 19 seconds back.Continue reading...
Photo: Hollie Orr comes through the arena before the final loop in today's EOC Women's Forest Relay.
Switzerland 1 and Switzerland 2 contested the gold medal, and with only the first team from a country counting for prizes, Switzerland 2 didn't get a medal for coming second.
A sprint finish for silver was won by Sweden from Denmark. GB1 were 11th (7th country - the others ahead were Norway, Russia and Finland) and GB2 were 17th.Continue reading...
photo: 2016 EOC relay start
The European Forest Relays are on Saturday 12th May, with the women's race starting at 1pm UK-Time, and the men's at 3pm.
Each country may enter two teams in each forest relay.
GB has two teams in each, and of the 12 athletes nearly all are Scots or have strong Scottish links. In the women Hollie and Jo are Scots (and both are now members of Halden SK), Jess lives in the Highlands, and the other three all went to Edinburgh University.Continue reading...
Photo: Cat Taylor runs through the arena on the spectator passage partway through today's race (credit: On The Red Line).
Cat Taylor came fifth in today's European Championship middle distance race.Continue reading...
Photo: Alan Cherry finishes his race today (credit: On The Red Line).
All four women and three of the six GB men qualified for tomorrow's European Champs middle distance final in today's tough races in steep terrain at Carona.
Alan Cherry ran relatively early and was unfortunately 2 seconds out from what turned out to be the qualification time. It was the next to last starter in his heat who came in 14 seconds too quickly for Alan to make it.Continue reading...
The Men's and Women's European Middle Champs are on Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th May.
Good luck to the ten GB athletes entered, four women and six men, all with a good chance of getting through to the finals on Wednesday.Continue reading...
_Photo: Kris Jones runs through the arena a couple of minutes before the end of the sprint course today (credit: On The Red Line).
Kris Jones won the bronze medal in today's European Championship sprint race.
Men: 22.Alasdair McLeod, 23.Peter Hodkinson, 24 Chris Smithard, 27.Ralph Street.
Women: 25.Charlotte Ward, 31.Alice Leake.Continue reading...
Photo: Ralph Street in the colours of Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering, JK Long race 2017, by Robert Lines.
TioMila2018, one of the best weekends of the year. is in commuting distance of Stockholm next weekend.
As you know participation in orienteering is much more club based in Scandinavia than it is here. There are many relays, and this one is arguably the most important. It is the one that Swedish orienteers all talk about through the winter. It's the one they all remember years afterwards.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.
Ralph Street has joined Bækkelagets Sportsklub. They announced his arrival with a website article.
Bækkelagets SK are an Oslo club, and Ralph has been living and working in Oslo for a year. He is not their first British member - Yvette Baker, Dan Marston and Sarah Rollins are notable British athletes associated with the club. Ralph is a TioMila winner with the Swedish club Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering (he ran leg 8 in the winning team of 2016) and will still run with them in TioMila and Jukola this year.
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...