freddie-carcas-OltenSprint24_RLFreddie Carcas in the sprint race in Olten, Sunday 26th May 2024, photo: Rob Lines

It was good weather for the World Cup sprint race in Olten. It wasn't as tricky as most expected, except for crossing the railway where the bulletin had included the relevant section of map, and a small multi-level area near the end/ Here the map was different from the previous day, as a higher level was opened up.

The "red zone" runners, in this case the top 40 ranked women and top 40 ranked men ran first, in reverse order of ranking. After that those ranked from 41 upwards ran.

The races were won by Natalia Gemperle and Emil Svensk.

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rachel-brown-OWCup2024KOSprint_Olten_RLRachel Brown made it through to the knockout stages, photo: Rob Lines

Friday was the heats in nearby Zofingen. Saturday was the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, in Olten.

Twelve GB runners took part. Rachel Brown, Cecilie Andersen, Nathan Lawson and Ralph Street got through the heats to the knockout stages. Jonny Crickmore missed out by 2 seconds. On Saturday Ralph made it through to the semi-finals.

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mapClip_Olten1 The 2024 World Cup begins with a Knockout Sprint, the fastest possible start you might say. It's to the now well-established format except the heats are the day before the knockout stages.

Illustration above is from Bulletin-4 for the World Cup Round in Olten, Switzerland

For women and men qualifying heats will reduce the fields from over a hundred to thirty-six. Then quarter-finals (three out of six progess), semi-finals (two out of six progress) and then the finals. Women and men are set the same challenges in the knockout stages.

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joshua-dudley-WOC23RelayJoshua Dudley running Leg 2 for GBR completes the final loop at the WOC23 Men's Relay

The favourite teams in the World Champs Relays, Switzerland in the Men's Race, and Sweden in the Women's, both had clear wins. So Daniel Hubmann did become the oldest ever World Champion (and no, he has not retired.) There were no big surprises. Both British teams finished lower in the results than they had hoped. In the men's race, run first, GBR were aiming for top-10 and were 17th (6 minutes off 10th). In the women's race GBR were aiming for top-6 and were eighth (3 minutes off a close tussle for 5th/6th.)

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grace-molloy-ctl3-WOC23MFGrace Molloy at Control 3 in the World Champs Middle Distance Race

The World Champs Middle Races in Switzerland were as expected incredibly technical, and hot weather and the tough forest took its toll on the athletes. Being over 1000m above sea level may not have helped either. Many top runners made mistakes, and some very big ones very early in the race. And in both races there was a clear winner as the defending champions mastered the navigation at their race speed.

The highest placed British runner was Megan Carter-Davies, 12th. She was however disappointed with errors at controls 6 and then at 18, right at the end. Grace Molloy was 28th, Ralph Street was 29th, and Alastair Thomas was 34th. All of them lost time at places on the course, as did most of the runners.

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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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megan-carter-davies-WOC23MQ-LasseGronMegan Carter-Davies runs in at the World Champs 2023 Middle Qualification, photo: Lasse Gron

It was six heats: three for men, three for women, with the first 15 in each to qualify by right (some runners from countries who would otherwise not have representation in the final also qualify.)

As regards the strongest countries it all went much to plan. Very technical terrain and good preparation were perhaps the main reasons.

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GBR_WOC23GB Official Team Photo, from Ralph Street Instagram

This year's World Champs racing starts on Wednesday 12th July. The GB athletes and nearly all the other athletes have gathered in the Swiss mountains, and everyone gets their picture taken.

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GBR_WOC23GB Official Team Photo, from Ralph Street Instagram

This year's World Champs racing starts on Wednesday 12th July. The GB athletes and nearly all the other athletes have gathered in the Swiss mountains, and everyone gets their picture taken.

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

World Champs 2024 Selection (Test) Races, 3rd, 4th, 6th June.

Flims Laax, best known as a ski resort, hosts the Orienteering World Champs in July. The Champs are being held in conjunction with the Swiss-O Week.

Switzerland has a well-earned reputation for organising orienteering. This encompasses major international competitions of the sort we report, but also mass participation festivals. This year the 6-day Swiss-O week starts the same day as the WOC Relay on July 16th and runs to the 22nd. It has already hit the day 3 capacity of 4000 runners: the capacity of the Mountain Railway!

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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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peter-molloy-WUOCmiddleAug22Peter Molloy in the Jura forest, image: from the TV broadcast

The World University Orienteering Champs took place in Switzerland last week. It was a big competition with teams from thirty countries and races on all the five days from Wednesday to Sunday. The age range for runners is now 18-25 (the upper limit used to be 28) and it provides a useful way for younger athletes to have international competition between the junior events (although many of the athletes are still juniors) and the World Cup.

Great Britain was represented by a full team of twelve athletes. There was a mix of results, as you would expect at this level, with some of the team taking the chance to record strong performances.

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CansiglioMenMiddleStartthe start of the men's middle in the Cansiglio forest, October 2021

The Final Round of the 2021 World Cup took place at Cansiglio–Cortina d'Ampezzo in north-east Italy from 30th September to 3rd October.

The long race on Thursday 30th September and the middle on Saturday 2nd October were in runnable beech forest on high Karst terrain. These decided the individual World Cup with Kasper Fosser and Tove Alexandersson both winning both days and becoming the World Cup Winners 2021.

There was a thrilling sprint relay in Cortina d'Ampezzo on Sunday 3rd, with four nations including GB starting their last leg runners at the front within a few seconds of each other. It was like a double length knockout sprint. At the end Andrine Benjaminsen stormed in to win for Norway, the first time an international sprint relay was not won by either Sweden or Switzerland. GB were fourth nation. Sweden won the team World Cup.

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EOC_organisersOrganisers in Neuchâtel

The European Sprint Orienteering Championships did take place. The place was Neuchâtel, Switzerland; it looked lovely. The weather was a bit rainy. The Swiss, Swedish and Norwegian teams provided the medal winners, apart from Yannick Michiels (who got an EOC medal after many close misses, and lots of wins in other World Cup races.) And there was a small British team taking part.

On May 13th, there was an International Sprint Relay, the first since the the final round of the 2019 World Cup. In fact the whole meeting was the first senior international since then. May 14th was the Sprint Qualification. Saturday May 15th was the Knockout Sprint Final stages of quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals. Sunday May 16th was the individual sprints.

The three days that medals were awarded had excellent TV coverage. Throughout, COVID secure protocols were in place, and substantially there were no local spectators apart from the organisation team, but as it was sprint racing in an urban setting there were always some people about.

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EOC_organisersOrganisers in Neuchâtel

The European Champs in the three Sprint formats have begun. Yesterday, May 13th, the Sprint Relay was won by Switzerland, with Sweden second and Norway third.

There was no British entry in yesterday's relay because UK Government rules on international travel meant few GBR athletes can attend the championships. Most European countries have usual size teams but numbers of athletes from further afield are down. There are no runners from Ireland, Australia and Canada, or China (which hosted the previous World Cup round, the Final Round of 2019, with runners from the home team winning two medals.)

Today May 14th is the sprint qualification races from 2pm UK-time. There are 119 men running, including Tam WIlson of Great Britain, and 105 women, including Megan Carter-Davies and Jo Shepherd.

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coatOfArmsNeuchâtel, City Coat of Arms

Fingers crossed, in Switzerland next month International Orienteering Teams will meet after a year of no racing. The European Champs in the three Sprint formats are to be contested in Neuchâtel May 13th-16th.

British Orienteering has done some good work to be able to make the announcement of a four-athlete team. As noted in the announcement many GB athletes are unable to travel to this competition, so it is not the full team Britain would have liked to send (Britain had places for six men and six women in each individual format.)

On The Red Line congratulates and wishes well to Thomas Wilson making his first senior international appearances. Thomas is a Scot, growing up with Clydeside Orienteers and the Edinburgh University setup. He's not currently a member of the GB squad so doesn't appear in our Athletes section, but we do have a picture of him on a podium

Thomas's Attackpoint log

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krisKris 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.

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ralphRalph 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.

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JonnyJonny 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.

Full Results World Cup Middle Distance 27th September.

World of O Report - including maps and GPS

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RS 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.

  • Friday is the Middle Distance.
  • Saturday is a Knock-Out Sprint.
  • Sunday is a regular sprint, with A and B races for both men and women.
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Kris Jones wins Sprint Bronze

kris Photo: Kris Jones on the run through the arena (On The Red Line)

teamphoto Photo: GB team; athletes, manager and support staff, Hollie Orr not present (Source: Kirstin Maxwell Twitter)

Great Britain sent a team of 17 athletes to the Championships held in Ticino, S...

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Cat photo: Cat Taylor during Thursday's Relays. Cat was the highest placed British athlete today; she was 18th.

The European Championships concluded with the toughest races, the long or classic distance races on Sunday 13th May.

The women had 11.3km with 680m climb. The men had 14.9km with 910m climb.

Swiss Summary of Races

World of O Race Analysis

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ho Photo: Hollie Orr comes through the arena before the final loop in today's EOC Women's Forest Relay.

World Of O's Report

Women's 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.

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AL Photo: Alice Leake passes the coaches area near the finish of today's EOC Sprint Relay.

Home team Switzerland won the European Sprint Relay Championship Race today Thursday 10th May. They were a comfortable minute ahead of second-placed Sweden, who in turn were a comfortably two minutes ahead of a tight finish for the bronze medal which included Alice Leake anchoring TeamGB.

Charlotte Ward, Peter Hodkinson and Kris Jones had given Alice a 25 second start for the last leg ahead of a group of four other teams. But three of the teams caught her.

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ct 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.

Cat Taylor talks with Jessica Tullie after today's race

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kj _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.

Kris Jones talks to Katherine Bett after today's race


Other British Results

Men: 22.Alasdair McLeod, 23.Peter Hodkinson, 24 Chris Smithard, 27.Ralph Street.

Women: 25.Charlotte Ward, 31.Alice Leake.

EOC Website Results

World of O report

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Carona Image: Extract of previous map of Carona, the area for the middle qualification.

The biennial European Orienteering Championships begin on Sunday 6th May with the sprint qualification and final, and finish the following Sunday with the classic forest races. They are in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, hosted by the Canton of Ticino.

There will be good coverage of the championships at LiveOrienteering. And there will be plenty of other sources of results and reports to also enjoy, or to rely on if you haven't the time (or money) for internet TV.

Now here's a question whose answer might surprise - in what orienteering discipline has Great Britain enjoyed most success at the previous two European Championships? All disciplines are included in these championships (the sprint relay was new in 2016):

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Cat Cat Taylor has a tough start on a post-JK trip to the European Champs terrain.

She comments about her win in the Middle Distance race at the JK:

It helped me that the course only had a lot of short legs and I never got the chance to run too far off line. In the end I got away with the minimal preparation and took a narrow win. I was hugely relieved but also unaware that this was the last thing to go smoothly for a while…

Peter Photo: Peter Hodkinson in evening sunshine, World Ranking Sprint, Akershus Fortress, Oslo. From Lillomarka OL Facebook.

The Norwegian and Swiss Test Races for European Championships selection are this weekend, with several British runners taking advantage of quality races. This item will be updated as they happen.

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