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...
We notice the countries that have won most orienteering World Cup medals at the top of the 150+ country list of the UN World Happiness Report 2020.
Fiona Bunn is one of five newcomers to the GB Senior Squad. Credit: JWOC2019 Denmark.
The GB 2020 Senior Squad was announced at the end of January, news somewhat buried by the departure of the UK from the European Union on the same day.
On The Red Line We add our congratulations to the newcomers, and we thank those leaving for their contribution in previous years.
There are 24 athletes. 18 are based in the UK and six in Scandinavia. 15 of them have run at a World Championships. Coincidentally, 24 was also the size of the initial squads announced for 2018 and 2019.
It is an achievement to be invited to join. It brings cachet. It doesn't of itself bring any financial benefit though; there is no official squad training, and it is not referenced in the selection policy. Membership may help provide evidence on the policy's additional criteria, such as commitment to a positive team environment, but it is not the only way to do that. The GB international teams can and often do select non-squad athletes. Graham Gristwood ran the long at last year's World Championships.
New to the squad this year are Adam Potter (Bristol O.K.), Ben Mitchell (Swansea Bay O.C.), Cecilie Andersen (Bristol O.K.) and Sarah Jones (Edinburgh Southern O.C.), all relatively young runners who ran in the later rounds of last year's World Cup. Another newcomer is first year senior Fiona Bunn (Thames Valley O.C.), who won two medals at last year's Junior World Championships (JWOC).Continue reading...
Picture: Last year's GB World Cup Team
COVID-19 As you can imagine this was written before the introduction of the extensive social distancing measures introduced as a response to the spread of the virus causing COVID-19. Many of the events described will be cancelled.
In 2020 it is the first Sprint Orienteering World Championships, with Sprint Relay, Individual Sprint and the new Knockout Sprint. Denmark host, from 6th - 11th July, with the racing in Kolding, Fredericia and Vejle.
The European Championships are hosted by Estonia centred on Rakvere, and are the week of 6th - 23rd August. They include Middle, Long and Forest Relay.
The World Champs are not included in this year's World Cup, the European Champs are (as Round 2). There are two other rounds: Switzerland 20th - 24th May is Round 1, and Italy 1st - 6th October is the World Cup Final.
The Junior World Champs are in Turkey from 28th June - 5th July.
All are accompanied by open races, providing an opportunity for spectating orienteers to take a full-on experience of running and following the international racing.Continue reading...
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".
Graham Gristwood starts the WOC long distance (credit: Philip Gristwood)
Over the last two weeks, in the middle of an Østfold forest previously unused for orienteering, the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2019 organisation has built a spectacular arena. Today it was filled with crowds watching the classic distance in pleasant August sunshine. The 16.6km men's course was won by the Norwegian Olav Lundanes in just over 90 minutes, and the 11.7km women's race by the Swede Tove Alexandersson in 69 minutes.
Britain had two runners in each race. The men's race was first.
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...
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.
The "Test Races" for the World Orienteering Championship (WOC) are Friday 5th and Sunday 7th July. WOC is in South-East Norway in mid-August and the test races are also, in similar terrain and with offset printed maps. Many countries use the races as part of the selection process. There are over 250 entries each day with countries split between parallel D21 and H21 races. There will be GPS tracking after the last runner starts - please see the bulletin.Continue reading...
It is a quiet time for the international orienteering calendar. In Britain we must wait until next year for major events (except for one - the Southern Championships are on November 25th - with On The Red Line staff involved.)
So we look ahead to next year's calendar. The World Championships (WOC) are just the forest disciplines, as the new way of alternating forest and sprint begins. They are in Norway, so will be different from recent experience in Baltic countries. It is not a year for the biennial European Championships. And as in 2018 there are plenty of athletes aiming for the selections for World Cup Round 1 and the World Champs.Continue reading...
Round 3 of the 2018 World Cup takes place in Østfold, Norway on 31st August and the 1st and 2nd September. It is "pre-WOC" as the 2019 World Orienteering Championships are in the same south-eastern part of Norway. 2019 is a year for a forest championships.
The round includes a shortened long distance race, a prologue + pursuit, and a relay.
More detail in World Cup Round 3, Bulletin-3.Continue reading...
Photo: Megan Carter-Davies, WOC2018 Middle Race, courtesy of Janis Ligats / WOC2018 Latvia
With four disciplines to run, I thought the major challenge of the week would be physical: making sure I was in good condition at every start line. Of course, I've raced hard at the JK and World Uni's day after day so I knew I could cope well enough.
Anyway, it transpired that the biggest challenge I would face would be mental.
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...
After a World Champs the tables that decide how many runners a country gets in the forest races next year are calculated.
This year the tables determined the number of runners for a country in the middle and long races. Next year it only applies to the long, as there are qualification races in the middle and so every country can have three runners. There are also individual places for regional (e.g. European) champions.Continue reading...
Photo: Alice Leake in the current leader's chair at World Champs Sprint Final, Riga 2018, by Maprunner
On The Red Line editorial. On Saturday 4th August, after qualification races earlier in the day, the World Champs (WOC) Sprint Final took place in Old Town Riga, Latvia, and Alice Leake, the current British Women's Sprint Champion, came eighth. Alice made her WOC debut three years ago, and in previous years was 35th, 22nd and 22nd. She said on Twitter "8th in the world. What is even happening." It was the highest position by an individual British athlete at the 2018 World Champs. It's the fifth best British Women's sprint result at WOC ever. Like many of her fellow athletes Alice combines full-time work with her orienteering and time and money are precious. The Riga race was rightly hailed as "a breakthrough performance".
Alice explains what happened.Continue reading...
Photo: Alan Cherry finishes in the Long Race WOC2018, credit Janis Ligats / WOC2018 Latvia
> 25. Jessica Tullie,
> 28. Charlotte Watson,
> 31. Jo Shepherd.
Photo: Hector Haines running in last year's World Cup Long Race in Switzerland
The World Champs Long races are on Saturday 11th. These are the final races of WOC2018 Latvia. They are in the Gauja river valley "and side ravines". It is hilly, and the runnability varies from very good to hard. The visibility is mostly poor due to the dense vegetation.
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.Continue 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...
Megan Carter-Davies recorded the highest British position in today's women's middle distance World Champs race. She was 20th. Cat Taylor was 26th and Charlotte Watson 53rd.
The forest was tough, with mostly low visibility; it was not possible to stay on a bearing because of obstructions, and climbing and crawling needed to be part of an athlete's technique.
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: Kris Jones, WOC Sprint Relay, Riga, Latvia August 2018.
Great Britain, helped by a great run from Kris Jones on second leg, were seventh in the World Champs Sprint Relay in Riga, Latvia. The medals were won by the same countries as in 2017, and 2016, although as last year there was some swapping of positions.
The race, held in Riga but across the Daugava River from the Old Town, was an experience far removed from that of yesterday's individual sprint finals. And indeed from the experience of the vast majority of British orienteers.Continue reading...
Photo: Alice Leake running the arena passage in Riga Old Town Square, World Champs Sprint Final.
Alice Leake had the best run of the British athletes in this year's World Champs Sprints: she was eighth.
The fact that both the men's and women's titles were retained by last year's champions, Daniel Hubmann and Maja Alm, is to disguise a great deal of drama.Continue reading...
Photo:Maprunner - of the opening ceremony WOC 2017 Tartu Estonia
The World Champs (WOC) first races are early on Saturday.
We are fortunate that once again Jan Kocbach has written a comprehensive and entertaining reference to the competition:
and, although described as "Technical - for Teams", orienteers may also like:
Photo: WOC Latvia
Today team officials and many of the sprint orienteers arrived in a very warm Latvia. For example Kris Jones training blog. They continue to taper their training: Peter Hodkinson wrote about tapering - "not as easy as it looks" this time last year.
Lillomarka's guide to WOC (in Norwegian, but with many pictures) features their seven athletes taking part.
What happened last time:Continue reading...
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...
Image: Training Map Extract: 2018 Latvia
On The Red Line editorial - Charlotte wrote about other team members making a trip to join her in Latvia and run the test races organised by WOC. Several of the nations who will win medals use these as selection races so they re high quality. Jess wrote this article on Friday morning before the Sprint Test. Yesterday was the Middle test race. Today Sunday is the long test. There are live results and GPS.
Some of the team have travelled to Latvia for a pre-camp to suss out the terrain and prepare for the World Championships in less than a month’s time. There’s no point being in your best shape if you don’t know the faster lines to run, the best ways to attack the controls or what constitutes a good route choice.Continue reading...
Image: Map Extract: 2017 World Cup Latvia Middle Race
At the beginning of the year I applied to the athlete support fund for a grant to spend an extended period of time training in Latvia prior to the World Championships. We already knew that the terrain would be similar to the World Championships 2017 in Estonia. Having raced the Long there I felt I could have done much better if I had gone and spent some time learning about the terrain beforehand. Looking to other members of the team who had got better results than me, and other top athletes, it became clear that all those winning medals at WOC spend considerable time training in relevant terrain. The athlete support fund very kindly gave me a grant and I was selected for WOC middle so I was all set to go. I must also thank the North West Orienteering Association for their support on this training camp as well.Continue reading...
Photo Composition: GB WOC Team 2018 by On The Red Line
The team, or for British Orienteers "your team", for the 2018 World Championships in early August, has 14 runners. You know by now this is the last World Champs to be all discipline, i.e. sprint and forest races. So, in future years the team will almost certainly have fewer runners. It does mean for teams as a whole, for the support staff, and for spectators, there are many races to think about and look forward to: sprint, middle and long, plus the sprint and forest relays.
But that's not necessarily the individual athlete view. For seven of the GB athletes, half the team, there is a single race that is their's (counting the sprint qualification and final, which are on the same day, as one race.)Continue reading...
Photo Composition: GB WOC Team 2018 by On The Red Line
A campaign is launched inviting members of the British orienteering community to contribute towards the cost of the GB team attending the 2018 World Championships (WOC.) The fundraising campaign is, as last year, via the BT MyDonate site and the charity The Orienteering Foundation
The campaign page provides more explanation and provides the way to make a donation.
The success of last year's campaign really helped the athletes, easing financial pressure and being boosted by the support shown by the orienteering community.Continue reading...
British Orienteering has published the GB team for the World Championships (WOC).
On The Red Line congratulates the fourteen athletes and wishes them well for the next two months of training and for the racing in Latvia in early August.
All have previously represented Great Britain at World Championships. In fact, only the youngest member of the team, Megan Carter-Davies, who debuted last year, has not done so more than once.
The Sprint Relay team is the team that won the sprint relay at the World Universities Orienteering Championships in Miskolc, Hungary two years ago.Continue reading...
For Team GB it is the several rounds of the World Cup that defines the competitions. The rounds are hosted in different countries, and the programme is different each year. This year there are four rounds in all. The first round is the European Championships (EOC). The second round is the annual World Championships (WOC).
The European Championships are every two years. 2018 is a year for them - they are in Switzerland, in May.
This is the last year that the World Championships includes all disciplines. From 2019 forest and sprint will alternate. This year WOC is in Latvia in August.
The combination of an all disciplines World Championships and a European Championships makes 2018 the best year to further develop the interest of supporters and spectators in international orienteering.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...