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.
Joshua 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.)Continue reading...
I grew up in a small village just outside Northampton and began orienteering on family holidays at multi-day orienteering events such as the Scottish 6 Days. Though I did venture into other sports – most notably swimming – I have always continued to orienteer, and have steadily progressed through...Continue reading...
One 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.Continue reading...
Peter 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).Continue reading...
Duncan 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.Continue reading...
Graham 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.)
Fiona 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.
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.
The 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.
Nathan Lawson, Borås Stadtspark, photo: Rob Lines
The GB first team of Charlotte Ward, Jonny Crickmore, Nathan Lawson and Megan Carter-Davies, were sixth, fourth nation, in the Sprint Relay in the centre of Borås on Sunday 29th May.
The race was won by Sweden's second team. The favourites, Sweden-1, made noticeable mistakes on leg3 and leg4, causing them to finish third. Switzerland-1 was second. Norway-1 were fourth, so third nation. Switzerland-2 were fifth.
Official Results - Orienteering World Cup Sprint Relay May 2022. There are two lists: one for just the leading teams for each country and one for all teams, including up to four teams per country, plus the "mixed" teams.
The GB second team of Alice Leake, Chris Smithard, Will Gardner and Grace Molloy were twenty-second of the fifty-seven teams that started, just behind Czech-1.Continue reading...
Megan Carter-Davies leads a quarter-final
Megan Carter-Davies won the silver medal in the World Cup Knockout Sprint in Borås, Sweden.
The Knockout Sprint races took place on Saturday 28th May. They comprised a qualification early in the morning, and then quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals in the afternoon.
Ralph Street got through to the men's final coming 7th (the final had an extra runner after a protest). Charlotte Ward, Cecilie Andersen and Jonny Crickmore qualified for the knockout stages and were eliminated in the quarter-finals.
The excellent photos here are the work of Rob Lines. You can find Rob's oeuvre of orienteering photographs on Flickr.Continue reading...
Charlotte Ward, interviewed after her terrific run
A GB team of 12 athletes, six men and six women, is in Borås, Sweden for three races forming World Cup Round 1. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay.
The individual sprint was on Thursday 26th May, and Kris Jones and Charlotte Ward both finished with a "top 10" result.
Thanks to Rob Lines for the excellent photos.Continue reading...
GB has named a team of 13 athletes, seven men and six women, for 2022 World Cup Round 1 in Borås, Sweden at the end of May. The races are the sprint disciplines: individual sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay.
Broadly, selection was made on two domestic sprint competitions earlier this year, Sprint Scotland and the JK Sprint, and last year's international races in Switzerland (European Champs), the Czech Republic (World Champs) and Italy (a sprint relay).
The team will be supported by Lasse Grøn, Jo Stevenson, Murray Strain, and Emil Wingstedt. All have recent experience with the team.Continue reading...
Part of the terrain for this year's JK Middle Race (mapper squad member Ben Mitchell)
The "JK", the biggest annual festival in the UK orienteering calendar, held every year at Easter, is back and upon us. We really missed it in 2020 and 2021. This year the Welsh Association are hosting, and some of the areas used are the same as in 2014 when they previously hosted.. How's the winter training gone? Have you got everything planned out and have you read through 37 pages of programme? How did you fare on your big weekends in the Winter and early Spring?Continue reading...
photo: Rob Lines
The British Relays were won by South Yorkshire (Women) and Forth Valley (Men.)
On Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th March, the British Champs 2022 were south-west of London near the Surrey/Hampshire border in an area not previously used for orienteering. The same arena was used for both days, with Day 1 called "Golden Valley and Cognor Woods" and Day 2 called "Iron Hill and Parkgate Rough".Continue reading...
from British Orienteering website, image: mapper Dave Peel.
With the weather set fair, the British Long Distance Champs are on Saturday March 26th, using an area new to orienteering south-west of London. There's a strong field including 59 names on the M21E startlist. The course is 16.6km with 815m climb; with the recommended winning time of 90-100 minutes. There are 18 entries on W21E for 11.3km with 495m climb and a winning time of 70-80 minutes.
The British Relays are the following day, using the same arena.
The British NIghts and the British Middles have taken place, the former in the very opposite of fair weather.Continue reading...
map: 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.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...
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...
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.
Megan Carter-Davies took the Women's British Sprint and Middle Distance titles last weekend. It has been a very successful 2019 for Megan in domestic races: she adds these titles to the British Long Distance, the JK Sprint and the JK Overall.Continue reading...
The home international, with individual races on Saturday and relays on Sunday, was hosted by Swansea Bay Orienteering Club (SBOC) on behalf of Wales. The competition is for teams of 18, six from each of W21 and M21, three from each of W20 and M20.
The weekend was a great success, with the athletes enjoying the terrain, great courses, the competition and the company.
England won, beating Scotland 27 to 23 in the individual and 28 to 23 in the relays. Wales beat Ireland by 13 to 9 and 11 to 10.
Weekend Points Scores (on the SBOC website).Continue reading...
The perhaps self-contradictory term "Home International" is used in the British Isles to describe sports competitions amongst national teams Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England.
In orienteering there are three "home internationals" and this coming weekend is the Senior Home International. Teams are 18 strong, six men and six women in the open class, and three men and three women 20 or under. This year's competition is organised by Swansea Bay O.C. on sand dune terrain in South Wales. The event dinner is being done by the Welsh Junior Squad.Continue reading...
Journalist and IOF Commentator Katherine Bett, working with GB Squad Athlete Will Gardner, as "The Run In", have now published six podcast episodes. Each episode lasts approximately an hour and is all about orienteering, with an emphasis on what the top British athletes are doing. In each episode they have been joined by a guest from the British squad: so far we have heard from Kris Jones, Sasha Chepelin, Cat Taylor, Alice Leake, Peter Hodkinson and Charlotte Watson.Continue reading...
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.
The Great Britain Sprint Relay Team for World Cup Round 1
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.Continue reading...
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.
JK2019 Middle Distance Prizewinners, credit: Iain Shepherd
The 2019 took place in central Southern England from April 19th - 22nd.
The weather was exceptionally warm and dry, and everything about the competition was very good, except the results service and timing which were not up to it.
(It's late Tuesday evening now, and "All results are now under review and will be published as soon as they are validated.")
Top three in the Women's Overall enjoying the weather, credit: Iain Shepherd
Jo, Megan and Cecilie together after their runs on Sunday (credit Iain Shepherd)
It was another warm day in Southern England for the biggest relay event in the UK Calendar: the JK (Jan Kjellström) Relays.
As with the other days of this JK festival pretty much everything was brilliant - planning, parking, layouts, final details, helpful officials, atmosphere.
Most runners were challenged by the good courses and enjoyed their orienteering. The premier classes had good races. The one "but" as most will know was the timing and results service, which as on the other days proved itself not up to the job.
The prizegiving postponed from Day 2 did take place and some of the relay classes could be presented but not all.
Photo: Kris Jones in last year's World Champs Forest Relay, by Janis Ligats for WOC2018 Latvia.
(This is a republication of a post inadvertently deleted, although given how Kris's predictions turned out - not entirely Kris's fault with both tipped men not starting - we perhaps need not have bothered )
Kris provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB athletes might take the wins.
Will Gardner on the run-in
The races were at Aldershot "Home of The British Army", which was a great venue and looking particularly lovely in the warm sunshine. Nearly all of each course was in the secure garrison area, with fast running mostly on tarmac or flagstones. There are many buildings, fences, and hedges, and interesting and fair courses weaving in and out set many short route choice decisions.
But, and this is a rather significant "but", the timing system fell short, both in regard to displaying the information to commentary and the audience, and runners being confident about reliably recording which controls were visited
We are nervous about the timing system for the rest of the weekend.Continue reading...
Photo: Kris Jones in last year's World Champs Forest Relay, by Janis Ligats for WOC2018 Latvia.
On The Red Line Comment. Most years the JK Middle is arguably the most competitive domestic race. This is because of the quality of the terrain, map and planning, the quality of the field (and that they are all going 100%) and the timing with regard to selection. This year the men's field has all the top runners from the UK ranking list (Alasdair McLeod, Will Gardner, Peter Hodkinson, Jonny Crickmore) an experienced international based in Norway (Matt Speake) plus a proven world-class international coming back from injury (Graham Gristwood). The Women's field has top runners from the UK ranking list (Megan Carter-Davies, Alice Leake) experienced internationals based in Scandinavia (Jo Shepherd, Jess Halliday, Charlotte Watson) and a proven world-class international coming back from injury (Cat Taylor.) And by the way It's one of three forest races in the UK this year with World Ranking status. As many will know the JK was in South Central England in 2013, again using Cold Ash for the long race, when the overall winners were Matt Speake and Cat Taylor.
Kris Jones, winner of the JK Sprint the last three years (and planner in 2014), is not running this year. He is currently recovering and training in Albuquerque, New Mexico. So we will have a new men's champion. Kris wrote about his injury for "Fast Running".
Kris provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB Squad athletes might take the wins.
We think both these races look very open.
Photo: Saturday's Assembly. Credit: Lakeland Orienteers on Twitter
It was the Red Rose Classic* - the second weekend of the five that make up the main domestic open class series - the UK Elite Orienteering League. On Saturday there was a middle distance at Haverthwaite, and on Sunday a long distance at Hampsfell.
*A Red Rose is traditionally associated with the County of Lancashire, as the White Rose is with Yorkshire. Wikipedia - Wars of The RosesContinue reading...
Photo: Ben Mitchell in the colours of Swansea Bay OC (2018 British Champs)
March 17th was the day of the CompassSport Cup Matches round the country. All were National Events. Club teams can be of any size and involve individual runners tackling their own one of 12 age group courses ( or "running up"). The highest scoring runners from a club count for the team score: 25 in the case of the Cup (for larger club teams) and 13 in the case of the Trophy (for smaller club teams.)
As less than a third of a team's counting runners can be in the open classes (and for successful teams it is typically fewer) there is no particular focus on these. But it is a big weekend for the clubs and they like to have their top runners joining the team. So here's a table of who won the open class races around the country.
Photo: Cecilie Andersen ahead of Megan Carter-Davies and Kirstin Maxwell, leading three in the Women's Sprint, towards the end of the course (credit: Steve Rush)
South Yorkshire Orienteers - terrific job, thanks - organised both events for the Northern Champs Weekend, 9th-10th March. The (Long) Championships were on Wharncliffe on Sunday. On Saturday, as the majority of orienteers attending the weekend ran an urban race, there was a sprint race to start the UK Elite League.
On The Red Line article about the League.
Saturday was wet and the terrain of Ponderosa, a mixture of parkland and estates with intricate alleys, was slippery. Sunday was wet and windy too, with snow on the moorland for earlier runners. The sprint races were longer than usual, and the championship races a bit shorter.
In the women's Megan Carter-Davies won both the sprint and the Northern Champs race. Megan, of Mid-Wales Orienteering Club, is not eligible for the Northern title, which was won by Charlotte Watson of West Cumberland O.C..Continue reading...
Photo: Will Gardner at Portugal O Meeting 2019
The Portugal O Meeting traditionally attracts large numbers: 2.600 this year. The top open classes, have large entries. This year over 100 in the women's, and well over a 120 limit in men's meaning there is a split to "super-elite" and "elite" based on world ranking position. The races see many of the world's best having their first competitive races after the winter. Several top clubs such as Halden and Kalevan Rasti are there in strength, and the Swiss National Squad ran Sunday and Monday's races.
Photo: M21 prizegiving, British Nights, from Scottish Orienteering Twitter (L-R Hector Haines, Graham Gristwood, Thomas Wilson, and in background - controller Richard Oxlade)
For most of the athletes the winter is mainly about training for the big events to come. And for On The Red Line it has been quite a quiet time with mostly background updates - such as to athlete profiles. There have been happenings, but we have been content to use Twitter. We have also been taking in the eight skills videos produced by South London Orienteers. The primary target for these is teenagers as they take on harder courses, but we think all orienteers can enjoy them. They were released through January and February, and are each presented by a different member of the squad.
Now, as February ends, after the hottest ever temperatures for this month in Britain, here is a roundup of some of what's happened through the winter months of December, January and February..
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...
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...
This Winter I took the opportunity to work on the Orienteering Australia Coaching Scholarship in Melbourne, Victoria. I spent six months from September to March racing, coaching and training across Australia. But what do you expect orienteering to be like when you step foot into terrain on the other side of the world?
I have been lucky enough throughout my orienteering career to have the opportunity to race in extremely diverse environments across Europe and China. Australian terrain, however, was different. What more would expect from a country on the other side of the world? Yes, the contours can generally be interpreted in the same way, but nothing can prepare you for the way the Australian forests have grown.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...