woc2018team 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.

The On The Red Line Team Announcement News Item.

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mcd Photo by Wendy Carlyle

The weekend of 16th/17th June is the Venla and Jukola Relays in Finland. These are enormous. It's a big festival weekend and one of the big competitive weekends of the international orienteering calendar.

Venla is a 4-leg day relay for women. Jukola is a 7-leg overnight relay.

In Britain, a country of 65 million people, orienteering is not so well-known and remains a minority sport. Night orienteering is a minority sport within the minority sport, and a lot of active orienteers say they don't like relay orienteering because of "the additional responsibility" of teammates. Guess what - the UK's night relay, the "Harvester Trophy", is a connoisseur's event for two hundred people.

In Finland, a country with less than one tenth the population, orienteering has a higher profile and there is more navigation skill, the long days of midsummer are a big contrast to the winter, and the overnight relay weekend is several hundred times bigger, attracting over fifteen thousand runners. Many seem to enjoy orienteering more as part of team at a big event, and travel a long way to be there with their friends and family. For some it is their annual orienteering outing.

So for a cultural parallel think not of orienteering but of the London Marathon: a big festival event, a mix of top-level and participation sport, a tradition, and a lot of general interest.

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Balmoral Image: Extract of previous map of the Balmoral Estate

On The Red Line editorial note: please click on an athlete's name for more information - this will be one of On The Red Line, World of O, IOF Eventor or the Archive of British Orienteering Records.

This weekend sees the British Long Distance Championships at Balmoral Estate. The area was previously used for RacetheCastles in 2014 and the Scottish Championships in 2016 and offers a beautiful venue with good technical challenge in a variety of high quality terrain.

Event parking and the race arena are close to Balmoral Castle itself. Thanks go to Her Majesty the Queen and Balmoral Estates for allowing orienteering to use the area and in particular to Garry Marsden, Estate Visitor Enterprise Manager for his great co-operation.

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Willoz 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.

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GG Photo: Graham Gristwood, at the British Sprint Relay Champs 2017, by Brian Ward.

So much of orienteering happens when a runner is on their own that international runners and analytical mental strength go hand-in-hand. Some of the athletes are quiet, some are chatty, some are in between, but they are, as a general rule, very strongly self-aware and determined. They subject themselves and their performances to merciless self-analysis.

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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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Alasdair The prime orienteering season in the UK is condensed into spring and summer with all the major competitions occurring over this period. The winter months are an opportunity to prepare yourself for the major races and I expect you thought about orienteering during this period: did you translate tha...

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Ali

It is all broadcast online. GPS tracking and many cameras (both setup in close co-operation with the planners) allow the broadcasters to show the story well, often with great drama as the races unfold. This year there's again an English language commentary option, with Boris Granovskiy and Graham Gristwood. It costs 150SEK. Order the broadcast at www.10mila.se.

As with watching all sport knowing a bit more about the teams and the athletes helps the appreciation.

This article is a summary of the timings and colours of some of the clubs who may well feature. There being more than 300 teams in each race suggests someone important is left out. I wonder who.

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Jess Photo: Jess Tullie in Domnarvets GOIF colours

This year's TiomIla Women's race is in the afternoon of Saturday 28th April. It starts at 12:15 UK-time and the winning team will finish about a quarter to five. You can watch it on the internet, with English commentary from Boris Granovskiy and Graham Gristwood. There will be several hundred teams. Apart from the sprint specialists, most of the GB Squad women will be running, and they are looking forward to it.

Video showing the start of the 2016 race There wasn't English commentary in 2016 but you can see Jess lead off for the lowest numbered team.

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Sasha Photo: Sasha Chepelin at the World Cup Final Meeting 2017

Like Hector, my excitement for the upcoming TioMila relay is building. Having recently moved club and location to Halden, this feeling is ever more noticeable. I'm now part of a club which has quite the record of orienteering relay success. Simply glancing into the Halden SK's central clubhut reveals a trove of mementos earned from consistent success at the big orienteering relays across their entire histories. But with these big overnight relays comes a very different style of orienteering.

Halden's news item welcoming Sasha.

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