Cecilie Andersen is one of 14 GB athletes in Northern Italy for the European Champs, Cecilie photo: by Rob Lines at the previous round of the World Cup this year.
The European Champs start early on Wednesday morning 4th October, continue on the 6th, and finish on Sunday 8th. It's the turn of the sprint disciplines and a large British team has gathered in Northern Italy. If you're not there the best way to follow it via the Live Internet TV with English commentary at 25 Euros for three broadcasts (or individual ones at 9 euros each), but if you don't have that then there are free online services.
It's the side of the sport where the athletes and coaches do lots of preparation aimed at saving seconds. The old maps will have been re-drawn, test courses plotted and analysed and so on. For many it's been the focus of the year, and those seconds will count for some as the fields for the classic and knockout sprints are reduced from over 100 by early morning qualification races (11 minute races for the classic, 45 qualify; 9 minutes for the knockout, 36 qualify.) And in the Sprint Relay it's one-team per country.
Last time was 2021 with the Champs held in Switzerland. UK based athletes were mostly barred from travel because of COVID: we nearly managed to get a sprint relay team but COVID scuppered one of the runners.
In last year's World Champs in the sprint formats GB did extraordinarily well, so maybe a bit of that magic will sparkle this competition.
On The Red Line expects plenty of very fine orienteering, but also incidents and drama. Fast runners in tourist cities under sprint conditions make for drama, if not quite ideal equal fairness!
The qualification races and the knockout sprint quarter-finals are not broadcast (we hope to put material on social media); the medal races are.
Wednesday 4th - Classic Sprint 13:30-16:00 UK-time
Friday 6th - Sprint Relay 14:30 - 16:00 UK-time.
Sunday 8th - Knockout Sprint Semi-Finals and Finals 13:00 - 15:00 UK-time
We don't know who said they were available for Italy, but we do know some are happy to enjoy their orienteering without joining the national team at all competitions. (As British team athletes typically work full-time and pay travel and accommodation, many have to be selective.)
Megan Carter-Davies (ranked 3rd in the World) and Charlotte Ward (ranked 14th in the World) have done little running recently and are both selected subject to fitness. (Laura King is named as reserve.) Cecilie Andersen and Rachel Brown both in the GB team for World Cup Round 2 and both running well at Sprint Scotland, join them..
Kirstin Maxwell does a lot of non-orienteering running, setting a 5K PB last year. She has run the European Champs before, but this is her first international since COVID.
Marie Eades, at the JK Sprint 2023, photo: Wendy Carlyle
Megan has a personal place for the classic sprint so all seven could run that.
Peter Hodkinson returns from a long injury which ended his 2022 season almost before it began. Eddie Narbett makes his senior debut. Like Freddie Carcas, Eddie Narbett is a young runner who has been at University in America and has little UK racing since COVID.
Freddie Carcas at World Cup Round 2, by Rob Lines