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...
Chris Smithard, JK Champion 2019, Co-ordinator Lockdown Orienteering, 2020.
At Easter 2019, Chris Smithard won the overall JK Individual Trophy with two hours and nine minutes running, by a margin of just seven seconds. Peter Bray was second and Will Gardner third (28 seconds down.)
At Easter 2020 Chris was coordinating an online festival "Lockdown" for 500 international orienteers. It included 12 stages, and a good deal of social media activity including TV discussions and live coverage of the final. A lot of people are learning a lot, not just about online activity linked to orienteering, but also improving their own skills.
"Lockdown Orienteering" has been the most newsworthy of many online activities in the second half of March and all of April as we "locked down" in the UK. Chris co-ordinated a further "sprint-focused" weekend two weeks later, and there will be another "forest-focused" one 8th-10th May (entries close May 5th.)
The final day of traditional orienteering before the shutdown was Sunday March 16th, the day for the qualifying round of the inter-club competition the CompassSport Cup. Many orienteers therefore enjoyed a nice day out with a focus on club and clubmates to take with them into the shutdown; perhaps we can see it as fortuitous timing.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...
Kris 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.Continue reading...
Ralph 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.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...
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...
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.
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.
Picture: Alice Leake in the long race at JK 2018
British Sprint Champion 2017 and 2018.
My orienteering started with EBORienteers, a club based around York, and later I joined the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Junior Squad, winning several Inter-Regionals competitions with them and competing...Continue reading...
Picture: Overhead shot of a GB Runner orienteering
South London Orienteers have, with funding from Sport England, produced a series of eight short videos illustrating techniques used in orienteering. The videos are filmed in different locations and each is presented by a member of the GB Team. The aim of the series is to help juniors deal with more technically demanding courses, but these films can also be used to help newcomers to the sport. Each video focuses on a specific orienteering skill.
Videos are being released on Fridays (5 pm UK-time) in January and February.Continue reading...
Image: Map Extract, World Cup Final Middle Race - Embargoed Area
The final 2018 round of the World Cup - the last outing for the GB team this season - is this weekend in the Czech Republic. This item will be updated with news as the races happen.
Live Services - with a new TV service provider.
Control Description Sheet, Knockout Sprint Final
Euromeeting in Denmark was a runup event for the 2020 World Championships.
Not all countries sent full teams but plenty did, with a lot taking the opportunity to build their experience of competition formats at this level. It was good to see GB represented in strength.
On Friday 21st there was a Sprint Relay in Kolding. GBR-1 were ninth, fifth nation. GBR-2 were thirteenth. GBR-3 including a Swedish guest runner were 26th.
On Sunday there was a regular sprint race in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Christiansfeld. Alice Leake was 4th - a really good result. Charlotte Ward was 23rd. The leading British men were Jonny Crickmore 26th and Matt Fellbaum 27th.Continue reading...
Image: Wikipedia Commons.
Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd September is Euromeeting in Denmark, a runup event for the 2020 World Championships..
On Friday, 3pm UK-time, there is a Sprint Relay from Arena Kolding North.
On Saturday there is knockout sprint, with a qualification race in the morning, and then quarter-finals. semi-finals and finals from 2pm UK-time at Arena Assens.
On Sunday, from 9am UK-time, there is a sprint race in the Christiansfeld UNESCO World Heritage Site, founded in 1773 by the Moravian Church and largely built in the years up to 1800.Continue reading...
Bath University, Saturday 1st September
Photo: The Prizegiving, by Steve Rush
|1||Alice Leake (Airienteers)||13:51|
|2||Laura Robertson (Edinburgh Southern)||13:56|
|3||Charlotte Ward (Humberside & Lincolnshire)||14:03|
|4||Fiona Bunn (Thames Valley, W20)||15:00|
|5||Cecilie Andersen (Bristol)||15:34|
|6||Kirstin Maxwell (Roxburgh Rievers)||15:39|
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...
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: 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: 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: Sprint Scotland Map Extract - Grangemouth Course 2
Sprint Scotland, mimicking the World Champs Sprint Weekend, had three races in two days. All but one of the British WOC team sprinters were there, and they were joined by some of the best in the world. It was generally assessed as terrific preparation immediately before the World Champs. All the races had World Ranking (WRE) status.
Meanwhile other WOC athletes were doing their final preparations too - some days of O-ringen, last training camps for example - and writing about them. And the World Universities wrapped up with the relays.Continue reading...
Photo: Sprint Scotland Organiser Graham Gristwood
Sprint Scotland has three sprint races this weekend with all but one of the British WOC team sprinters running. They are joined by some of the best in the world, two weeks before the World Champs. All the races have World Ranking (WRE) status.Continue reading...
Photo: Hollie Orr comes through the arena before the final loop in today's EOC Women's Forest 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.Continue reading...
photo: 2016 EOC relay start
The European Forest Relays are on Saturday 12th May, with the women's race starting at 1pm UK-Time, and the men's at 3pm.
Each country may enter two teams in each forest relay.
GB has two teams in each, and of the 12 athletes nearly all are Scots or have strong Scottish links. In the women Hollie and Jo are Scots (and both are now members of Halden SK), Jess lives in the Highlands, and the other three all went to Edinburgh University.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
Photo: Charlotte Ward near the finish of Sunday's EOC Sprint Final.
The European Sprint Relay Championship Race is at 4pm UK time on Thursday 10th May. There are 21 teams entered. It is live on the internet with English commentary, or for those with less time or money there are online results.
The racing is in the scenic villages area of Capriasca in the Italian speaking Ticino canton of Switzerland. And it will be Ticenese Elena Roos running the last leg for Switzerland - that could mean enough crowd noise to be heard in a neighbouring country.
The GB team will wear 7 as that was their position last time round, and they have a good chance of making the podium. The team is Charlotte Ward, Peter Hodkinson, Kris Jones and Alice Leake. Profiles of the team follow....Continue reading...
_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.
Men: 22.Alasdair McLeod, 23.Peter Hodkinson, 24 Chris Smithard, 27.Ralph Street.
Women: 25.Charlotte Ward, 31.Alice Leake.Continue reading...
This post contains links to several stories On The Red Line has noticed over the weekend. By the way if you are a user of Twitter we now are too. We will tweet when we publish major news items.
The 6-stage Women's race was won by Leeds City AC including Alice Leake (fastest runner on leg 5). The 12-stage Men’s race was won by Tonbridge - with Swansea Harriers including Kris Jones (fastest runner on leg 9) third.Continue reading...
Jo Shepherd is one of 12 athletes gaining early selection for the British team at the European Championships. Jo is selected for sprint, middle and forest relay.
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...