cwCharlotte 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.

Our preview article.

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TeamThe Great Britain Sprint Relay Team for World Cup Round 1

Preview

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.

Live services.

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SashaSasha 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.)

Both of yesterday's winners Tove Alexandersson and Gustav Bergman held off their chasing runners.

The highest placed British runners were Cat Taylor and Will Gardner. The race is Will's best ever world ranking points score.

World of O Report, Results and Analysis

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PeterPeter 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.

World of O Briefing on World Cup Round 1

The highest placed British runners were Megan Carter-Davies 29th in the women's and Ralph Street 24th in the men's.

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FinnishForestNuuksio 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.

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kris

Story (and great photo) on Jukola website about two British runners who were first back from leg 1

endleg1 Photo: Screen grab from the international TV broadcast of Kris and Ralph running together to the map exchange.

See the race develop in one of the most technical forests, even by Finnish standards - Leg 1 GPS


In an interesting postscript, and emphasising Kris's summary of his running in his recent interview "no two races are the same", Kris won a 5K track race the following weekend.

UPDATE 26th 4:30pm - race video at http://www.runjumpthrow.com/videos/24296

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rs

(Update 7am Saturday 16th - list updated, apologies to anyone we have missed, you can let us know at @OnTheRedLineO on Twitter.)

We can perhaps usefully summarise British runners in Venla and Jukola.

There are ten British teams in Venla, and eleven in Jukola. You can find their runners in the full Venla/Jukola startlists.

Many of the stronger British or British-based runners taking part are running for Scandinavian clubs, some probably near the sharp end of the races - see below for list.

Tons of thought and hours of practice goes into who runs which leg. Factors such as the light conditions, how many other runners will be in near attendance, athlete style and mental approach all play a part as well as this year's terrain type and leg length and position in the relay.

The result is we see that every single leg in both Venla and Jukola is represented in the list of British runners in Scandinavian club teams. You may not be so surprised to learn which has most...

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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.

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