The 2019 Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships (WOC) took place in Østfold, Norway from 13th - 17th August. Østfold is the county of the south-east part of Norway, between Oslo and Sweden. The event centre was the city of Sarpsborg. The Championships were very well organised, and the accompanying spectator races were also well attended.

team The nine athletes of the Great Britain Team for the 2019 World Champs. Credits: Matt Speake by Karl Orud, Jo Shepherd by WOC2018 Latvia, Charlotte Watson and Megan Carter-Davies by South London Orienteers (from the "Get up to Speed" videos), others by On The Red Line.

It was a forest only World Championships. All three finals, long, middle and relay, were held from a specially constructed arena at Mørk Golf Club, in the middle of the previously unmapped forest. Long and middle used an arena start, and all courses had an arena passage.

Great Britain took a team of nine athletes, supported by Team Manager Ed Nicholas, Coach Liz Campbell and Physio Jane Ashbrook. Of the nine, four are based in Britain (two of whom have spent several years in Sweden), four in Norway and one in Sweden. All had run at least two World Chanps before.

Full results are in IOF Eventor - WOC2019.

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I am Yorkshire born and for many years a member of Airienteers. I went to university in Edinburgh to study structural engineering and subsequently joined Interlopers OC. I was with the British team for several years before deciding to take a year out (2016) to concentrate on the Skyrunning Extreme S...

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ggGraham Gristwood starts the WOC long distance (credit: Philip Gristwood)

Over the last two weeks, in the middle of an Østfold forest previously unused for orienteering, the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2019 organisation has built a spectacular arena. Today it was filled with crowds watching the classic distance in pleasant August sunshine. The 16.6km men's course was won by the Norwegian Olav Lundanes in just over 90 minutes, and the 11.7km women's race by the Swede Tove Alexandersson in 69 minutes.

Britain had two runners in each race. The men's race was first.

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team

A sport's World Championships aren't just about medals. They are an occasion when the sport celebrates its attraction and strengths, and shows the top level of the sport to those who take part at any level and to a wider audience.

Expect therefore that next week the International Orienteering Federation will say how many countries are taking part, and for all the competitions to have features that help make a spectacle. So for example there will be some easier controls sited with TV in mind - there will be many other tougher controls out of sight of the cameras. (The championships are carried live by Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and Estonian National TV, as well as by Web-TV - just 10 euro for the three days.)

Nevertheless it might be interesting to think about the destination of the 18 medals.

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team The nine athletes of the Great Britain Team for the 2019 World Champs. Credits: Matt Speake by Karl Orud, Jo Shepherd by WOC2018 Latvia, Charlotte Watson and Megan Carter-Davies by South London Orienteers (from the "Get up to Speed" videos), others by On The Red Line

The Great Britain Team for the 2019 World Championships includes nine athletes, all of whom have run WOC before. The championships include middle and long (classic) distance, plus relays.

World Championships Website.

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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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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.)

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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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BritNightsPrizegiving 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..

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overhead Picture: Overhead shot of a GB Runner orienteering

Link to the "Get Up To Speed" Videos.

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.

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kris

Whilst the final race of Orienteering's 2018 World Cup was happening in the Czech Republic, Kris Jones ran for Wales in the first Commonwealth Half-Marathon Championships in Cardiff. Kris ran a new personal best of 63:55.

Commonwealth Half-Marathon Results

Kris Jones website.

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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.

World Cup Table.

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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.)

menrelayteam Britain sent a team of 14 athletes. They achieved one podium place, in the men's relay.

Full results are in IOF Eventor - WOC2018 and results and photographs are also at the Latvia World Champs site. An index of our news reports and a summary of British results follows below.

See also the virtual arena (with links to many GB photos) at Maprunner WOC 2018

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alan Photo: Alan Cherry finishes in the Long Race WOC2018, credit Janis Ligats / WOC2018 Latvia

Women

  1. Tove Alexandersson, Sweden
  2. Maja Alm, Denmark ,
  3. Sabine Hauswirth, Switzerland

British runners:
> 25. Jessica Tullie,
> 28. Charlotte Watson,
> 31. Jo Shepherd.

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hhPhoto: Hector Haines running in last year's World Cup Long Race in Switzerland

The World Champs Long races are on Saturday 11th. These are the final races of WOC2018 Latvia. They are in the Gauja river valley "and side ravines". It is hilly, and the runnability varies from very good to hard. The visibility is mostly poor due to the dense vegetation.

GB has three women and two men running. Good luck to them. The women's race is first; and a two minute start interval is used.

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kris Photo: Kris Jones, WOC Sprint Relay, Riga, Latvia August 2018.

Great Britain, helped by a great run from Kris Jones on second leg, were seventh in the World Champs Sprint Relay in Riga, Latvia. The medals were won by the same countries as in 2017, and 2016, although as last year there was some swapping of positions.

The race, held in Riga but across the Daugava River from the Old Town, was an experience far removed from that of yesterday's individual sprint finals. And indeed from the experience of the vast majority of British orienteers.

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WOCprovidedPhoto 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:

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woc2018team 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.

WOC Bulletin-3.

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.

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cakestall Photo: by Brian Ward

Thankyou to the generous orienteers who donated and supported the cakestall run by Charlotte Ward at the "Sea, Sand and Spires Weekend" put on by her club HALO (Humberside and Lincolnshire Orienteers.)

It was mass-start Sprint Races in Cleethorpes, a Middle Distance Urban in Louth, and a spectacular indoor steel maze in Louth Cattle Market - do checkout the map!

Louth Maze Map

Louth Maze Race Photos

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Cat photo: Cat Taylor during Thursday's Relays. Cat was the highest placed British athlete today; she was 18th.

The European Championships concluded with the toughest races, the long or classic distance races on Sunday 13th May.

The women had 11.3km with 680m climb. The men had 14.9km with 910m climb.

Swiss Summary of Races

World of O Race Analysis

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ho Photo: Hollie Orr comes through the arena before the final loop in today's EOC Women's Forest Relay.

World Of O's Report

Women's 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.

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ForestRelay 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.

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Hector Photo: Hector Haines in IFK Lidingö colours

To many, the name TioMila is very well-known. And those that have experienced it understand the excitement and the grandeur of the competition. But it takes living it to really get to the essence of the race.

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Jo Shep 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.

To see all the early selections for the European Champs please see our 2018 calendar article or the 21st December announcement on the British Orienteering website.