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.

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KrisPhoto: 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 Jones is not running the JK this year. He is currently recovering and training in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Kris wrote about his injury for "Fast Running".

Kris provides his thoughts about the racing, and bravely predicts which of his fellow GB athletes might take the wins.


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KrisPhoto: 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.

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(main profile photo of Matt by Karl Orud at the pre-WOC in 2018)

I am now settled near Oslo in Norway with my wife and young family. I trained as a furniture maker, then became a joiner, which is what I now do full-time. My Norwegian club was Lillomarka, and is now Bækkelagets SK. I have been plea...

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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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Squad member Ralph Street won a bronze medal with Bækkelagets Sportsklub in the Norwegian Sprint Relay Championship Race in Stavanger yesterday.

The winners were Nydalens SK, with whom Ralph won a bronze last year. After the four legs and an hour's running they finished 20secs ahead of NTNUI, with Bækkelagets SK a further 19 seconds back.

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Matt Speake Matt Speake has joined Bækkelagets Sportsklub. They announced his arrival with a website article.

Matt, who lives and works in Oslo, is changing from one Oslo club to another, having been with Lillomarka OL for seven years. Most recently he was planner for well-received courses at the Norwegian Test Sprint Race at Akershus Fortress, which we wrote about last month.

Fellow GB Squad member Ralph Street also joined Bækkelagets Sportsklub this year. Matt and Ralph are by no means their first British members - Yvette Baker, Dan Marston and Sarah Rollins are notable British athletes associated with the club.

Peter Photo: Peter Hodkinson in evening sunshine, World Ranking Sprint, Akershus Fortress, Oslo. From Lillomarka OL Facebook.

The Norwegian and Swiss Test Races for European Championships selection are this weekend, with several British runners taking advantage of quality races. This item will be updated as they happen.

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