Fiona Bunn is one of five newcomers to the GB Senior Squad. Credit: JWOC2019 Denmark.
The GB 2020 Senior Squad was announced at the end of January, news somewhat buried by the departure of the UK from the European Union on the same day.
On The Red Line We add our congratulations to the newcomers, and we thank those leaving for their contribution in previous years.
There are 24 athletes. 18 are based in the UK and six in Scandinavia. 15 of them have run at a World Championships. Coincidentally, 24 was also the size of the initial squads announced for 2018 and 2019.
It is an achievement to be invited to join. It brings cachet. It doesn't of itself bring any financial benefit though; there is no official squad training, and it is not referenced in the selection policy. Membership may help provide evidence on the policy's additional criteria, such as commitment to a positive team environment, but it is not the only way to do that. The GB international teams can and often do select non-squad athletes. Graham Gristwood ran the long at last year's World Championships.
New to the squad this year are Adam Potter (Bristol O.K.), Ben Mitchell (Swansea Bay O.C.), Cecilie Andersen (Bristol O.K.) and Sarah Jones (Edinburgh Southern O.C.), all relatively young runners who ran in the later rounds of last year's World Cup. Another newcomer is first year senior Fiona Bunn (Thames Valley O.C.), who won two medals at last year's Junior World Championships (JWOC).Continue reading...
The home international, with individual races on Saturday and relays on Sunday, was hosted by Swansea Bay Orienteering Club (SBOC) on behalf of Wales. The competition is for teams of 18, six from each of W21 and M21, three from each of W20 and M20.
The weekend was a great success, with the athletes enjoying the terrain, great courses, the competition and the company.
England won, beating Scotland 27 to 23 in the individual and 28 to 23 in the relays. Wales beat Ireland by 13 to 9 and 11 to 10.
Weekend Points Scores (on the SBOC website).Continue reading...
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.
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 Champs before.
Full results are in IOF Eventor - WOC2019.
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.Continue reading...
Kangasala-Jukola Logo from the Organisation Website
The weekend of 15th/16th June is the Venla and Jukola Relays in Finland. It's both a big festival weekend - the above logo is out directing traffic on the main motorways several days beforehand - and one of the main competitive weekends of the international orienteering calendar. The relays are a mix of top-level and participation sport like the London Marathon but with a team ethos. It's a tradition, and it gets a great deal of general interest in Finland. There is also something of a link to Finnish national consciousness with it moving round the forests and its naming from the first great work of Finnish literature.
Some numbers: The competition centre, accommodation and parking takes 70 hectares. There are about 1750 tents, 450 provided by the military. 50,000 people will be in and around the competition area over the weekend.
As they say "For a good accomplishment the orienteer needs resolution, persistency and brisk sports spirit."Continue reading...
British Champions 2019, Photo: Rob Lines
Today is the 1st June and as the vegetation in the forests gets high the orienteering season for many of the leading British runners passes from a domestic focus to an overseas one. Most of the big domestic competitions (the "major events") have been run, and the first senior international races, in Finland, are next weekend. That is World Cup Round 1, which also includes a sprint relay in the centre of Helsinki the following Tuesday The weekend after is Jukola and Venla. These relays have a record entry of over 20,000 this year - the organisers attribute it partly to the "growth ... of fitness orienteering". In early July, test races for the World Champs take part, after which the British team will be selected. The World Champs themselves are forest disciplines only, in Norway in August, just after the Scottish 6-Days. And then, with more of a sprint focus, there are World Cup Round 3 (September, Switzerland) and 4 (October, China).Continue reading...
British Champs Podium, Kilnsey May 5th 2019, credit: On The Red Line
The Sprint Relay champions are Edinburgh University.
The Forest Relay champions are
Jo, Megan and Cecilie together after their runs on Sunday (credit Iain Shepherd)
It was another warm day in Southern England for the biggest relay event in the UK Calendar: the JK (Jan Kjellström) Relays.
As with the other days of this JK festival pretty much everything was brilliant - planning, parking, layouts, final details, helpful officials, atmosphere.
Most runners were challenged by the good courses and enjoyed their orienteering. The premier classes had good races. The one "but" as most will know was the timing and results service, which as on the other days proved itself not up to the job.
The prizegiving postponed from Day 2 did take place and some of the relay classes could be presented but not all.
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...
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: Kris Jones starts leg 2 for the GB men's team, WOC Relay 9th August 2018, by On The Red Line.
The races took place in very hot weather in the forest next to the Turaida fortress in Latvia. Both were decided right at the end.
In the women's the favourite teams pulled away. On the last leg it was Sweden and Switzerland together at the last difficult control after a climb to the wall of the fortress. The race was decided in the short parkland section right at the end.
In the men's there were nine teams almost together at the run-through on the last leg, and at the end here were eight teams within a minute. But after all the drama it was the favourite teams who took the medals. It was the long leg up to the fortress that had decided it.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
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.Continue reading...
Photo: GB team; athletes, manager and support staff, Hollie Orr not present (Source: Kirstin Maxwell Twitter)Continue reading...
For both Jo and Peter it is a first win of the British Long or Classic distance champs.
Sunday's British Champs relays were both won by Forth Valley Orienteers (FVO).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...
Kjempefornøyde med 3. plass. Optimalt løpt av alle! pic.twitter.com/7TeVWLQ3JB— Halden SK (@halden_sk) 28 April 2018
Fourteeen GB squad members ran for Scandinavian clubs in TioMila this weekend. There were many very good individual performances,. Pride of place in terms of team results was Halden SK's third place for Jo Shepherd and Hollie Orr running with Kine Hallan Steiwer, Eva Jurenikova and Elena Roos.Continue reading...
It is all broadcast online. GPS tracking and many cameras (both setup in close co-operation with the planners) allow the broadcasters to show the story well, often with great drama as the races unfold. This year there's again an English language commentary option, with Boris Granovskiy and Graham Gristwood. It costs 150SEK. Order the broadcast at www.10mila.se.
As with watching all sport knowing a bit more about the teams and the athletes helps the appreciation.
This article is a summary of the timings and colours of some of the clubs who may well feature. There being more than 300 teams in each race suggests someone important is left out. I wonder who.Continue reading...
Photo: Tove Alexandersson wins for Stora Tuna in 2017, overtaking 11 other teams on the last leg - SVT sport.
One of the highlights of the orienteering calendar, TioMila, takes place near Stockholm next weekend. A lot of the GB Squad will take part, and they have written several articles. This item is a quick summary and an index to the articles.
For a taste of the TV pictures and a bit more on last year please see the SVT 2 minute video (It's in Swedish.)
A video view over the arena is recently available.Continue reading...
Like Hector, my excitement for the upcoming TioMila relay is building. Having recently moved club and location to Halden, this feeling is ever more noticeable. I'm now part of a club which has quite the record of orienteering relay success. Simply glancing into the Halden SK's central clubhut reveals a trove of mementos earned from consistent success at the big orienteering relays across their entire histories. But with these big overnight relays comes a very different style of orienteering.Continue reading...
Photo: Ralph Street in the colours of Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering, JK Long race 2017, by Robert Lines.
TioMila2018, one of the best weekends of the year. is in commuting distance of Stockholm next weekend.
As you know participation in orienteering is much more club based in Scandinavia than it is here. There are many relays, and this one is arguably the most important. It is the one that Swedish orienteers all talk about through the winter. It's the one they all remember years afterwards.Continue reading...
This year's TiomIla Women's race is in the afternoon of Saturday 28th April. It starts at 12:15 UK-time and the winning team will finish about a quarter to five. You can watch it on the internet, with English commentary from Boris Granovskiy and Graham Gristwood. There will be several hundred teams. Apart from the sprint specialists, most of the GB Squad women will be running, and they are looking forward to it.
Video showing the start of the 2016 race There wasn't English commentary in 2016 but you can see Jess lead off for the lowest numbered team.Continue reading...
At the final day of this year's JK, Monday April 2nd, Edinburgh University won the JK Trophy and Lakeland won the Women's Trophy.
For old-timers it was a traditional JK Relays - bad weather coming in on Sunday night /Monday morning causing really tough conditions for both the organisation team and the runners.Continue reading...
The "JK", the biggest annual festival in the UK orienteering calendar, held every year at Easter, is upon us. What a lovely prospect! This year the West Midlands Association are hosting. How's the training gone, have you got it all planned out and read through 28 pages of programme, how did you fare on your big weekends in February and March? Do you miss chatting to your friends at a model event before the real action - once upon a time that was the Friday entertainment. And will we have snow? (No is the latest I've heard).Continue reading...
Orienteering was included in the 2017 World Games held in Wrocław, Poland, with the orienteering races on 25th, 26th and 27th July. Wrocław is Poland's fourth largest city, the largest city in Western Poland. The World Games features a whole set of non-Olympic sports. In many countries the Games are highly prestigious with much media coverage akin to that of the Olympics. But not in Great Britain, where Parliament has decided Olympic medals are the be-all and end-all. This time some orienteers won or lost significant performance-related funding deals from their governments based on a few seconds.
In the final event, the sprint relay, held in heavy rain in the park and zoo by Centennial Hall, Great Britain came 5th. Below is a link to a video of the whole race.Continue reading...
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...