GOLD Medallists – Megan Keith, Grace Molloy, Fiona Bunn.
Fiona Bunn (Thames Valley Orienteering Club) recently won the Silver medal in the 2019 JWOC Women's Middle distance and the Gold medal in the 2019 JWOC Women's Relay team with Megan Keith (Inverness Orienteering Club) and Grace Molloy (Forth Valley Orienteers) for Great Britain.
Jennie Taylor Communications Officer at British Orienteering caught up with Fiona Bunn from Thames Valley Orienteering Club (TVOC) as she arrived back from the Junior World Orienteering Championships held in Denmark.
Club: Thames Valley Orienteering Club
Jennie Taylor (JT): Many congratulations Fiona on your junior world-class medal winning orienteering performances this year at JWOC!
How does it feel to be a World Gold medal Junior Orienteering Relay Champion?
Fiona: "It's a pretty crazy feeling, and probably the most perfect way for me to end my time as a junior! I can only look back with satisfaction now; the final race literally couldn't have been any better and I got to share the moment with the team which was incredible."
What was the last piece of advice your coach said to you before you competed?
Fiona: "Something along the lines of "You know what to do". It's nice that the team has faith in me even when I'm feeling nervous inside, and it was a good reminder to keep it calm and controlled and just do the job; it was definitely excited nerves as I always love Relays."
Do you have a word or mantra that you say to yourself when you’re competing?
Fiona: "I’ve tried a few over the years, usually just something to make me focus on a key technique that I’ve identified to be important from training. I rarely need something to get me more fired up, it’s more to help me control my performance. In the Middle distance I wanted to focus on my direction so the phrase was “Aim and fire”…focussing on investing the time at the beginning of the leg before running at full speed. It’s always about simplifying the process and making everything controllable: you know that there is no way it can go wrong if you do a few simple things on every Leg!"
What one or two things did you do in your training that helped you to win?
Fiona: "I think for me I benefitted from a more consistent build-up this year, less disrupted by injury and illness than previous years. I made a very conscious effort to monitor my training and lifestyle carefully over the season, which sometimes involved holding myself back at times, but it paid off and allowed me to get a more solid block of training in.
Despite living in the flatlands of Cambridge, I managed to do a lot of gym work for leg strength and power that helped me tackle the hills in the terrain, and also went out to Denmark on 3 occasions to practise training and racing in relevant terrain which was a big help."
Do you hear the crowd roaring when you were running?
Fiona: "Whilst I was running I just tried to focus on my own navigation, but it was great to have so much support from everyone. There were lots of Brits forming a loyal spectator squad, but I was also blown away by the number of people from other nations who were clearly supporting the Brits strongly and enjoying seeing us taking on the bigger nations!"
How proud are you of your other two GB Relay team-mates?
Fiona: "I don’t know how to express how proud I am of them. It is not often that you are in the situation that we were in with such a strong chance of a medal, but to pull off such incredible performances when it mattered is just awesome and I’m super grateful that they helped make the opportunity a reality. Megan had one of the performances of the championship in my opinion, coping with the pressure of running first Leg for the A team in her first JWOC and is such an exciting talent for the future. Grace had already inspired the team to aim high with her double individual Bronze, and then beat the Russian World Long distance champion on the last leg in a display of amazing calm-headed orienteering."
What will you always remember about this World Championships?
Fiona: "The moment that Grace came bursting out of the forest in the lead on the Relay, the team hugs and general team spirit, the awesome terrain and of course the pancake machine at the hotel breakfast."
How did you celebrate back home?
Fiona: "I enjoyed a family holiday in the Lake District. I went running for fun but enjoyed the freedom from planned training sessions and also had some time for relaxation. Then I went to O-ringen with my friends which was a great week, but tiring!"
What do you plan to do over the next couple of weeks?
Fiona: "Recently I’ve been having a break from training but over the next few weeks I’m looking forward to getting back to business ready for the start of the cross-country season."
Congratulations also Fiona on your Silver medal win in the Middle distance race at the Junior World Orienteering Championships!
Please tell me how does it feel to also be the 2019 Junior World Championships Silver Middle distance medallist?
Fiona: "It’s making me think I might quite like Middle distance after all… it’s always been my least favourite discipline until now!"
What was the first thing you thought when you came in to the Finish?
Fiona: "Firstly, about the ground. Secondly, massive relief that I had finally had a race that I was proud of after years of trying! And in my final individual race as a junior."
What were you thinking about as you stood on the podium receiving your first Silver medal?
Fiona: "I just enjoyed the moment. It was so lovely to see so many familiar faces in the crowd and so many people who looked happy for me, which doubled my own happiness!"
This is your last JWOC – what will you always remember and take with you about competing at JWOC?
Fiona: "It’s been quite a journey of highs and lows, but I think the highs - like this year - will give me motivation to get through any lows in my future career - of which there are guaranteed to be some! I will always remember the team spirit and the level of support from friends, family and fellow competitors not only after successes, but also when I haven’t performed as I had hoped. It always means a lot. I’ll certainly miss the group when I now move up into the senior category, however I can’t wait to see what they can achieve in the future.
Did you set off any of the airport scanners or alarms when travelling back home from the Championships with your medals?
Fiona: "Fortunately not."
Who was the first person you showed your medals to when you returned back to Great Britain?
Fiona: "My family, although it was much less the medals and more the photos and memories that I was keen to share."
Many congratulations Fiona on your junior world-class medal winning orienteering performances this year at JWOC! Is has been great following your successes and we are delighted that you brought back the Gold in the Relay together with Megan and Grace, as well as the Silver medal this year in the Middle distance race. We wish you all the very best for the 2020 season.
Photo credits: IOF / JWOC 2019
Fiona ran in Leg 2 at this year's Junior World Orienteering Championships Women's Relay race .
Next up is Grace Molloy (Forth Valley Orienteers) who ran Leg 3.
Keep a look out for Grace's interview which will be published on the British Orienteering website shortly.