Podium position for Cat at today's WOC middle
The World Orienteering Championships middle distance event took place today and the home crowd were thrilled that Cat Taylor ran herself onto the podium with a fantastic fifth place.
Photo - Womens WOC middle distance podium places. Photo by Gary Murison Photography.
Photo - Cat Taylor celebrating her 5th place middle distance podium finish. Photo by Gary Murison Photography.
The race was staged in the complex glacial terrain of Darnaway, seat of the Earls of Moray for many centuries. The forest has a wealth of subtle contour detail, with many small lumps and bumps which tested the athlete's navigational skills as well as their strength-endurance.
The current Earl of Moray (the 2015 World Championships Patron) was present at the 1976 World Championships in Darnaway, where athletes battled it out in the Long race.
The arena was positioned on the hillside, in front of Darnaway Castle, and the athletes ran in a horse-shoe shape from the final control to the finish, giving the spectators the opportunity to cheer them through on their sprint finish.
The women's race was off first and Britain's Jessica Tullie soon gave the British supporters the chance to celebrate as she stormed into the arena in, what was, at the time, the second fastest time of the day. Interviewed by Mark Nixon, she said, "I had a pretty good race, but I'm not sure about some of my route choices. The visibility in the forest is quite poor, and there are a lot of trees on the ground, so it's tough running." Jessica's final position was a very impressive 17th in what is her WOC debut.
British interest then turned to Cat Taylor whose progress was being shown regularly on the big screen. It was exciting to see that Cat was running extremely well after a misake at control 2. She went through control 16 in a new best time and then into the finish with the fastest time, so far, of the day. The supporters were, once again, given the opportunity for celebration!
Click on the ipadio recording below to hear Cat talk about her race.
Hollie Orr was the third British athlete to race in the middle event but things didn't go well for Hollie and she came home in 57th place. Hollie has made the difficult decision to withdraw from the relay tomorrow and so will be replaced by Jessica Tullie.
The race was won by Annika Billstam, of Sweden, who retained her title in style. Merja Rantanen of Finland was second and Emma Johansson, also of Sweden, was third.
The first British man to run was Alasdair McLeod and, once again, the supporters were glued to the screen and delighted to see that he went through the 8th control with the 2nd fastest time, so far. He made good progress and his final position was a credible 28th on his WOC debut.
Graham Gristwood was the next British starter out of the blocks but news soon came that Graham had started more slowly than expected and he was unable to pick up his pace. He was disappointed with his final position of 20th and reported that he has been 'off-colour' for a couple of days.
Hector Haines also started slowly. He was eventually caught by Daniel Hubmann who started 90 seconds later and Hector was able to pick up his pace and keep in touch with Daniel through to the finish giving him a final position of 10th. Click on the ipadio recording below to hear Hector speak about his race:
The men's race was incredibly close, with just 46 seconds separating the top seven. Daniel Hubmann, of Switzerland, was triumphant, collecting a Middle gold medal to go with the Sprint, Long and Relay golds he has won in the past. There was a surprise silver medal for Lucas Basset, of France, who ran an excellent race to finish only three seconds down, with Olle Boström of Sweden taking the bronze. There was, of course, huge interest in Thierry Gueorgiou's race. Gueorgiou, who was described as the 'King of Orienteering' in the commentary, and is the partner of gold-winning Annika Billstam, got off to a flying start but he eventually came home for 7th place and out of the medals. He later tweeted, "Hard to be disappointed when
@billstam and @LBasset delivered right in time and make me deadly proud! #wocmiddle #failedagain"
Tomorrow sees the forest teams do battle in the relays that start with the women's event at 1355hrs and see the men take to the start line at 1600hrs. The relay competitions will also take place at Darnaway.
The British teams will be:
Good luck to both GB teams!Hide full report