The biggest international orienteering event held in December was, of course, a virtual one. The TORUS Advent Calendar, with stages on each of the 24 days of Advent, attracted 523 in the Advanced class and 360 in the Basic, from more than 40 nations. Of these, 49 were from Great Britain, including 14 competitors from Manchester and District Orienteering Club (MDOC).
Brilliant fifth place for Ben Kyd
Best Brit. by far was 17-year-old Ben Kyd (MDOC), who finished 5th in the Advanced class after challenging for the lead at the half-way stage. Clearly a rising star, he has already shown his prowess in an earlier edition of TORUS, so was a favourite for a high placing. He won 3 of the 24 stages and was second 4 times. His club colleague Dom Wathey also won one stage, and the MDOC team finished third in a field full of world-class competitors, a fantastic achievement.
Six British orienteers finished in the top 100; second-best Brit. was Robert Finch (SOC), 35th, and third-best was British TrailO team member Tom Dobra BOK, 41st. Then came Matthew Pickering SYO (49th), John Kewley MDOC (81st) and Dominic Wathey MDOC (94th). Ian Hendrie (FVO) was best in the Basic class, in 18th place.
TORUS – TempO Online Races Ultimate Series – is the brainchild of Libor Forst, Czech Republic. TORUS events are standard TempO events (the ‘sprint’ form of TrailO, as held at all recent JKs) adapted for online competition, and are free of charge to enter – you start by registering on www.torus.yq.cz. There are lots of training events on the website, together with all the past competitions, to give you plenty of chance to learn the format, train and practice. You get to experience a huge variety of urban, park and forest/open terrain in several different countries; the whole Advent Calendar series was planned and filmed in Finland.
Sharp eyes and quick thinking needed!
TempO, whether in real or virtual form, requires for success a quick assessment of the map and the terrain it is showing. In virtual TempO, the picture comes on screen a couple of seconds before the map showing the first task. There are always six flags in view, and the circle on the map is positioned where one of these flags is placed (answer A to F starting from the left-most flag in the picture) – or where there isn’t a flag (answer Z). For each picture, five tasks are set.
Here is a picture from Advent Calendar Day 9, with tasks numbered 2 and 3 shown below it. See how long it takes you to choose your answer! Correct answers are shown at the bottom of this article.
Hong Kong – Along the Sky Trail
Hong Kong has also featured in virtual TrailO competition several times in 2020, and for Christmas a 36-control PreO (the ‘classic’ form of TrailO) competition was held in Hong Kong’s open mountain terrain. No timing for this one, and no timed control, but quite a marathon – it takes about two hours to complete. Amongst the 188 competitors there were several from Great Britain, the most successful in a strong international field being British TrailO team members John Kewley MDOC (6th=) and Ian Ditchfield MV (10th=).
Answers to TORUS tasks: task 2 – D; task 3 – Z (the tree circled on the map is not in the picture). Marit Wiksell, Sweden, winner that day and overall, used just 17 seconds to correctly answer all 5 tasks at this station!