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Tweet Wednesday 4th May 2016

British Orienteering Championships 2016 Results and Report

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New British Long Distance and Relay Champions!

The new British Orienteering Long Distance Champions are:

Men’s Elite Results
1st       Graham Gristwood (Forth Valley OC) in 86:47 minutes
2nd      Ben Mitchell (Swansea Bay OC) in 101:54 minutes
3rd       Richard Robinson (Nottinghamshire OC) in 102:41 minutes

Women’s Elite Results
1st       Kim Baxter (South Yorkshire OC) in 78:03 minutes
2nd      Sarah Rollins (Southern Navigators OC) in 82:35 minutes
3rd       Clare Dallimore (South Wales OC) 85:09 minutes

The new British Orienteering Relay Champions are:

The British Orienteering Championships 2016 took place on Saturday (30 April) with the first race being the Long distance and the second day the Sunday (1 May) with the Relay.  Within the stunning scenery of Brown Clee in Shropshire this event attracted the UK’s top orienteers.

British Orienteering and West Midlands Orienteering Association organised the event with the help of a number of volunteers.

You can see the full results from the weekend at the official British Championships website:

On a cool spring Saturday in Shropshire Graham Gristwood of Forth Valley and Kim Baxter of South Yorkshire were crowned as the 2016 British elite long-distance orienteering champions. Brown Clee Hill offered competitors both panoramic views and a variety of challenging terrain, with particularly tricky navigation and tough running through the vague, heather-clad contours of the open moorland.

Despite a couple of small mistakes, nobody else was able to match Gristwood for pace over 14km of steep and physical terrain, and he took his third consecutive British elite long title by a comfortable margin of over fifteen minutes. Gristwood said:

“Although most of the competition were in Poland (World Cup Round 1) this weekend, I approached the race like any other – I wanted to do a good performance physically and technically. With the conditions as they were at the JK, this was my only chance to do a long distance race before the European Championships, so there were no thoughts of ‘taking it easy’.

My race was generally very good, I paced it well and felt like I was running strongly all the way around. I had trouble at a couple of controls – one due to the VERY recent felling, but in one area I really struggled to understand the map.

Having said that, in general the terrain and course were suitably challenging physically and technically and I really enjoyed my race. I am very happy to win the King of the Forest title again, and I look forward to defending my title (hopefully against a stronger start field) at High Dam next year!”

                                                                     Photo credit: Robert Lines

The battle for the other medals in the men’s elite race was rather closer, with Ben Mitchell of Swansea Bay taking silver – his first senior medal – thanks to a steady run without any major time losses. Nottinghamshire’s Richard Robinson was third, losing time early on but then navigating smoothly when others made errors through the latter part of the course to finish only 47 seconds behind Mitchell.

In the women’s elite race an excellent run from veteran Baxter secured the trophy, twelve years since she won her only previous British elite title in the 2004 sprint championship at Ulpha Fell. Running with no major mistakes, Baxter finished over four minutes ahead of two-time British elite long champion Sarah Rollins of Southern Navigators, who lost time on the open moorland in the first half of the course.

Clare Dallimore of South Wales finished third to take her first senior medal, seven minutes behind Baxter but well ahead of her nearest rivals.

Photo credit: Robert Lines                                                                             Photo credit: Robert Lines

Sunday’s relays had been widely acknowledged as difficult to predict, with the 2015 champions in both the men’s and women’s premier classes opting not to defend their titles. The area of Brown Clee used for the relays offered more runnable terrain than for the individual race, with areas of lightning-fast open parkland. In the event two clubs were able to put their names on trophies for the first time, with Edinburgh University winning a close men’s race while South Ribble took the women’s title by a more comfortable margin.

In the men’s relay Alexander Chepelin had a stunning run on the last lap for Edinburgh to overhaul a ninety-second deficit on their old rivals from Sheffield University, with the team of Chepelin, Will Rigg and Tim Morgan ultimately clinching the title by a mere twenty seconds. Dane Blomquist brought Sheffield home in second, while Graham Gristwood secured bronze for Forth Valley a further three minutes down.
                                                                    Photo Credit: Robert Lines

An excellent second-lap run from Heather Roome opened up a commanding lead of almost five minutes for South Ribble in the women’s race, which Rebecca Rooke further extended on the final lap to secure the title for the team of herself, Roome, and Rebecca Harding. Rooke brought South Ribble home with a comfortable eight-minute lead over Forth Valley’s Janine Inman in second. Sarah Jones caught over four minutes on Inman on the last lap to bring Edinburgh University home only a minute further down in bronze-medal position.

                                                                    Photo Credit: Robert Lines

For more information about orienteering visit the British Orienteering official website:

Article written by Scott Collier, item published by Scott Parker, Administrator.