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Tweet Thursday 6th July 2017

Tough and Technical WOC Middle Rewards Straight Lines and Intense Focus

Today's Middle Distance race at WOC 2017 took place in Vitipalu. The courses featured tough forested terrain with complex contour detail and varied runnability, but much less marsh than the Long race.

Route choice was limited and to be successful runners had to try and stay as straight as possible whilst keeping track of the contour detail and avoiding the thicker areas and fallen trees. Visibility was again low in the of the forest and many of the re-entrants and depressions were hidden by undergrowth - however, unlike on the Long Distance, there were very few chances to take round routes on paths. Both courses had a long arena passage about a third of the way through, as well as a spectator control near the end and a long run-in, which allowed ample opportunity for spectators to show their support for the competitors.

Jess Tullie Photo: Simon Errington

Jess Tullie had an excellent run and finished in 15th place; only the fifth British woman ever to finish in the top 15. Speaking afterwards, she commented:

"I was delighted with my race today. I was using a lot of point to point navigation, I kept really intense focus on where I was and trying to pick some of the nicer lines, like through the larger depressions."

Jo Shepherd  Photo: Reigo Teervalt
Hollie Orr Photo: Simon Errington

Jo Shepherd also made the top 20 with an 18th place finish:

"I'm really delighted with today's top 20 result! It was a really technical and tough race and it was important to stay in full focus all the way."

Hollie Orr finished 32nd, rounding out the GB Women's results. The race was won by Tove Alexandersson of Sweden who dominated the field to win by over two minutes.

Peter Hodkinson Photo: Simon Errington
Ralph Street Photo: Simon Errington

For GB's Men, Peter Hodkinson completed his first World Championships Middle Distance race in 31st place. Ralph Street placed in 37th, and Will Gardner 58th. Will, called in at short notice and running his first ever World Championships race, had this to say about the experience:

"It started well, following my plans well despite a small mistake on the second control. I was finding it hard to hold my direction in places and missed a bit on control 5... I know I can do better, but it was good fun and an extremely challenging course... the whole week has been a great experience."

Will Gardner Photo: Simon Errington
Thierry Gueorgiou of France Photo: Reigo Teervalt

The Men's race was much tighter at the top, with sixth place less than a minute down on the extremely popular winner, Thierry Gueorgiou of France. Thierry had announced that this would be his last individual WOC race, and this win gives him a phenomenal 14 WOC gold medals (eight Middle, four Long, one Sprint and one Relay).

The full results are available here.

Tomorrow brings the final medal race the forest relays with the men off first with an 11am start. Running order Alan Cherry first up, Ralph Street and Graham Gristwood bring the team home. The women start at 1pm with Megan Carter-Davies taking the first leg, Cat Taylor on second and Hollie Orr on the last leg.