Today sees the final international competition of a long summer season for the GB junior squad, as the team makes its way out to Villas-Sur-Ollon, in Switzerland, for the 2018 Junior European Cup.
Fourteen athletes will be running in the three events across the weekend of 5-7 Oct and this year's edition of JEC sees a different format from what is usually provided at this competition, setting a unique challenge for the team. The weekend kicks off on Friday afternoon with a mixed sprint relay, the first of it's kind at the junior international level, with the event base of Villars-sur-Ollon providing the picturesque, mountain-side venue, set at 1300m above sea level in the Rhone valley. Following this, the Saturday race is a middle event held in Monthey forest, again a format not normally seen at JEC, but certainly very familiar to those in the team who have competed at JWOC. Finally, the team take part in a mass start, forked Long race on Col de Bretaye, another novel format for this competition, on the Sunday before departing for home.
The team is a mix of debutants, with Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla and Tom Lines making their maiden appearances in a GB vest, along with those in their second season of international representation, such as Eddie Narbett, Freddie Carcas and Lindsay Robertson, and also with a smattering of athletes who are 'veterans' at this level now, with for instance, Fiona Bunn well into her fifth year of running for Great Britain as a junior orienteer.
Last year's JEC saw two individual bronze medals claimed by Grace Molloy, who is on a sabbatical in Australia and unfortunately, therefore, won't be in Switzerland, along with many top twenty performances across the squad, with several strong results in the sprint and relay disciplines, in particular, and it is hoped that this level of success can be repeated by the team this year. The competition website, with updates on all the races and results, can be found here.