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Event Spotlight: The Big Weekend 2024

The road to WOC 2024 is truly underway! On 26-28 January 2024, Edinburgh University Orienteering Club held the first of 2024s major events in the lead up to the international event being held in Scotland in July.

Here, organiser of the Big Weekend, EUOC member and Development Squad athlete Jim Bailey provides an insight to what unfolded in the lead up and during the event.


Ahead of the weekend we hosted a training camp to support athletes preparing for WOC 2024. We put on 7 training sessions with a variety of course styles in and around Edinburgh, many using new or recently updated maps that we had commissioned using a Student Experience grant (awarded to us by the University of Edinburgh). The mapping projects both enabled us to provide a quality training schedule on a range of areas and helped to create a great legacy for the club by providing alternative areas to those covered by the long-standing WOC embargo.

We also hosted a knock-out sprint training day in Livingston, using an area that had not been used for orienteering before, newly mapped by two EUOC members (Joe Hudd and Joe Sunley). Our format allowed all athletes to run three head-to-head rounds, simulating quarter-final, semi-final and finals, with some excellent courses planned by Murray Strain. It was a great opportunity for EUOC and GB runners to test themselves against some top-quality international competition, try out tactics and learn about their strengths and weaknesses relative to some of the best in the world.

Nearly 50 athletes from 13 different countries attended the training and feedback was very positive. One athlete commented that they had enjoyed a week of “quality training, exceptional competition climate and top-level rivals…”, commenting afterwards “[I] have to admit Edinburgh has me hooked, love the city and it’s sprint maps”.

Day 1: 2x2 Relay and Fight With the Night

Our first competition was a 2x2 relay on the Friday afternoon around Liberton, a very technical little area in Edinburgh. This was attended by 31 teams, from all over the world. The running order for this was M,W,M,W. GB Athlete, Nathan Lawson was impressively the winner of the first leg, beating World Champion Kasper Fosser. However, over the next few legs there were major changes. A sprint finish concluded the race where JWOC 2023 sprint gold medallist Rita Máramarosi, just edged in front of Norway’s Ane Dyrkorn. One of the international coaches said that it was the best training he had ever been to. An incredible statement for us organisers to hear!!

After this, it was straight on to the Fight With The Night, a staple of EUOC’s Big weekend, this year’s only remaining “classic”. This was planned around the The Inch, on a new map by Joe Sunley. These courses were in an Urban style, with some more intricate sections. The winner of the long Course was Irelands Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan, with a very impressive time of 16mins 37s. The medium course was won by ESOC’s Sabine Oechsner, the short by ELO’s Emily Atkinson, and the Junior/ Novice by TAY’s Finn Selmer Duguid. We were also joined by 15 pairs of scouts that thoroughly enjoyed the event, with many of them being first-time orienteers.

Day 2: World Ranking Event

Our main event for the weekend was our World Ranking Event. EUOC has had the vision to pull this off for more than a year now, and to finally have it happen after months of planning was an incredible feeling.  Frank Townley (EUOC) planned courses around South Queensferry, a map produced by WOC mapper, Dave Peel. The courses were very technical, with non-stop changes in direction.  All of our Men’s Elite competitors ran before anyone else meaning that they had the area all to themselves. Norway’s Kasper Fosser won the men’s race with a huge margin of  21s over Sweden’s Martin Regborn. Finland’s Miika Kirmula was 3rd only 3s behind the Swede. Great Britain’s highest result was Kris Jones in 6th. Later, the women started with a late entrant Hanna Lundberg taking the victory by 26s over Pia Young Vik from Norway. Charlotte Ward was our best female result in 5th. The stand out non-elite performance was by Sheila Strain (ELO) who won by an impressive 1minute 29seconds over Eleanor Pyrah (ESOC), in the W75+ class. Once again, we received very positive feedback from all of the competitors, especially about how much the enjoyed the technicality of the courses, with the use of artificial barriers. 

Credit: Michael Philp Photos

On the Saturday night, EUOC held its Annual Ceilidh with the incredible Barrasaig band playing a selection of traditional ceilidh songs. This was greatly enjoyed by everyone attending, even including some of the world’s best elites. EUOC member Ewan Musgrave addressed the haggis, as a burn’s night tradition, with Haggis and oatcakes being served to all attending. This was well received (by most), and then the dancing continued until 22:30, ensuring competitors had the time to recover before the Sunday’s race!

Day 3: Elite Sprint

On Sunday the elite classes had a sprint, with all other categories having an Urban around Bughtlin (East Craigs). Although there was some small hiccups with some controls being moved, the event was thoroughly enjoyed. Joe Hudd (EUOC) planned some very technically challenging courses, requiring focus on both execution and route choices. On the Men’s Elite Kasper Fosser once again won, although by a smaller margin today, and only picking up the win after Martin Regborn lost 20s on one of the latter controls. In the Women’s race, Venla Harju won, after Hanna Lundberg made a similar mistake to Martin Regborn. The stand-out non-elite result of the day was Alison Cunningham (FVO) with a dominant victory in Womens Super vets, winning by over 3 minutes!

Credit: Crawford Lindsay

2024’s Edition of Big weekend was a success, bringing more than 600 competitors, many from overseas. Our focus this year was on providing a top-notch training opportunity for those preparing for Edinburgh WOC 2024. We also made sure that this didn’t reduce the quality of the non-elite competitions, with us receiving great feedback! We hope to see you at Big Weekend 2025, where we hope to return to the City Centre (after the WOC embargo has been lifted), to have a scenic weekend of high-quality racing and socialising. 

Thanks must go to all of those who helped put on this great event!!


Results for the whole weekend are now available online.

Next in the lead up to WOC 2024.

4/5 May, Sprint Scotland 2024

10–12 May, Glasgow City Race 2024

29/30 June, WOC 2024 Test races.