This coming weekend sees the first of the junior international competitions, with European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) taking place in Grodno, Belarus between Thursday 27th June and Sunday 30th June.
There is a team of 9 athletes heading out to represent Great Britain and this sees a mixture of returning and first-time international runners taking to the Sprint, Long and Relay races. Four debutants will be Alice Wilson (CLYDE) in W18 and in 16s Jim Bailey (BOK), Rachel Brown (ESOC) and Joe Hudd (WCOC), all eager to make an impression in Belarus and begin their international careers in a positive fashion.
In the MW18 category we see returning David Bunn (TVOC), Matthew Gooch (MAROC), Flurry Grierson (DEVON), Lizzie Stansfield (FVO) and Anika Schwarze-Chintapatla (EBOR) .
The teams discussion at the pre-EYOC camp revolved around the likely challenges of the forest which for both the Long and Relay looks very green and contoured but with no prior maps available the model events will be all important on Thursday to work out the chellenges the forest will present. The Sprint will take place in central Grodno and the pre-EYOC camp focused on the challenges of a very traditional city urban area which is likely to be quite fast and not overly technical.
The programme starts with the Long distance on the Friday morning, Relay Saturday and a Sprint race on the Sunday. We wish the athletes all the best for this and the remainder of the races next weekend.
You can follow the action here: https://eyoc2019.by
The peak of the 2019 Trail Orienteering season is reached this weekend when the World Championships (WTOC) begin in Idanha-a-Nova in eastern central Portugal. 25 nations are set to compete at this year's World Trail Orienteering Championships. The Open class has 89 competitors and the para class 43.
The Championships started with the Opening Ceremony on Sunday, and on Saturday and Sunday a pre-WTOC event, part of this year’s European Cup in TrailO (ECTO), was held not far away on similar terrain.
Today sees the World Trail Orienteering Championships 2019 - PreO Day 1.
The GB team are all prepared for the first WTOC 2019 PreO event to be held today, very near to Idanha-a-nova, where the team are staying.
Start lists can be found here.
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish the GB team all the very best as they compete in the World TrailO Championships PreO event today.
The main competition days are:
Reports and leading results can be found here on the event website www.wtoc2019.fpo.pt.
Before the big summer competitions kick off soon, the British team for both European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) and Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) had the opportunity to head to Denmark for some extra “terrain time”.
Visiting this part of Denmark allowed the JWOC athletes to revisit areas near, and therefore very relevant, to this years’ competition, as well as offering EYOC athletes the chance to get some quality races under their belt before heading to Belarus in a couple of days time.
Ten hours after a 4:30am wakeup call in Edinburgh and two flights later, we touched down in the small airport at Aarhus. Although a little tired, the glorious weather persuaded us that our legs needed a shakeout in a local forest near the hotel that we were staying at, and so the team headed to an area called Vesterskov, were a group of us jogged round picking up on details about the maps and the terrain.
The sprint was the first race of the weekend; however, as our start times were not until the afternoon, people did their own thing in the morning. Some of the JWOC athletes headed to another training area, while others had a bit more of a relaxed morning having a splash around in the hotel pool and having a catch-up session with the coaches about our final preparations for the big competitions ahead.
The sprint took place in an area made up of big blocks of flats surrounded by grassland near Aarhus. Since runners were taking part from many different nations (some of who were using it as a selection race), it was great to experience a major competition atmosphere. The race itself was well planned and definitely kept runners on their toes, meaning that it provided good preparation for what is to come at EYOC.
After a shower and dinner, it was time for our evening review session, which this evening consisted of reviewing today’s sprint and discussing the similarities and differences with those to come at JWOC and EYOC. After that, we shifted our focus on the next day’s discipline – the long distance race. For the JWOC athletes, this involved them doing a bit of analysis on the area that they will be running on, however, those of us who are heading to EYOC could not do the same as there is currently no map of the long area available. Therefore, the EYOC group of Rachel Brown, Lizzie Stansfield, Rona Lindsay and I analysed other surrounding areas to which think might be relevant.
Big race day. With moderately early start times, the British team were able to get out into the Scandi skog that is Himmelbjerget in all its glory. The area itself was a lot greener than we expected, which definitely provided more physical challenges than anticipated. However, having not done an orienteering race this long before, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed it, and how I felt during it – which, at least in part, was probably partly down to the absolutely fabulous hotel breakfast buffet. Our early start times meant that we were out of the forest by lunch time, which left a nice block of time recovery, or, in other words, for spending lots of time at the pool and in the sauna.
As we did every other evening, after dinner we headed off to our review session, which this evening looked at what we can take away from the long as well as looking forward to the middle, for both tomorrow and the JWOC competition.
The middle race took place on the same area as the previous day, yet it never got boring. The middle had about half the distance but similar climb to the long, meaning that you knew that you were in for a treat. The beginning was very runnable and fast, but quickly became very much the opposite. Middle races can be fast, but this one certainly was not. It is safe to say that quite a bit of time was spent hacking through green, and that it was definitely an area where mistakes were being made. However, in my opinion, this race was really valuable as it allowed as all, and especially the JWOC athletes, useful insight into what the JWOC areas may be like.
Overall, I loved spending a few days in Denmark and, as someone who has not participated in big international competitions before, it gave me a taste of what EYOC will be like, as well as giving me the opportunity to brainstorm in a group with other athletes about the races.
Thank you Alice! Wishing you all the very best with the rest of your training preparations.
British Orienteering would like to wish all the GB athletes selected to compete at this year's European Youth Orienteering Championships taking place in a few days time all the very best and we look forward to following the GB team's performance throughout these Championships and at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in a couple of weeks time.
Jennie Taylor Communications Officer caught up with Northern Ireland Orienteering Association Secretary and active Lagan Valley Orienteers member, Stephen Gilmore.
Stephen Gilmore says: “You may have heard of ‘Beat the Street’ which came to the greater Belfast area last autumn. It’s now back again this year and Lagan Valley Orienteers have formed a partnership with Beat the Street to encourage active participation with a grant from Active Belfast.”
Please tell us, Stephen, what is ‘Beat the Street’?
Stephen continues: “It could be best described to an orienteer as a gigantic semi-permanent urban score course with electronic punching.
Gigantic refers to the game area which covers most of Belfast and stretches out to Lisburn, Newtownabbey and Holywood.
It is a semi-permanent course and the controls are out for a 7 week period between Wednesday 13 September and Wednesday 1 November 2017.
It is a score course with around 400 controls which are placed in the urban environment. You can start and finish at any control. The first control does not count, but every control you visit thereafter is worth 10 points each.
Electronic punching is used but not SI or Emit. Credit card sized Beat the Street cards are freely available from Leisure Centres, Libraries and Tesco along with free Beat the Street maps. These are also being distributed to schools in the area and Lagan Valley Orienteers have a stock. The controls are about the size of a shoe box, mounted mostly on lampposts. When the card is touched against the control it beeps, or burps or makes another rude noise which kids love! The boxes are linked to the internet so that the visit is recorded on-line within seconds.”
This all sounds great! How are Lagan Valley Orienteers linking in with Beat the Street?
Stephen explains: “Okay, so Lagan Valley Orienteers are linking with Beat the Street in a number of ways.
Beat the Street can, of course, be used for an individual personal training challenge to visit every control.
When you register your Beat the Street card you basically select your school or organisation. Lagan Valley Orienteers is also listed as an organisation to choose and this lets the score be added to the club’s total. You can then see all the scores and how you fare in the overall league table.
Beat the Street will promote the Wednesday Evening Events (WEE) Series and in turn as the WEE Series progresses Lagan Valley Orienteers will promote Beat the Street.”
I understand that Lagan Valley Orienteers will be running informal orienteering activities on Sunday afternoons for a number of weeks, starting this Sunday?
“Yes, during the challenge Lagan Valley Orienteers will be providing informal score activities on Sunday afternoons from the 17 September through to 28 October each starting at 3.00pm. These activities will be held from a suitable point such as a café. Organisers are still needed for these activities. This is generally an easy role which requires hardly any orienteering experience and involves simply choosing a café in an area which can be surrounded by controls. Importantly also making sure the management are happy to host the activity, of course! The Organiser will then begin the score activity by giving a friendly briefing to everyone participating prior to them setting off in a mass start. Initially, the Beat the Street maps will be used. However, towards the end of the time, we would like to be using orienteering maps with the Beat the Street controls marked accurately on them.
From Sunday 5 November Lagan Valley Orienteers plan to continue with the momentum we have already built up. We are hoping to use urban orienteering maps with a similar score format. However, following a recent demonstration in Lisburn, we have been shown an easier way to have an urban score activity without using SI. This alternative way has a question with a multiple choice answer at each control site. For example, when arriving at the control participants will be faced with a question to answer. The question could be something like: ‘What’s the number displayed on the lamp post at this control?’ The participant will have to choose the correct answer from the multiple choice list of answers. For example, multiple choice answers could be listed as being: a) 12, b) 16 or c) 24. The participant will then choose the answer and then move to the next control on the map.
One other thing I would like to highlight if I can is that I am personally delighted that Lagan Valley Orienteers have been awarded a grant for additional urban mapping and coaching to supplement their existing map of Belfast. The mapping team is currently working on an area of North Belfast and soon will move to cover an area of East Belfast.”
Thank you Stephen – this all sounds great! Best wishes to you and all Lagan Valley Orienteers as you roll out these orienteering activities over the next weeks.
The challenge continues and takes place over the next 7 weeks through to Wednesday 1 November 2017.
The Beat the Street website is now LIVE and you can find out more details and how to get involved here.
Juls Hanvey Northern Ireland Active Clubs Officer says: “We are really excited to kick off this project making orienteering accessible to so many. Looking forward to watching it grow and change into the autumn and the lead up to our North and East Belfast Community Orienteering Hubs after the Beat the Street challenge.”