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Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Growing participation in orienteering in England

Sport England has today published the latest data from the Active Lives Survey, a comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s sport and physical activity habits, based on a sample of almost 200,000 respondents.

The results show that activity levels in England are stable. 27.7 million (61.8%) of people (aged 16+) in England are active – meeting the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week – and are gaining the health benefits, including a reduced risk of dementia, depression, diabetes, and improved mental wellbeing. At the other end of the scale, 11.5 million people (25.7%) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. 

  • 27.7 million people (61.8% of the adult population) do the 150 minutes of activity each week recommended by the Chief Medical Officer
  • Walking remains the most popular way to get active, and there’s been a rise in the number of people doing interval training such as HIIT sessions
  • Levels of activity are stable across the population as a whole.

Other findings include:

  • Older people are getting more active, with an increase in the number of 55-74-year-olds meeting the 150-minute threshold (up 1.3% to 58.3%). This is important given that we have an ageing population. Brisk walking, including hill and mountain walking, appears to be driving this increase.
Growing participation in orienteering

Peter Hart, Chief Executive at British Orienteering, says:

“This report is very encouraging. The Active Lives survey is based on respondents in England and not the UK as a whole. I am very pleased to see that Orienteering is showing a growth again with more adults aged 16+ taking part in orienteering now up to 39,800 participants from 37,200 this time last year. This data continues to trend upwards and is certainly very positive for the sport of orienteering.”

Commenting on the survey results, Jennie Price, CEO of Sport England said:  
“While the overall activity levels of the nation are stable, what people are choosing to do is moving with the times. The popularity of HIIT shows the power of social media, and many older people are choosing to spend their leisure time in the great outdoors. Sport England has worked closely with the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and others to support more activity outdoors, and this will remain a significant area of investment for us.

The figures also show the huge importance of investing to tackle inactivity and the inequalities between different groups in society, which was highlighted in the Government’s strategy Sporting Future. It’s why Sport England's 2017-21 strategy has, for the first time, allocated 25% of its investment to tackling inactivity.

This is a long-term task but it could not be more important.”


The full report can be found here.

Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Sports Governing Bodies Launch New Scheme to Beat Older Adult Inactivity and Loneliness with Fun and Games

Older adult wellbeing expert Oomph! partners with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s

The national governing bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with older adult quality of life experts, Oomph! Wellness.

Oomph! aims to tackle inactivity and loneliness with its national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations - equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week. The small start-up, well-known in the care home industry for operating exercise classes and outings, is one of the largest delivery partners of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund.

Sports resized for older adults

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.


Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said: “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”


Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented:  “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”

Tweet Friday 16th March 2018

Interland 2018

In the 2018 Interland match, England were narrowly beaten by the Belgian (Flanders) team. This year hosted by Nederlandse Oriënteringsloop Bond (NOLB) on 11 March in the woods and dunes of Herperduin, near Oss in North Brabant (Netherlands), Interland takes place annually between England, two Belgian teams (Flemish and French speaking), the Dutch, and a NE France team. Teams, 42 strong, include athletes from 14 classes across the age groups M/W14 to M/W60.

Photo: Phillip Gristwood

England athletes won six of the classes: Niamh Hunter (WCOC) in W20, Lesley Ross (OD) in W50, Jackie Hallett (BOK) in W60, Euan Tryner (SYO) in M14, Nick Barrable (SYO) in M40, and James Crawford (GO) in M60.

Other England athletes in the top 4 in class were: Sam Crawshaw (SYO), Alastair Thomas (WCOC), Duncan Archer (CLOK), Clive Hallett (BOK), Steve Whitehead (EBOR), Maya Hampshire Wright (NN), Jess Ensoll (LOC), Abi Weeds (SLOW), Alison Harding (HH), Janet Rosen (HH) and Christine Kiddier (GO) – the last two making it an England 1,2,3 in W60.

For the individual, team results and a full report by John Rye – England Team Manager click through to the Orienteering England website

Next year the event will take place in France (10 March 2019 in the Val Joly departmental park (59132 Eppe-Sauvage) located near the Belgian border where England will look to regain the trophies.

Tweet Monday 12th March 2018

Peak Raid 3

The ‘Peak Raid 3’ series of events have been held each autumn/winter for the past 4 years and over that time they have grown in popularity. The events follow a simple format of a 3-hour score format with 15 controls totalling 500 points, which has enabled all abilities to enjoy the challenge of testing themselves technically and physically in some of the wildest and remotest parts of the Peak District.

One of the events unique selling points (USP’s) are the specially produced maps which are made by award-winning mappers Peel Land Surveys. The maps follow a ‘standard’ mountain marathon format familiar with people who have taken part in Karrimor International Mountain Marathons (now the OMM (Original Mountain Marathon) but as they are a large scale at 1:25,000 they contain the type of detail you might expect on an orienteering map. This has enabled the planners to fairly position controls off trail in more complex terrain and has been greatly enjoyed by seasoned orienteers and fell runners alike.

It’s this unique combination of quality mapping and planning, set in a wonderful Peak District setting, which has made them popular not only with fell runners and orienteers but also triathletes, mountaineers, traditional runners and complete novices.

The course planning has also been a critical part of the events appeal with control points carefully positioned across the terrain to provide a rewarding challenge to both elite competitors and those of a more average ability.

Helena Burrows from Lakeland Orienteering Club (LOC) commented:  ”Control point scores cleverly allocated so that even us slower, older people can still get a reasonable score in the time.  We’ve been to some lovely parts of the Peak District with these events over the last 4 years”.





The score format enables people of all abilities to do as much or as little as they like and this coupled with the fact that people can take part in pairs, has made them appealing to people wishing to take up navigation events. So much so that there is an increasing number of our competitors who have enjoyed Peak Raid 3 trying out traditional orienteering.

Sue Richmond’s Peak Raid story is a great example of their appeal. 

I really like the simplicity of the Peak Raids. They're brilliant events and you should definitely do more of them! In fact, it's indirectly entirely your fault that I got properly back into running and navigation type events again after a long absence. I'd started doing a bit of running in the summer of 2014 and then one day I got the train over to Edale to walk home and quite by chance it turned out to be the day of the 2014 Edale Peak Raid. I saw all these runners with maps, and I've always liked maps, so when I got home I googled the name I'd seen on their numbers. The event looked like fun, but 3 hours sounded a bit long, so it encouraged me to do some more training and to join Pennine in the hope of finding some like-minded people who might give me a lift to the 2015 events. That went well!"  










Sue Richmond is now one of the most successful competitors having won the overall women’s title in 2017 and now also appears at mainstream orienteering events.

The men’s competition has been dominated by former international orienteer Richard Robinson from Nottinghamshire Orienteering Club (NOC), who over the seasons has been the only person to gain maximum 500 points at an event. 2017 proved a different script with Philip Vokes from Loughborough University Orienteering Club (LUOC) providing stiff competition and eventually coming out on top to take the 2017 title.

One final piece of the jigsaw for the success of Peak Raid 3 has been the small group of volunteers and sponsors who as a team have delivered quality and friendly events. The same group, of about half a dozen, volunteer at all the events, which builds comradery and leads to a sense of ownership in the ‘product’.

Photo (above left):  Anna Darlington and Helena Burrows finishing strongly. 

Photo (above right):  Map sample.

Photo above (left):  Snowy conditions at the final event.

Photo above (right):  Taking time to plan your route is time well spent .

Photo above:  Series winner Philip Vokes (centre) with sponsors Jim Moseley, Cargo2go (left) and Debbie Smith, Accelerate (right).


The 2018 season kicks off in September.

For more information visit here.