In 2016, it was a Swedish domination of the Middle distance, taking the titles in both the Men’s and Women’s courses. Neither Lillian Forsgren nor Oskar Sj?rberg were in attendance to defend their titles, so two new champions were guaranteed to be crowned.
Runners were met with hot conditions once again as temperatures creeped over 30 degrees, and it could have been that heat combined with the technical forests which caused some of the big mistakes which we saw out on courses. The courses were as expected; a combination of vague but visible forest, with low visibility sections to put the runners under pressure, and with 2.5m contours it would always be a challenge to have a good feel for the terrain.
The first British athlete out into the terrain was Nathan Lawson, who posted solid splits throughout the first half, being the only man to match the pace of the Finnish runners. Some mistakes crept into Nathan’s run towards the finish as he began to tire, with the runners he was catching possibly providing a distraction from some of the tricky navigation in the final section.
Next up it would be the first two British women out in the forest: Sarah Jones and Fay Walsh. Both made early mistakes on the technical slopes around the first 5 controls, stabilising towards the end but clearly the forest was incredibly demanding. Ben Mitchell was next into the forest, and started positively. Stable throughout he made no major mistakes until the final controls, but didn’t seem to be on the pace of the leaders, and was just pipped by Nathan at the finish.
Chole Potter started well, hitting the first 5 controls cleanly and overtaking all 3 of the runners who started before her. A wide safe route to 6 didn’t lose her time, before again the middle section of the course in the green, low visibility section saw her race came unstuck. Joe Woodley suffered a similar fate, coming unstuck early in the course. There was initial speculation of an injury, but it seems that he retired to save his legs for the Long Distance (possibly a good choice with the state of some runners by the finish).
The last two starters for Britain had it all to play for, with Sasha Chepelin and Megan Carter-Davies both the best chances of a top British result. Megan had a fantastic start, running on the same pace as eventual winner from Sweden Emma Bjessmo. As happened with so many others, the long leg across the vague terrain into the green (arguably the hardest control on both the courses) cost Megan dearly, and although she worked hard to regain the time, another mistake on the 14th pushed her outside the top-10. Bjessmo would go on to take the win in an emphatic day for the Swedish women which saw them have four runners in the top-6. Sasha managed to put together a fantastic run, performing stably throughout, just gradually slipping back from the leaders. The smallest of errors on the 10th control would cost him a 5th place at the finish by a handful of seconds, but he was safely back in the finish with a good run under the belt. It was then a waiting game to see what the final positions for the Brits would be. The Medals in the Women’s race seemed set, but it was all up for grabs with the Men, with Aleksi Karppinen (FIN), Paul Sirum (NOR), Jens Ronnols (SWE) and Tim Robertson (NZL) all fighting for a medal. It would be the Fin though, that held together the best, taking the first medal for the championships for the host nation.
In the end Sasha would hold onto 8th position, 5 places better than the 13th place of Will Gardner at the 2016 championships. Megan’s result gave here 13th in the end, 6 places higher than the best 2016 championship result of Lucy Butt in 19th.
Other results are as follows:
Men: Nathan Lawson – 29th, Ben Mitchell – 34th, Joe Woodley – RTD.
Women: Fay Walsh – 40th, Sarah Jones – 43rd, Chloe Potter – 46th.
The Sprint Distance:
Thursday sees the runners return to the urban discipline. If the Mixed Sprint Relay is anything to judge by, it will be an extremely fast race. It is again urban, with parkland sections interspersed. With expected winning times of 13:25 and 13:20 for the Women and Men respectively, be prepared for some tired runners by the end of the day, particularly if the heat reaches the same levels as the Middle Distance. It again all starts at 08:00 UK time.
At the 2016 championships, the British dominated the sprint discipline, with a gold medal and 3 other men in the top-12 and 2 women in the top-8. Let’s hope that the team can pull off something similar this time. With the team rotations involved, out go Joe Woodley and Ben Mitchell and in come Matthew Elkington and Jonathan Crickmore, whilst in the Women’s race Katie Reynolds and Cecile Anderson come in for Megan Carter-Davies, Fay Walsh and Sarah Jones.
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Orienteering is an ambitious sport, as such, we are keen to attract a wider pool of talent to their board to help the sport attract and integrate with a wider participant base, better reflecting today's society. We welcome applications from all sections of the community, regardless of age, race, colour, sex, marital status, religion, ethnic origin, nationality, disability or sexual orientation.
Please submit a covering letter and CV demonstrating your suitability to the role paying close attention to the required skills and experience contained within the above section on skills.
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17:00, Friday 3rd August 2018
Interviews week commencing 13th August 2018
Hot and humid conditions met the athletes for the first race of the 2018 World University Championships. The terrain was not as the athletes expected. Initially most had presumed artificial barriers would be used to make the terrain a real technical challenge. Instead, they were met with a combination of flat, urban sections, interspersed with featureless forest. Though there were some routechoices, these were minimal and primarily located at the beginning and end of the courses, with a long ungaffled section in the middle of each course, meaning that any navigation mistake would be amplified. With temperatures climbing to 32 degrees, the athletes would have to keep calm and not push too soon and risk blowing early in the race; a cool temperament would be essential if a team slipped behind the leaders.
Cecile Anderson began proceedings for GBR, with a long first leg putting everyone under-pressure and Hungary and France making an early split in the bunch. Although she had a couple of the longer gaffles initially, Cecile stabilised her run behind what had become a breakaway trio of France, Hungary and Switzerland. Handing over in 7th place, she sent Jonathan Crickmore out into the terrain just 30 seconds behind the leaders.
On leg 2, the leading trio began to extend their advantage, with Hungary initially breaking away, before France took the lead heading into the changeover. Behind Jonny was having a tough day, holding place in the group but making no inroads into the leaders, with the gap drifting out to 1:16 by the changeover.
On Leg 3, it was time for GBR to start making a comeback. Alexander Chepelin blitzed through the first splits, gaining time incessantly on Hungary, Poland and Spain in 4th, 5th and 6th. Picking clean routechoices when the other runners were focusing on the running pace, by the changeover Sasha had pulled the team up to 6th, just 1 second behind Hungary, but 50 seconds down on a medal position.
This left it up to Megan Carter-Davies to try to anchor the team to a second medal in successive championships for Great Britain. Megan started phenomenally quickly, and it was GBR and Poland moving the quickest of anyone in the terrain. By a third of the way through, Megan had already caught Norway, who had begun the leg in 3rd and had dropped Hungary, but with Poland moving just as quick, it would be tough to get a medal. On the commentary it was announced that the French last leg was beginning to suffer at the spectator run-through, offering a small glimmer of hope to Megan (who had already clawed back 40 seconds). A late mistake by both France and Poland opened the door, but sadly it was too much of a gap to close. It was, however, a fantastic run to bring the British team back into 4th place.
Full results can be found here.
Quotes from the Team:
Sasha Chepelin – My race was good. I felt a bit overheated at the start and wished I’d kept a bit cooler instead of warming up for so long. Luckily for me (but possibly not so for the rest of the team) it was more about flat out running today. A bit more technical orienteering would have been better for us, plus slightly cooler weather.
The Middle Distance:
After this solid start for the team, the athletes will move to the forest tomorrow for the Middle distance. Though vague the forest is apparently rough underfoot. There will be a high focus on good compass direction and again a high physical capacity will be needed to take a medal. First starts are from 08:00 UK time with medals expected to be decided around 12:00.
Two years ago, it was Lucy Butt who provided the top performance for Britain in the Women’s race, placing 19th, with William Gardner being the best of the Brits in the Men’s race, placing 13th. Let’s hope for even better from the runners tomorrow – good luck to all.
Cat Taylor (South Yorkshire Orienteers) has been selected to compete in the Middle distance, Forest Relay and Long distance races at the 2018 European Orienteering Championships in Ticino, Switzerland which takes place between 5 and 13 May 2018.
Club: South Yorkshire Orienteers
Cat Taylor, says:
"This week I’m in Ticino, the southern corner of Switzerland, preparing for the European Championships in four weeks’ time. Although we have no organised British team camp, I felt it was important to train here ahead of the competition week and I’m one of several team members who has taken this opportunity in recent months.
The forests in Ticino offer very different challenges to home. If I had to describe them in one word: steep. Steep up, steep down, contouring across steep ground, trying to gain or lose the right amount of height. The main challenges, especially in the Long distance, will come from picking the best route and line in the terrain to negotiate these hillsides. When is it okay to climb, and when should you go round? Maybe the answer is different for each runner.
So my training has focused on getting used to these hills technically, physically and not least mentally, because many Legs look daunting on the map and feel tough to run. Without the right confidence and grit, the race could beat you before you even run it. Half way through, I’m pleased to be feeling like I’m finding my hill skills again. As part of this I took in the Swiss team test races last weekend, along with British teammates Chris Smithard (who ran the Sprint test) and Hector Haines (who ran the Middle, like me). It was my first ”hard” session in these forests and I learnt a lot, including how much quicker I can launch myself down hills in race mode, and (from being overtaken by a couple of the top men on these downhills) how much better I can still be!"
You can read more about the upcoming European Championships at eoc2018.ch
Read more about the European Orienteering Championships 2018 Selection Announcement here.
British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to wish Cat Taylor and all the GB elite athletes selected to compete at this International competition all the very best with their final preparations and training ahead of the 2018 European Championships.