The sun was beating down again on Kuortane as the third race of the World University Championships got underway. In 2016, the British team dominated the Sprint race (the first race of the championships that year). In the Women’s race, the team took home two top-10 results with Charlotte Ward (7th) and Megan Carter-Davies (8th), with Katie Reynolds just a bit further back. In the Men’s race, Kris Jones took the Gold medal on a day where it was 4 Brits in the top-12, with Will Gardner in 6th, Peter Hodkinson =9th and Jonathan Crickmore in 12th. It would, of course, be difficult for the team to reprise the performances of two years ago, with a very different course in front of them.
With virtually no climb on either course, the pace would always be high, which brings with it the risk of runners over-running and going into oxygen debt and making mistakes. Technically, the courses were far more challenging than those of the Mixed Sprint Relay two days ago. Though no sections of intricate technicality, there were wide route choices on nearly every leg, so it would be the runner who spotted the quickest routes every time and could hold their speed over the distance who would take home the gold.
Matthew Elkington was the first British runner out into the terrain and performed admirably. Making no mistakes in the early going he was in touch for a good result, but as the race opened up, just slipped back when the later runner's pace began to show. Sasha Chepelin and Katie Reynolds were next up into the terrain, start at virtually the same time. Just prior to the Brits starting, the leading times had been smashed in both the Men’s and the Women’s races. Henry McNulty of Australia had posted a time 30 seconds quicker than any other runner, whilst Aleksandra Hornik of Poland (who anchored the Polish Mixed Sprint Relay team to a medal two days ago) demolished the leading time, being the first runner to dip under 14 minutes, Sasha (who didn’t race the sprint in 2016) started like a rocket, challenging the early leading splits posted by Anton Johansson (SWE) and Paul Sirum (NOR), but he couldn’t quite match the pace of McNulty over the latter stages. It would be 2nd for Sasha at the finish, but soon news filtered through that he had apparently mispunched. For Katie, it was a tale of a significant difference from her race at the 2016 championships. She blitzed through the early splits and held her form strongly through to the finish to take 5th place as the start list passed its halfway point.
Cecilie Andersen and Nathan Lawson were the next Brits up, again starting at virtually the same time. Cecilie lost some time early on but managed to recoup those loses slightly and lost no further time through to the finish, pulling herself up the standings and backing up her solid run from the Sprint Relay. Nathan started well and was on for a possible top-20, but mistakes began to creep in from the halfway point under the heat of the sun, and he gradually drifted back, to finish just 5 seconds ahead of his clubmate Matt Elkington.
Jonathan Crickmore and Chloe Potter were the next runners for Britain out of the start gate, and it would be Jonny that began to light up the timing screens. Starting quickly, he was challenging the leaders throughout the first half of the race, picking good routes and losing no time. Again, similar to so many others, he would drift back in the second half as the heat sapped the energy from the legs. Chloe backed up her decent results from JWOC last week, and put in another solid technical performance, nailing the route choices throughout her race to finish just a handful of seconds down on Andersen.
It was now that the big names came out to play though, with Weiler of Hungary and Ruch of Switzerland posting positive splits across the board in the women’s race to shift Hornik off the top spot, and would finish just 05. Seconds apart, with Weiler coming out the victor. For the Men it was a Kiwi, Tim Robertson, that would deny the Australians gold, beating everyone at each split point to take another World title to back up his two at Junior level in 2014 and 2015. Norwegian Trond Einer Moen Pedersli, one of the final starters, would split the Oceania duo taking the silver medal and pushing McNulty into 3rd.
Finally, after a nervous couple of hours wait, Sasha Chepelin was reinstated into the competition. It had taken until all the control watchers were back from the terrain for them to confirm that he had indeed visited the controls, and was duly reinstated into 5th place.
Full results are here, and for Great Britain are as follows:
Men: Sasha Chepelin – 5th, Jonny Crickmore – 9th, Nathan Lawson – 35th, Matt Elkington – 37th.
Women: Katie Reynolds – 11th, Cecilie Andersen – 33rd, Chloe Potter – 35th.
Quotes from the Team:
Matt Elkington – The race was hard work. I made a couple of bad route choices and made an error close to the finish, but it was an OK run. Areas of the map were quite confusing, not looking anything as expected, so that added an extra challenge to the speed and the heat.
The Long Distance:
It’s back to the forests tomorrow for the final individual discipline, the Long Distance. This is the one that all the athletes want to win, and the one with the most prestige associated with it. The terrain looks like it will be similar to the Middle Distance, so if the temperatures remain hot, it will be a very long and tough day out in the forests for many runners. The terrain for the Middle was rougher underfoot than many expected, though some described it as lovely, so it could all be down to the mentality that the runners take into the events that could give them a result.
Club: Forth Valley Orienteers, Lillomarka OL (Oslo, Norway)
Congratulations on your selection to compete for GBR at the 2018 World Orienteering Championships.
Please tell us...
Who was the first person you told the news to about being selected for the World orienteering Championships?
KJ: "I can't remember. I was confident that I would be selected after my performances at the JK and the European Championships so to have it confirmed was nice, but it wasn't particularly memorable at this stage of my orienteering career."
What made you choose orienteering over any of the other available sports?
KJ: "I did a fair amount of sport when I was younger, but I wasn't ever all that good. I got better at orienteering around the age of 14 and, after seeing that I was quite good at it, orienteering quite quickly became the main focus."
Where is your favourite place to orienteer?
KJ: "I like orienteering on new areas more than I particularly have a favourite place."
What is your favourite training session?
KJ: "I like the routine of training more than anything. Whilst I enjoy hard track sessions and long runs, I also enjoy the 'filler' of recovery running and easier sessions which makes up a week."
How are you preparing for the World Championships in August?
KJ: "I've mostly been based at home since the European Championships and I've been training hard to make sure that I will be in good physical shape to compete. Now, in the last few weeks, orienteering technique training will be a much bigger focus so that I reach the start-line confident in my orienteering."
Who or what will be your biggest threat?
KJ: "I think the biggest threats to a good performance are often simple lapses in concentration or judgement, so much of the focus in the run up to the races will be on getting the mindset right."
Thank you Kris. Congratulations again on being selected to compete in the World Orienteering Championships. We wish you all the best with the rest of your preparation and will be cheering you on during the World Orienteering Championships!
More information about the 2018 World Orienteering Championships can be found here.
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 Sjorberg 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 crept 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 at the same pace as the 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 the 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.
Sprint Scotland 2018
19 – 22 July 2018
Denny in Falkirk
DEADLINE EXTENDED! Sunday 15 July 2018
Let’s talk about everything ‘Sprint Orienteering’!
Inspirational 4 days of Sprint Orienteering including coaching, races, presentations and more!
Programme of the four days includes:
Are you IN? Or are you missing OUT?!
Graham Gristwood (FVO) Sprint Scotland Event Co-ordinator, says: "There won't be a better weekend of sprint or urban orienteering in the country this year - great maps, great courses, great terrain - come and enjoy yourselves and learn from some of the best in the world as well."
Kris Jones GBR European Championships Medallist, says: “Sprint orienteering in Scotland is thriving and the British team is now consistently producing top results internationally. Come and see what it is all about and learn from some of those who are competing on the world stage.”
Enter by Fabian4 here.
More details can be found here.