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Tweet Saturday 25th May 2019

School Is Out! – be outdoors this half-term with Xplorer!

Xplorer is a family-friendly fun navigation challenge that is educational and gives children a sense of adventure as they explore the park to find the markers.

It involves a healthy mix of physical activity and decision making that the whole family can enjoy together.

Using a simple map, the aim is to find a number of markers that are located around the park. At each marker, children need to identify what is pictured and enjoy learning a fun fact to tell their friends. Older children will have fun competing against their friends or other family members whilst younger children will enjoy the excitement of successfully finding the markers.

Xplorer - find an event near you.

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO – which shows you how it is done!

No previous experience of map reading is needed, and parents are encouraged to join in the fun!

Find Xplorer events happening this Bank Holiday Weekend and Half Term Holidays – here.

Find all Xplorer activities are listed here.

Tweet Friday 24th May 2019

BBC TV to broadcast live orienteering from JOK Chasing Sprint 2019

Orienteering will enjoy live television coverage this summer as the JOK Chasing Sprint – which takes place at Callendar House, Falkirk, on Friday 28 June - will be shown on TV and online, via the new BBC Scotland TV channel.

Available to TV viewers across Scotland and online via BBC iPlayer across the UK, BBC Scotland was launched in Spring and has been showcasing Scottish sport to new audiences. The JOK Chasing Sprint is set to appear as part of “The Adventure Show”, a programme which has promoted outdoor activity in Scotland for many years.

Competitors from across the UK and further afield are being encouraged to sign up for this year’s edition of the race.  The JOK Chasing Sprint was first staged in 1995 and it's Flying Pig’ trophies show an illustrious list of previous winners including several former World Champions.  The format has every competitor run two short races - a Prologue and the Chase - with the overall results in each category decided by the head-to-head racing in the various Chase races.

Pictured above: 2014 Chasing Sprint at Birsemore on Royal Deeside in Scotland, with elite winners Daniel Hubmann of Switzerland and Hollie Orr of Scotland/GBR.

Event Organiser Jon Cross of JOK said:

“The creation of the new BBC Scotland TV channel – and its appetite for live sport - has generated a great opportunity for Scottish sport and we’re really excited orienteering is a part of this. Live television will be a first for the JOK Chasing Sprint, and the event setting within Callendar Park should look beautiful on a Scottish summer evening.

“With the Adventure Show being broadcast live on BBC Scotland on Friday evenings, the head-to-head format of this event makes it an ideal choice for their coverage.  It’s great that the sport and its competitors will be getting this exposure.  We hope to deliver some close and exciting races – so we hope as many orienteers as possible will take their chance to come along and be part of it!”

The famous flying pig trophies awaiting presentation at last year's chasing sprint

There are a number of different age categories and courses, and start times for the Prologue round are likely to be from 3.30pm-5.15pm.  Start times for the various different Chase finals will be determined by the Prologue results, and all will be between 7pm-9pm during the live broadcast.

The Adventure Show coverage will be a two-hour live show on BBC Scotland, from 7pm-9pm.  It will feature highlights from the Prologue, with the main focus being the live coverage of the different Chase races taking place during the programme.   The live coverage of the Chase will benefit from GPS tracking of the leading runners from the Prologue, and from live footage via a number of cameras on the courses, allowing viewers to follow the races closely as they unfold. 

Further race information including details of how to enter is available now at

Deadline for entries is Thursday 13 June, though may close sooner dependent on demand.

Tweet Friday 24th May 2019

Interview with Ralph Street in Athletics Weekly

World Orienteering Week: Interview with Ralph Street

Ralph Street: 13th at World Championships in Latvia.  Photo credit:  Simon Errington 

The elite orienteer on discovering a love of running through orienteering

Ralph Street was born and raised in London and admits that to have ended up among the world’s elite in a sport that has its origins in the Scandinavian wilderness is probably fairly unexpected.

He first competed for Great Britain in 2007 and since then orienteering has taken up more and more of his life. After finishing university in 2012 he moved to Scandinavia to really chase his orienteering dreams and last year finished 13th in the middle distance at the World Championships which is his best individual result so far.

Ahead of August’s World Orienteering Championships in Norway and as part of World Orienteering Week, Street shares some insight into his sport and its crossover with running.

Athletics Weekly: What was your route into orienteering? Were you a runner, or an orienteer, first?

Ralph Street: I was an orienteer first as both my parents were involved in the sport so I started competing as a youngster. Orienteering gave me a love of running, particularly cross country, so I took that up at school when it was on offer.

AW: What do you love most about orienteering?

RS: I like the challenge that orienteering presents: it is always different. The forests vary as well as the courses; sometimes there are short straight legs or longer routes that are more complex. You have to keep thinking and concentrating the whole time, so the key is to match your physical ability and mental alertness. I like the sense of adventure in orienteering, it’s no exaggeration to say you are heading off into the unknown and even at a big race you can find yourself completely alone in the terrain.

AW: How do you prepare for major championships? Do you have an ‘average’ training week?

RS: At the start of the year I sit down with my coaches and we set a plan for the year filling in the races, training camps and key sessions. I usually follow a single peak periodisation plan focused towards the World Championships where, like all other athletes, I am trying to be in the best possible shape both physically, technically and mentally. On the physical side, I have found that focusing on threshold training is the best way for me to hit my peak, so this forms a key part of my taper. For mental and technical training, I try and work out what kind of challenges I am likely to face while out in the forest and how I can overcome them in the best possible way.

As I am based in Oslo my training varies a lot from winter to summer; I do a lot more cross training (mostly cross country skiing) and gym work when the snow is here. On a snow-free average week, I will fit in two hard sessions, two gym sessions and a long run. I then fill in the rest with as much running and orienteering as my body can sensibly tolerate.

AW: Can you talk about the crossover between the two sports and the necessary skill sets?

RS: All the top orienteers have to be very good runners. The main difference is that orienteers have to prepare for a great variety of terrain: hills, marshes, forest, rocks, so we learn to be most efficient over rough terrain. Even running on a forest trail can be different from a tartan track. Another big difference is most orienteering competitions are run as a time trial which means that you are alone in the forest and have to judge the pace and effort yourself; there is no lead pack to hang on to.

AW: What are your key 2019 targets in both running and orienteering?

RS: My main focus this year is the World Championships in Norway in August. Before then I hope to go to Finland in June for some World Cup races and I will also compete in the big Scandinavian club races (think National Road Relays but along with about 20,000 other orienteers at the largest race) which is good for dealing with pressure but also great fun. The key for me now is managing the transition back into a high running volume after a winter largely on the cross country skis so that I avoid any injury setbacks.

AW: What are you most proud of having achieved in your elite career so far?

RS: Fourth place in the World Championships relay when it was held in Scotland in 2015 was a great result in front of a home crowd.

For more on the latest athletics news, athletics events coverage and athletics updates, check out the AW homepage and our social media channels on TwitterFacebook and Instagram


Tweet Friday 1st March 2019

Get Up To Speed: Orienteering Skills Videos - Part Two

Get Up To Speed: Orienteering Skills Videos produced by South London Orienteers

Four new films released during February 2019.

Sport England awarded South London Orienteers a grant towards the cost of a project to help orienteers develop the orienteering skills needed for more technical courses.

As part of this project, South London Orienteers have produced an Introductory video and an accompanying series of eight videos 'Get Up To Speed' showing different techniques used in orienteering. The videos are presented by different athletes from the GB Orienteering team and filmed in different locations. The aim of the series is to help juniors deal with more technically demanding courses, but these films can also be used to show beginners how to get started in orienteering.

The 5-minute videos are designed to be downloaded to phones or tablets.

To start the series there is a short Introductory Video and that is followed by

  • Charlotte Ward introduces ‘How to Orientate the Map’.
  • Hector Haines covers the topic of ‘Using the Compass’
  • Megan Carter-Davis teaches the use of ‘Attack Points’
  • Charlotte Watson presents the use of ‘Aiming Off’
  • Chris Smithard explains ‘Large Contour Features’.
  • Alice Leake looks at ‘Route Choice’.
  • Kris Jones explains ‘Intricate Contours’.
  • Ralph Street highlights ‘Simplification’.

We hope clubs and associations will be able to use the videos at their own coaching events and other development initiatives.

A quick recap:  Watch the first six films released in January 2019 below.

GB Athlete Photos above (left to right):  Graham Gristwood, Charlotte Ward, Hector Haines, Megan Carter-Davies, Charlotte Watson.

Film 1:  'Start Orienteering':  Introductory video presented by Graham Gristwood – watch the film here.

Film 2:  'Setting the Map' with Charlotte Ward – watch the film here.

Film 3:  'Using the Compass' with Hector Haines – watch the film here.

Film 4:  'Attack Points' with Megan Carter-Davies – watch the film here.

Film 5:  'Aiming Off' with Charlotte Watson – watch film here.

Watch the four new films released during February 2019 on the links below:

Film 6:
Large Contour Features || Chris Smithard
|| Think Fast, Run Hard, Go Orienteering

British team member Chris Smithard runs us through large contour features and how they can be used as handrails to find controls faster.

Chris first competed for GB at the 2015 World Championships. He studied engineering at Sheffield University and now lives, works and trains in Stirling. He runs for Forth Valley Orienteers and for OK Pan Kristianstad (Sweden).

Large Contour Features with Chris Smithard – watch the film here.


Film 7:  
Route Choice || Alice Leake

|| Think Fast, Run Hard, Go Orienteering

Team GB athlete Alice Leake demonstrates several types of route choice and explains how to play to your strengths when choosing routes.

Alice came eighth in the 2018 World Champs Sprint Final in Riga, Latvia. She has been in the GB senior squad in 2015, competing in the sprint discipline at every World Championship since then. She enjoys the fast running and rapid decision-making needed in sprint orienteering. Alice works full time in Charity development, having gained a 1st class degree in Business and Accounting from the University of Edinburgh.

Route Choice with Alice Leake - watch the film here.


Chris Smithard
Alice Leake

Film 8: 
Intricate Contours || Kris Jones
|| Think Fast, Run Hard, Go Orienteering

British athlete Kris Jones demonstrates how to identify complicated contours in intricate terrain. He shows several ways of simplifying the contour detail so that you can get to the control faster.

Kris competes at orienteering, track and cross country races; he won bronze in the 2018 European Orienteering Championships, was part of the silver medal winning team at the recent European Cross-Country Championships, and was also 2018 Scottish Cross Country Champion. Kris now lives and works in Dundee where he recently completed his PhD which focused on golf biomechanics.

Intricate Contours with Kris Jones - watch the film here.


Film 9:  
Simplification || Ralph Street
|| Think Fast, Run Hard, Go Orienteering

British athlete Ralph Street demonstrates ways of simplifying complex legs. He shows that by removing the detail from the map, you're able to concentrate on running fast to the control.

Ralph started orienteering with South London Orienteers. He moved to Sweden after university and joined Södertälje-Nykvarn Orienteering (SNO). With them, he won Tiomila in 2016, and Night Hawk in 2013. He is now living in Oslo working in IT Support, and a member of Bækkelagets SK.  At each of the last four World Championships, Ralph has had a podium place (top six)  in a GB relay team.

Simplification with Ralph Street - watch the film here.

Kris Jones

This project was supported by Sport England.

British Orienteering would like to take this opportunity to thank Sport England, South London Orienteers, the GB athletes involved and all members of the filming and editing crew.

For more information, please contact South London Orienteers, Sarah Brown:

Useful links:

British Orienteering:

Sport England:


On the Red Line: