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Tweet Wednesday 26th June 2019

World TrailO Championships Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal

The first competition in this year’s World TrailO Championships was the PreO competition.

Round 1 was held yesterday, Tuesday 25 June, at Quinto de Valero, just outside Idanha-a-Nova, a picturesque area of undulating grassland with plenty of exposed rock features amidst copses of cork oak. The weather was an improvement from the previous day's rain, starting cloudy but quickly becoming very warm, with the temperature rising to around 30C.

There was one course for both Open and Para classes, of 1.1k with 28 controls and with timed controls at the beginning and at the end of the course, each having three problems. The time allowance for the course was 120 minutes for the Open class and 125 for the Para class.

Scores were very close with many positions decided on the time controls. In the Open class, only Pinja Makinen of Finland had a faultless round with all 28 correct.

John Kewley (MDOC ) was the best GBR finisher in the Open class. John’s score of 28 with no faults on the timed controls puts him in 25th place. Tom Dobra (BOK) also got 25, but made one error on the timed controls, putting him in 35th place in a field of 65. Charles Bromley Gardner (BAOC), the third team member, had a day he would rather forget and finished well down the list.

In the Para competition, Colin Duckworth (TVOC), making his team debut, put in the best British performance of the day.

Colin’s score of 24 points and no errors on the timed controls leaves him in 8th place at the halfway point. Veteran Dick Keighley (WIM) scored 20 points and one timed control error placed him 25th/39.

This is of course only the midpoint of this competition with a second PreO round to follow on Thursday.

Full results via

Today is another model event, modelling not only the terrain for PreO Day 2 but also the Relay and TempO competitions, as well as an IOF Advisors’ Clinic which a number of the GBR team and its officials plan to attend.

Tweet Wednesday 26th June 2019

EYOC 2019 Preview

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: 

Tweet Tuesday 25th June 2019

GB team set to compete at World Trail Orienteering Championships today!

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.

Charles Bromley Gardner
Tom Dobra
John Kewley
Colin Duckworth
Richard Keighley

Great Britain: Open

Charles Bromley Gardner (BAOC)
World Ranking

Tom Dobra (BOK)
World Ranking

John Kewley (MDOC)
World Ranking

Great Britain: Para

Colin Duckworth (TVOC)
World Ranking

Richard Keighley (WIM)
World Ranking

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:

  • Tuesday 25 June:  PreO stage 1
  • Thursday 27 June:  PreO stage 2
  • Friday 28 June:  Relay
  • Saturday 29 June:  TempO Qualification and Final

Reports and leading results can be found here on the event website

Tweet Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Swansea Bay Orienteering Club Coaching Series 2019

If you are part of a small club, you are probably dealing with some of the same problems as us at SBOC;

  • reliance on a small team of very busy people doing a lot of organising and planning,
  • worrying about where the next generation of orienteering champions is going to come from.

In order to try to solve some of these issues for the future, we are trialling some beginner-focused coaching sessions this spring as a way of getting more people signed up for events and spreading the love for this amazing sport. If this sounds like something that you are/would consider for your club, read on.

Firstly, the idea came out of discussions by the club committee.  We have always done our best to break people into the sport gently by giving a bit of help on their first event, however, this often means a 2min lesson in how to orientate the map then showing them how the dibber works before sending them on their first course.  Some of these people have returned for a second event but some probably haven’t. A bit of more formal coaching, we thought, might encourage more of them to stick at it and get some success.

Mass start on the Score Course (session 2) at Pembrey Country Park

A plan was duly hatched and a programme of sessions was together with help from some of the committee sorting out maps, funding, incentives and access etc.  The original plan was to book people onto four consecutive sessions which would follow a series of logical progressive skills based on the ‘step system’, each including a short practise competition and culminating in an introductory event using SI punching in a relatively friendly area that would hopefully give people the confidence to enter events such as our summer league events.  As an incentive, we planned to offer free membership for a year and a free copy of Carol McNeil’s book for people booking onto the full series.  To promote the sessions we spent about £20 on Facebook advertising and put an Ad in the local ‘What’s on’ publication. Of the two, Facebook gave the best results, possibly as social media makes it easy to click on details and booking forms and also encourages sharing with friends.  50% funding support from the Welsh Orienteering Association helped to run the programme, incentives and advertising and make it affordable for the club.

Locations are a key factor in providing an enjoyable event and even more so for getting beginners hooked. We opted for Pembrey Country Park, Clyne Valley and Clyne Gardens, all easily accessed from the Swansea/Llanelli area and with reasonably non-intimidating, safe terrain with good path networks. Having some open areas where it is easy to keep an eye on the junior beginners was also useful.

Each session basically consisted of a map walk with coaches helping out beginners, some coaching exercises followed by a small event using old school control cards for the first few then SI punching on the final session. Club members helped out with the coaching so we could work with groups of 3-5 beginners for most exercises.  Getting buy-in from the more experienced club members is essential to get the programme to work and we are fortunate at SBOC to have some very enthusiastic and capable orienteers who are happy to pass on their expertise. 

New Juniors having completed their first Yellow course with SI timing

Learning points: 

  • A lot of the participants are not going to be available for all the events so you will probably end up with people paying for individual sessions, not the whole series. Families that are interested in trying orienteering are also likely to be involved in other sporting activities so think about the timing of sessions to avoid clashes with junior football, gymnastics or other events in the area.
  • Following on from this, people will miss session one or other sessions so the carefully planned sequence of coaching is likely to need adjustment.  Every session, therefore, needs to have the capability of looking after complete beginners as well as people who have done the basics already.
  • Some of your participants will have done some orienteering before, others will have no idea what the symbols are or how to use a compass, therefore you need a range of options.  If possible, it is good to combine the introductory coaching with something suitable for club juniors so that new families can meet your club members and see the range of ages involved in the sport. We also got the Welsh junior squad coaches to help out with the final session so that new juniors could get an idea of the progression opportunities.
  • For successful sessions, you will need support from the rest of the club. One of the main factors that will impact on whether new-comers come back is if they feel welcome and enjoy the company of the club members. 
  • Venues need to be beginner-friendly; not too steep, sheltered from the worst of the weather and with a good path network. It also helps if you have easy parking, toilets close by and not too much mud. Bear in mind that most participants will not have specialist O shoes so it’s good if the terrain is Ok to run in trainers.
  • Facebook advertising worked really well for this and was certainly better value for money than printed publications.