Congratulations to Helen Gardner who won the Women’s Open competition in the ROMe Orienteering Meet earlier this month, holding off BAOC’s Sarah Rollins who came second. Helen was among eight members of South London Orienteers who travelled to Italy for the three day event.
Each day presented a different middle distance race in Rome.
Day 1 was a mass start night race in Villa Borghese, a park in the heart of the city centre, home to many statues and other monuments. The orienteering was fast over the half hour run. A rather weak headtorch held Helen and she came home fourth, just over a minute behind Sarah.
The second day’s event was a park race at Villa Ada, racing along complicated little paths through dark green vegetation and navigating through holes in a ten foot high wall. Helen was first here, eight seconds ahead of Sarah and so entered the final day with a 53 second deficit.
The final race was a city race around the historic centre of Rome, taking in the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and the Pantheon among other sites. This was a beautiful race with a few technical sections and – as would be expected – tourists to avoid. Helen took first place by 37 seconds, but crucially was 1’24” ahead of Sarah to secure victory overall.
The results presentation was more flamboyant than we have come to expect, with Helen spraying champagne over the crowd from the top of the podium! She left with a substantial amount of Italian food to cart home, after a social at the end of the meet with predictably large helpings of pizza, pasta, ice cream and wine. Helen’s verdict on the meet: “very efficient sightseeing”!
It’s been longer than some can remember that this fantastic club (Club of the Year 2013) has had a Club Championships. This will be changing and on the 14th December we will have two new champions. Southern Navigators have kindly put themselves out to host this event as part of their Saturday Series which will be held in prime South of England orienteering terrain on Mytchett. Males will do the blue course (5km) and females the green (3.5km) with start times from 10:00 to 11:30. The distances are short so that we can all compete against each other to find the best of the best of the best. The details aren’t up yet for this event on their website but the link is here http://www.southernnavigators.com/index.php?p=1_6_Calendar
I have promised them that I will give them numbers by the 1st December, so if you want to run then you need to let me know by then. If you miss this date then you will not be able to compete in the championships. NO EXCEPTIONS.
SLOW athlete Ralph Street was part of the British Team for Euromeeting, a test competition for the 2015 World Championships in the Scottish Highlands, which took place last week in Moray. Ralph took a stunning 4th place (3rd place in the Euromeeting group of runners) at the Middle Distance Race at Loch of Boath, which was also a World Ranking Event, finishing with the top result for Team GB. He finished with a time of 31:48, just 39 seconds behind the winner William Lind of Sweden. The race was held in difficult conditions, on a physical area and during pouring rain.
Ralph also ran strongly at the Sprint event at Lossiemouth the day before, finishing 5th, just 0.9 seconds behind fellow Brit Kris Jones in fourth place. The Euromeeting was held within the framework of the Scottish 6 Days orienteering event. The World Championships in 2015 will also interleave with the Scottish 6 Days’ next meet: Highland 2015.
SLOW athlete Ralph Street has been selected for the British team competing in the 2013 World Orienteering Championships in Finland from 5-13 July. Ralph is one of two athletes in the 13 strong team making their debut in the national team.
Ralph has been selected for the long and relay events. All seven British men (the team is limited to seven athletes each sex) are down for just one individual event, although a team can enter three runners in each if they want. Team GB are encouraging athletes to focus on a single individual event rather than doubling-up, and this should mean that athletes in the last event – the relay – are still sharp.
The championships are taking place in Vuokatti in Finland, six hours drive from Helsinki. The first race – the long distance qualifying event is on Sunday 7 July, and the event concludes with the relays on Saturday 13 July.
The Long or Classic event has an estimated winning time of 90-100 minutes for men and is run in the forest. The Middle Distance event is 30-40 minutes in forest, planned with an emphasis less on route choice and more on map interpretation. Sprint is a fast 12-15 minutes often in a complex urban area such as a university campus or an old town. The final relay is for teams of three – very fast competition and these are often the best event to watch. Each discipline has three qualifying heats, and the best 15 from each go through to the final with the fastest runners starting last.
Britain is 8th in the women’s ranking and 17th in the men’s, so expectations are modest and particularly so given the terrain. The sprint and relays are Britain’s best chances for podium spots. The British men’s team won the relay gold medal in the 2008 World Orienteering Championships.
The full programme is available from the WOC 2013 website, and there is usually good news coverage on the website. The main regular orienteering events are:
SLOW athlete Ralph Street is running for Great Britain in the Nordic Orienteering Tour. The tour is made up of a series of five sprint and middle distance races over eight days across the Nordic countries in Oslo, Stockholm and Turku (Finland) with elimination as the rounds progress. A strong field includes seven of the world’s top 10 men and nine of the top 10 women.
The first stage is on Saturday 1 June. There is live GPS coverage of the races, which get high profile TV coverage in the Nordic countries.
Ralph was SLOW’s junior representative before he went to Sheffield University, running for SHUOC while there but back in SLOW colours for the JK. He is currently living in Sweden so hasn’t got a full set of British ranking scores, but his current form would put him in the top 10 British orienteers.
The British Orienteering Championships over the May Bank Holiday weekend were hosted by the South East Orienteering Association. SLOW played host to the British Championships long distance races at Winterfold and Pitch Hill, near Peaslake, Surrey on Saturday 4 May. Andy Robinson, Organiser, and Matthias Mahr, Planner, headed up our large, experienced and enthusiastic team of volunteers who made the championships a huge success.
In competition in the forest, SLOW members excelled with Gold Medals for Anja Stratford in W40 and Mike Murray in M65 and a superb Bronze Medal in Women’s Elite for Helen Gardner, backed up by Abi Weeds in 4th place. In total 54 SLOW members ran across the range of courses.
Anja, Helen and Abi teamed up the following day in the British Relay Championships on Holmbury Hill to take the Silver Medal in the Women’s Premier Relay, the first British podium place for a SLOW Elite team for over twenty years.
Shortly after the relays, the British Trail-O Champs were fought out at Newlands Corner. SLOWprint editor Sarah-Jane Gaffney took up this discipline a couple of years ago and immediately proved very adept and represented GB in 2012. It was perhaps no surprise (just a great deal of delight) that she is now the British Trail-O champion. Many congratulations to her. However she needs to keep looking over her shoulder: Jayne Sales in her first attempt at the discipline finished a remarkable 5th out of 49 in the elite class.
Monday saw 30 members run in an urban event in Dorking, where Di Leakey claimed second place in the Women’s Super Vets category.
Following his runs at the BOC events, Ed Catmur won the Milton Keynes marathon on the Monday in a time of 2:46:59. Ed had won the South Wales marathon in April.
This weekend was a “double header” of British Championship races: the Sprints on Saturday and the Middles on Sunday. When I was working (which was not so long ago) and young (which was a long time ago), I invariably ran better on the Sunday than the Saturday of such a weekend. Maybe I needed a day to properly switch my mind from work to orienteering. These days it’s the reverse: the second day is harder. It might be about needing time for recovery, or perhaps I’m just relatively better at the shorter sprint format that is the first day. Anyway, I was not alone amongst the SLOW contingent in the East Midlands this weekend in doing less well as time went on.
Both races were nicely presented with well-chosen arenas containing the finish and commentary, and plenty of club flags. The Middles also had an arena start and a spectator control.
The area for Saturday was the campus of Loughborough University, just off the M1 100 miles north of London. The format is seeded heats in the morning and finals in the afternoon, with best starting last. Different areas of the campus were used morning and afternoon. The morning was mainly larger teaching and administrative buildings, and the afternoon mainly many small and similar residential buildings, with cul-de-sacs and more chances to go wrong.
The men’s open class saw a 6 second win (in a 14 minute race) by Kris Jones of Swansea Bay and Sheffield University. He won a silver in the Junior World Champs Sprint in 2010, and will surely join Murray Strain and Scott Fraser as the British runners at the World Champs Sprints later this year – well done two Scots and a Welshman. The women’s open was won with a 30-second margin by Tessa Hill, who also won the JK Sprint. She is already selected for the World Champs.
17 of SLOW ran at the Sprints, with our largest contingent being in the Women’s Open. Our sprint stars this year were Di Leakey and Sarah Brown, both winning their classes and showing the SLOW jacket on the top step of the podium. In the second tier finals, David May won his, and Vince Roper was only 3 seconds off winning his.
Sunday saw most of us running the middle races at Stanton Moor near Matlock in Derbyshire. It was a very different mental challenge as expected, emphasising fine navigation and map interpretation rather than route choice. The fields spread much more. In my class for example, in the sprint heat only one person took longer than winner + 50%, but in the middle nearly half were outside that mark (including me, but not including Andy Robinson). All courses started into a complex quarried area, where many of us lost time, and emerged via the spectator control for later simpler legs on moorland.
The men’s open class was won by Murray Strain, and the women’s by Rachael Rothman. Unlike the Sprints these were not selection races, and both runners are already invited to the British Test races in Finland in mid-June.
SLOW did not enjoy the same success, but a few of us deserve mention for doing better. Helen Gardner running Women’s Open improved on her 12th in the Sprint to come 5th. Alan Leakey (M60) improved from mis-punch to 19th, and Colin Dutkiewicz (M40) moved from 9th to 8th. Matthias Mahr was a consistent 6th both days.