Category Archives: Event Reports

SLOW teams compete in the Jukola and Venla relays in Finland

Start of the Venla relay – Diane Leakey running for SLOW is on the right.

SLOW team.

The Jukola event consists of two relays. The Venla relay for women takes place on Saturday afternoon with 4 legs. The Jukola relay starts at 11pm on Saturday night and has 7 legs. It is the Finnish equivalent of the UK Harvester relays but on another scale in terms of the number of competitors.

This year’s event took place near Tampere, about 2 hours drive north or Helsinki. Some of the team flew out a few days earlier to compete in the Forssa Games which is World Ranking Middle distance race and was a good opportunity to get some practice in the tricky terrain.

The team came together on Saturday morning via various routes from the UK including by ferry. The race arena was located at an aviation and motor sports centre which included a runway, alongside which, were about 300 army tents for teams to sleep.

A few people headed off for a quick run on the training map before the start of the Venla relay. The Venla Relay had 970 teams starting in a mass start. The first 200 teams are seeded and take the first few rows on the grid. A network of wires elevates each competitor’s rolled map above their head.

The event was televised on a Finnish sports TV channel and was displayed on a big screen in the race arena. The top teams carry GPS devices and their positions and routes could be displayed on a map on the big screen. On the first leg in the mass start for SLOW was Diane Leakey. The teams set off creating a cloud of dust and their progress is tracked through the forest.

Team information stands.

Each leg had about 4 radio controls and it was possible to views each team runner’s progress on computer terminals in the assembly area.

The SLOW Venla team had good runs ending in 501st place with a particularly strong last leg from Sarah-Jane Gaffney gaining 122 places!

In the Jukola relay were 1453 teams. Setting off the SLOW team at 11pm was Brooner. Although the sun had set it was not completely dark but head torches were required for the first few legs. From a position in the mass start of 1025, the team made steady progress through the field ending up in 683rd place. Particularly good runs were had by Patrick Saile, Seb Woof and Alan Leakey.

Team Results

Women’s Team Length (km) Leg Time Leg Position Relay Time Relay Position
1 Diane Leakey 7.1 1:19:55 512 1:19:55 512
2 Vicky Whaley 7.2 1:39:09 661 2:59:04 609
3 Chris Robinson 5.6 1:13:51 638 4:12:55 623
4 Sarah-Jane Gaffney 8.2 1:21:55 262 5:34:51 501

 

Men’s Team Length (km) Leg Time Leg Position Relay Time Relay Position
1 Andrew Brown 11.5 2:19:03 1165 2:19:03 1165
2 Simon Evans 12.3 2:29:10 976 4:48:13 1076
3 Patrick Saile 13.2 2:00:02 638 4:12:55 832
4 David Roach 7.9 1:43:10 1048 8:31:26 870
5 Alan Leakey 8.0 1:19:11 488 9:50:37 759
6 Andy Robinson 9.9 1:54:09 803 11:44:47 756
7 Seb Woof 13.8 2:14:30 613 13:59:18 683

 

Team information stands.

SLOW enjoy the Harvester Relays

Harvester 2008. Photo: Ian Buxton

The Harvester Relays are the UK equivalent of the major Nordic/Scandinavian Night & Day Relays. Those events get several hundred teams, while we had to make do with 59 teams this year. But that is still quite a few teams compared to recent years & the event was better for it. Even though there are not as many teams as in Scandinavia, the event still has a unique atmosphere and place in the UK orienteering calendar.

This year’s event was held at Park Wood and Naphill Common in Buckinghamshire, and was held the night after the JOK Chasing Sprint a few miles down the road, which helped to increase participation. Every leg on the relay had a spectator control in the assembly field towards the end of the course (see number 13 on the map extract below), which made for great spectating opportunities – cheering was going on right through the night!

The event has two races, an A class with 7 runners per team which started at 12.30am, and a shorter B class with 5 runners (and generally shorter courses) which started a bit later at 2am. There are also “handicap” trophies awarded within each class, which teams qualify for by having an appropriate combination of age/sex of the runners in the team, as well as a women’s category on the B class. SLOW had teams in the full spread of classes – the A open, A handicap, B open, B handicap, B women and B women’s handicap. Indeed, SLOW had more teams and runners than any other club, with 6 teams and a total of 34 runners! I had some difficult selection decisions to make, with a whole set of objectives. One of which was that everyone should enjoy themselves – I hope we achieved that. Thank you all for taking part & being part of the team spirit over the weekend.

Harvester 2008 Extract.

On the A relay, our Open team generally ran very well with some good individual performances. This would have been enough to put us in the top 10 overall, but unfortunately the team was disqualified for mispunching. It does happen, especially at night when you can be relieved just to find any control! (So always check those codes when running in relays!) However it didn’t affect the team’s attitude & everyone continued to run very strongly and enjoy the race with some good runs. The A handicap team was battling in the middle of the field coming an impressive 13th place overall, and the 4th A handicap team. It included a good performance from Simon Evans running through an injury and finishing 2nd place on his leg, and Alan Leakey bravely agreeing to run the long 9km night leg after a reshuffle.

On the B relay we did achieve a top 10 position overall, with the B handicap team of Jim Mallinson, Mike Murray, Chris Fry, Charlie Turner and Peter Haynes finishing in 9th place overall, 42 minutes behind the winners (and 6th B handicap team, 35 minutes behind the winners – the handicaps were very generous this year). Our women’s handicap team was 21st overall and 6th women’s team, about 45 minutes off the leading women’s handicap victors. Our women’s open team suffered a mispunch, but would have come 23rd. Our open team were 29th – this included a top performance from Richard Catmur (another one of our injured who did amazingly well) coming back in the leading pack, and Vince Roper and his super new headlamp (!) hanging on for leg 2.

If you want to practice night orienteering, then there will be a new series of low-key events in the south-east over the winter – check for details of events later in the year.

Thanks to Thames Valley OC for hosting the event. The full results of the event can be found here.

SLOW’s next venture into night & day relays will be at the Jukola in Tampere, Finland, on 14/15 June, where two teams of SLOW runners are taking part.

(Thanks also to Pete who had the tough job of organising our 34 runners into 6 different competitive teams, as well as handling the logistics of making sure everyone had a working headlamp! Everyone seemed to enjoy the event and it was great to see so many SLOW runners competing – we hope you’ll all be back again for the Harvester next year! – Paul)

British Championships

Andy Robinson punches the last control on Saturday at Culbin. Photo: Simon Branford

Many SLOW members made the long trip to Scotland for the British Championships in Culbin Forest, Moray, north-east Scotland on 19-20 April and enjoyed the challenging, technical terrain as well as the lovely sunshine and blue skies – a welcome change from the snowy conditions of the other major championships this year! Culbin provided some of the best orienteering ever experienced in the UK, with many experienced orienteers coming to grief in the tricky, intricate pine-forested sand-dunes.

Ralph Street showed he is recovering well from injury by taking the Bronze medal in the M18 Long class and also had a tremendous run in the Men’s Premier Relay, bringing SLOW back in 7th place on the first leg. The team of Ralph, Patrick Saile and Matthias Mahr finished a highly creditable 12th overall – first Southern team (and indeed first team south of Sheffield). The Women’s Premier team of Abi Weeds, Anne Straube and Carys Morgan also scored valuable UK Relay League points, finishing in 11th.

Ralph’s mother, Sarah Brown, was SLOW’s only other individual medallist, finishing 3rd in W55 Long. Top 10 finishes in Long classes were also achieved by Paul Whiston (9th M35L), Alan Leakey (8th M55L) and Diane Leakey (6th W50L).

Sarah Brown also had a great relay run, bringing the W50s back in first place on first leg, but the team of Sarah, Christine Robinson and Diane Leakey had to settle for Silver medals behind an in-form Lakeland team, which included Jackie Chapman, SLOW member and Treasurer up to a few months ago – thus ending SLOW ‘veteran’ ladies 12-year reign (!) as British champions.

Full results from the weekend can be found on the British Championships website.

Ralph success at British Elite champs

Ralph. Photo: Mark Cheesman

Congratulations to Ralph Street at the British Elite Middle Distance Championships & British Sprint Championships in the Midlands last weekend.

On Saturday, in the middle distance race at Hopwas he was leading M18 (& third best M20). On Sunday, in the sprint race at the University of Warwick he was one of only 20 men to qualify for the A final, where he came 14th and top M18.

Full results are available here.

Ralph. Photo: Mark Cheesman

JK 2008

Matthias at the JK. Photo: Mark Cheesman

SLOW members made a major contribution to the organisation of JK 2008 as well as competing over the Easter weekend. The JK is the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering, the largest competition in the UK, held in south-east England for the first time since 1999.

On Saturday at Leith Hill over 75 club members worked extremely hard in snow, hail, rain and wind as well as the occasional sunny spell, and were warmly congratulated by fellow orienteers on an excellent competition and their cheerful devotion beyond the call of duty. Congratulations and thanks to Richard Catmur and Matthias Mahr (Planners) (Matthias pictured right) and Andy Robinson (Organiser). Special credit is due also to Don “White Van Man” McKerrow (Equipment Officer for all 4 days, who never got a run), David May (Sprint Planner), Di and Alan Leakey (Sprint Organisers) and Anne Straube (Trail O planner).

INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES

Congratulations to JK Champions Mike Murray (M60L) and Sarah Brown (W55L) on winning their classes over the combined individual days and to Alan Leakey in the Sprint. Well done too to the following on their ‘top 6’ performances:

Sprint Day 1 University of Surrey

M18E 3rd Ralph Street
M45 6th Charles Bromley-Gardner
M55 1st Alan Leakey
W50 2nd Di Leakey
W50 6th Chris Robinson
W55 1st Sarah Brown
W55 2nd Monica Bonafini
W65 5th Anne-Lise Ronaess

Days 2/3 combined Leith Hill/Ashdown Forest

M21L 4th Paul Couldridge
M21S 6th Ian Elder
M21V 4th Michael Rudolf
M35S 3rd Jon O’Donnell
M60L 1st Mike Murray
W50L 3rd Di Leakey (pictured right)
W55L 1st Sarah Brown
W55L 2nd Monica Bonafini (pictured below right)

Day 2 Leith Hill

M18E 2nd Ralph Street
M21S 4th Simon Turner
M50L 5th Peter Haynes
W21L 6th Nicola Woolford
W21S 5th Charlotte Turner
W55S 1st Anne May

Day 3 Ashdown Forest

M12B 1st Thomas Jones
M21L 4th Edward Catmur
W21L 6th Rachael Holmes
W21S 6th Liz Day

RELAYS

The relays were held at Eridge Park, near Tunbridge Wells on the bank holiday Monday. Fitting in with the rest of the weekend, the weather was quite variable including the now customary snow showers. The previous days of competition and helping had made a dent in our teams, but we still had lots of teams to cheer on.

In the Men’s Premier, our top team came a very creditable 16th (10th UK club) – Ed Catmur, Paul Nixon, James McMillan & Matthias Mahr, with particularly good runs by the first two.

Women’s Premier was even better in 7th place (4th UK club) – a great all-round performance from Rachael Holmes, Anja Stratford & Abi Weeds. We also had another 3 teams running the premier classes.

Our top Men’s Vets team came 14th, including a very good last leg by Paul Whiston.

We had a lot of representation on the Men’s Supervets. Our top team came home with the trophy, with excellent runs by Mike Murray, Alan Leakey & Peter Haynes, a couple of minutes ahead of 2nd place. Our next team came 10th, after every lap! – with a good run from Paul Street on 1st leg.

It was almost as good in the Women’s Supervets, where we came 2nd, 3 minutes down on 1st place – well done Sarah Brown, Anne May & Monika Bonafini. Our next team were 7th – Chris Robinson, Anne-Lise Ronaess & Diane Leakey.

Our juniors (combined ages 48 or less) came 21st. And quite a few people had fun runs on the open short and Ad Hoc courses. It was good to see so many members taking part, including some making their relay debuts for the club. We hope you all enjoyed it. Next up is the British Champs in Inverness on 20th April where again we have quite a few teams across the classes.

SLOW runners at the JK. Photos: Mark Cheesman

SLOW success at Interland

Congratulations to SLOW members Mike Murray and Nick Barrable, who won the M60 and M21 classes respectively at the annual Interland competition last weekend. Interland is an annual competition between England, Holland, Germany and two regions of Belgium.

Mike won his 5.3km M60 course in a time of 36:16, and Nick won the 10.3km M21 course in 52:38. England also won the overall team competition, finishing just ahead of the two Belgian teams.

Further details and links to the results are on the Orienteering England website.

SLOW qualify for Compass Sport Cup final

SLOW have once again qualified for the national Compass Sport Cup final. We won Sunday’s qualifying round at Yateley Heath & Minley Woods with an excellent score of 2358 points, a comfortable 65 points ahead of 2nd-placed Thames Valley. Full results of the event are available here.

Well done to everyone who took part for SLOW and contributed to our score, including those who didn’t score but helped to reduce the scores from other teams. Particular congratulations go to the following who achieved top 5 finishes on their Compass Sport Cup course:

1st – Caroline Court (Blue Women), Seb Woof (Blue Men), Mike Murray (Green Men)
2nd – Ed Catmur (Brown), Ausra Miksyte (Green Women), Teresa Turner (Short Green Veterans), Alex Robinson (Light Green Juniors)
3rd – Chris Robinson (Green Women), Gustav Lindeborg (Light Green Juniors), Matthew Jones (Orange)
4th – Carys Morgan (Blue Women)
5th – Paul Couldridge (Brown), Anja Stratford (Blue Women), Audrius Janulynas (Blue Men), Diane Leakey (Green Women).

Results from Sunday’s other regional heats indicate that the full list of 11 clubs qualifying for the final is as follows:
BOK, ESOC, NOC, OD, SLOW, SO, SROC, SYO, WCH, WAOC, WCOC.

The final is being held on Sunday 19th October, at Sutton Park, in Sutton Coldfield near Birmingham (map link here). We need the strongest possible SLOW team for the final, so put the date in your diary now! As with last year, we hope to put a club coach on to transport people up to the final – and it’s a bit closer this year so we shouldn’t have to leave quite so early in the morning!

SLOW finish =7th at Yvette Baker Trophy Final

YBT Team

The SLOW juniors would like to thank the club for both moral and financial support to take part in the final of the National Inter-club junior competition, the Yvette Baker Trophy. It took place at Normanby Hall in North Lincolnshire, a flat area of parkland and intricate mixed woodland, hosted by HALO, earlier today.

SLOW had qualified by winning the southern heat at Britty Wood in October (see previous report). We last qualified in 2004, when we were 13th in the final, and this year we were =7th. Given our relative lack of depth we can be very pleased with this achievement.

The competition is a bit different in that ability as well as age is taken into account in determining who runs which course. There are 8 courses in all: girls and boys variants of each of yellow, orange, light green and green. Winner gets 100, 2nd 99, 3rd 98 and so on. The team score is the sum of the best 9 individual scores (with some limits on how many per course.)

The SLOW team comprised 12 athletes and 3 supporters. Most of the team went up the day before, by train and bus, and on Sunday walked across open and rainswept arable land to the event, with the reward (thanks organisers) of sharing a classroom adjacent to download as a base, rather than needing the tent. It was a good way to get the club noticed, and all in all worked pretty well.

The competition was dominated by Octavian Droobers this year, with three class winners and four seconds. The 2005 winners and ever strong Nottinghamshire were 2nd, with West Cumberland 3rd. Last years winners Deeside were 5th.

We had several excellent runs to carry us to =7th, and a few disappointments too. Well done all of the following:

3rd Tom Jones (Yellow)
3rd Ausra Miksyte (Green)
5th Malin Lindeborg (Light Green)
7th James McMillan (Green)
9th Greg Street (Light Green)
15th Ralph Street (Green)
16th Rob Jones (Light Green)
17th Audrius Janulynas (Green)
21st Matt Jones (Yellow)
27th Alex Robinson (Light Green)
33rd Charles McMillan (Green)
ret Ben Weiss (orange)

The supporters were Andrew McMillan, Sarah Brown and Paul Street.

The full results from the event can be found here: team results and full results.