The annual Jan Kjellström weekend of orienteering proved very successful for South London Orienteers, and in particular for the Street/Brown family. SLOW achieved the second highest turn-out of any club: 81 members ran in at least one individual competition, and five competed in the Trail-O.
Day 1: Sprint at Whiteknights Campus, Reading University
Reading University hosted the sprint event on day one of the JK. The area is not as complex as some urban areas, so the focus had to be on speed and avoiding making mistakes rather than careful navigation.
SLOW got two podium placings with Sarah Brown finishing second on W60 and Di Leakey third on W55. Ralph Street narrowly missed the Men’s Elite sprint podium with a fourth place finish.
Day 2: Hambleden
Hambleden was the location for day two’s elite middle distance with the rest of the field running long distance. The area is largely runnable open woodland and fields broken up by steep climbs over the hills that run across the area. The sun broke through the cloud cover occasionally providing respite from a bitingly cold wind. Club tents lined the run in to the finish giving spectators a great view of the fast-moving competitors. The atmosphere was great, with SLOW club tops clearly in evidence.
Ralph Street won the M21E middle distance race by almost 45 seconds (pictured right), which secured him the best place in the chasing start for the final day’s classic length course. This is a great result for Ralph, particularly so given that injury ruled him out of much of 2012.
Results were coming in well for the Street-Brown family: Sarah Brown won W60L by almost two minutes. Anja Stratford was second on W40L, clear of third place by over five minutes. Chris Robinson also won the shorter W55S by over a minute.
Day 3: Cold Ash
Cold Ash was different to Hambleden: a less steep area but much wetter underfoot with mapped marshy areas extending beyond their marked areas. All courses were long distance, with Men’s Elite running 17.9km.
Ralph started last and unfortunately made an early mistake at control six, losing around three minutes and dropping to 36th, and was left with a long and lonely run in. Despite this, he recovered to run six fastest legs over the remainder of the course – the joint highest number with winner Matthew Speake – and came home fifth. This was enough to secure him third place on the podium, an excellent result.
Titles were secured by other SLOW members who had performed well in the previous day’s racing:
- Anja won the W40L race by almost two minutes which was enough to overcome her Day 1 deficit and she took the W40L title by almost thirty seconds.
- Sarah Brown won again in W60 and took the title by nearly four minutes.
- Chris Robinson won again in W55S, winning overall by over eight minutes.
- Paul Street completed a hat-trick of podium finishes for the family finishing first on M55S to improve on his sixth at Hambleden and took the top spot by over six minutes.
Day 4: Relays at Hambleden
Monday saw a return to Hambleden for the mass-start relays, and SLOW runners secured another medal. Di Leakey joined in the successful weekend that Sarah Brown and Chris Robinson were enjoying to take silver together in the Women’s Veterans Relay.
The Men’s JK Trophy relay team of Ed Catmur, Jev Petrovs and Ralph Street came sixth – a tremendous achievement for the club in a very competitive field. This is the best result that the club has achieved in the top men’s relay class, at least as far as anyone can remember!
The Trail-O was held at Reading and Hambledon, between the areas used for the middle distance and relay races. The second day in particular presented difficult challenges and was also a British ranking event. Sarah-Jane Gaffney secured fourth place, missing a podium position by one point and one second.
Success beyond racing
The great set of results above were complemented off the course. On the Friday evening, SLOW was selected as British Orienteering’s Club of the Year 2013 and Oliver O’Brien was awarded the Bonington Trophy for his outstanding contribution to mapping over the last few years.
Selected SLOW results over the JK 2013 weekend
- M21E: Ralph Street, third
- W40L: Anja Stratford, first
- W60L: Sarah Brown, first
- M55S: Paul Street, first
- W55S: Chris Robinson, first
- JK Trophy Relay: Ed Catmur, Jev Petrovs and Ralph Street, sixth
- Women’s Veterans Relay: Sarah Brown, Chris Robinson and Di Leakey, second
- Trail-O: Sarah-Jane Gaffney, fourth
- 2013 Club of the Year: South London Orienteers
- Bonington Trophy for mapping: Oliver O’Brien