A relatively new format for international orienteering is the Knockout Sprint. A knockout sprint runs for a day, through four rounds, with runners qualifying or not for the next round at each of the first three. It culminates in a six runner final. Rounds apart from the first are mass start, first-to-the-finish races.
There have been two at World Cup meetings so far, one last year in the Czech Republic, and one in September this year in Switzerland.
Of course a reason for it is the potential to engage an audience, to bring top orienteers close to spectators and to promote the sport.
There was also a need for a third format (alongside individual and the mixed relay) for the Sprint World Championships, now that Forest and Sprint alternate rather than being combined. The first World Champs Knockout Sprint will be 9th July 2020 in Fredericia, Denmark. (There is an accompanying six-day orienteering festival for spectators who want to run as well as watch.) The second will be in Scotland in 2022.
The TV from 2019 World Cup Round 3 which was a couple of months ago in Laufen, Switzerland is now available free.
For the GB team a highlight was the Knockout Sprint Men’s Semi-Final 1 with Forth Valley Orienteers’ Kris Jones (*) and SLOW member Ralph Street. It is one of three “semi-finals”. There are six runners who have come through the two morning rounds, and the first two at the finish will go through to the final.
* A few hours after this was written Kris was the third counter for the Gold Medal GB Men’s team at the European Cross-Country in Lisbon. Kris was 22nd, 1 second ahead of the third counter for Belgium. Had Kris been 23rd GB would not have won Gold.
The Scottish 6 Days is by some margin the largest orienteering event in Great Britain. It has been organized every other summer since 1977. On each of the six competition days thousands of runners tackled one of 38 forest courses provided for 70 classes, and this year many chose sprint orienteering and/or Trail-O on the Wednesday “rest day” too.
Thanks to Wendy Carlyle for the image featured at the top of the post – one of our members entering the finish field on Day 3.
Races happen from Sunday one weekend to the following Saturday with Wednesday as the rest day – a chance to bag a Munro or go cycling perhaps, or to take part in a sprint race and Trail-O. And some folk even have a rest.
The competition is very well organized (almost entirely by volunteers) with six high quality forest races in different locations, with some areas often new to orienteering. Runners are allocated a variety of start times through the week in club “blocks” – this year SLOW had their earliest starts on the first day – the tough near wilderness forest of Auchengarrich.
The organization has already scheduled and begun planning the next competition: Lochaber 2021. They maintain a body of knowledge and store of equipment, whilst adding and changing in the light of trends and technology. This year featured two middle distance style races alongside the traditional long forest formats, livestreaming pictures and commentary to the internet, and GPS tracking of selected classes each day.
You can find many photographs from the links on the 6-Day Website: we have picked out a few, some of which may be of our members. Many thanks to the photographers: Andy Johnson, Wendy Carlyle and Steve Rush.
A low-key SLOW project to say thanks to long-serving committee members completed at the Waterloo Parks Race.
Last year Chris and Judy finally ceased their diligent management of SLOW’s equipment, and Andy and Chris, for so long key to all fixtures, confirmed plans to move to the Lakes, both after over three decades of “volunteering”. Teresa wrapped up over a decade as membership secretary, and Don, after a similar duration, stepped down as chair (but not from several other roles.) The club owes these people a huge debt, and as a small token presented framed personalized maps to them on various surprise occasions when there was a quorum and the weather allowed. We were pleased to make the final presentation to Don on the balcony of the pub at his Waterloo Parks event last week. And it was great that once again Pip had volunteered help for one her husband’s events and so could see a grateful club say thankyou.
We explained to Don that the map had been following him for some time – it had attended the CompassSport Cup match and the JK relays, although many will remember that neither occasion offered suitable conditions, unlike The Tankard PH.
His now sold out London North/South map is a great example of map as art, and shows how simple colouring and detail – in this case just buildings – can be very effective. And then we went to an event together last year and he mentioned the SLOW roundel could perhaps be based on the real curves of the Thames rather than just the style of them. Put that together with a member (Ralph) who knows a bit about mapping software, and play around with centring on an address…
(Photo: A British Assembly Field, by Valérie Suter.)
Our membership secretary Gail received good wishes from Valérie Suter, and the message that she wanted to let us know she very much enjoyed being a member of SLOW.
Valérie ran with SLOW 2014-2016, and was a member of a silver-medal winning team at the JK in 2016.
She is now back in Switzerland, and as well as competing is a top volunteer official in the sport. Last year she controlled the final race in the main international series “World Cup”: the Sprint Relay in Grindelwald, which saw the town centre closed to vehicles for the time of the racing.
As the Scandinavian 2017 training year ends, Ralph has written a summary of his year on Attackpoint . He says his worst relay run this year was the JK running for SLOW. He anchored SLOW to fifth place, a record high for recent times. He did show off the club jacket well at the individual prizegiving for the middle race (see picture below.)
Ralph runs for two other clubs too, one in Norway where he lives, and one in Sweden where he used to live – he joined them six years ago. Last month he helped Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering (SNO), to third place in the 25-person relay in Sweden that is one of the all club great days of the year. 374 teams took part. Here is the SNO site (text in Swedish).
Ralph did several races for the Great Britain team this year, with some noteworthy team results in the sprint relay. The season finished with the World Cup Final Meeting in Switzerland, in Grindelwald just by the Eiger. Above is a team photo after the long race. The 2018 international season will start in Switzerland with the European Championships next May. They are at Ticino in the Italian speaking part. The website for the competition is here.
He also took part in the World Games, with a good run in the relay helping GB to 5th place. And he also had a minor hit with the feeling a bit naughty training picture.
But for many non-orienteers his 2017 will be best known for his contribution to a genre: Race The Tube – Oslo
Please click on a name to see the World Of O athlete profile.
Michael, Conor and Ralph formed the SLOW first team in this year’s JK Trophy Relay Race, coming 5th.
It is easy to follow the championships as Simon and James Errington (the developers of Routegadget) will be in Estonia providing up-to-the-minute entertaining coverage, as well as daily updates on the British Orienteering newsfeed.