Category Archives: Member News

SLOW's Ralph Street in the 2013 World Orienteering Championships

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.

SLOW ahlete Ralph Street
SLOW ahlete Ralph Street
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:

  • Sunday 7 July – Classic length qualifiers
  • Monday 8 – Sprint qualifiers and sprint final
  • Tuesday 9 – Classic final
  • Wednesday 10 – rest
  • Thursday 11 – Middle qualifiers
  • Friday 12 – Middle final
  • Saturday 13 – Relay

The TV coverage of the recent international sprint race in Finland is still available on-line. This is in Finnish, but it is not to hard to follow from just the picture. Ralph appears three times: at 36 minutes, partway round the course; 41 minutes, nearing the end; and 43 minutes, at the run-in.

Ralph is very grateful to SLOW and its members for support and help along the way, particularly Matthias Mahr who was his coach for three years prior to going to Sheffield University in 2009.

SLOW's Ralph Street in the Nordic Orienteering Tour

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.

SLOW success at British Championships – in and out of the forest

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.

Abi Weeds and Anja Stratford, who ran with Helen Gardner, for the Women's Elite Relays podium at BOC 2013
Abi Weeds and Anja Stratford, who ran with Helen Gardner, for the Women’s Elite Relays podium at BOC 2013

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.

Full orienteering results are available on the British Championships website and the urban event at Mole Valley Orienteering Club.

Rob Lines took lots of photos of SLOW members in action at both the individual day and the relays.

SLOW members Ed Catmur (centre), Richard Jones (left) and Evan Barlow (right) at the start of the BOC 2013 Men's Relay.
SLOW members Ed Catmur (centre), Richard Jones (left) and Evan Barlow (right) at the start of the BOC 2013 Men’s Relay. Photo courtesy of Rob Lines.

BOC weekend report by Chris Robinson

A marathon weekend for SLOW members

This was a weekend of big events and impressive athletic performances for SLOW members, both in national level orienteering and running.

Ed Catmur won the Great Welsh Marathon in Llanelli in a time of 2:36:45. Ed had a commanding lead, seven minutes in front of the second placed runner.

In London, four SLOW members finished within five minutes of each other:

  • Ben Roberts, 2:57:06
  • Evan Barlow, 2:59:14
  • Dan Findlay-Robinson, 2:59:50
  • Tom Cochrane, 3:00:09

An honorable mention should go to SLOW affiliate member Harold Wyber (LOK) who came 79th overall in the London Marathon with a time of 2:35:36.

Congratulations all round!

Harold Wyber looking very comfortable on his way to a 2:35 finish in the 2013 Virgin London Marathon, courtesy of Eoin O'Callaghan
Harold Wyber looking very comfortable on his way to a 2:35 finish in the 2013 Virgin London Marathon, courtesy of Eoin O’Callaghan

SLOW Gold at the British Sprint & Middle Distance Weekend

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.

Eoin O'Callaghan punching the last control at Loughborough, courtesy of Crawford Lindsay.
Eoin O’Callaghan punching the last control at Loughborough, courtesy of Crawford Lindsay

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.

Matthias Mahr at Stanton Moor, courtesy of Wendy Carlyle
Matthias Mahr at Stanton Moor, courtesy of Wendy Carlyle

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.

Report by Paul Street

Sprint Middle
Men’s Open/M21
Ian Webb 11th= in C final 34th
Michael Balling 4th in C final
Matthias Mahr 6th 6th
Eoin O’Callaghan 11th in A final
Colin Dutkiewicz 9th in A final 8th
Vince Roper 3rd (3 secs off win) in B final 34th
Paul Street 17th in A final 47th
Andy Robinson 10th in B final 41st
Alan Leakey mis-punched 19th
David May Won the B final 18th
Women’s Open/W21
Abi Weeds 2nd in B final 13th
Helen Gardner 12th in A final 5th
Sarah-Jane Gaffney 23rd= in B final 22nd
Jayne Sales 17th in B final
Diane Leakey GOLD 18th
Christine Robinson 9th 24th
Sarah Brown GOLD 4th

SLOW members claim SEOA Middle Distance titles

SLOW members claimed two titles at the SEOA Middle Distance Championships held on Oxshott Heath on 7 April 2013.

  • Ed Catmur took first place in M20-40
  • Teresa Turner was first in W65+

Other ranked runners include Charlotte Turner and Sarah-Jane Gaffney who were second and third respectively in W20-40, and Di Leakey who was third in W55-60. A total of 41 SLOW members turned out in total for the event run by Southern Navigators, which combined both the South East and South Central Orienteering Association’s middle distance championships on the southern section of the new map first used for the 2012 OK Nuts.

Full results for the event are available from Southern Navigators along with the individual championship awards.

Oliver O'Brien awarded prestigious mapping trophy

Congratulations to Oliver O’Brien who has been awarded British Orienteering’s Bonington Trophy for the best contribution to mapping. The award was announced at British Orienteering’s AGM on Friday 29 March.

Ollie’s involvement with maps and mapping reaches far beyond the limits that are normally found in an orienteering mapper.

  • He has created the 6km² City of London map over the last five years, one of the most popular and highly-used orienteering maps in the UK.
  • His on-line event map has become a key directory for orienteers across the country to find events.
  • His Open Orienteering Map tool has helped to grow the sport by making it substantially easier and quicker to generate basic maps.

The trophy was donated to British Orienteering by its honorary President, Sir Chris Bonington, the world famous mountaineer. It consists of a piece of rock collected from the summit of Mount Everest on Chris’s 1985 expedition, mounted on a wooden plinth.

Ollie’s City of London map was also highly commended in the Walsh Trophy for 2012. This trophy is awarded for the best urban or sprint map drawn to ISSOM specification.