The 2024 World Orienteering Championships (WOC) are in Edinburgh next July. Originally they were to have been in 2022, but then COVID came along. The 2020 WOC in Denmark became the 2022 WOC in Denmark, and the 2022 WOC in Scotland became the 2024 WOC in Scotland.
WOC now alternates between the forest formats and the sprint formats. 2024 is a sprint format so there will be classic sprint, knockout sprint and sprint relay events. 2022 was the first sprint only WOC, and the Great Britain team did very well. The team won four medals in all, which is as many as in the previous 17 years of World Champs combined. Additionally there were two top-6 results, two top-10s, and three top-20s. At international level Great Britain is relatively much stronger in the sprint formats than in the forest ones.
Both the 2024 WOC organisers and potential runners have preparatory races in the 12 months leading to a WOC.
The main one for the organisers is called Euromeeting, and it’s in mid-October. There are public races alongside the international ones.
The main one, but by no means the only one for athletes, is the European Championships, in Northern Italy at the start of October.
Another was Sprint Scotland 2023, on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd September. For the GB runners it was a chance to catch the eye of the selectors for the European Championships. For non-GB international runners it was a chance to run similar races to those expected in Edinburgh, in Scotland, with the same planners. And for lesser lights it was a chance to run in the same races, or to run age class races at the same time and place.
It was good to see SLOW represented, with several members making the trip north and doing the main open class races. Thanks to Daniela Pretelt Harries for sending us photos. Here she is in one of the races. It is Jon Musgrave, one of the WOC 2024 team (and a WOC medallist in 1993) standing by the gate.
Saturday was a knockout sprint in Alloa. 64 men and 34 women ran qualifying races in the morning. The top 18 in each race qualified for three semi-finals. These are head-head races, and the first two finishers make the final. (And non-qualifiers got to run the semi-final course as an individual sprint, with a 15 second start interval.) It was like the full international format for knockout, but omitting the quarter-finals.
Sunday was a traditional sprint in Falkirk.
SLOW member and GB International Ralph Street does not run many races in Britain but ran Sprint Scotland. He is here pictured in the colours of his Norwegian Club Bækkelagets SK, finishing the knockout sprint final just ahead of Eddie Narbett of the Edinburgh University Alumni club AROS.
SLOW member Michael Crone, who runs quite a few races in Britain and took the win in our London Parks Series this year, has run World Championships for South Africa. He is pictured below.
One of the London Park Series races, the Waterloo Parks race, was planned by Himmy Lau.
In the women’s races, Cecilie Andersen won the knockout, and Laura Robertson, the New Zealand International who runs with South Yorkshire, the classic.
The fastest runner in the men’s competition was Yannick Michiels of Belgium., who won the bronze in the World Champs Sprint last year. He was fastest in the qualifying race, his semi-final, the final and Sunday’s sprint. But he missed punching two controls, one in each of the last two races. British Sprint Champion Nathan Lawson took the knockout win, and Henry McNulty the Australian based in Norway (and also a member of Bækkelagets SK) won the traditional sprint.
Yannick wrote on Facebook:
When people ask me what’s orienteering?
1. Navigate with a map and punch all control points.
2. Runner who does this as fastest wins.
Definitely was quickest but failed both days to punch all controls. Twice jumped over an ‘easy’ control which I passed with a few metres and lost two (clear) wins. Great feedback on current shape but maybe I should join my oldest son on his first week of school to learn how to count to 10 next time.
Anyway again a very fun weekend in Scotland with fast racing! One month to go European Orienteering Championships 2023 .
Kris Jones | Masterplan Adventure