Jean O’Neill’s Eastern European Tour 2007


Easter 3-Day
I went to the 2007 Czech Easter 3-Day in an area 100 km NW of Prague as an alternative to the usual JK in Britain. First I had to navigate in a hire car from the airport in the dark! All went well until I arrived in on the outskirts of Ceska Lipa, where I was staying. The map on the internet didn’t cover the whole area and I ended up in the town square, not knowing where to go. Seeing café lights on the far side, I drove across and went in. The bar girl knew where my pension was, but couldn’t direct me because of one way streets and my imperfect map. As I picked up my glass two policemen walked in and came straight up to me and took me outside – I had driven the wrong way around the square (I had checked for signs but couldn’t find any). After a lot of explanations in broken German and English, and showing of documents, they escorted me to the pension, round several twists and turns. I then walked back to the café- it was only about 200m away, around the corner – and the bar girl handed me my drink! It was 1 a.m. I later learned there is a zero alcohol limit! What a good start!
All three days orienteering were within a half hour drive. The terrain on the first day had lots of steep sandstone ridges and rocky passages. Days 2 and 3 were in another area on different parts of the same map: undulating mixed forest with a lot of marshes and not much white (runnable) forest. There was a chasing start on the last day. It was very good orienteering: runnable forest with sandstone pillars. Water and basins -in lieu of showers – were supplied. There were the usual equipment and food stalls and trestle tables and benches. The organisers arranged the pension (€8 per day) and gave me a car hire contact. I paid for everything on arrival. I would thoroughly recommend this event. The 2008 event – Sandstone Easter 2008 – is in the same region.
Hungaria Kupa
In August I went to the Hungaria Kupa (Hungarian Cup), encouraged to go by a Hungarian W55 and her English husband whom I had met at Easter. This is the largest event on the Hungarian calendar. It was very well organised and there were lots of extra activities. The event centre was at Orfu, a half hour’s drive from Pecs, a beautiful town near the Croatian border in the south of Hungary.. Bus transport was provided each day. It was a 5 day event with all days to count.
Days 1 and 2 were in adjacent areas. The forest was very runnable, with ‘negative’ relief – no hills but a non-stop series of circular deep depressions (dolinas) and lots of pits (not unlike Slovenia). Unfortunately I was not there for Day 1. On Day 2 I went very cautiously for the first 4 controls, then plunged in and found I could navigate OK, concentrating on the large depressions. I finished 8th out of about 20.
In the afternoon there was a mountain bike O- event and in the evening back at the lake the Micro Sprint was held: there were several heats with 10 in each in a mass start. 15cm x 15cm controls were used. There were also false ones. Map scale was 1:750. Courses were very short, finish times about 2 mins. It was very exciting to watch – especially seeing confused orienteers running in and out of changing cubicle area with lots of narrow corridors! The finals were held about an hour later. Neil Dobbs was the only other Irish orienteer in Hungary – he ran very creditably.
The 3rd day was a Park-O sprint event in the grounds of Harkany Spa, mapped at 1:2000. There were lots of individual trees and sculptures, kiosks, buildings, paths, pools, paved open areas. It was very fast and exciting! I won the 2 k course in 15.26 and won a voucher for a meal for two in a hotel in the spa town. (I ate with my Hungarian friend from Easter) When the Sprint-O was over I took part in the National Hungarian Trail-O Championships. After that it was a toss-up whether to bathe in the thermal pool, or swim in the regular 50m pool, or have a shower. In the end, I did all three! It was very hot, mid 30’s.
The assembly area for Days 4 and 5 was within walking distance of Orfu, the finish was beside the lake. Again it was karst with oodles of depressions, generally good runnability, but there were some cleared messy areas. I was 1st W60 again. As I had missed Day 1 I started last in the Day 5 chasing start and did not rank overall. The courses for the older age classes were short, however the Elite men ran from 9.5 to 13.6 km and the Elite women ran 6.4 k to 8.4 (excepting the Park O)
There was a Mobile-O on Day 4 mid afternoon…… This was for pairs – one had the map, the other had to find controls. Each competitor was given a SIM card.! I didn’t talk to anyone about it as hardly anyone spoke English. It must have been good craic! At 7.30 there was a road run around the lake – 7k. I chose that day to go sightseeing in Pecs so missed it. The whole week was very enjoyable, excellent orienteering, good weather, supplementary events.
Spartacus Cup
I enjoyed Hungary so much that I went back at the beginning of November, this time to Budapest. There was an exciting street/sprint–O event around the hilly medieval citadel area of Buda, overlooking the Danube, on the Friday. This was followed by a 2 day end of season (for them) forest event about 50 k away. So I spent one night in Budapest, got a lift to the Spartacus Cup and stayed in a student hostel with some Swiss orienteers. There were about 500 competitors each day.
Assembly was the same for both days, with forests on opposite sides of the road. What a contrast! Day 1 was undulating and very runnable, some green and undergrowth. Most controls were on re-entrants or depressions. My only complaint was that it was too short – I only took 25 mins and won by 15 mins! The 2nd day consisted of steep spurs, all white forest, and middle green areas with boulders and small clearings, rows of small re-entrants, poor visibility. It was very physically demanding. I was much slower than on Day 1, in 4th place, but I held on to win overall. Hot spicy tea was given to everyone at the finish out of a big vat – very welcome as it was cold with a biting northerly wind
So ended my 2007 European season!

Jean O’Neill
W60, Fingal Orienteers

Armchair Planning

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin …
Once again it’s time to plan your training, competition and holidays for the coming year. In our current financial situation, maybe that’s all we can do, but we can still dream. Orienteering competitions from local events to World Championships are a great hook to hang a weekend away or a summer holiday on. You’ll get to run on new maps, in new terrain, against new competitors, and refresh your enthusiasm for orienteering. Easter? The JK in the south of England. A weekend in London? Take in the city race in September. Venice? Well, you’ll have to wait until 2014 for that. Multi-day events? The Scottish 6-Day will be a big attraction in 2013, particularly with the 2015 World Championships there.  There are lots of fun events at home too: the Dublin by Night series, the campus sprint series, the Leinster Champs on a new sand dune area in Wexford, the Shamrock O-ringen in Kerry and the Irish Champs on new areas in Galway … Now, read on…

Spain and Portugal offer early season orienteering while it’s still winter elsewhere. There are several international and/or multi-day events here, including the European Rogaining Championships near Barcelona on January 26/27 with 6 and 24 hour events (details here). In Portugal there is the Ori-Coa Trophy and in Spain the Trofeo Costa Blanca (25-27) near Alicante (details here). At home the Dublin by Night series started on Saturday 12th at Three Rock. On January 25-27th the Edinburgh Big Weekend features an urban race, a night event and a sprint. Details here.

The Portuguese O-Meet from 9th to 12th includes a World Ranking middle distance, a sprint, night sprint, long distance and trail-O events near the Spanish border, inland from Coimbra. Details here. Further south there’s  the Morocco 3-Days on 16th-18th (see some details here). On February 16th the first of four “campus sprint” events is at UCD, Belfield, a fund-raiser for the Junior Squad (the other events are at DCU on February 23rd, TCD on March 2nd and UCC on March 23rd).

The major British international event, the Jan Kjellstrom O-Festival (JK2013) starts on March 29th near Reading, with sprint, long distance and relay races over the Easter weekend. Details here.Note that JK2013 will use EMIT timing, not Sportident. Anyone thinking of running in JWOC in June might be tempted by a 3-day at Zlaté Hory near the Polish border in the Czech Republic at Easter. There is actually a choice of two 3-Days in CZ at Easter – for the one nearer Prague see here. Another Easter possibility is a 3-day at Colmar in eastern France from March 31st – see here. Earlier in the month (March 24th) the Irish Student Championships is at Muckross, Killarney, preceded by the final of the Campus Sprint races in Cork on the 23rd.

Fingal are staging the Leinster Championships on the 14th at Cahore in Co. Wexford, a new sand dune area. The Irish Schools’ Championships are at Glengarra, near Cahir, Co. Tipperary, on the 17th and 18th. The Leinster Champs weekend clashes with some good events in the UK: two days in the Lake District and the Southern Area Championships on the fantastic dunes of Penhale in Cornwall. You can do some sand dune training for the Leinsters at Banna (March 18th – make a long weekend of it), the Long Strand (April 1st) and Tramore (April 7th).

The month kicks off with the Irish Championships at Lettercraffroe, near Oughterard, Co. Galway, on the 4th (Middle), 5th (Long) and 6th (Relays), run by Western Eagles: close to the excellent areas used for last year’s 3-Day in June, followed a week later by a Munster League event at Inch sand dunes in Kerry.
The May Bank Holiday weekend is a popular one for orienteering, as the IOC unfortunately clashes with the British Championships in Surrey (details here). Entries for IOC are now open on the Fabian4 web site. See details of IOC2013 here. Another fixture on the May Bank Holiday weekend is the 68th Tio Mila overnight relay 30 km NW of Stockholm – details here. The relay, for teams of 10, covers almost 120 km with legs from 7 to 18 km. There’s also a youth relay, a women’s relay and a night trail race.
On May 11-12 the Porto City Race in Portugal looks fun – with a middle distance race the day before. Porto is a World Heritage site with lots of intricate alleyways. Details here. The first of three multi-day events in Holland is on May 24-26 at Brabant – see here (the other two start on 23rd August and 26th October), preceded by a 3-day in Belgium from 18th to 20th May.

Moving into exam time, the two-yearly (is that biannual or biennial?) Shamrock O-Ringen is back in the Black Lakes and Crohane area south of Killarney. This event attracts a loyal following from abroad every time, and a small number of Irish orienteers too. Why not try it if you haven’t already? See the event web site here. Later in the month the famous Jukola 7-person overnight relay (the 65th staging of the race) takes place on the weekend of the 15th-16th at Jamsa in Finland. The Setanta Wicklow Rogaine, a 24 hour score event, is on June 22nd. Details will be here.
For the selected M and W20’s, the Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic from June30th to 7th July will be the focus of the early summer, but there will be open events for the rest of us from 1st to 6th July – details here.
Further north , there’s orienteering in June in Greenland (22-24th) (details in Danish here) and the Arctic Midnight Orienteering (26th-29th) – see here.

The World Championships, at Vuokatti in Finland, runs from the 6th to the 14th, and there are open events for everyone – details of the associated Kainuu Week here. The World Trail-Orienteering Championships is also run with WOC. July is peak season for big internationals, with the Swedish O-Ringen five day near the Arctic Circle at Boden from 20th to 26th (details here). The event is so far north that there should be 24-hour daylight. Early in the month the annual Sorlandsgaloppen in southern Norway runs from the 4th to 7th – see here, though the web site only goes to 2012 at the moment. A 5-Day in the French Pyrenees on July 13-18 is based in the Font Romeu skiing area, home of the French national centre for altitude training, and Narbonne: see here. Croatia has the Croatia Open at Delnice (July 23-28) on technical karst terrain with lots of depressions see here. LVO’s Igor Stefko recommends the  Grand Prix Slovakia and Karst Cup from 11th to 14th July at Mosovce (see here) , while the OO Cup in Slovenia from 26th to 30th July is an alternative to the Swedish O-Ringen.


Hot on the heels of the Swedish O-Ringen is the Scottish 6-Day at Inverness from 28th July to 3rd August. There will be a lot of interest this year as Scotland is to host the World Championships in two years time with the 2015 6-Day.  Details of Moray 2013 here. (I am reliably informed that is is possible to do a round trip taking in JWOC, WOC, O-Ringen and Moray 2013 …)
After the Scottish 6-Day some of you might be eligible for the orienteering at the World Police & Fire Games in Belfast is on the 5th, 8th and 9th. details here. Over-35’s might be tempted by the World Masters Championships near Turin in Italy from August 2 to 10. (Details here).
For those of you who don’t like running up hills, there’s a 3-day at Diever in northern Holland from August 23-25, including a middle distance WRE. See here.

September starts to go quiet again, with a highlight being the 6th London City race starting on the Isle of Dogs on Sunday 22nd, preceded by the LOK Ultrasprint in Hyde Park on the Saturday. (The Venice street event won’t be on in November so this may be your only chance to experience top class urban orienteering this year). Detailshere. Closer to home the Senior Home International will be in Ireland in late September. A multi-day event in Sardinia starts on September 30th and runs on and off until October 10th – see details of the “5+5”here.

EYOC, the European Youth O-Champs for M/W16 and 18 was withdrawn from Israel in November and instead will be in October: the organisers will be announced at the end of January. The World Masters MTBO Championships is on in southern Portugal from October 10-13, midway between Faro and Lisbon. Details are here. In Turkey, the Istanbul 5-day event (October 29 to November 3: mid term for schools?) has 5 races in 4 days, and sometimes includes one in the famous, complex and rather claustrophobic Grand Bazaar. Details of the 2012 event are here.

To preserve the area for the sprint races in the 2014 World Championships, there will be no street-O in Venice in November this year. No EYOC either – see October. So, all in all, a limited choice of exotic destinations for November, but there is a monthly local event in the Canaries, at La Esperanza in Tenerife which, in November, is on the 17th. Details here.

South Africa’s “Big 5” O-week runs from 30th December to 4th January, based in the east in the province of Mpumalanga. See details here. Closer to home, but in the cold, is Belgium’s Sylvester 3-Days between Christmas and New Year. Details closer to the time on the Belgian O web site.

I think this is roughly where we came in …

See you in the forest !

(Thanks to CompassSport Magazine, World of O website  and the various flyers picked up at events for much of this information. The World of O calendar is a fantastic source of information). Don’t forget to watch for big events in the UK on the British Orienteering web site.


Nearest neighbours BOF benefit from UK government funding

Sport England is investing £2.3 million into orienteering to help the sport find its niche amongst mass-participation events and to continue the development of the talent pathway.
The funding demonstrates confidence in the progress shown over the last three years. Changes to British Orienteering’s infrastructure and the proposed creation of new on-demand versions of the sport will help to open up new opportunities for growth.
Around 12,000 people take part in orienteering at least once a month and there are likely to be many more participants who are running regularly as they train for each orienteering event. The sport is attractive to people seeking personal challenges, a change from their usual running-related training and an opportunity to use the latest technology.
British Orienteering’s plan is based on a strategic vision – More People, More Places, More Podiums. It pulls together a range of planning activity including:

  • Community O+: a range of focused programmes designed to start and keep people taking part. These include an introduction to the sport, an informal and social running challenge for younger people; park orienteering for the family market; and a Student Starter offer for 16-25 year olds.
  • Virtual Orienteering: on-demand orienteering for recreational runners that blends mobile running apps with traditional fixed point orienteering.
  • Events and competitions: a series of local and national events aimed at retaining participants through increased challenge and progression and a new UK Orienteering League.
  • Talent development: continued implementation of the nationally managed pathway to provide sustainable success at the highest level of the sport.

The plan also covers the recruitment and support of a paid and volunteer workforce capable of delivering a full programme of events.
Lisa O’Keefe, Sport England’s Director of Sport said: “This investment will enable the British Orienteering Federation to continue the expansion of its events programme and explore the potential of technology to enhance the experience of the sport.” (from the BOF website).

On a similar note, congratulations to the Cork Schools Orienteering Association who received a grant of €13000 from the  Sports Capital Programme of the Department of Tourism and Sport.See the full list of grants, totalling €26 million,  here.

Smartphone orienteering: LVO’s Geoffrey Collins has developed an appcalled “oGo”,  for running the start at a colour event, which can cope with up to 8 courses and a range of start intervals from 10 seconds up to 5 minutes.  Get details here.

Proposd System for Allocating Long Distance Start Slots at WMTBOC

The IOF are removing the long distance qualification races from the MTBO World Championships. They are proposing 60 start slots and how those slots are to be allocated is set out in the document.

Any comments?
Need them by Wednesday the 9th January.

Darren Burke
Director of High Performance Orienteering
Irish Orienteering Association


This went up on the website and facebook page before Christmas, so if you missed
it, now is the time to check it out:
I expect all squad members to complete this educational programme.

Once confirmed the selection policy for WOC 2013 will be released, shortly.

As I write this email the 2013 International Orienteering season has started in
New Zealand with the first World Cup race of the year. At this stage I would
like to know what your intentions are for the year to include the following
World Cups (Nordic Tour – start of June & Post Finance Sprint – 5/6 October)
Italy Training Camp in the Autumn
Euromeeting in July (

By knowing what the squad are looking to do for the year, entries and whatever
else needs to be organised can be done in advance.

Those of you looking towards WOC 2015 should be considering Euromeeting. It is
possible a WOC 2015 training camp may also be organised this year.

There will also be a few training camps closer to home like last year. Details
on them when they are organised. If anyone is willing to organise one, please
let me know.

Happy New Year,

Darren Burke
Director of High Performance Orienteering
Irish Orienteering Association

Orienteering in Ireland
  • Orienteering Ireland
    Irish Sport HQ
    D15 DY62