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.

Orienteering in Ireland
Orienteering Ireland, Irish Sport HQ, Blanchardstown
D15 DY62, Ireland