JWOC training camp -Portugal
On the weekend of the 11-14th March, 3 prospective JWOC athletes, Darragh Hoare, Liam Cotter and Aoife O’Sullivan (all BOC) travelled to Portugal under the leadership of Jens Waechter (BOC) to get some orienteering experience in relevant terrain in advance of Junior World Orienteering Championships in July. Over the weekend, we squeezed in 7 maps, covered approximately 45km and got about 10 hours of quality orienteering in the Portuguese forests and cobble-stoned towns.
After an early start on Friday morning, we flew from Dublin to Porto and then drove a further 2 hours to our accommodation. After checking in and having some lunch, we put on our O-kit and headed to nearby Aguiar da Beira village for some sprint training. This hilly medieval village was filled with narrow cobble-stoned streets, many stairs, some rough open areas and offered plenty of route choice. After a quick debrief, we headed back to our accommodation to make dinner and further discuss our various routes. Jens spoke to us about the importance of recovery. We winded down with some mindfulness and then headed to bed for an early night.
In order to somewhat replicate what we’ll experience on race day, we decided to leave the house early each morning, this also allowed us plenty of time to come back to the house for a longer recovery period during lunch. Each map was conveniently located within max 20 minutes driving of our accommodation. On Day 2, we focused our attention on the middle distance discipline. Now before anyone gets the impression we went to Portugal to escape the Irish weather, Day 2 tells a different story. With average temperatures of about 4-6 °C and constant rain which only got heavier as the day progressed, it was certainly not a sun holiday. However, that’s not what we were in Portugal for, we were here to train and that’s certainly what we did.
The first area we went to was described as being very relevant for both the JWOC middle qualification and final. Runability was very good in this area however, I found I was very cautious of the bare rocks and feared slipping in the wet conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed this intricate area and was excited to see the other terrains Aguiar da Beira had to offer. Our next session of the day took us to an area just next to the middle embargo on a map made by JWOC mappers, Janne Weckman and Timo Joensuu. This area was very technical and rather slow going with rough conditions underfoot. I learned the hard way that it can be very difficult to relocate in this complex terrain. The rain had really set in at this stage so we headed back to the house to shower, refuel and take some time to recover. During this down time we uploaded our gps tracks to quickroute to discuss route choice and learn from our mistakes.
Our final session of the day brought us to another middle relevant area mapped by the JWOC mappers. Putting back on our wet kit that afternoon and facing into pouring rain was difficult and I certainly needed some extra motivation. Darragh’s wise words gave me the extra boost I needed to hop out of the car; ‘Aoife just think about it, in an hour and a half’s time you’ll be even more prepared for JWOC and you’ll be warming up in a hot shower.’ We set off on another middle distance length course and I quickly learned the rain isn’t that bad once you’re out in it. I clocked in over 17k and plenty of climb by the end of day 2 and was looking forward to getting some dinner into me and then another early night. We also had access to a pool/jacuzzi at our accommodation that served as a nice recovery tool.
On our last day in Portugal we shifted our focus to the Long Distance and the 1:15,000 scale. Thankfully the weather had dried up, although it was still cold the sun was shining so we couldn’t complain. The first area we tackled was a 6.6k course focusing on long legs planned by the JWOC long distance course setter, Diogo Miguel. One of the biggest things I took from this training was that the vegetation can be brutal and I was very grateful for the elephant tracks that had been previously bashed through the dark green areas.
Our next session was some O-intervals. Both mental and physical fatigue was setting in at this stage and I found I was making silly mistakes so I cut this session short to save myself for our final area. We ate our lunch in the lovely village square where we had parked the car, after having first bathed our feet in the ice-cold water of the fountain.
We ended the camp on a high with a final session in a contour, green and rock only map. I felt revived after having napped during our extended lunch break. I enjoyed being able to really focus on the contour details without any excess clutter on the map. It was a small but brilliant area and although I plodded around the course very slowly, I did so with a big beaming smile on my face.
We certainly squeezed a lot into this short weekend and got a great taste of the terrain Portugal has to offer. I left feeling hungry for more and can’t wait to get back into this luscious terrain in a few months time.
Thanks so much to Mike Long, Dave Masterson and Jens Waechter for organising all the logistics behind the training camp and to Jens for accompanying us on the trip, serving as chauffeur, coach and mentor. Thanks also to anyone and everyone who has supported the junior squad who helped part fund this trip.
Aoife O’Sullivan W20, UCDO/BOC
Self Training for the advanced orienteer
CNOC, in conjunction with David Healy (GEN), have organised 17 self-training markers on the Kanturk/Scarr map. This initiative is being provided as an aid to orienteers who wish to improve their navigational skills in advance of IOC 2022 and the upcoming Summer international events. Part of the map is on National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) land and we wish to acknowledge the invaluable help given by them and by Conservation Ranger Hugh Mc Lindon.
The area is physically and technically testing with wonderful contour and rock detail. This makes it suitable for orienteers who would normally compete at Light Green (TD4) or higher. It is not suitable ground for beginners. Whistles should be carried as mobile phone coverage is ‘patchy’. The markers are numbered bamboo canes approx. 1m tall and will remain in place under NPWS permit until April 30th. Felling is ongoing in the area around markers 110 and 111. You must stay away from any operating machinery.
As we are in the Wicklow Mountains Nature Reserve strict conditions apply which must be observed by orienteers.
- Participant numbers must not exceed the permitted number. For this course that is 10 people per day. NPWS recently surveyed this area and it is being used by endangered nesting species, so it is critical that participants join NPWS in their protection by ensuring disturbance remains very low.
- If, while training, you come across birds that are nesting (or displaying signs of stress) then alter course and avoid that site.
- Dogs or other animals may not accompany participants (dogs effectively sterilise an area of ground-nesting birds).
- Litter (including biodegradable waste) must not be left.
- All activities must be carried out in full compliance of any Covid-19 restrictions as indicated by Government guidelines (https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/covid19 );
- The Duty Conservation Ranger must be contacted at 087-9803899 in the case of any notable incidents occurring eg. accidents.
Thanks to CNOC members Pat Healy, Senan O’ Boyle and Ruth Lynam for mapping and placing the markers on Kanturk. This self-training opportunity is a continuation of the initiative spearheaded by David Healy (GEN) on Brockagh in the Summer of 2021. Thanks to David for guiding us through the process, choosing potential sites and preparing the markers.
It’s a beautiful area – hope you enjoy and benefit from your training.
Map files for printing and planning can be found below:
Junior World Orienteering Championships 2021 Kocaeli, Turkey
The Junior World Championships (JWOC) is the major world orienteering competition for under-21’s. It is on every year in a different country and this year it took place in Turkey in September.
The 2020 competition had been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 30 countries took part with 138 M20’s and 119 W20’s running. Several of the usual participants did not come this year because of Covid restrictions – these included great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
An Irish team of 8 athletes was selected: Six M20’s – Aidan McCullough, Dan Earnshaw, Darragh Hoare, Eoghan Whelan, Liam Cotter and Peter Reed, and two W20’s – Aoife O’Sullivan and Rachel Collins. Ber O’Sullivan and myself went along to support the team.
Unfortunately due to the UK Covid regulations, which would require the Northern Ireland-based athletes to quarantine for 10 days on their return from Turkey, the three NI team members, Dan, Peter and Rachel, were unable to travel to JWOC.
JWOC consists of 5 races in 6 days: Sprint, Middle Distance Qualification, Middle Distance Final, Long Distance and Relay. The original (2020) plan had been for all the teams to stay in the same university campus at Gebze but Covid changed all that so the teams were split between several hotels. The accomodation set up together with the quarantining rules sadly reduced contacts and socialising between the teams. Originally everyone was to be bussed to the events by the organisers, instead each team had to hire cars or minibuses themselves. There were no organised socials and the big end-of-week party for everyone didn’t take place.
Broadly speaking the Irish results were on a par with previous years, with some good and some not so good. Having said that, all the team ran their hearts out but when you are running against the world’s best, it is a tough task.
The results were dominated by Sweden but podium places also went to Switzerland, Italy, France, Finland, Hungary, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
The competitions were in Kocaeli, a part of Turkey about 100 km south east of the capital, Istanbul, and on the Asian side of the Bosphorus which links the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and ultimately to the Mediterranean. Except for the Sprint, the terrain was forested, mostly with beech, so it was fairly runnable but with reduced visibility due to undergrowth.
All the team had to receive a negative PCR Covid test on arrival before they could register and get the training maps, so there was a certain amount of waiting around in the hotel for results, but at least there was a swimming pool at our hotel! There were about 10 teams staying with us including Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Belgium. We had been concerned about the temperatures in Turkey over the summer, and the forest fires, but in September it was mid- to high-20’s C so it wasn’t too hot to run.
There were model events for the Sprint, Middle, and Long/Relay. These were to allow us to get a feel for the terrain, the kinds of control sites and the mapping style, and it was very important to spend time at them. At this stage the team weren’t going to get any fitter so the model events were more for learning about the maps and terrain than about physical training.
Travelling to the forest model events we couldn’t help noticing the huge numbers of stray, ownerless dogs all over the country: big dogs like labradors wandering around in packs, lying asleep on the roads and generally lazing around. The policy in Turkey is to let them be – they are kind of community pets and are looked after by the locals. Another noticeable thing was the number of mosques, even in the smallest villages, with frequent calls to prayer being broadcast from loudspeakers on the minarets at all hours of the day and night. Finally, no report on JWOC 2021 would be complete without a mention of the driving standards in Turkey: we only saw one accident but driving there was a high-adrenalin, action-packed white knuckle ride, for the drivers at least!
We flew to Turkey on Wednesday and visited the Middle distance model map on the Friday and again on the Saturday, and also went to the Sprint model and walked around it on the Saturday, the day before the race. On Wednesday 8th, the rest day, we had another Covid test and went to the Long/Relay area. These visits were essential to familiarise ourselves with the kind of terrain and the mapping style, particularly as we had not been able to participate in any training camps in Turkey as many other teams had.
All the races and the model events were within about an hour’s drive of our hotel. After the Sprint model the teams paraded to the opening ceremony, with music, dancing and speeches from local dignitaries.
The IOF define the characteristics of the different types of competition – the Sprint is technically easy, running at top speed and with difficult route choices, the Middle Distance is about constantly challenging navigation with small and medium-scale route choice and fast speed but adjusting speed to conditions, and the Long Distance is physically demanding with some large-scale route choices and a mixture of technical difficulty. The Relay is a mixture of high speed, varied technical difficulty and running close to others who may or may not be on your course. These were all well tested in the JWOC races.
The sprint was held in Izmit, in a steep part of the city with narrow streets, apartment blocks and lots of stairways. Temperatures in the weeks before JWOC were in the mid-30’s but had cooled to mid to high 20’s for JWOC itself. The courses had a lot of unavoidable climb so were physically very tough. In the sprint, a small error of a few seconds can be very costly. Quarantine was in a school, with a choice of indoor or outdoor space and a school yard for warmup and pre-start at the school door: out the door, around the corner to the start. An arena run-through after about 75% of the course brought the runners through the distraction of flags, music, people and a live commentary: at this stage you just want to keep running hard without making any mistakes. Expected winning times were about 13 minutes – pretty fast considering the climb on the courses.
Quarantine, by the way, is nothing to do with Covid: all the runners are held in a segregated area until they go to pre-start so they can’t get any information about the courses from media or from early finishers. There are no phones, internet or other communications allowed so you have to amuse yourself – read, doze, play cards, use colouring books, whatever you like. Everyone had to be in quarantine by 09.45 each day and you might be there for 3 or 4 hours. Usually one of the team leaders stayed in quarantine and the other went to the finish arena.
M20 3.56 km/195m/15 controls, W20 2.97 km/150m/13 controls, Map 1:4000, 2.5 m contours
Darragh was the best of the M20’s, in 110th place in 20.55 for 3.6 km/195m climb. Francesco Mariani of Italy took the Gold medal in 15.39 – he lives in Northern Italy in an area with lots of small hilltop villages so he has terrain like this to train on. Aoife was 100th in W20 with a time of 21.31 for the 3.0 km/150m course which was won by Denmark’s Malin Kristiansson in 14.57.
Middle Qualification, Monday, Mudarli
The forest was very green and rocky, with low visibility and steep hills. There were three heats in M and W20. The top 20 in each heat went through to the A final, the next 20 to the B etc. Our hope was to get at least one runner in the A finals. As it turned out, Darragh was very close to qualifying for the A final and Aidan and Liam were close to qualifying for the B final but, disappointingly, all ended up in the B or C finals. It seems crazy but the previous day’s sprint race in Izmit was the same length but with more climb than the middle distance quali.
We arrived at the race site to find that Quarantine was only setting up, with no functioning toilets and no tents ready, with very heavy torrential showers, so not ideal!
The expected winning times were 22-23 minutes but the actual times were between 20 and 21 minutes. The lads were in three separate heats. Darragh finished 22nd in Heat 1 so missed making the A final by only 68 seconds. Aoife finished 35th so ran in the B final.
Middle Final, Tuesday, Mudarli
This was in another part of the same area as the day before, with the same arena and finish but a different start. Again, conditions were sunny and warm and the runners had a better idea of what to expect having run there the day before. Again, there was an arena run-through so we got to see how all the runners were doing and cheer them on. In the finals, Aoife finished 37th in her final, Darragh 23rd, Eoghan 38th in the B final and Liam and Aidan 9th and 12th in the C final.
Long, Thursday, Denizli
Long, with lots of climb! Expected winning times W20 59 mins, M20 71 mins.
Expected Irish times 100-120 minutes for M20, which we achieved. Map 1:15000, 5 m contours
Again, we had been at the model event and had some idea of the terrain, but even so, the steep hills and long route-choice legs of 1.5 to 2 km were a challenge – terrain rather like parts of Switzerland. Eoghan had been unwell leading up to the race and wisely decided to retire at the arena run-through.
M20 11.04 km /585m climb /24 controls
- 1 Basile Basset France 68.57
- 2 Soren Thrane Odum Denmark 69.04
- 3 Ferenc Jonas Hungary 71.46
- 108 Darragh Hoare 100.08
- 112 Aidan McCullough 103.41
- 121 Liam Cotter 117.22
W20 7.08 km/370m climb /18 controls
- 1 Lilly Graber Switzerland 52.59
- 2 Lucie Semikova Czech Rep 53.47
- 3 Viktoria Mag Hungary 54.25
- 92 Aoife O’Sullivan 81.55
All the athletes got a JWOC GPS vest as a souvenir, which would allow them to wear a GPS unit provided by the organisers. No Garmin or personal GPS watches are allowed at JWOC which is a pity if you are trying to figure out afterwards exactly where you went. The organisers gave GPS units to the top competitors and in the arena we could follow them live on the big screen (which is why the waiting runners are kept in quarantine). Perhaps if the rules were changed, the runners could be allowed to put their own GPS watch in the vest on their back where they can’t see it but it can still track them.
Relay, Friday, Denizli
Expected winning time 34-36 minutes per leg; Map 1:10000, 5m contours. The same area and arena as the Long the previous day but with a map that was easier to read at speed.
M20 5.9-6.4 km/260-290m
- 1 Sweden (33.50, 34.12, 36.12) 104.14
- 2 Hungary (36.27, 33.12, 36.12) 105.51
- 3 Switzerland (35.05, 34.17, 37.44) 107.06
- 27 Ireland 160.02
(Darragh Hoare 45.35, Aidan McCullough 55.49, Liam Cotter 58.38)
We had only one W20 so Aoife ran on a mixed team with two Italian girls. She finished in 45.46, bringing her team up from 25th to 20th place. Aoife was placed 27th on that leg out of 38 finishers.
Overall the results were mixed. It was a difficult event to plan for, with little or no orienteering available over the past 18 months or so due to Covid. There was additional uncertainty about team selection, whether JWOC would actually go ahead and whether it would be possible to travel at all.
Darragh and Eoghan had taken part in multi-day competitions in Switzerland and Slovenia over the summer and Liam and Eoghan had been on the Irish team at EYOC in Lithuania in August, and this exposure to international competition was useful preparation.
Now, if you are reading this and thinking “I’d like to give this a go!”, that’s great! Everyone on the Irish World Championships teams in recent years cut their teeth at events like EYOC and JWOC. JWOC is meant to be on the same technical and organisational level as the World Championships and it is a stepping-stone to WOC. For the team it’s probably the high point of their orienteering career to date. If you are prepared to train, to put in the work on fitness and technique, there is no reason why you can’t set your sights on JWOC, working your way up through events like the JHI and EYOC. JWOC is for under-21’s and M and W 20’s as well as promising M & W18’s can be selected.
In the past we have had some good results – Paul Pruzina was 22nd in the Sprint in Finland in 2017; Róisín Long was 46th in the Sprint in 2016 in Switzerland; in 2012 Conor Short was 25th in the A Middle final in Slovakia; in Norway in 2015 the W20 Relay team of Róisín Long, Niamh Corbett and Aoife McCavana was 14th and the M20’s (Jonny Quinn, Niall McCarthy and Paul Pruzina) were 18th, so it can be done!
JWOC 2022 is in Portugal on 11th-16th July, with training camps in January and May. Details at www.jwoc2022.pt
With thanks to John McCullough , team Mentor, Vice Chairperson to IOA, Member of Three Rock Orienteering Club for both travelling with the team and writing this piece.
Junior Home Internationals Success
A surprisingly strong squad emerged from the enforced hibernation of lock down and a team of 21 young athletes were selected to travel to the Junior Home Internationals in Surrey. The event was excellently organised by South London Orienteers. Luxurious accommodation was provided by PGL outdoor activity centre and the Individual event at the Devil’s Punchbowl was planned to have a fiendishly steep finish up to the Centre’s woodland. It was great to have a full complement of W14s and a particularly strong performance from Great Easter Navigator’s (GEN) Fionnuala Rowe who finished in 6th place, her older sister Emily also performing well finishing 8th in the W16 race. Lagan Valley’s Meadow McCauley led the Irish field at W18 in her last performance at JHI.
The terrain was very tough, and not your typical southern forest. There was hard running through thick undergrowth and several very steep climbs so our M18s had a tough outing, but again performed well with a 6th and 8th place for Eoghan Whelan (South East Viking Orienteers) and Liam Cotter (Bishopstown Orienteering Club), and a respectable time in 11th place for Lagan Valley’s Dan Earnshaw. This is also the last JHI for all these young men. At M16, the Irish boys finished in consecutive places with Josh Hoare (Bishopstown Orienteering Club) leading the pack and Oliver, Dan and Ben (LVO), in succession all showing how physical the terrain was.
Highlight of the weekend had to be Gerry Browne’s performance winning 3rd place in the M14 race. He followed this with such a blistering relay leg that his 3rd leg runner (nameless) wasn’t quite ready for the handover. There was no question about who should be awarded the shield for Best Irish Performance. Well done Gerry!
The relay on Bramshott Common provided some fast running and unfortunately a confusing control with a mis- number. Despite this all our teams finished error-free giving us a comfortable lead over a diminished Welsh team and we took home the Judith Wingham Trophy again.
Many thanks go to the parents who travelled with the team and especially to Eoin Browne who lent his O-shoes to Ben whose bag stayed in Gatwick for the weekend. Special thanks to Stephanie Pruzina for coordinating and organising the Irish team in the absence of a Junior Affairs Coordinator for the IOA. Made especially difficult under the current covid restrictions, differing North/ South Ireland and UK! Of course enormous thanks to SLOW for putting on a great event and particularly Mathias and Abi who co-ordinated the weekend.
One final learning point…we might need to recruit some musical talent for next year. If we can’t beat the Scots at O maybe we can out-sing them!
Links to Full Results can be found at SLOW’s website here.
More thanks to Stephanie Pruzina for providing the basis of this article. 🙂
Junior Home Internationals 2021
This weekend a team of juniors and their supporters and mentors are heading for Haslemere in Surrey in the South of England for the Junior Home Internationals. South London Orienteers, affectionately known as ‘SLOW’ are hosting the event. The event is, for many, the first time they will don the Irish jersey and orienteer for an all Ireland team in the JHI.
The JHI is the ‘Home Nations’ of Junior orienteering where teams aged M/W14 to M/W18 from each of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland compete. The event consists of an individual long distance competition on Saturday, followed by mixed aged teams in a Relay on the Sunday. Results from the two days are calculated using a points based system.
Saturdays long distance race will be in the aptly named Devil’s Punch Bowl and Hindhead Common, a tough area with plenty of gradient which will test both the mental and physical strength of these youngsters.
The Relay race will be held on a newly mapped area at Bramshott Common, the area is very runnable with a mixture of lightly wooded sections and open grassy areas interspersed with trees.
The full list of the team can be found here, members represent a range of clubs from across the country including :
- Bishopstown Orienteering Club
- Cork Orienteering Club
- Curragh Naas Orienteering Club
- Great Eastern Navigators
- Lagan Valley Orienteers
- North West Orienteering Club
- South Eastern Vikings Orienteering Club
- Three Rock Orienteering Club
- Leicestershire Orienteering Club
We wish the young orienteers a great weekend of orienteering, making new friends and memories.
Subject to photographic restrictions, we hope to bring you pictures and news of the event as it happens via social media channels , facebook, instagram and twitter.
World Orienteering Championships 2021 – Czech Republic
A review and analysis of the Sprint races at WOC 2021 thanks to Cork Orienteering Club’s Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan
Sprint Qualification 3rd July 2021- Terezin
Preparation for WOC 2021 was different, both physically and mentally, it wasn’t ideal but it was as good as it could be given everything that was going on globally. It was a very long wait between standing on the start-line and failing to perform in Riga (WOC 2018) and getting another shot in Terezín. The original goal after WOC 2018 was Denmark in 2020 but due to Covid the goalposts moved to 2021 in the Czech Republic.
During the lockdowns and restrictions my coach in Donore Harriers kept me on course with structured trainings and a clear plan. He’s the mastermind behind everything. I would say I was physically in the best shape I have ever been in. Mileage through the winter went well with structured and sensible training including 26 weeks of 100mile/week average with big workouts and then speed work on top of that foundation in the spring/summer. I drew some sprint maps of areas around my side of Dublin that myself and Kev (since he’s in the neighbourhood) were able to run some trainings on. We did a “Stay @ Home Training Camp” on them over the Easter weekend. It wasn’t ideal but working on your O processes is working on your O processes, no matter where you are. I was lucky that I was able to rope in some National Team runners from other countries to plan trainings for us.
I flew to Prague and travelled north to Staré Splavy, near Doksy, on the Tuesday before the competition to get settled and get on some training maps. We had some time in Pevnost Josefov on the Wednesday and in Terezín Bastion 1, the Sprint Model, on the Friday. Pevnost Josefov was the first in person look at this fortress style sprint terrain, relevant for the individual Sprint races. The walls were bigger than I expected and the multilevel sections were tricky to get your head around. On the Friday morning the Sprint Model calmed my nerves somewhat as the printing was really clear and the map was easy to read and understand. There is a difference between reading it at jogging pace and race pace though! For those of you who don’t know the model map is usually in the embargo, it won’t be used for the race and it shows very relevant terrain and gives you a feel for how things look and how things are mapped. In this case what did the tunnels, levels and walls look like and how fast was the grass for running compared to tarmac.
I was able to get my pre-race routine of 20-25mins including a few 12-15sec strides done on the model map. This is what I do for all my races, if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it! The rest of the day was filled with eating, a walk around the technical model to see how the start and control set up looked and some napping! It’s important to keep calm and relaxed while keeping the mind somewhat occupied, the waiting is the hardest part!
Sprint Qualifier day was an early start for the 3 of us; myself, Kev and Paul, with the alarm going off at 05:30 for breakfast and we were on the road by 06:45 to get the drive done and get into quarantine (not COVID related quarantine though!). I wanted to be in quarantine early to get the drive out of my legs, be calm and have time for something to go wrong. The only issue with being the driver on these trips is you realise you are one of the old guys on the team!
I did my usual warm up routine, nothing flashy and nothing ground breaking and as I stood in the first start box with the Finn and the Argentinian I felt a mixture of preparedness and nervousness. Nerves are always good though they mean you care and they keep you alert. I’d put in the work and it was now time for the big dance! Once I got the map in my hands it was like someone flicked a switch and the nerves were gone and I was in the zone. The start of the course (controls 1-10) was kind of “JK-sprinty-style” (technical term) which took me a bit by surprise, especially with the artificial barriers to block off roads which were open on the old map of the area. I was relatively smooth through this section of the course but I picked a wrong routechoice to #3 which ended up costing me. I ran the B alternate which was 50m longer and included more corners. It was a bit helter skelter in this section with 3 men starting every minute on the different heats and all heats having ~10 controls in here. Fast guys going in all directions!
There was a transition to the more fortress area and down into the moat. In here the planner had built some artificial barriers to create S-shaped routechoices and just generally try to impact your flow. We then had 3 quick controls before going into a routechoice to #18 (I ran the B alternate). I was slowish leaving #17 to see the alternatives as I could only spot one and I knew there couldn’t only be one for this kind of leg. I was happy with my choice but maybe in hindsight I invested too much time in making my decision.
When I finished I was in 6th place out of 10 men in my heat but in the WOC Quali a lot of “favourites” look for the early start block in order to maximise the recovery time in between the Quali and the Final. I went away and collected my bag, got some water on board and did a cool down with Paul and some of the British team only to come back and see that I had been bumped down to 17th place and missed qualification for the final by 12 seconds. On analysis later I found that my wrong decision on the leg to #3 cost me 13 seconds when compared to the Lithuanian who finished in the final qualification spot, 15th. After a quick look at the splits I was in the top 15 times on 23% of legs and the top 20 on 59% of legs. In short I was close……but crucially not close enough and at the end of the day you either qualify or you dont.
On review, despite it not being the result I was aiming for, it is still my best result at WOC and I’m proud of my performance. I prepared as best I could given the circumstances and I gave it all I had on the day. I pushed hard to be right on the limit of control throughout the race, sometimes it just isn’t quite enough.
The goal now shifts to WOC 2022 in Denmark. My athletics based training will remain the same as myself and my coach have been working together for 3 years now and I trust his guidance and judgement 100%. We both operate in the mindset of – if you can’t run at close to the high pace that these top guys do then in sprint it really doesn’t matter how good your map skills are, you won’t be there at the business end. I’ll be planning to get some trips to Denmark for some races and training camps while also making use of any options I have available to me closer to home.
Thanks to everyone for the support through the journey, for sharing training miles with me, for any pointers or advice, for planning courses and trainings and for all the good luck messages and positive vibes in the lead up to WOC. It is very much appreciated.
Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan, orienteer, athlete, member of Cork Orienteering Club and Donore Harriers AC
WOC 2021- meet the team
I’m Conor Short, I’m 29, and I’m running the middle and relay this year. I’ve been orienteering for as long as I can remember: my parents used to carry me around courses in a baby carrier. This year will be my 7th time running WOC.
Training for this WOC has been a bit funny, I’d normally prefer to get to the terrain for a training camp anything from a year to a few weeks before WOC. This year I’ve not been able to travel until a couple of days before the middle race, so I’ve been doing as many orienteering training as I can on Irish maps to get tuned up.I’m really excited for the Czech terrain. They have beautiful forests, and I’m hoping the technical sandstone terrain will suit me. One thing I’m focussing on this year is to try to block out any distractions and concentrate on my own race. There’s a lot going on at WOC; people in the forest, TV cameras, and a lot of pressure and excitement. It can be difficult to tune all of this out, so this year I’m aiming to start the races with a more relaxed frame of mind.
Offer your support and follow Conor on instagram at conorshort
I’m Colm Moran, studied Electronic Engineering but more recently have moved into teaching and I’m currently teaching secondary school maths in Oxford.
I got into orienteering like most people do, through family, in my case my Mum. I started training more seriously for it around 15 or 16, and spent a year in Sweden improving my technique after school.
Nowadays I’ve upped my training volume and I’m running about 10-12hrs most weeks. Being in Oxford it’s not as hilly as I’d like, but it means the distance is good, and I was doing 130-140km per week through most of winter, and I’ve also been fortunate to get some more orienteering work done in the last couple months.
Looking forward to WOC a lot! My shape is as good as it’s ever been which makes it exciting, and I’m hoping the unique terrain and less travel will have levelled the playing field between stronger and weaker orienteering nations due limited training opportunities in Czech Republic. The terrain looks really exciting and I can’t wait to get into it!
Offer your support and follow Colm on instagram at colmmemaybe_yo
Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan, 29, Cork Orienteering Club and Defence Forces Orienteering, I will be competing in the Sprint & Middle at WOC 2021 in Czech Republic. I’ve been orienteering for as long as I can remember. I started out with local events in Cork and then eventually progressed to the Irish Junior Squad at 16/17 and I began to get more competitive and focused on the sport. WOC 2021 will be my 5th WOC. It’s a long way from my very first orienteering event when I was 2-3months old in a papoose carrier strapped to my mum in Garretstown! My training is quite athletics based. I train with Donore Harriers and I run workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays. My weekly mileage fluctuates between 60 – 115miles (~100km – ~185km) a week depending on the time of the season and most of my workouts and my miles are run in the Phoenix Park. After being injured in 2020 I added S&C and mobility work to my weekly training structure. During the lockdowns I drew some sprint maps around where I live so that I could use these for technique/process training in the absence of training camps and races. I’m excited to get stuck into WOC2021, it has been a long 3 years since Latvia and this will also be the first WOC where I will compete in one of the forest races. It will be my first time in the Czech Republic and the maps look fantastic so I’m excited to get out there and get the final preparations ticked off in the coming days.
Offer your support and follow Josh on instagram at joshoshourihan
Paul Pružina, 24, Sprint, Middle, Relay, I’ve been orienteering since about 2010. I started with family at LVO events then started doing training weekends and races with junior squads (NI and Ireland). I ran at 3 JWOCs (2015-17) but this is my first WOC.
Normally my training is almost all running on trails about 120k a week, with some XC intervals and hill reps. I’ll orienteer as much as possible, ranging from once every couple of weeks to twice a week, as well as training camps once or twice a year. This year I’ve been injured though, so have been doing very little running since March, with a bit more cycling and a lot of S&C.
I’m excited for WOC – I’ve been in the terrains a couple of times in the past two years and they’re really great places to orienteer. It’s disappointing that I’ve not been able to train like normal in the lead up, but I think all my strength work will help make up for a lack of mileage.
Offer your support and follow Paul on instagram at ppruzina
I’m Kevin O’Boyle, 29 years old, and I’ll be running the Sprint race this year at WOC 2021! I’ve been orienteering my entire life, my first competitive appearance being in the under 4s buggy championships on the Curragh plains 😂 my entire family are keen orienteers. This will be my 4th WOC.
My training is fully running based, and usually clocks in at 80-100km/week. This includes 1 interval session (with Donore Harriers) and usually a wander in the mountains too. Training is my passion and no day is complete without it.
WOC this year will be super interesting to be at. I’m very grateful it’s on after a long drag with no racing! On a personal level I feel I have never come close to my goals at WOC. My goal for orienteering in general is to qualify for the Sprint Final and rank in the top 45 sprinters in the world regularly. The first time will be the hardest! This year’s race is in a very technical sprint area with level changes, battlements and tunnel systems. In racing, nothing comes close to SprintO for me. It is intense, adrenaline flowing high-stakes racing with everything on the line on split second decisions. So here’s to a good one out in the Czech Republic 🇨🇿
Offer your support and follow Kev on instagram at orienteerkevo_
Check out Darren’s post for links on how to follow the athletes as they race over the coming days.
Photo credits; Conor- Lindie Naughton, all other athletes – John Shiels, Action Photography
EYOC 2021- Lithuania
There was some doubt as to whether a team of Juniors would be able to travel to Lithuania for European Youth Orienteering Championships in late August, however some new information has allowed this to be revised. This is subject to Government guidelines on travel being lifted and remaining lifted from July 19th.
We have not ruled out sending a team, if anyone is interested in going, could they please contact the selectors, Mike and Ruth via firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 7th July. Interested athletes should also endeavor to attend a selection race at Kilcoran Woods, Cahir,Tipperary on Sunday 11th July.
Photography Competition Results!
After many days of rumination the judges have announced the winners of the Photography competition which ran for the month of April.
We asked you to submit your orienteering photos and short videos, depicting the sports inclusiveness and diversity of participation from the fast running elites to everyday orienteering and looking at the range of entries you did just that!
The judges picked photos which were visually attractive, of good quality and portrayed some aspect of orienteering particularly if they contained a map and/or a control flag rather than photos which could be just of someone out for a walk or a jog.
There were some excellent photos submitted and the entrants should be complimented on their work. Particular commendation to the on the enormous effort which went into producing and editing the videos, (and their starring orienteers) not only the winning films.
The winners are:
Senior Prize: Josh O’Sullivan Hourihan with a taste of Sprint Orienteering in Dublin.
Junior Prize: Bernie O’Boyle and grandchildren with ‘Cnoc Juniors’
Senior Prize: “Aoife at Turlough Hill”, August 2017 by Gavan Doherty
Senior Second Prize: “Event post mortem”, taken at the Irish summer trip to French OOCup in 2018 by Gavan Doherty.
Junior First Prize: European Youth Orienteering Championships in 2017, by Pavel Klabouch, Slovakia.
Junior Second Prize: Guila at the Vale of Clara, Nov 2019 by Gavan Doherty
IOC 2021 Virtual Relay…the return!
Almost a year has passed since we marked the lack of IOC 2020 with a virtual relay, we never thought we would be in a similar place a year later.
We are in the process of planning another Virtual Relay with perhaps a few differences this year, so we would like to spread the word so you can begin to gather expressions of interest within your clubs, friends and families.
Save the date!
The plan is to give you a little more flexibility this year and run at any point on Saturday 1st or Sunday 2nd May, submitting your entries by Sunday evening. We hope to have some prizes too!
Update 24th April:
Further details have been forwarded to your clubs to organise club teams.
Individual entries are also permitted via the same google form, however please only submit the form once! you need to have both your club and mixed team organised before submitting your ENTRY by midnight on Friday April 30th.
- 3 people on a team.
- Open Club (any three runners from one club)
- Open Mixed (any three runners)
- You can be in 1 mixed team and one club team. (ie. your run can count twice)
- Length of relay: 2km per leg.
- Your route must start and finish at the same point.
- The scores of the 3 runners on a team will be added together to give the total team score.
There is only one class this year as an age grading system will be applied to decide the results. Age grading takes your time and uses the world record time for your sex and age to produce a score (a percentage). You therefore must provide your age class when entering. This score allows for a comparison between your time against other people’s times even though they might be a different age class and a different sex to you – the higher the score the better the performance. Age grading makes no allowance for different weather conditions or the varying surfaces or elevation.
Entry form is available from your club or by request to Debbie at email@example.com
Update 2nd May:
You can find the entry list here!
Update 3rd May:
Provisional Results can be found here, please note that this document may update and results are not final yet.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.