November 2012/1

Thierry Gueorgiou is French! But Tero in Ireland? At first I thought it was a joke, but it was anything but. The French multiple World Champion put together a carefully-crafted training weekend for the Irish Squad and others who were interested, based at Tollymore outdoor centre on the edge of the Mourne Mountains on October 20/21.
The squad trained on Meelmore, an open mountain area backing onto Tollymore, where the menu included control picking, contouring and corridor orienteering. The fittest then ran to the top of Slieve Donard, the highest point in Northern Ireland, before returning to the centre for three laps of micro-orienteering planned by Philip Baxter, followed by a run off of the top four, won – of course! – by the visitor. This was a great workout, with each lap on the 1:1000 map of about 800 metres: no control codes or descriptions but a penalty of 30 seconds for a mispunch.

The all-action day continued with a lecture by Thierry on his orienteering development from an 11-year old with his sights set on a World Championships, to his achieving an extraordinary15 World Championship medals. Far from being a remote, unapproachable elite runner, Thierry struck me as a relaxed, friendly approachable guy who was happy to pass on his experiences and answer questions. As a full time professional athlete, he obviously has opportunities that most of us lack, but he certainly impressed in terms of his dedication, his long term planning, and his vision of where he wanted to go and how to get there. Thierry has 15 World Championship medals (including 10 gold); he first ran for France at a Junior World Championships at age 15 and at the World Championships at 17.You can see his CV here.
His path to success hasn’t always been easy: he had two successive years in World Championship Relays where he was stung by a bee and had to be airlifted from the race, and when he stopped to help a badly injured competitor.

The action continued with the Leinster Autumn Series competition on Carlingford Mountain (Thierry: “Are all Irish league events this long?”) the next day to round off the weekend.
Inspiring, but showing the results of hard work and dedication. Full marks to IOA for financial support for the weekend. I have no doubt that the younger generation of orienteers, many of whom were at the training and lecture, will be inspired by him.

Some of the points from his two-hour plus lecture were:

  • If you can dream it, you can do it;
  • His equation P=S x M (Performance = Skills multiplied by Motivation) is due to take its place up there with E=mc2 for orienteers.
  • Medals are won and lost in the final 20 minutes of a race: training before breakfast or after a 2 or 3 hour cycle will accustom your body to running when your reserves are low;
  • Learn from other sportsmen: skill, concentration, dedication;
  • Mental preparation is extremely important: imagine yourself running the race so that when you actually do, you will feel at home there, like running in your own garden;
  • More than 40% of his training is orienteering rather than just running; this is at race pace, not just jogging.
  • Orienteering training at night is good for daytime competitions;
  • You will have great days, average days and bad days:  training and preparation may not increase the number of great days but it will reduce the number of bad days;
  • Look for “remarkable features” on the map – you don’t need to follow that map minutely all the time;
  • Different techniques will be needed for different legs on the course and for different terrains; “There is only one shot in perfect harmony with the field”;
  • We in Ireland should be concentrating on the 2015 World Championships in Scotland: it’s close by, reasonably familiar terrain; no dodgy diets; accessible for training in advance.
  • Orienteering is a game: enjoy it!

The highlights of his lecture, delivered to a packed house of enraptured orienteers, should be available from  IOA Communications Officer Finn van Gelderen.
Niamh O’Boyle, who was the main organiser of the weekend, was lucky enough to win a Silva headlight in a fundraising raffle for the Senior Squad on Saturday night..

IOA Event Organisation seminar
Saturday December 1st sees IOA Technical and Mapping Officers, Harold White and Brian Power, combining their efforts to stage a major event management conference at Bewleys Hotel, Newlands Cross, Dublin. Every year we run a 3-Day event, and we have had major competitions in Ireland like JKK2011, plus Irish Championships.
The seminar will cover the essential technical and administrative requirements for running a major orienteering event such as a national or regional championships, although the principles involved will apply to any orienteering event on the IOA fixtures calendar. The event will be jointly hosted by the IOA Technical and Mapping Officers. It will draw on the valuable experience gained and lessons learned from some recent major events and mapping projects. The day will take the format of a number of presentations and demonstrations, where practicable, with a high degree of participant interaction expected.
The subsidised cost of the course is €20 that includes the cost of lunch and light breakfast. It is being held at Bewleys Hotel, Newlands Cross, Dublin and will run from 9.30am to 5.00pm. To book a place you should send a cheque to Aine Joyce, Irish Orienteering Association, 2nd Floor, 13 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4, or you can e-mail her
The course is limited to 25 participants and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.

Darren and Ruth take Munster Championship titles: Darren Burke (CorkO) and Ruth Lynam (CNOC) won the M and W21 Elite classes at the Munster Championships on Slievenamon, Co. Tipperary, on October 28th. Bishopstown’s new map played host to a disappointing 80 or so entrants, with fewer than 60 finishers. Why was the entry so small? Was the Bank Holiday weekend a bad choice? Did the event appear on the fixture list too late? Was the entry date too far in advance of the event? Was the entry fee too high? Billed in the pre-event information as BOC’s last ever major event. This would be a pity, as BOC run an extraordinary number of events, but I think that the pricing of recent major BOC events has been a disincentive to participation by other clubs. Maybe the other clubs are charging too little for orienteering and BOC are right? If BOC drop out of serious orienteering in Munster, it’s bad for the Munster Champs and the Munster region, bad for BOC and bad for orienteering as whole.
Brockagh event moves to Saturday: As mentioned in the last issue, GEN’s Leinster Autumn Series event has moved from Sunday 4th to Saturday 3rd November to accommodate a travelling party of Scandinavian orienteers.
Junior training: Mike Long, IOA Juniors Officer, is staging three days of training in the south east on 2nd, 3rd and 4th November. The sessions are on Tramore sandhills, at Woodstock, Inistioge, Co. Kilkenny and at WatO’s event at Brandon Hill (which I discovered recently is the highest point in Co. Kilkenny).
Fingal move further afield: Fingal Orienteers are running an event at Castlemorris, near Knocktopher, Co. Kilkenny with WatO on 18th November. By my reckoning, Fingal now will now have maps in Dublin, Meath, Louth, Cavan, Longford, Monaghan, Kildare, Kilkenny and Wexford (Leinster Champs 2013). Is this a record?
Tyrella postponed: LVO’s event planned for the JK2011 sand dune area at Tyrella, Co. Down, was postponed from October 27th until the new year because of land access permission. Watch the NIOA Fixtures page here for more news.
Ciara & Marcus win at OMM: Irish orienteers Marcus Pinker and Ciara Largey won the Medium Score Class Original Mountain Marathon (formerly the Karrimor MM) on the Howgill Fells in Yorkshire on October 27/28th in a time of 10 hours 40 minutes. The Elite class was won by Bjorn Rydvall and Aaron Prince.  Read their account below …
SI and old styel control cards? Here’s an idea used by several clubs for timing: Use an SI box for the start and finish (to calculate instant results) and use a control card and punches for the controls. This system could work in areas where controls with SI boxes could be vandalised, or where instant results are required but split times are not important for the runners.
Connacht Champs entry reminder: The Connacht Championships are at Portumna, Co. Galway on Sunday November 25th. Cheapest entries close on Friday 2nd November. See here for event details.
Portumna is a fast, flat forest on the edge of Lough Derg, with marshes, a few hills, some walls and lote of unusual stone cairns. The delevopment of a golf course beside the forest some years ago has restricted the area a bit but it’s a nice area to run in.

Original Mountain Marathon Report
As you read above, Marcus Pinker and Ciara Largey won the Medium Score class at last weekend’s OMM (formerly the Karrimor Mountain Marathon) in Yorkshire. This had a 6-hour time limit each day and you carry everything you need (tent, food, etc) with you. See Marcus and Ciara’s Day 1 route here. Day 2 here. Here they tell their story …

OMM 2012 – Howgills
Friday – Ciara: Left Aberdeen as light snow was starting to fall, I was relieved to find it didn’t follow me south. Easy journey down toGlasgow on the bus then a scenic train ride on to Yorkshire, all went smoothly no delays. Really excited – I’ve wanted to do the OMM for a while now but it has such a hardcore reputation I needed to build up to it. I’ve a few MM behind me now though and 2012 has been a great season in fell running for me, maybe now it’s time?
Very nervous also though – work stress, dark evenings and other plans have left me a bit short on long terrain runs of late, as evidenced by my absence of AP entries. I knew I wasn’t as fit as I might otherwise be, running with Marcus was an unknown quantity, and this was likely to be the hardest MM I’ve done yet. Eeep
Saturday – Ooooh, the cold! My enemy. I’m useless when my hands go numb and I start to shiver, all effort goes into trying to get warm again. I actually burnt a hole in my glove warming my hands on the stove because I couldn’t feel anything. Muppet. Things got better when we got moving though, bright sunshine, blue sky, massively steep hillside facing us.
It was straight up hill to start with and this warmed me up nicely. I was kind of surprised to be walking but there was a long way to go still and this was definitely sensible considering my state at the end. I think our route choice was the best one today – top points without excessive climb and well inside the 6 hours. It wasn’t obvious from the map what to do nor from other competitors, as none of them seemed to be on our course. I quite liked this, as the linear courses can feel like a train with everyone going the same way. The weather stayed clear and the view from the ridge tops was spectacular. We kept up a nice pace and time flew by, we were collecting most of the big pointers and taking route choices that felt efficient.  Even when I started to tire it was still enjoyable – such a beautiful day, hills all round, doing something I love – I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.
The final hour was tough though – we crossed the road into much boggier rougher ground. Not quite as steep but slow going and I didn’t have a choice but to walk a lot of it. Legs were becoming like jelly – I had no capability to correct every time I went over on my ankle on a tussock or bog hole, this was pretty disheartening never mind painful. But I knew I would finish soon and recovery could begin. A lovely long downhill stretch brought us in to the finish field and it was finally time to rest.
Absolutely stunned to find we were first. And then to stay first all evening. I honestly couldn’t believe it, I had expected my fatigue at the end would have brought us down but I guess our optimal route made up for it. So, very pleased.
I didn’t see too much of the campsite – once the tent was up I think I got changed, lay down and fell asleep in fairly rapid succession. Managed dinner and lay down some more, leaving Marcus to do all the washing up… (he did offer! How could i refuse?) It was a very calm evening – the wind died down and it clouded over so not as cold. It picked up again with rain during the night so I didn’t sleep all that well but I was glad not to be so cold, it was one of my fears.
Marcus addsDidn’t know what to expect from this; haven’t done a MM in quite a few years, haven’t done any long training, have never run in a mixed team or with Ciara and the last time I did a score at a MM (’96?) it was a disaster…
Headed up into the steep and very cold hills straight from the start and was struggling with a sore back and to keep up with Ciara. Felt much better after the first descent though and we settled into quite a good rhythm. The hills were brutally steep though and it didn’t take us long to choose a route that avoided as many of them as possible but still visited the big pointers.
Ciara was going well until about half way, but then had a minor foot problem, which was sorted out with a bit of adjustment, so we continued on at a slightly slower pace. I wasn’t complaining; though I was feeling stronger it wasn’t by a whole lot!
There was a tempting high scoring control after we crossed the road for the last loop but by this time Ciara was really starting to feel the effort and we decided it was better to finish early and save some energy rather than push ourselves too hard and risk time penalties.
Thought we’d done okay, at least well enough to be in contention in the Mixed class, but we were very surprised (and happy!) to find ourselves in the lead overall. Appears that a non-greedy route, no navigation mistakes and being sensible with the pace was a good plan!
Sunday – Ciara: A very different day… Low cloud, wet and windy. We decided to stay on the less steep but boggier section of the map, making slow but steady progress. I had my doubts about some of the controls, i think we were the only team in at least the top 15 to visit BX – it was a slog to get out there and an even longer slog back into the wind. Legs were cold from wind & rain but the rest of me stayed warm. Not quite as enjoyable as the previous day, the rough conditions and lack of inspiring view made it feel like just another ordinary day in the hills really, just had to keep moving with steadily tiring legs. No major errors though which felt good, orienteers definitely have an advantage when the cloud comes down.
Made it to the road crossing, one hour to go. Would we make it? Very tired now but can’t give up. No time to get any more controls, the hills on this side looked absolutely monstrous anyway. I was just about coping with a fairly level track! I must have looked bad as people were stepping out of the way to let me through. Have to keep going, one step at a time, please let me not get us too penalised for being late… At long last the finish came into sight and my heart lifted – we might actually make it! Last control and it’s all downhill! Go! I didn’t know how close to the time we actually were, I probably could have found 4 seconds in me had I known but it didn’t matter. At last I could stop and prop myself against Marcus to keep from falling over. Themarshall looked at me and said ‘Do you want some tea? I’ll get you some tea’ without even waiting for an answer. She directed us in to the kit check tent where I landed in a heap. Could we possibly have won? Unbelievable! But true!
I am so very happy about this. As tough as it was, it was really enjoyable and our result was so much better than expected. Afterwards a guy from Bridgedale gave us his business card with free hats + a promise to post new trail socks they’re developing to test out. cool!  and the hat matches my OMM jacket, who says I’m not a girly girl? 😉 Very glad I have a week off now to recover – I am so sore! But it was worth it, and I’d do it all over again without a second thought.
MarcusAfter one of the most cosy nights I’ve ever had at a MM (nice new sleeping bag proving it was worth the expense!) we had to wake earlier than planned. Due to leading we got a new start time, thankfully 7.30 for leading the Mixed, rather than 7.00 for the overall lead which at least meant that we could do everything in the light. Only just made the start on time though.
Only really two route options to choose from today and as we were feeling the after-effects of yesterday’s hills we opted for the rougher but less severe choice. A heavy mist made much of the navigating trickier today, which was much welcomed as once we’d chosen our route yesterday the navigation was straightforward.
So a long slog through the rain and mist it was, never moving all that quickly but keeping the points stacking up at the same time. Didn’t think we’d the best route but were quite confident that it would be hard to get many more points with any other option.
Realised after 3 hours that we were going to be tight on time so worked out a back-up option to get to the finish ASAP. This was good as we needed it and the last hour was a race to get to the finish in time (the last control being the only points we collected in this time!). Ciara was really hurting here but did amazingly well to maintain a fast pace and a positive outlook despite her tiredness and we very nearly made it back in time (4 seconds!).

So fourth on the day, but ahead of all of our close competition which gave us a relatively comfortable overall win. Very pleased with this, especially considering the original expectations, but it was how enjoyable it was and how good a partner Ciara was that made it a great weekend.

Monday – Ciara: What a weekend. 1st place in one of the most prestigious mountain running events in the UK. I’ve wanted to do it for a long time now, but i never imagined winning it! There’s nothing quite as nice as a wholly unexpected achievement. It makes me wonder how far I can actually go…
It was tough but that was expected. What I didn’t expect was how much I enjoyed it. Part of it was the challenge itself, spectacular scenery, the mystery of the score event – would we find a good route, get back in time, how would we compare? But mostly it was the company. So here’s to you Marcus, for looking out for me when I was starting to fatigue, keeping me in a good mood + pushing me up that final hill when I could barely lift one foot in front of the other. It’s not often, but I have experienced how extreme fatigue + bad weather can mentally break you, and I’m glad to say that didn’t happen. I was very tired but still able to push through it, I think largely because we were working so well as a team and I didn’t want to let Marcus or myself down so close to the end. I thought we’d do well, but winning was unbelievable. I am a very happy face 🙂

Swedish Tour of Europe
You may know that a group of two coachloads of Swedish orienteers are visiting Ireland as part of a European tour: this is why the Leinster Autumn Series competition on Sunday 4th November was moved forward to Saturday 3rd. I’ve just had a look at the schedule on the Worldwide Orienteering Promotions web site, and it’s breathtaking:

28th October: meet up and travel by bus and ferry to Germany.
29th Competition in Germany in the morning and in the Netherlands in the afternoon, then take the Rotterdam to Hull ferry overnight.
30th Sprint race near Heysham then ferry to the Isle of Man.
31st Sprint competition before breakfast, then see the IOM TT motorcycle course, than a long competition in the afternoon. These are the first orienteering events to be held in the Isle of Man.
1st November Ferry back to Heysham (no direct ferries to Ireland in winter time) than a long competition near Penrith. Ferry from Cairnryan to Larne.
2nd Middle distance race organised by LVO at Hillsborough in the morning followed by a sprint race near Blanchardstown, Dublin in the afternoon, run by Fingal.
3rd Leinster League race at Brockagh,near Glendalough, then ferry to Holyhead and drive to Southampton.
4th Middle distance race near Southampton, then ferry to Calais and drive to Bruges in Belgium.
5th Orienteering in the Foret de Soignes near Brussels, then coach to Dijon in France (600 km).
6th “Rest day”  (!) at Dijon with only a long distance competition.
7th Sprint race in the morning followed by bus to St Etienne (Thierry Guoergiou’s home town) for an afternoon competition.
8th Bus to western Italy for a competition on terrain similar to the 2013 World Masters, then bus to near Turin.
9th Day 1 of the Adrtiatic O-Meeting
10th Race at Palmanova, day 2 of the Adriatic Meeting.
11th MOV Orienteering, Venice. After this one of the two coaches will return to Sweden, the other will continue in Eastern Europe:
12th Competition at Lipice in Slovenia.
13th Two competitions at Plitvice in Croatia..
14th Travel to Banja Luka in Bosnia-Herzegovina with orienteering atPrijedor on the way.
15th Orienteering at Banja Luka.
16th Orienteering in Serbia in the morning, then travel to Hungary
17th Day 1, Juniper Cup, Hungary.
18th Day 2, Juniper Cup, Hungary, then head for home.
19th arrive back in Sweden by ferry from Rostok..

Whew! I make that 26 races in 23 days!

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