info@orienteering.ie

Junior Squad Selection Policies 2023

The Junior selection team have met, and have agreed the team selection policies for the major junior International Competitions this year. They can all be found on the Juniors website at:

https://juniors.orienteering.ie/home/news/selection-policies-2023

Thanks again to the selectors for their work on this – much appreciated!

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

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.

JWOC Sprint Model event

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.

JWOC Races

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.

You can see the all the maps, courses and full results on the JWOC 2021 web page www.jwoc2020.org and photos on the IOA Facebook page here.

Sprint, Izmit

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.

An Overview

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.

Looking Forward

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.

JWOC 2021 & EYOC 2021 Teams

The teams to represent Ireland at the Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) being held in Turkey between September 5th-10th in Turkey and the European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) being held in Lithuania between August 20th-22nd have been selected.

www.jwoc2020.org

www.eyoc2021.lt

JWOC

M20W20
Aidan McCulloughAoife O’Sullivan
Daniel EarnshawRachel Collins
Darragh Hoare
Eoghan Whelan
Liam Cotter
Peter Reed

EYOC

M18W18
Daniel EarnshawMeadow McCauley
Eoghan Whelan
Liam Cotter
M16W16
Dan MurphyEmily Rowe
Daire O’Brien
Oliver O’Kane
Oscar Rowe

Denis Murphy, Brendan O’Brien & Martina Rowe will accompany the EYOC team, with John McCullough & Ber O’Sullivan accompanying the JWOC team.

Congratulations to all those selected.

Junior Selectors:

  • Ruth Lynam
  • Stephanie Pruzina
  • Darren Burke
  • Mike Long

JWOC 2019 Report

Ruairí’s JWOC 2019 Report

JWOC (Junior World Orienteering Championships) 2019 was held in Western Denmark, centred around the leafy town of Silkeborg. Silkeborg is the focal point of Denmark’s “lake district”, a forested and relatively hilly part of a flat and gentle country. Silkeborg and the nearby city of Aarhus (which would hold the sprint race) had previously hosted the 2006 World Orienteering Championships (WOC) which gives an indication of the quality of the terrain. The two weeks in Silkeborg were quite warm and sometimes wet, meaning I still managed to get sunburn.

Team Ireland heading into JWOC 2019 was a fantastic anomaly, as the team consisted of five girls and myself. This is perhaps the largest female Irish team ever sent to JWOC (this might need to be fact-checked) and a far-cry from the usually male dominated teams that are sent to major orienteering events. The team consisted of many of the same girls whom I have been competing internationally with for many years, like Eadaoin, Clodagh and Emer who are club mates at UCD. Ciara, another UCD stalwart, was making her JWOC debut. Finally, making her Irish debut was Emily, an Australian based orienteer born in Ireland. Emily settled in with the rest of us with ease, which is no mean feat given how well we all knew each other beforehand.

Orienteering in Ireland is a family affair and the JWOC team was no different, with our crew of coaches and team leaders consisting of Mike, Catherine, Steve and Nora, with Roisin joining later (all family members of the team). This group were the true heroes of JWOC, especially Catherine and Nora who kept us well fed. We really cannot thank them enough for their support and patience.

I arrived in Silkeborg on the Wednesday before the opening weekend, joining a bunch of the girls who had already been in the area training. JWOC this year had been a target of mine since the year previous, so I was very keen to get into the forest as soon as I could. Joining Team New Zealand and Australia for some training was great, especially when these teams included soon-to-be medal winners like Aston Key.

The Terrain

The terrain in Silkeborg is different to the wilder forests of Norway or Sweden, but still very intricate. Extensive path networks can be confusing, mixed in with dense patches of green forest to add some technicality. The white forest is extraordinarily runnable which made the races fast. The hills are steeper and tougher than you might expect which adds a level of unexpected physicality.

The Sprint

The sprint, held in a suburb of Aarhus, proved a tricky start to JWOC. As I later discovered in conversation with some of the athletes who finished on the podium, other teams had identified just how tricky the sprint would be and prepared accordingly. Most teams, using a combination of Google Street View and satellite images, drew their own very accurate, ISSOM standard maps of the area in order to get familiar with the area and its tight lanes and alleys. I had a look at some of these maps afterward and I was amazed by the accurate detail. Georg Groell, an Austrian friend who finished 5th in the sprint, even told me he had imported his version of the map into Catching Features, the orienteering video game, for some real geeking.

With the above as a precedent, I can more easily see why I found my sprint disappointing. I made continuous micro errors during my race, as the exact location of the control in the circle could be hard to see at speed. Between the circles my route choice was often sub-par and to top it all off I made one 30 second mistake which at this level will cost you seriously.  Amongst the team I think we all found it tricky. The race was seriously fast too with top positions very tight. We were all delighted when Australian runner Aston Key won the men’s race to take a gold for an English-speaking country.  Kasper Fosser, the Norwegian phenomenon who was overwhelming favourite for the whole of JWOC mispunched, forgetting a small loop of controls.

The Long

Next up was the long, the race which I was most excited for. After hearing the preparation other teams had done for the day before, we engaged in some serious map geeking using an online tool on World of O called Running Wild. I would find this really helpful, as being able to visualise where you are on the map compared to the arena and other controls personally helps confidence. This was the first major lesson I was to take away from JWOC. The long map was characterised by its steep sloped forest, which led to interesting route choices. We decided that the track option around the hills could often be a good idea both physically and as a mental break. With this in mind I used the tracks often during my race. It was a physical, fast Long distance but I really enjoyed it and pushed on, leaving everything I could in the terrain. Overall, I was mostly satisfied with my race, with only really small mistakes and some poor route choices. After finishing 69th at the Long in 2018 it was a little frustrating to finish 66th this year. I really thought I had more, but I can’t say I could have done much more on the day. The level of competition is serious. The girls also found it quite hard going. There’s nothing quite like the fatigue of the evening after the JWOC long.

Following the long was a rest day where we headed into probably the most famous map of Silkeborg, Gjern Bakker, for the middle model. Gjern Bakker hosted the 2006 WOC middle and is a runnable forest of varied contour detail and mixed vegetation. The Middle at JWOC has a qualification race wherein all runners are afterwards placed into one of three “finals”. Only those who finish in the top 20 of their heat get into the “A” final where the medals are decided. I have always struggled with the Middle at JWOC and my Qualifier race was not really an exception. However, I did enough to get into my first middle B final, being joined by two of the girls. Gjern Bakker is a nice area with a great central arena, allowing the map to be used for both the Qualifier and the final.

The Middle

The Middle final had been organised to be extremely spectator friendly. The organisers even put the start in the middle of the arena to simulate how the WOC races are often held. This meant that as we ran out into the forest the commentators were already in full swing. I’ll take this opportunity to commend the quality of the commentary team and media at JWOC. We were all GPS tracked for every race, meaning all our routes could be watched live by spectators in the arena. The commentary team consisted of a bunch of young Danish guys who were very energetic and interested throughout JWOC, giving plenty of attention to all of us and not just the obvious candidates like Kasper. This gave the races a real sense of life and they even added some comedy in places. It’s great to hear Irish names be called out over a loudspeaker when at many elite races all the interest focuses on the leaders.

The middle final was organised to get the B and C finals done first before focus could go onto the A final. For us, there was a serious mix of disappointment and satisfaction. I had a really shaky start to my race but settled in afterwards and found myself moving well enough. Emily didn’t have much fun that day, but others were happy to be shaking the demons of earlier races.  The highlight of the day was really spectating the A final, as several of our friends had qualified and there was ample opportunity to shout a mix of abuse and encouragement as they started, came through the spectator control and finished. Christian, a good friend of mine from Canada, was having a fantastic JWOC and it was great to keep up with his race in person and online using the GPS tracking. Christian has spent the previous spring based in Aarhus in preparation for JWOC and it showed, as his results were consistent. Another lesson learned.

Finally, it was time for the relay. I have recently discovered I really enjoy the first leg of the relay. Well mostly, as I found the first leg at Jukola to be maybe a little too much carnage. Due to the nature of the team I would be joined on the men’s relay team by Emily and Ciara, which meant we were all relaxed heading into the race. We started very fast, as one might expect, but I settled in nicely and orienteered as well as I had all week, making almost no mistakes. I found myself exactly where I wanted to be in the pack, passing through the spectator control only about 2 minutes behind the leaders which was really what I had been looking to do for the whole of JWOC. However, heading into the last loop I found myself in a big train of runners. We were all tired by this point and none of us really wanted to read the map, so as a group we managed to drop about 3 minutes through the last loop. Nonetheless, I finished well enough in 37th, buzzing after what had been one fun relay. In the women’s relay, Eadaoin had a fantastic run on first leg, proving that the best tactic for an orienteering relay is to do your own thing and not worry about everyone else. The real hero of the day was Ciara running third leg of the men’s relay. It was a really great day for everyone, but it was topped off by the GB girls winning the women’s and becoming Junior World Champions. I know most of the GB team personally and was delighted for them, having grown up and raced alongside them all for years.

We were all in good spirits heading into the most serious of all JWOC events, the party.

On Reflection…

On Reflection, it was a JWOC which taught me many things for my future races. Firstly, although we had all done significant running training during the winter, it becomes very clear that in order to do well in orienteering at this level you have to be orienteering in quality terrain very regularly. On top of this, the top guys and girls are running at a savage level, posting sub 15-minute 5ks and sub 9 min 3Ks. I simply had not done the orienteering preparation required. This is very tough for most of us based in Dublin, as we simply haven’t got the access to quality terrain like the Scandinavians do. They are probably in the forest three or more times a week. If we want to do well at a world class level, it requires access to terrain which unfortunately would mean relocating to west Cork or more logically to Scandinavia. I’m lucky enough to say I am moving to Bergen, Norway for my Erasmus year next year which will probably give me a taste of this lifestyle.

Second, I now know the importance of serious pre-race mental preparation. Although I can never see myself creating my own version of the map, tools like Catching Features and Running Wild really should be as regular in my preparation as interval sessions. No map should be a surprise when you pick it up at the start of an international race. In an ideal world, it should be strangely familiar.

Looking to the future..

Going forward, I know I will continue to learn things about what is required in order to perform at major orienteering races. Senior elite orienteering in Ireland is soon to enter a new renaissance due to the efforts of the current generation to up the level expected to make it to WOC and beyond.

Lastly, I want to finish with a general appreciation for not only the team who gave their own time to join us in Denmark, but for the general Irish orienteering community. We have the pleasure to attend competitions like JWOC by the continuing support of the IOA. JWOC is not cheap by any means, but it is nice to know that we will always be represented and that we athletes have the basic ability to get to the start line fed and rested. I know that the current M/W 14s and 12s will be at JWOC in a few years’ time and they deserve the support I have been enjoying for years. Long may this culture of support and representation continue, as this breeds experience and therefore in time results.

Ruairi Long UCDO

Many thanks to Ruairi for taking the time to share his JWOC with us. Ruairi and the UCD orienteering team are currently competing at the  World University Orienteering Championships in the Czech Republic.  You can follow their journey on Instagram.

JWOC 2019- Team Ireland

The senior members of the Junior Squad have made their way to Denmark for the Junior World Orienteering Championships where they will compete against teams from across the World. This is where you will see the rising stars of the orienteering world make their debut.

The schedule of events can be found here, with competitions starting on Saturday 6th July with the Long Distance.

The Irish orienteering community wishes them well as they don their Irish jerseys.

Some of the team members have kindly shared some of their orienteering memories, likes and dislikes with us before they head into the terrain.

Clodagh Moran – 3ROC/UCDO ( Three Rock, University College Dublin Orienteering Club)

What is your first Orienteering memory?

I don’t remember much from the early days of Mum dragging me around but remember one of my first courses alone being the off-string course at the Scottish 6 Day and I struggled to finish it.

What is your favourite terrain

Technical forest but I do love a good open mountain.

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

Long I think; my brain doesn’t work quickly enough for the others.

Read more about Clodagh..

 

Emily Sørensen –  AJAX/ Tintookies/ Spurposting

What is your first Orienteering memory?

Dragging my whole family around on like a w10s course at an urban event and feeling the absolute best because I was nailing every control – it was the only I was better than my brother at so I decided it was the sport for me.

What is your favourite terrain

I’m pretty terrible at it but I love a good granite map or just some nice Flinders Ranges spur-gully.

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

My best results usually come from Longs or Sprints so either of those I suppose.

Read more about Emily…

Éadaoin McCavana – GEN/UCDO (Great Eastern Navigators/ University College Dublin Orienteers)

What is your first Orienteering memory?

Well my first course alone was in Phoenix park I begged mom to let me go alone. Turns out she and my older sister, Aoife walked around and kept me in eye sight the whole time!

What is your favourite terrain

A nice forest doesn’t go amiss. Very runnable and white is the dream.

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

Don’t think I’ve a best but really enjoy middles and also keen on sprints

Read more about Éadaoin…

 

Emer Perkins -UCDO/Bishopstown Orienteering Club (BOC)

What is your first Orienteering memory?

Being bribed by mum at each control with sweets in order to make me finish a yellow course.

What is your favourite terrain?

A nice runnable forest is always enjoyable.

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

Depends on my mood…

Read a little more about Emer..

 

Ciara Silby -UCDO/Waterford Orienteering Club (Wato)

What is your first Orienteering memory?

My first event was a primary schools event in Waterford when I was in 5th class. I was immediately hooked!

What is your favourite terrain?

A nice runnable forest with some interesting contour detail is always nice. Unfortunately you usually have to go abroad to find forests like that!

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

It depends on what kind of day I’m having but I like a good sprint.

Read more about Ciara…

 

Ruairí Long -UCDO

What is your first Orienteering memory?

Tough one. Plenty of memories from 2009 onwards but it’s tough before that- maybe some primary schools orienteering? 

What is your favourite terrain?

Scandi Forest- especially in Norway. The Trondheim area with open, runnable marsh is amazing.

What do you think is your best distance/discipline?

Long; gives more time for a nice meander around the forest.

Read more about Ruairi…

JWOC 2019 & EYOC 2019 Selection Policies

These are the selection policies for JWOC and EYOC this year.

JWOC Selection Policy

EYOC Selection Policy

 

On behalf of the selectors,

Darren Burke

JWOC 2018 analysis

 
The Great Southern plain of Hungary played host to the 2018 Junior World Orienteering Championships. The word great is no overstatement, as the fields and forests that surrounded the event centre of Kecskemét, Hungary seemed to go on forever as we sat on the long bus rides to quarantine. Team Ireland, consisting of three boys, namely Conall Whelan, Zac O’Sullivan Hourihan, and myself, with three girls, Clodagh Moran, Eadaoin McCavana and Emer Perkins was well led by the experienced head that is Paul O’Sullivan Hourihan.
To be straight and almost brutally to the point, JWOC this year was extremely tough. Strange terrain, melting heat and serious competition left their mark on the team. To give an example, this year’s long distance race, the first of the week, was the longest ever at JWOC, with the M20 course planned at 15k long. I ended up running 17.54k, almost 10k longer than the IOC long distance. I was happy enough with what would turn out to be my best run at JWOC, 69th, 20 minutes down at 89.4 minutes, with the added bonus being a good start in general for the team, apart from poor Clodagh’s ankle which would prove difficult all week.
The most unique feature of JWOC this year was almost certainly the middle distance terrain. The name Bocsà will haunt most participants forever, as the maps that bore the name are just a solid mass of green. The so called juniper labyrinth was the main feature. Imagine the bushes of the Curragh, except taller. Now cover an entire map in just the bushes and you have an idea of the terrain. All orienteering techniques or experience seem to mean nothing, the best approach seeming to be grit and bare.
 JWOC middle             JWOC section
Personally, I struggled with the terrain to the extent that my two race runs were dreadful. However, my team mates made up for it, with Conall missing A Final qualification by the skin of his teeth, a performance par excellence. Solid runs from everyone else kept spirits high.
Although the Middle races would prove difficult for me but fine for the others, I feel the sprint and relay prove the pedigree and competition that exists at elite level orienteering. Both races were interesting, with a good technical sprint, and fast, intricate relay terrain, and the Irish had no major issues to speak of, apart from the heat that was un-escapable in that great plain. The sprint was enjoyably technical, especially for Matt of GB who took silver. Seeing someone you have raced against for many years succeed at such a level was incredibly memorable.
JWOC sprint             JWOC sprint mini
As I have moved from events like the Junior Home International up to JWOC, it becomes clear that the talent is truly spectacular. The Norwegian trio that won the men’s relay are simply incredible athletes, pushing sub 4 minutes per kilometer. The rumors of Kasper Fosser’s training regime that circulated in whispers can do nothing but motivate us to keep up.
It is for that reason that the continuing support we junior and senior high performance athletes receive from the Orienteering community in Ireland is so important. Without the work of men like Paul, giving up their own time and money for us, I feel the aim of keeping up with Kasper would be lost. Again, I must thank him and everyone reading this for helping us in this most elusive of sports.
Finally, on a personal note, I leave this JWOC somewhat shaken, but ready for the next season with lessons learned and improvements noted. Hopefully the more familiar terrain of Denmark for JWOC 2019 will help. Oh, and of course the party keeps us going too!
Ruairi Long

JWOC 2016 Selection Policy

The Junior World Orienteering Championships 2016 (JWOC) will take place in Switzerland this July.

Eligible for selection are M/W20s and 2nd year M/W18s (born 1996, 1997, 1998). In exceptional cases first year M/W18s (born 1999) may be selected.

The main selection events are as follows:

Selection Events
 Fri 25 March Sprint JK Leeds University – M/W 18/20E
 Sat 26 March Middle JK day 2 Wass Forest – M/W 18/20E
 Sun 27 March Long JK day 3 Kilnsey – M/W 18/20E
 Sun 17 Apr Long Leinster Championships, Carrick Mt., Co. Wicklow (classes tbc)
 Fri 29 April Sprint Irish Championships, Waterford IT – (classes tbc)
 Sat 30 April Middle Irish Championships, Coumshingaun, Co. Waterford – (classes tbc)
 Sun 1 May Long Irish Championships, Mahon Falls, Co. Waterford – (classes tbc)

There will be no automatic selection based on results. The selectors will also take into account athletes’ level of commitment as shown by

 Orienteering regularly and often
 Attending training camps/competitions
 Achieving and maintaining a high level of fitness
 Training with relevant non-orienteering sport clubs (eg hill-running, cross-country, athletics, etc.)
 Participating in relevant non-orienteering races.
 Maintaining an online training diary e.g. Attackpoint
 Responding promptly to emails, and communicating if unable to attend training or other squad events.

 

More details can be found in the full selection policy document available here: IOA Junior Selection Policy JWOC 2016

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