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