Sunday, 31 August 2008

September Snippets

Welcome back after the Irish "summer" break. While things have been quiet on the orienteering front at home, we've had lots of activity on the international front. My invitation to you to write about your O-summer didn't produce much yet, so here's a selection of snippets gathered from here and there to set up the autumn competition season.
(The photo is of LVO's Paddy Higgins sprinting up the run in at one of the the World Cup races during the 5-Days in Sweden)

World Championships, Czech Republic
An Irish team of Andrew Quin (3ROC), Neil Dobbs (WATO), Patrick Higgins (LVO), Ailbhe Creedon (CorkO), Niamh O'Boyle (CNOC) and Ciara Largey (QUBOC) travelled to the World Championshipsin the Czech Republic in July. The LVO pair of Alan Gartside and Wilbert Hollinger also took part in the associated Trail Orienteering World Championships. You can see the results, photos etc here.

World Student Championships, Estonia
An Irish team of five athletes competed at the World University Orienteering Championships (WUOC) in Estonia. The team was Ruairi Short (Trinity College, Dublin), Gerard Butler (Institute of Technology, Tallaght), Niamh O'Boyle (Trinity College, Dublin), Ciara Largey (Queen's University, Belfast), Rosalind Hussey (Edinburgh University). Team Leader: Bernie O'Boyle
The program for the week was Wednesday - Sprint; Thursday - Long; Friday - Middle; Saturday - Relay. You can also check out: for more info.
The Sprint was held on Wednesday morning in a park-like setting. The first third of the course was simple, fast navigation before a more technical area with mixed vegetation, buildings and uncrossable fences.Weather conditions perfect - 22 degrees and dry!

Men 3.1km. climb 70m with 17 controls.
1.Tomas Dlabaja - Czech Republic 13:29:1
2. Vesa Taanila - Finland 13:39:7
3. Scott Fraser - UK 13:42:9
66. Gerard Butler - Ireland 17:08:8
74. Ruairi Short - Ireland 24:53:1
Women 2.7km. Climb 55m with 16 controls.
1. Seline Stalder - Switzerland 14:25:9
2. Dana Brozkova - Czech Republic 14:28:0
3. Esther Gil Brotons - Spain 14:42:4
27. Niamh O' Boyle - Ireland 16:50:2
62. Ciara Largey - Ireland 20:51:4
Mispunch Rosalind Hussey - Ireland

The Long Distance Championships were held at Veskimõisa. The terrain was physically challenging, reflected by the fact that 17 men did not finish the course. All of the Irish team found it tough in the marshes and undergrowth. Michal Smola of the Czech Republic won his third consecutive University title, while Bodil Holmstrom of Finland won the women’s race in style by over 6 minutes.
Long Distance Results:
Men, 13.2 km, 210m climb, 25 controls
1. Michal Smola (Czech Republic) 81:17
2. Fabian Hertner (Switzerland) 83:16
3. Yury Masnyy (Russia) 85:13
69. Ruairi Short (Ireland) 142.12
Did not finish. Gerard Butler (Ireland)
Women, 9.0 km, 140m climb, 19 controls
1. Bodil Holmstrom (Finland) 65:37
2. Una Arama (Latvia) 72:18
3. Heini Wennman (Finland) 72:38
51. Niamh O’Boyle (Ireland) 95:54
57. Ciara Largey (Ireland) 102.39
75. Rosalind Hussey (Ireland) 148.59
While rain threatened initially, the day stayed sunny and dry for therunning of the Middle Distance Championships. The terrain was once again very challenging with lots of marshes and 'green' areas which did not make for easy running. However, the Irish team dealt better with this terrain than on the previous day.
Mens, 6.17km, 80m climb, 13 controls
1. Sander Vaher Estonia 00:33.35
2. Michal Smola Czech Republic 00:35.39
3. Gernot Kerschbaumer Austria 00:36.30
72. Ruairi Short Ireland 00:55.14
88. Gerard Butler Ireland 01:10.31
Womens, 4.91km, 50m climb, 10 controls
1. Bodil Holmström Finland 00:34.29
2. Dana Brozkova Czech Republic 00:34.37
3. Radka Brozkova Czech Republic 00:36.01
57. Niamh O'Boyle Ireland 00:52.50
75. Ciara Largey Ireland 01:09.19
79. Rosalind Hussey Ireland 01:19.37
The Relay championships were held on Saturday, but Ireland did not have enough men or women to field a competitive team. The event was run at Prangli, as was the middle distance. The women's team of Niamh, Ciara and Rosalind combined with Mari Troeng from Sweden to produce 3rd place in the mixed women's race. The men's team of Ruairi and Gerard had a disticntly Scandinavian flavour with the addition of Norwegian and Swedish orienteers on the 3rd and 4th legs. They finished 4th in the mixed men's race. That night, they faced the most gruelling task of all - the after-event closing ceremony and banquet! 5 weary orienteers then then headed for home from Estonia at 6:45am next morning! Bernie O' Boyle

World Masters Championships, Portugal
A smallish Irish contingent travelled to the WMOC in Leiria, Portugal, at the end of June. The event had both a sprint and a long distance race. This competition is for M/W35 and over and qualification races determine whether you finish in the A, B or even C final. Ruth Lynam (see more below) finished 5th in the W50 A final; Julie Cleary 4th in W40 B final. Full details here. WMOC 2009 will be in Sydney, Australia, from October 10-17 2009, in conjunction with the World Masters Games. Details here.

Junior World Championships, Sweden
Colm Hill, Fiach O'Rourke, Nick Simonin and Ruairi Short ran in the World Junior Championships at Gothenburg in Sweden at the end of July, accompanied by coach Greg McCann (assisted by daughter Aine).

Colm wrote at the time
Hey! Weather here in Goteborg is heating up. If only the results were as well....
Sprint was on Monday. The map was a mixture of street and forest. The planner's main idea was to get us to run fast in the streets and make mistakes in the forest.
The winning time was 13:21.1 by Stepan Kodeda, the fastest Irish runner was myself in 17:20.3 (133rd), Fiach followed in 18:18.6 (144th), Nick in 19:18.0 (153rd) and Ruairi arriving in 19:29.0 (156th). Fiach was happy with his result, the rest fell foul to the planners.
The middle distance was held this morning. The forest was physical with some sharp hills. Technical navagation caught many people out. Nick and myself managed to qualify for the B final while Ruairi and Fiach will compete in the C final tomorrow afternoon.

Fiach continued:
Today the middle distance finals took place on the western side of the map just west of yesterday's qualification map. The finish was again in the same area but the courses were more technical. Colm and Nick competed in the B final. Nick took it easy to save himself for the
classic finishing 37th with a time of 37:32. Colm found the weather extremely difficult to battle through with high temperatures and rough terrain. He finished in 46th with a time of 43:01.
Ruairi and myself competed in the C final and both also suffered very badly with later start times and quite warm temperatures. Ruairi came out best of us with a strong run in 6th place with 25:08. I made my first mistake of JWOC, losing up to 2 minutes and finished 28th in 31.36.
After a rest day tomorrow we are all looking forward to the classic distance on
Saturday in "Partille Gunnilse". We are already arguing as to who will get the
early starts, avoiding the midday sun.

Greg followed
Today's Classic race was a 10km race for the boys over very physical terrain and once again they had to contend with high temperatures of 28 C. The boys were happy with their runs but found the heat really difficult to deal with.
1st Johan Runesson 1:12:22, 105th Nicolas Simonin 1:39:16, 125th Ruairi Short 1:50:40, 135th Colm Hill 2:04:36, 145th Fiach O´Rourke 2:19:39.
Tomorrow´s Relay Team will consist of Nick leading off and then handing over to Colm and then Ruairi bringing them in. Fiach is not running tomorrow after picking up an injury today.
The last race of this year's JWOC took place in the same area as the classic but with less hills. This provided some very fast running through physically tough terrain. First out for Ireland was Nick who by the first radio control was only a few minutes down on the leaders and in front of the two GB teams. A mistake in the middle of the course cost him a few places but we were well placed in the middle of the field. Second out was Colm who was under pressure to keep his current position, but a mistake in a vague part of the course proved costly and it was left for Ruairi to play catch up. The boys finished 40th out of 55 teams.
Greg Mc Cann, JWOC Manager manager

Swedish 5-Day
More than 30 Irish orienteers made the trip to the Swedish 5-Day "O-Ringen" in Dalarna in July. Billed as "mountain orienteering", some of the areas were pretty like what we have here in parts of Wicklow, but others were more typically Swedish, with natural forest, few paths or tracks and lots of marsh. To run in this event (with 25000 others) is quite an experience. An Irish Junior Tour was included and the Juniors all benefitted from the exposure to top class competition, even if individual performances fluctuated from day to day. At least we all managed to find our starts, unlike France's Thierry Georgiou on Day 5 ... though maybe he was still suffering from his unhappy experience in the finalleg of the World Championships relays when he was stung by a bee he had swallowed and couldn't breathe, allowing the British team to take Gold.

Next year's O-Ringen is around Eksjo from July 18-24, so it will be easier to get to and to get around.

European Junior Cup, Belgium
Seven members of the Junior Squad travelled to Arlon in southeast Belgium to compete in the Junior European Cup (JEC) at the end of August. The team was M20: Nick Simonin, Ruairi Short, Colm Hill, Fiach O'Rourke; andM18s: Niall Ewen, Alan Lane, Kevin O'Boyle. Just over 100 runners took part in the event. Results etc here

Athletics Ireland held a promotional day for athletics and running sports at Farmleigh, beside Dublin's Phoenix Park, on July 27th. Something close to 1000 people tried the short orienteering course planned by Ger Butler in the grounds: how many can we persduade to stick with it? This could be a viable replacement for the old "National Orienteering Day", particularly if Athletics Ireland run more days like it around the country. Thanks to Athletics Ireland, the OPW and to the Dublin O-Clubs for their support.

Fingal Scatter Series
September sees Fingal continuing their four mass-start events in North County Dublin, starting at Ward River Valley, Swords, then Newbridge House, Donabate on the 7th; Ardgillan, Skerries on the 14th and Malahide Castle on the 21st. The event is the same format as last year with 3 courses available: Long, Medium, and Short. All courses will have a mass-start at 12.00. Controls can be punched in any order. Best 3 of 4 events to count for League prizes on all courses.

Junior Training
Two Junior Training weekends are being held in preparation for the Junior Home International near Liverpool. The first was at the end of August in Fermanagh and Donegal, taking in FermO's Navar South NI Series event (reportedly very tough) followed by a day out at the seaside, racing on the dunes at Finner Camp, near Bundoran.
The second weekend incorporates the now infamous Phoenix Park time trials on September 6th followed by sprint training at Belfield and then a forest session on Sunday 7th.

Home Internationals
Autumn brings the three Home International events and this year the Veteran (M/W35+) competition is in Co. Derry, in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Championships at Magilligan the first weekend in October. Magilligan is a fantastic sand dune area which was used for the British Championships a few years ago. The relays are at Woorburn,near Larne,Co. Antrim on the Sunday. For entry details of NIOC 2008 see here.

The Junior event is on more sand dunes, this time at Ainsdale Hills near Formby, outside Liverpool (close to Wayne Rooney's house) on September 20-21, for M/W 14, 16 and 18's. The team is W14. Niamh Corbett, Cliona Mc Cullough W16. Aine Mc Cann, Andrea Stefkova W18. Hannah Maxwell, Katarina Stefkova, Fiona Hill M14. Jack Millar, Mark Stephens, Alex Siminon, Eoin Mc Cullough M16. Conor Short, Sean Knight, Colm Moran, Cillin Corbett M18. Kevin O'Boyle, Alan Lane, Padraig Mulry.

The Seniors (M/W20 & 21) take on the infamous Craig a'Barns near Dunkeld in Scotland on Sunday 26th October. This includes an open event (with a local event nearby on the Saturday which I imagine includes the SHI Relays). Enter at A good Bank Holiday weekend trip.

A Good Year for Ruth
Bernie O'Boyle writes "Congratulations to Ruth Lynam (CNOC) on a fantastic set of performances in various international events this summer. Ruth began the summer by competing in the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Pinhal de Leiria, Portugal from June 28th to July 5th. The two qualification races saw her safely into the 'A' final, (5.4km 160m) where she finished 5th in a time of 47:31 - winning time was 44:31.
Next on the agenda was a Junior Squad tour to O-Ringen in Dalarna, Sweden. Ruth, with a little late intervention from husband Don, managed to find the finest accommodation available in Dalarna for the group of 26, - Juniors and some of their parents. For a full week, we rubbed shoulders with the World Cup competitiors and after a few days we didn't even blink when Thierry Georgiou, Daniel Hubmann, Matthias Merz and Anne Margrethe Hausken passed by! I am finally able to put faces to the names which are common currency in conversations among our enthusiastic juniors. Ruth had some great runs here -her best result 7th from a field of over 200 runners.
You could say that she put the icing on the cake when she won W50 at the French 6 Day event in Aveyron. We waited for the on-line results on day6, knowing that Ruth was leading a chasing start with a very slim 34 second advantage. Supporters at the spectator control watched as Ruth came through first, and waited to see how far behind would Pascal Prevost (FRA) and Janet Rosen (UK) be? In the end, Ruth finished just as her two main rivals approached the spectator control - she had transformed her 34 second lead into a decisive 7 minute and 18 second victory. Well done also to Una May (3ROC) 4th and Nuala Callery (AJAX) 10th in W35A and Mary Healy (GEN) who finished 9th in W50.
I want to thank Ruth and Greg McCann for all the work done for the Irish Junior Squad. The 'summer' is drawing to a close and already the calendar is filling up- a training weekend in Fermanagh, time trials in the Phoenix Park, JHI, EYOC, JEC etc.. Our juniors are lucky to have you both."