Pat Long, RIP
On a sad note, we learned of the death of veteran Munster orienteer, Pat Long, at the beginning of July. Pat was a member of Munster Orienteers (before they were called Lee Orienteers) in Cork and was very involved in the early days of orienteering. In my student days, back in the '70's, when I might hitch-hike from Dublin to Tipperary for an event, and stay in Ballydavid Wood youth hostel with the formidable Mrs Dowling, Pat was kind enough to ferry me around to events in the area in his Renault 6.
One of his claims to fame, apart from breaking a leg while being avalanched on Carrantouhill, was what became known as "Long's Law of Diminishing Returns" which highlighted the fact that the biggest gain in time when orienteering is the transition from walking to jogging: if you can walk a course in, say, an hour, you could jog it in perhaps 40 minutes, saving 20 minutes. If you were to run it, you might finish in 30 minutes, only saving 10 minutes, and if you were to run hard, you might bring the time down to 25 minutes, saving only 5 minutes.
I don't think Pat would have liked a big eulogy, but he was a lovely guy, with a quiet sense of humour.
Donal Burke, adds: Pat was a very active & competitive orienteer in his day, joining Munster Orienteers in 1974 (becoming Lee Orienteers later). His background and entrance in to the sport came from his interest in all things outdoors, being a long time member of the Cork Mountaineering Club. He surveyed and drew several areas in the 80's as the sport became more widespread including Scartnamuck (North of Bandon), Castlefreke, Malabracka & Derryleigh. He did a new map of Seefin (recently back into action again) and got map of the year award in 1980 for it.
To start with some catching, up, though, the report on JK2014 at Easter spent some time lost in cyberspace but has returned to planet Earth for this issue
And I forgot to mention the cuckoos!
We arrived on the Monday and the competition didn't start until the Thursday, so we spent our first few days training and getting to know the area. The forest where the Long Distance and Relay would be held turned out to be mostly runnable white forest, with some areas of slower light green and lots of intricate contour detail. Plus it was steep. Really, really steep.
The sprint training area consisted mostly of wide, straight streets and some open park areas. The Macedonian people turned out to be very friendly and helpful, and everything in the shops was very cheap. Taxis were free if you were taking part in EYOC so we took a taxi a few times to the local swimming pool in between training sessions to try and avoid the heat. Everyone drove crazily though, and seatbelts were rarely used! We stopped going to the pool when we saw the aftermath of a car crash which involved a taxi that looked suspiciously like one we had been in that day..EYOC consists of a Sprint, Long Distance and Relay race.
The Sprint race area turned out to be quite different from the model area, with lots of steep steps and narrow winding passageways. The second half of the course brought us down to a wide main street, with controls located in the gardens and yards around the buildings of the street. I was quite happy with my race, I made one or two poor route choices but overall I didn't make any mistakes and I ran as hard as I could. The standard at any of these major international orienteering competitions is always very high, so I was pleased to finish in the top 40. I was one of the first finished of the Irish so it was nice to be able to cheer on the rest of the team as they ran through the arena halfway through their course, and as they finished. That night we attended the opening ceremony in the centre of Strumica, and paraded through the town with all the other teams to the main square. It was the last EYOC for Aoife and myself, and so we were allowed to carry the Irish flag as we made our way through the town. (There's always a bit of an argument about who gets to do that!) The opening ceremony was really impressive, with fireworks, music and traditional dancing instead of the usual endless speeches. It was pretty late when we got back to the hotel that night, and with a 5:30 am start before the Long Distance the next day, it looked like we weren't going to get much sleep!
Overall the competition was really enjoyable and a great experience. I would definitely recommend EYOC to all younger juniors; it’s a perfect introduction to international orienteering and is always great fun! On behalf of all the team I’d like to thank Ruth and Mike for all their advice and help, and the IOA for funding the trip. - Róisín Long
See the full EYOC results here. There's some more on the IOA web site here.
|Nick in action at the WOC Sprint in Venice|
|Thierry on his way to victory|
After this it was off to Campomulo to watch the WOC Middle Distance race which finished in a spectacular natural amphitheatre at a cross-country ski centre. The Irish representative, Conor Short, was going well until a mistake in a complex area of low-visibility forest put paid to his ambitions for a good placing. The major surprise of the day, however, was the sensational disqualification of multiple Middle-Distance World Champion Thierry, who ran past his 6th control on a direct line between 5 and 7, without stopping, leaving a delighted Olav Lundanes (NOR) to take the Gold, followed by Fabien Hertner (SUI) and Oleksandr Kratov (UKR). The women's result was Annika Bilstam (SWE), Ida Bobach (DEN), Tove Alexandersson (SWE). See the full results here.
|GPS shows Thierry missing control 6|
|Darren, Josh & Nick in Venice|
|Olivia, Ros, Josh, Darren & Nick en route|
Ireland is not among the 31 countries taking part in the World Military Orienteering Championships in Austria at the end of August. It looks like we won't have anyone at the World MTBO Championships in Poland this month either - not surprisingly, since MTBO in Ireland is even more specialised than foot-O. Any takers for a night MTBO relay?
On the other hand we do have at team at the World University Orienteering Championships at Olomuoc in the Czech Republic in mid-August: Conor Short (TCD), Ruairí Short (Edinburgh University), Colm Moran (UCD), Eoin McCullough (TCD), Ros Hussey (TCD) and Áine McCann (Durham University); team manager Greg McCann.
... and we did have a team at the Junior World Championships (Jack Millar, Mark Stephens, Eoin McCullough) and Team Manager Ivan Millar: a trio of LVO Team Mangers this year with Ivan, Greg and Philip!
Congratulations also to Ros Hussey and to Kyle Heron who got married recently.
JWOC 2015 will be in Norway next summer and the Irish Junior Squad are spending a week training there this month in preparation for the event. Trondheim was the venue of the 2010 World Championships where the Junior Squad had a summer tour. (JWOC 2016 is in Switzerland and 2017 in Finland).
WOC 2015 in Scotland: An opportunity
Ireland's first foray into World Championships was in Scotland in 1976, in the same part as the 2015 event: int Inverness and Moray coast area. Scotland is close to us, it's accessible and the terrain is reasonably familiar: there's no need to travel to Scandinavia to train, so we should be able to make a serious effort with resourcing the team for next year's World Championships.
The training has already started and there's a training week around the time of the Senior Home International ans the "Race the Castles" series in October. Ireland has been promoted into Division 2 in IOF-speak, so we'll be entitled to have more runners in WOC 2015 than we had this year.
For your diary: the 2016 WOC will be in SW Sweden and the 2017 event in Estonia.
In the next issue hopefully we'll have reports on the Jukola relay, the Rogaine, the Lake District 5-Day and who knows what else?