Thursday, 23 December 2010

Event Postponements

Due to the severe weather, the 3ROC Xmas Score event on St Stephen's Day has been put back a week to Sunday 2nd January 2011. The situation will be reviewed closer to that day if there are still travel difficulties.

The NWOC Christmas event at Ballykelly Wood has been put back to Monday January 3rd.

No news about Currabinny or Ballincollig Park on December 27th, but check with the organisers before you travel.

Some of the Goal Mile runs on Christmas day have also been cancelled (Belfield in Dublin for one).

Still, if you can make it outdoors over Christmas, you could try a permanent O-course: download the maps at

In the meantime, Happy Christmas!

The annual TIO preview of interesting 2011 competitions is in preparation. If you have any suggestions (Greenland, anyone?) please e-mail

John McC.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Snow shoes? - O-shoes!

Bothered by the weather? Just get your O-shoes on and get out running. You'll be the fastest, safest people around ...

December Events
Check that the event is on before you travel!
With an eye on the weather, the fixtures plans are for the final Leinster League race of 2010 at the Curragh, Co. Kildare on Sunday December 12th, preceded by the first Dublin by Night event at St Anne's Park, Raheny on Tuesday 7th. Maybe there'll be a special Ski-O class at these?
WATO's event at Carrickbyrne on Sunday 5th has been cancelled and the Curragh event has been put back to the 12th because of the snow but with a small-scale mass start score event on the Curragh at 12.00 on the 5th if you want a run..
British course planning guru Graham Nilsen is due to give a course planning course on Saturday December 4th in Bewleys' Hotel at Newlands Cross in Dublin and there are still a couple of places available.
Later in the month the final Munster League event is scheduled for Kilworth on the 11th; more local events in Munster are listed on the fixtures list here. For NIOA events see here.
Connacht Championships 2010
Western Eagles ran the Connacht Championships at the end of November, returning to Portumna forest on the banks of the Shannon in Co. Galway. The snowfalls affecting coastal areas gave Portumna a miss and conditions on the day were cold and dry. The forest is an unusual one - flat and largely runnable with a network of roads. The map had a somewhat unusual colour scheme (dark browns and purple-blues) and variable readability. Looking at the 1996 Irish Relay Championships map of the same area showed that clarity has been lost in the current, computer-produced version.
Yet again, one has to marvel at how the handful of orienteers in the west can keep the sport alive, and full credit to Frank Ryan and the other WEGO members for running the event. Nevertheless (at the risk of being branded overcritical) more use could perhaps have been made of the area by adding butterflies and loops in the most interesting parts of the forest, instead of so much road running, though there may have been other factors and constraints on planning that the competitors were unaware of.
The men's course of 11.3 km saw Cork's Marcus Pinker take top spot in 68.33 from 3ROC's Ger Butler and CNOC's Ruairi Short, in a field of 15 finishers. Sharon Lucey (FermO) won the 9 km W21 Long course in 79.17 followed by Niamh Morrissey (DFO) and Ruth Lynam (CNOC).
Closest finish of the day was in M18 where Cillín Corbett (CorkO) had a mere 9 seconds to spare over GEN's Laurence Quinn.
Full results are here.

Christmas Presents
Looking for ideas for the orienteer in your life? How about a new, faster SportIdent card for shaving those precious seconds off your orienteering times? See here for details.
What about a new pair of O-shoes? You can try on a pair at any event attended by our own Pat Healy. Contact Pat at
Carol McNeill, multiple British Champion and World Champion team member, has written a new book on orienteering: Orienteering Skills, Techniques, Training. Carol works as an outdoors instructor and has vast experience of coaching and competition. STG£7.99 + postage. Details here. [In a previous book of Carol's the gremlins got to work and produced something along the lines of "Running through the forest and finding the red and white controls never ceases to lose its appeal", which is the opposite of what she meant!]
If you want an outdoors book, have a look at "Terrain Training for Off -Road Runners" and "An Introduction to Trail and Fell Running" by Kevin Shevels. (Details here). The web site also has esoteric books on uphill and downhill running techniques, and navigation for off-road runners.
Thinking of taking in a major event but don't want the hassle and expense of travel? Treat yourself to Easter 2011 at the Jan Kjellstrom O-Festival, coming to Belfast and Co. Down in April. Enter from one to four days of competition here. See for full details. Take in the Trail Orienteering, and then the colour events and training in Louth and Wicklow to bring you through to the Irish Championships in Wicklow the next weekend ...
At a loose end over Christmas? There's orienteering at Three Rock Wood, Dundrum, Dublin on St Stephen's Day; at Currabinny Wood (Cork) and Ballincollig Regional Park (Cork) on the 27th, and there may be some hill races around then too. Not to mention the Goal Mile runs, mostly on Christmas Day. (Details here).
Or how about a subscription to CompassSport magazine? Britain's national orienteering magazine, edited by Swedish-based Nick Barrable, has an increasingly international flavour. Details here.

The Forest Sport
Remember when orienteering was known as the Forest Sport? Maybe that was before photogrammetry allowed us to map complex open areas and we moved out of the trees. Coillte, the state forestry organisation, are doing their best to entice us back into the woods, by cooperating with local orienteering clubs to instal permanent orienteering courses in state forests around the country.
Five areas have been set up in the Dublin area, jointly between Coillte, O-clubs and the Dublin Mountains Partnership: Hellfire Wood, the adjacent Massy's Estate, Carrickgolligan and Barnaslingan IKilternan) are already operating and Ticknock (Three Rock Mountain) is about to go live. Other POC's are at Avondale (Wicklow), Farran (Cork), Lough Key (Roscommon), Donadea (Kildare) and Currah Chase (Limerick) and more are in the pipeline. There are more than twenty POC's in Northern Ireland, according to the British Orienteering web site, but they have to be bought on site rather than downloaded in the comfort of your own home.
The beauty of these POC's is that you can now download the course and map from the Coillte Outdoors website and just go orienteering - it's ideal for families, anyone wanting a training run, schools and scout groups, for example.
There have been POC's before, but the internet had revolutionised them so that you no longer have to seek out the local shop or forest office to buy a map, and the clubs can keep the maps up to date easily.
Some of the courses have an educational nature walk element built in, to appeal to schools and a wider public.
So some day when there's nothing on, head for the hills and persuade your schoolmates, work colleagues or neighbours to have a go!
Details on the site

Junior Training
The final Junior Training session of 2010 took place in the complex moraines of Knockbarron, near Kinnitty, Co. Offaly on 27th November, with squad members from Ulster, Leinster and Munster taking part. Organiser Ruth Lynam drafted in the help of elites Marcus Pinker, Darren Burke, Colm Hill and Ruairi Short to help shadow the juniors and give them the benefits of their own experience. Colm scared them with his training diary (see it on the AttackPoint web site here!) but they all coped well with the technical challenge of the 2-metre contours and the range of exercises ranging from compass work to a line event (following a wiggly line on the map to see if you can find the control)s, finishing with a gut-busting relay. At least it warmed them up a bit! After a night in the (aptly named, considering the weather) Birr outdoor centre the group took in the Connacht Championships at Portumna on the second day.

2011 World Championships reminder
Intention forms and selection policy guidelines are now available for next years World Champs in France.
All seniors who intend to take part in the WOC2011 selection process should complete the intention form and return to Ivan Millar at before December 31st.
All Irish seniors are urged to take part in the selection process whether they have WOC ambitions or not. Being a part of the process exposes you to high level and exciting competition and can really improve your orienteering in many different ways.
The documents can be downloaded from the new Irish WOC2011 blog here
Ivan Millar (High Performance Director)

New Technology
Marcus Geoghegan writes "There is a little used feature of Ór (the orienteering software package developed by Ajax's Martin Flynn - Ed) called "live results" which automatically sends up-to-date results to the web every two minutes. Anyone with a web browser can see the competitors’ times as they come in, anywhere in the world. If you have a phone with a web browser (most of them do) then you can see the live results at the event.
If you were at Ajax’s recent event in Marlay Park you will have seen a square symbol on the bottom of your splits sheet (example at Mobile phones scan these Quick Response (QR) codes and are automatically directed to a website. They are becoming commonplace in outdoor advertising and in magazines as a fast way of directing a phone to a product or event website. There is a QR code reader available for most camera phones; you don’t need a fancy smartphone for this to work.
Putting these two technologies together (Ór live results and QR codes) means that anyone at an Ajax event can use their phone to scan the QR code and instantly see the results as they happen (or you can type in the web address if you don’t have a QR code reader on your phone).
Switching-on online results in Ór is easy and it will automatically tell you the web address for the online results. Of course you will need to have an internet connection on your event laptop, but most events nowadays have mobile phone coverage so you can use a broadband dongle.
Generating the QR code to display at your event is also very easy – try this one: here.
Yes, even more technology to mess up your nice day out in the woods…

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Full steam ahead - October 30th

* After some weeks of introductory events after the summer, the competition season gets into full swing this weekend with Munster and Leinster league races on the dunes of Banna, Co. Kerry (where Sir Roger Casement landed from a German submarine in 1916) and at Brockagh, Co. Wicklow, and a Cork Autumn League event at Rostellan, near Whitegate.

* Highlights of November include League events in Leinster on the 7th at Three Rock Wood, near Dundrum, in Munster at Davmore, Co. Waterford and in Ulster at Slievenagore near Newcastle in the Mournes (on Saturday 6th). The same weekend sees the Senior Team travelling to the south of England for the Senior Home International (see more below). November 14th sees a sprint event at Castle Lough Woods, on the shores of Lough Derg, Co. Tipperary, where Bishopstown use the area of a previous Munster Championships.
Schools events feature too, with St Anne's Park in Dublin on the 17th and Farran Forest Park, Co. Cork on the 19th.
Provincial Leagues dominate the weekend of the 20th/21st with Portglenone, Co. Antrim on Saturday 20th, the Vale of Clara, Co. Wicklow, Torc/Muckross in Kerry, Colligan (Co. Waterford) and a County league at Farran, Co. Cork.
The 30th sees Western Eagles staging the Connacht Championships at Portumna, Co. Galway - a flat, forest with good detail and fast running (but plenty of ticks in previous years). Lower-cost entries available until 5th November. See details here.

(Photo: Neil Dobbs (WATO), who features on the JK 2011 entry form)

JK 2011 Preview
The biggest orienteering competition to visit these shores is just around the corner. For years we have been travelling to England, Scotland and Wales at Easter for the Jan Kjellstrom 4-day orienteering festival, the premier British orienteering competition, eatsblished to commemorate the young Swedish orienteer who helped establish the sport in Britain. (Jan was the son of Alvar Kjellstrom, the founder of the Silva compass company). Now it's coming to us: next Easter in Belfast and in Co. Down.
You have no excuse: if you aren't running, you are needed to help (and even if you are running your help will be much appreciated!).
Something like 2000 runners from Britain, Ireland, continental Europe and beyond are expected, and the organisers are laying on a full programme for them.
The festival kicks off with a sprint race on a new map of Stranmillis College and surroundings, in Belfast, on Good Friday; then an individual race in Co. Down on Saturday, followed by another individual race at Slieve Croob - again in Co. Down - on Sunday and a relay on sand dunes at Tyrella, Co.Down on Monday. In addition to these events there will be training opportunities in the days before the JK and in the week between the JK and the Irish Championships in Wicklow.
All the NIOA clubs are involved in the organisation and a large number of volunteers are needed: event co-ordinator Harold White is urging all all Irish O-clubs to help.
Visit the JK2011 web site here for updates. Entries are already open, so get in there!

* Entries open
On-line entries have opened for some major events:
JK2011, Easter in Northern Ireland. See here. Cheapest entries up to January 30th.
Irish Championships, May, in Co. Wicklow. Details here.
World Masters O-Championships, Hungary. Details here. Lowest cost entries up to October 31st.

*   SHI Team
The Irish team to compete at the Senior Home International in Southern England on November 6th and 7th has been selected. Will the Seniors emulate the Juniors and beat Wales, or will the follow the Veterans and be beaten by the Welsh? The team will be:
M21: Darren Burke, Gerard Butler, Seamus O'Boyle, Colm O'Halloran, Marcus Pinker and Ruairi Short.
M20: Niall Ewen, Conor Short, Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan
W21: Aislinn Austin, Rosalind Hussey, Ruth Lynam, Niamh O'Boyle, Toni O'Donovan and Faye Pinker.
W20: Fiona Hill, Olivia Baxter
The relay event will be held on Saturday in Pamber Forest, while the individual competition will be held as part of the November Classic in New Forest, Southampton. Details here.

*   Controllers'Course
Belgian event controller Rogier Vanaken came to Ireland and gave an interesting course for Controllers and prospective controllers at the Kilcoran Lodge Hotel near cahir, Co. Tipperary, on October 16th. He has wide experience as a high-level IOF technical advisor and travels to many countries to help run major international competitions.
About a dozen orienteers from clubs in Dublin, Cork, Waterford and Galway attended the lectures and discussions in the hotel and then made their way to Toureen Wood in the Glen of Aherlow for the practical sessions.
Rogier brought the group up to date on new IOF rules, dealing with control placement, electronic timing, organisation and the functions o the controller (ot "technical advisor"). He also covered some of the differing requiremants for sprint, classic and relay planning.
Did you know, for example, that a control should be placed at least 1 metre from the feature, to allow competitors to get in to punch, that the first control in a course should be fairly easy to avoid runners bunching up while they search for it; or that  you can put a control in a pit or depression if it is close to a clear attackpoint (otherwise it has to be on the edge or top)?
He said that the main function of the controller/technical advisor is to help the planner to get the best courses for the competitors.
A course like this is a prerequisite for anyone aiming to be an IOA controller.
You can read the IOA Rules on the IOA web site here, and the IOF Rules at here. The IOA Rules are currently being updated but the basics remain the same.

* Planners' Course
Graham Nilsen from Great Britain (one of the controllers for next year's JK O-festival in Northern Ireland) is giving a course planning course on Saturday December 4th in Dublin. The course will be at Bewley's Hotel at Newlands Cross (between the M50 and the M7/M8 Cork/Limerick road).
Graham has written the book (literally - here is the link) on course planning and the course should be an essential part of every planners' toolkit.
There's a Leinster League event on the Curragh (about 20 minutes from the hotel) the following day.
Details from IOA soon.

Monday, 4 October 2010

October 2010

Welsh Washout
A numerically under-strength team combined with a disappointing performance saw Wales defeat the Irish Veteran Home International team at the VHI last weekend. The orienteers didn't have the excuse of the weather, unlike the golfers, as its main effect was to delay some runners because of flooded roads.
England took the title, followed by Scotland, while the Irish weren't able to emulate the Juniors, scoring only 82  points tio Wales' 170. The team ran gallantly but it was not to be.

Both events were run on the Gower peninsula, a rural area near Swansea, and both races were run on fantastic areas of sand dunes. The individual event on Saturday was at Whitford Burrows, mostly open runnable dunes with some bits of complex coniferous forest. Running conditions were perfect - mild and dry, and the 1:10000 scale map with 2.5 m contours was excellent.
Fine runs by Marcus Pinker (2nd M35), Ruth Lynam (5th W55) and Steven Linton (3rd M40) , Colm Rothery (3rd M50) and Colm O'Halloran (5th M45) weren't enough to save the day, however, as the Irish team was seriously under strength, missing one M40, two W40's and one W35 from the full complement of 24 runners. In the individual race there are no spare runners - every one counts; in the Relay only the top four teams (out of a possible 6) count for each country. So, after Day 1 the score was England 136, Scotland 139, Wales 98, Ireland 64.
After heavy rain on Saturday night, the approach roads were flooded and the start was delayed. The rain cleared about the time of the relay mass start and, again, conditions were good for running. Broughton Burrows (not to be confused with JK2010's Braunton Burrows), mapped at 1:7500 with 2.5 m contours, was again, runnable sand dunes, but with bigger dunes than Saturday. fences running across the dunes broke the area up into smaller parcels.
Disaster struck the Irish camp, however, when A-team 2nd leg runner Colm Rothery missed a control and the team (Marcus Pinker, Ruth Lynam, Colm and Kathryn Walley) were eliminated. A second Irish team were non-competitive when an injured Wilbert Hollinger couldn't run, even though team manger Raymond Finlay stood in. The remaining three Irish teams finished and picked up 18 points against Wales' 72, a tally made possible by Wales brilliant win (anchored by former Shamrock O-Ringen winner Liz Campbell) by only 2 seconds over England.

Back to the maps, though: an earlier version of the Whiteford map had a feature I've never seen before: the dunes were mapped with 2.5 metre contours but the high, rather featureless hills at each end were mapped with 5 m contours, with a big warning arrow on the map to show the change. A Welsh solution to a Welsh problem?

At the end of the day the result showed that there's no substitute for strength in depth, which the English and Scottish have in full measure. It also shows that a sure way to lose a Home International is to start with the handicap of an incomplete team, which is a pity, and a rather last-minute selection of  the team contributed to availability and travel problems.

Anyway, here's to next year in England ...

2010 Veteran Home International (hosted by Swansea Bay Orienteering Club)
VHI Individual - Whiteford Burrows, 2 Oct. 2010
VHI Relay - Broughton Burrows, 3 Oct. 2010
Provisional results (points to be confirmed)
                 Ind. Relay Total
1. England 136 108  244
2. Scotland 129 72   201
3. Wales     98 72    170
4. Ireland    64 18     82

Ireland: M35 Marcus Pinker, Declan McGrellis; M40 Steven Linton, (vacant); M45 Colm O'Halloran, Dave Weston; M50 Colm Rothery, Ronan Cleary; M55 John McCullough, Val Jones; M60 Wilbert Hollinger, Richard McCourt; W35 Violet Linton, (vacant); W40 (Vacant), (vacant); W45 Heather Cairns, Julie Cleary; W50 Kathryn Walley, Nadine Grant; W55 Ruth Lynam, Barbara Foley-Fisher; W60 Teresa Finlay, Aine ní Shúilleabháin.

Full results here.

VHI Trivia: The Junior Home International in 2005 was run on the same two areas and the finishing order was the same; Ruth Lynam may be the only person to attend all three Home Internationals this year: the JHI as Team manager, and the Veteran and Senior events as a team member. (The SHI is in England in November).

Leinster League gets underway.
The first event of the 2010-11 Leinster League series gets underway at Ballymahon, Co. Longford on Sunday October 10th. Setanta have revised the 1983 map of the area, consisting of flat forest (the earlier map also had some fields, parkland and a golf course) and promise the usual range of colour-coded courses from Yellow (short and easy) up to Brown (long and difficult). Details on the Setanta web site here. Read about the area on the Coillte Outdoors site here.
The remaining Leinster League events are at Mall Hill/Brockagh (Laragh, Co. Wicklow) on October 31st, Three Rock Wood (November 7th), Vale of Clara (November 21st), and Curragh East (December 5th). The Spring series will start in February with another event in Longford, run by Fingal.

World Cup in France
Read about the adventures of the Irish squad at the Workld Cup races in France last weekend on the Senior Squad blog here. They've started preparing for next year's World Championships in Aix les Bains and Chambéry in eastern France in August 2011.

Fáilte go WMOC 2011
The World Masters Championships in Hungary next year have taken the unusual step of including an introduction and welcome page on the event website in the language of each national O-Federation. The event is at Pecs (scene of the 1983 World Championships) from June 30 to July 9th. Just click on the Irish flag at the top of the page to get a real céad mile fáilte to the event! Try it here. Bain triall as anseo.
(Family orienteerinhg holiday planners note: JWOC in Poland 1st-9th July; EYOC in the Czech Republic 23rd-26th June).

Controllers Course Reminder
A one-day Controllers course is being held on Saturday 16 October at Kilcoran Lodge, near Cahir, Co. Tipperary on the old Cork road. It is being taken by Rogier Vanaken who took a similar course in 2007. He has competed for Belgium at several World Championship events, and now acts as their senior team Coach. He was appointed as an IOF Event Advisor in 1991 and has acted in that capacity at many IOF events since then.
The course is designed for those who wish to become IOA Certified Event Controllers, and for those who wish to update their controlling skills and knowledge. It will cover all aspects of controlling, and practical exercises will take place in the neighbouring Glengarra Wood. The subsidised cost of the course is €25, that includes the cost of lunch, light breakfast etc. The Lodge is offering an overnight rate of €55 should anyone wish to stay on the Friday or Saturday evenings. CorkO are staging an event in Glengarra Wood on the Sunday.
To book a place, you should send a cheque for €25 to Aine Joyce, Irish Orienteering Association, 2nd Floor, 13 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin 4, or you can e-mail her at
The course is limited to 20 participants and places will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Just to give forward notice, a Planning Workshop will be held on Saturday 4 December and details will be issued shortly.
Harold White
Controller of Technical Standards

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ireland Beat Wales in Junior Home International

JHI 2010 – Scotland

Mike Long (Ajax) writes: I had the pleasure of attending my first Junior Home International over the weekend of 10-12 September, based around Perth and Stirling in Scotland. On paper the Irish team looked strong and so it was proven in practice with a comfortable overall win over Wales to win the Judith Wingham trophy for the first time in many years. Can anybody actually remember when we last won?

The JHI coincided with the Park World Tour urban sprint race in Perth. Our first port of call therefore was Scone Castle on the Friday afternoon where we were able to run over the courses earlier used by the elites in the qualification race for Saturday’s final. A sample from the map is shown below.

Personally I found the dark green detail confusing but it did not seem to bother the Juniors. As Greg pointed out to me “you have to run at the same speed as which you can orienteer”.

There was also a maze-O (south end of map) done by the Juniors without a map! The winner was Alex who got to the centre via the exit. Nobody had spelled out the rules! It was a good start and got everyone’s head on the job at hand.

Unusually the relay was held on Saturday (so that all could go to watch the elites in Perth town centre later). Several of the Juniors were familiar with the map of Kinnoull Hill, as it had been used at the 2009 Scottish 6 day. The map (part of if reproduced below) is characterised by steep runnable woodland with many paths. In fact most of the juniors said they had to ignore the paths, which they found confusing, and focus on the contours.

Overall we did very well. The boys were 8th, 11th and 12th and the girls were 7th, 11th and 13th. At the end of the day England, on 54 points, had a 4 point lead over Scotland. We were on 24 points, 8 ahead of Wales.

Then it was off to Perth where we had the pleasure of watching Irish Champions Niamh O’Boyle and Nick Simonin compete with some of the best elites in the world, literally in Perth town centre, much to the bemusement of the local shoppers. Both placed in the top 10 behind the very impressive Helena Jansson of Sweden and Østein Kvaal Østerbø of Norway.

Then there was the ceilí. I will let someone else tell the story here!

On to Devilla Forest for the long distance individual races on Sunday. Here the forest was pretty flat with much fewer paths and subtle (to me at least!) contour detail, see below. The only issue here was the “white” areas were very rough with waist (except for Colm Moran) high heather and a network of old drains. Keeping a bearing was very difficult. The M18’s had a very long leg through the middle of the map and several of the lads chose to run the path to the east (some 3 km) which turned out to be as quick.

 Again the performances were very good our best runner in each class were Caoimhe (7th), Niamh (7th), Áine (6th), Jonathan (4th), Jack (6th) and Séan (5th): strong across the board.

We ended up on 61 points well ahead of Wales 45. England, on 135 points, also had a very comfortable 16 point margin over Scotland. Full detailed results can be found here.

My overall view of the results was that although we had no individual medal winner we performed strongly with strength in depth in most of the classes and we were certainly not hovering around the bottom.

My three personal running highlights of the weekend were:
Clíona Mc Cullough first back in the relay despite leaving both her shoes in a marsh in the forest!
The sight of the four M16’s finishing the relay more or less together
Jonathan Quinn’s excellent 4th place in the M14 long distance, 13 seconds off a medal (The picture below shows Jonathon with the winning team trophy. Jonathan was also named the best Irish performer).

The entire Irish crew are shown below:
Cillín Corbett, Niamh Corbett, Laura Cox, Megan Getliff,  Donal Kearns., Seán Knight, Róisín Long, Áine McCann, Clíona McCullough, Peter Meehan, Jack Millar, Colm Moran, Caoimhe O'Boyle, Cathal OCléirigh, Laurence Quinn, Jonathan Quinn, Deirdre Ryan, Conor Short, Alex Simonin, Andrea Stefkova, Jill Stephens, Mark Stephens.
(Sports Council regulations evidently prohibit under 18's being identified by name in photos, so the team is listed alphabetically - Ed).

The other competition of the weekend was on the various roads between Edinburgh, Perth and Stirling. The drivers Ruth, Kathryn and I were forced into various, often strange, route choices by our intrepid navigators. Laurence and Colm can fill in the details!

It was the last JHI for Colm, Conor, Laura and Séan. They will be clearly missed but a first for Cathal, Donal, Peter, Róisín and Megan. One would have to conclude all is well in Irish Junior Orienteering. It was also clear to me that none of the above would have happened without the dedication and hard work over the past number of years by Ruth and Greg. Roll on 2011!
There are more reports on the event on the Irish Junior Squad page here and on the Northern Ireland OA site here. For runners routes on Routegadget in the individual race, see here. For more photos, see here.
The mystery M16 with the Judith Wingham Trophy

(JHI 2011 is due to be in Ireland and the usual date is in September - Ed)

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Irish Perform Well at World Champs

Well done, David, Niamh, Nick and the rest of the Irish team in Norway. For the first time we had qualifiers in every distance: Nick Simonin in the Sprint and the Long, David Healy in the Middle and Niamh O'Boyle in the long. The first 15 from each of three parallel heats went through to the final in each distance. Niamh, her brother Seamus, and Ciara Largey were among those to miss qualification by a matter of seconds in some of the heats. David Healy finished 43rd in the Middle Distance final, Nick was 41st in the Sprint final (2 mins 20 seconds down on winner Matthias Mueller) and 40th in the Long, and Niamh was 34th in the Long distance final race.
You can read about the Irish performances at the World Championships in Trondheim, Norway, on the excellent Irish Team blog here, with reports from all the races by the team members themselves. Full results, maps, photos etc are here.
The atmosphere in Trondheim was electric, with runners and supporters on the edge of their seats waiting to see who would qualify for the finals. The competition at this level is intense, and the shorter the distance the more severely a mistake of a couple of seconds is punished.
Trondheim, Norway's third city, was out in fete to celebrate the WOC: banners on the streets, newspapers in the shops, a big stage in the town square for concerts and prizegiving. There were almost 2000 other runners there too, taking part in the WOC Tour, a series of five events run on the WOC areas at sprint, middle and long distance. This group included many of the Irish Junior Squad on a training trip - and they learned a lot about orienteering both from running in the fantastic Norwegian forests and from watching the world's elite orienteers in action.

Aonghus O'Cléirigh's advice was to keep your feet wet, in other words to use the marshes to run in, and there were few enough other linear features out there to use. The natural pine forests were a delight and the WOC Tour courses were testing and fitted in well with the WOC programme itself, allowing us to run and watch.
The best Irish WOC Tour performance was Ruth Lynam (2nd W55).

We should also mention the three members of the Irish Trail-Orienteering team, Alan Gartside, Wilbert Hollinger and Gordon Stephens, all from LVO, who were on their way from the European Trail-O Championships in Sweden. Wilbert was the highest placed of the three.

Finally, no account of the Trondheim WOC would be complete without a special mention for the "extra man" on the Irish team: Mike Long and family. Mike and Catherine, Róisín and Ruairi made their house in Trondheim a base for the Irish team before and during the competition, with a series of Elite runners staying there and training over the summer.  Not only that, but they provided floor space, bikes, local information and transport so that the team and supporters really felt at home.

Ivan Millar adds: David Healy gives a fascinating insight into the big race thought- processes in his World champs middle distance report.
You can read his view of the race on the Irish WOC blog now.

World MTBO Championships, Portugal
Read NWOC's Bobby Smyth's report on the event here.

Northern Ireland Championships Weekend
In a move from tradition, the Northern Irieland Championships were run in June rather than September, and the weekend - based at Tollymore forest park in the Mournes - also included a night mass start race (won by M16 Jack Millar), a barbecue, overnight campsite, a Temp-O event, a bearing and pacing challenge, technical training on the Sunday and orienteering fun and games for the kids, all hosted by Lagan Valley Orienteers who simultaneously ran a micr-O event in Belfast for the official opening of the Decathlon store. On top of all this, LVO managed to have more than 80 entrants in the NIOC - some going!
Steven Linton (NWOC) took the Men's title and Sharon Lucey (FermO) the Women's.

French 3-Day
A small party of Irish runners made it to Besancon in Eastern France for the 3 Jours de Franche Comté: a sprint in Besanconn on Friday evening was fast and not too technical, the courses starting at Vauban's UNESCO listed Citadel fortress and dropping to the town below, passing through a 400 metre long tunnel with a canal. The Saturday race was full length, in runnable limestone forest with lots of depressions, and the Sunday was similar. Luckily the temperatute had dropped from 38C just before the event so running conditions were just right. About 800 runners took part, mostly from France. The event was only about 100 km from the World Masters in Switzerland a few days later but I didn't see much evidence of overlap between the events. Next year's World Championships are not far away (further south, at Chambéry, in August).

Lakeland 5-Day
I hope to get a report on this one soon, but as I write it's just finished. Rain meant the cancellation of one of the days because of the possibility of pollution from the parking field to a reservoir nearby. (The organisers have appropriately affered to pass on unclaimed refunds to the Pakistan flood appeal). A quick run through the results shows Niamh Corbett 3rd W16, Anne May (former Irish Orienteers secretary) 1st W60S, Anne Donnell 1st W75, an Enniskillen native if I'm not mistaken; Cillín Corbett 5th M18L, Shane Lynch 5th M21L, Declan McGrellis 3rd M35L, James Logue 1st M40L, Brian Corbett 2nd M50L. The event website is here.
Next year's 6-Day is at Oban in Scotland starting on July 31st. Details here.

Autumn preview
The Fingal scatter events are among those to kickstart the new season - these are like score events but without a time limit, where you have to get a certain number of controls in any order (also called Spanish Scpore events, if I'm not mistaken). Apart from this, the annual Mournes Mountain Marathon is on 18-19th September (details here). Full fixtures list here, though there are more events still to go on the list. Cork and Kerry clubs are also staging series of beginners events in the autumn.

Good to see two mountain bike orienteering events scheduled: Setanta Orienteers have one at Castletimon (near Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow) on September 19th and one at Djouce Woods, again in Wicklow, on September 26th.

JHI 2009
Congratulations to the Juniors selected to run in the Junior Home International at Perth in Scotland on September 11/12th:

M14 Cathal OCléirigh, Donal Kearns, Jonathan Quinn, peter Meehan
W14 Róisín Long, Jill Stephens, Caoimhe O'Boyle, Megan Getliff
M16 Jack Millar, Alex Simonin, Mark Stephens, Laurence Quinn,
W16 Niamh Corbett, Clíona McCullough, Deirdre Ryan
M18 Seán Knight, Conor Short, Colm Moran, Cillín Corbett
W18 Áine McCann, Andrea Stefkova, Laura Cox

The relay race is at Kinnoull Hill outside Perth, used for the 2009 Scottish 6-Day, and the individual on Sunday at Devilla, used for the 2008 World Schools Championships.

Event cancelled
The NIOA series Woodburn event on Sunday September 5th has been cancelled due to an infection of p.ramorum in the Japanese larch trees. This is the same fungal infection that causes sudden oak death in the USA and it has been identified in three forests in south Antr

Istanbul 5-Days information
IOG (Istanbul Orienteering Group) invites you to the 7th "Istanbul 5 days" Orienteering Event which will be held in and around Istanbul, Turkey on 2-7 November 2010.
This is a multiday O-event taking place in two continents (Europe and Asia); in various parks, forests and even in the maze-style streets of the huge and ancient Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The middle distance race on November 6 will be a WRE (World Ranking Event), while other days host sprint, long and classic distance races.
Since 2004, IOG has been organizing the Istanbul 5 days and have enjoyed a high level of participation from different countries. Last year 1028 competitors from 32 different countries participated to the event and returned home (with their words) “I don’t regret a second ;) Good organization and nice competitions” . According to a participant, Jan Kocbach of WorldofO, “The Grand Bazar orienteering is one of the things all orienteers should have on their “Must-have-once-in-a-lifetime list”
On the website, you can find all the information about the event, accommodation possibilities in the centre of the old town, transportation, participation fees and more. Bulletin 2 is already released and Bulletin 3 is coming soon, while you can also register online for the event.
For more information :

That's all for now!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

August 2010

Good luck to the Irish team running next week in Trondheim in the World Championships, and to the Trail Orienteering team in the World Trail-O Champs there: Neil Dobbs (Middle distance), David Healy (Sprint, Long Distance), Shane Lynch (Sprint), Seamus O'Boyle (Sprint), Andrew Quin (Middle, Long), Nick Simonin (Sprint, Long). Ros Hussey (Sprint, Middle, Relay), Susan Lambe (Sprint), Ciara Largey (Long, Relay), Niamh O'Boyle (Sprint, Long, Relay). Trail-O:  Wilbert Hollinger, Alan Gartside, Gordon Stephens.

For the World Orienteering Championships in Norway (August 8-15) see here. (next year it's in France in mid-August). The Irish Senior Squad blog is here. The Irish Elite page (with team profiles etc) is here.

Multi-Irish champion Niamh O'Boyle is not afraid of a challenge! 2010 has seen her not only finishing off her PhD, this summer she has also taken on the challenge of orienteering her way across Scandinavia against some of the best orienteers, most testing terrain and thirstiest mozzies you could ever meet!

Thanks to Niamh for permission to reproduce this here:

Leaving for Trondheim
I was due to leave for Trondheim, where Mike (Long) and Catherine had generously offered accommodation, on Thursday 10th June. On Monday, June 7th I ran in the Flora Women’s mini-marathon, running a new 10km PB of 39:18 and more importantly, raising €1000 for Barretstown Gang Camp, an amazing association near where I live that works with seriously ill children and their families. On Tuesday, 8th June I managed to submit my PhD thesis, 466 pages of anti-cancer drug-related research. I was unsure until the very last few days whether I would be able to submit it before I left, or if I would have to wait until I returned, but it was in! No time to think about it – had to start packing and before I knew what was happening, I was on my way to Norway with a bag full of orienteering kit. I had some ill-effects from the 10km – a sore underfoot – but a trip to the physio (my long-suffering physio, Aidan Woods on Pearse Street – he’s great!) assured me that it was nothing serious and a few days rest would be fine…

The Trondheim Open
Arriving on the Thursday, myself and my brother Seamus had about 18 hours to settle in before our first competition. The Trondheim Open was held over 3 days and to be honest, I was still in a bit of a daze for the whole thing (this daze was to last a while…!). My foot was still a little sore, but improving daily and I couldn’t resist the enticement of a 3-day orienteering event. A sprint on Friday was fun (map below), with a middle distance on Saturday and a longer distance chasing start on Sunday. The maps for the middle and long are available here with GPS tracking, though I wasn’t wearing one. In the middle distance, I was doing well until number 9, where I dropped 3 minutes. Ditto for the longer course on Sunday, where I dropped 5 minutes on number 8 with a horrible error leaving number 7 the wrong way. Lessons learned and wasn’t worried at this stage of the summer at all. It was just wonderful to be back out orienteering!

The Nordic Orienteering Tour
This was a new concept in the World Cup for 2010. I won’t go into it in too much detail but basically it is aimed at raising the profile of orienteering by increasing coverage, etc. The bit that mattered for the athletes was that it incorporated 3 races in 3 countries over a 10-day period, coinciding with major races like Jukola and O-Festivalen. It was an interesting idea and an Irish team of myself and 5 males were to compete in it. The first race was in Finland. It was a mixed middle distance-sprint distance race, and the middle part was a disaster. It has been a long time since I made such a silly error, and I can’t even figure out a reason for it. I was running along the high bank from 13 – 14 when I saw some huts, and try as I might, I could NOT locate them on the map (of course they were there!). I was thrown by this and took way too long to relocate. Rusty map skills… The positive that I took out of the race was that I got over it well and completed the sprint part with no hiccups, and was in 33rd place for the sprint part of the race. Map and GPS tracking.

After this, it was time for Venla and Jukola. Unfortunately I was picking up a cold, which got way worse after my Venla run. Not good for stage 2 of the Nordic Tour, which was being held 3 days later in Stockholm. It was nearly gone by then, and I managed a good, consistent sprint race to finish 44th. Unfortunately it wasn’t fast enough to qualify for the next round (top 30 – was 45 seconds down on qualifying). The sprint finals were held in Gamla Stan (The Old Town) in Stockholm. The final leg of the tour was in Norway at O-festivalen. Another sprint race, not part of the World Cup series, was held on Friday and the World Cup chasing start on Saturday. The terrain was rocky and tough, and I didn’t see anyone out there, so it felt very alone. After all this, I was really looking forward to going back to Trondheim!

The Nordic Tour was fun, but for me it came at the wrong time. In hindsight, I hadn’t done enough orienteering prior to it and would have benefited far more from staying in Trondheim and recovering from the craziness of the month before I left, with writing up and my 10km road race. The Nordic tour involved a lot of travelling, and I can understand why a lot of orienteers chose not to include these races in their schedules for 2010. It also ended up being quite expensive, and if it were not for the hospitality of Andrew in Stockholm, would have been even more so. I don’t think this Tour will be an event that I’ll be aiming for in the next few years. Having said that, it was fun travelling and staying with the Irish team.

The Irish selection races, Verdal
There was a one-week gap between the end of the Nordic Tour and the start of the Irish Selection races. During this time, most of the Irish team travelled up to Trondheim to get in some terrain work. It was a great week of team bonding! And it was fantastic to see so many of the guys going for the team. The only disappointment was the number of girls – only myself and Ciara made the trip, and we were staying in Trondheim anyway for the summer. This was good in one way, as the top 2 were guaranteed selection! Because of this, there was no need to taper and I could train hard in the week before the races. However, increased competition can only be a good thing and hopefully in the future, when some juniors start coming through, competition for the women’s team will be just as intense as the men’s.

The races themselves were fun. The sprint on Friday was fast and furious, and not very technical, mostly based on route choice (which way would you go? – see the course at this link. I was most pleased with my middle race. In the races since arriving in Scandinavia, I had been making unacceptable big mistakes, so the aim for this weekend was to forget about the pace I was running at and get around without any major mistakes. I managed to do this in the middle distance and only had a small loss of time, managing to beat some of the Swedish girls who were using it as their WOC selection race too. In the long on Sunday, I didn’t stick to this plan and lost a lot of time on number 3, and some more time with not being aggressive enough.
Routegadget middle distance
Routegadget long distance
In the guys, Andrew won the middle selection and Nick won the long. The Irish WOC team was selected shortly afterwards and is the largest team to be sent for many years.

And so, to summarise!
The trip has been a little crazy in terms of travelling around, so that’s something I’d like to reduce when preparing for a big event in the future. After the Irish selection races, I had a bit of time to breathe. I did some travelling with Hugh in the western fjords, including a hike on a glacier, incredible. I’ve been doing some training in the Trondheim area and getting some runs in too. It’s time for the 2 big aims of 2010: the World University Champs and the World Champs. I’m down in Borlänge in Sweden for the World University Champs, and unfortunately as I write this, the long distance is in progress. Food poisoning hit me three days ago, and although I’m recovered, I decided last night not to run the long distance. It was a really tough decision to make, but definitely the right one. Even if I could get around the long, I’m not here just to get around – I want to do well. Getting around the long and risking the possibility of wiping myself out again for the sprint and middle (Wednesday and Thursday) would have been silly. I learned my lesson at Venla that I shouldn’t run whilst not feeling well. So as hard as it is to sit out the long distance, I can go into competition tomorrow knowing that I’m fully fit and ready to go. Looking forward to it!

There will be blog updates about how myself, Nick and Colm are getting on here in Borlänge and also from the World Champs. After the World Champs in Trondheim, where I’m running the sprint, long and relay, I’ll let you all know my own take on the competition phase of my summer. A big thanks to Mike, Catherine, Ruairi, Roisin, Murray, Aidan, Jim, Ivan, Ruchika, Hugh and the O’Boyle clan who have all helped me immensely along the way. Till then, happy orienteering!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Keep in touch this summer ...

You can keep in touch with all the international orienteering activity this summer on the internet. Irish orienteers are taking part in competitions across Europe, in countries including Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France and the UK. We've already had teams at the European Youth Champs and the Junior World Champs.

For the Swedish 5-Day O-Ringen (July 24-30) , see here.

For the French 3-Day in Besancon (July 23-25), see here.

For the World Masters Orienteering Championships in Switzerland from July 31 - August 7, see here.

For the World Orienteering Championships in Norway (August 8-15) see here. (next year it's in France in mid-August). The Irish Senior Squad blog is here. The Irish Elite page (with team profiles etc) is here.

For the Lakes 5-Day in England (22 - 27 August), see here.

And please don't forget to write about it when you get home!

For IOA Fixtures at home, see here; for Northern Ireland fixtures see here.

Have a great summer.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Niamh Corbett finishes 4th in Europe!

Cork Orienteers' Niamh Corbett finished 4th in the W16 race at the European Youth Orienteering Championships at Soria in Spain yesterday. The 14 year old demolished the opposition with a time of 49.25, just 4 minutes down on the winner, Katerina Chromá of the Czech Republic and 31 seconds down on third-placed Lucy Butt of Great Britain.
Reports suggest that the conditions were very warm (about 30 degrees)  with sunshine, thunder, lightning and rain. The W16 course is here. The courses had a tricky long leg up across a slope towards the end (6-7 on the W16).
You can see the full results here, and maps and routes here.

Irish results were
W16 (76)
4 Niamh Corbett
58 Cliona McCullough

M16 (86)
20 Alex Simonin
32 Jack Millar
62 Laurence Quinn
65 Mark Stephens

M18 (94
76 Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan
85 Colm Moran
90 Cillin Corbett

In today's Relays the M16's finished a very good 14th place, just behing France, beating the British team for the second year running. Jack Millar ran a fantastic first leg, coming in in 6th place, ahead of eventual winners Denmark, second place Latvia and third place Russia. Niamh finished 10th on Leg 1 of the W16 relay. Relay results are here.

Here are some more photos of the team in action.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

International Action

Irish orienteers are in action across Europe at the moment: let's hope they get as much fun from orienteering as the lad in Sweden on the left!

The Elite squad have been taking part in the Nordic O-Tour and are now ready for the World Championships selection races in Norway. You can follow their fortunes here.

The Junior World Championships team are at JWOC at Aalborg in Denmark. The Sprint is on Monday and it finishes with the Relay on Saturday 10th July. The team is Conor Short, Seán Knight, Niall Ewen. Read about it here.

The European Youth O-Championships team are at EYOC at Soria in Spain. The Long Distance race is on Friday July 2nd, Relay on Saturday and Sprint on Sunday.
The Irish team selected for EYOC 2010 in Soria, Spain is:
M18: Cillin Corbett, Colm Moran, Josh O'Sullivan-Hourihan
W16: Niamh Corbett, Cliona McCullough
M16: Jack Millar, Laurence Quinn, Alex Simonin, Mark Stephens
Read about it and follow the live action here.

Good luck to you all!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

June News

Donegal 3-Day report
CNOC's Deirdre Ryan reports ...
On the June Bank Holiday weekend the Irish 3 Day event was held near the beautiful Lough Eske in the Bluestack Mountains of Co. Donegal. There were mixed feelings over returning to the challenging area as last year’s Irish Champs; for some it was a weekend of fantastic victories while for others the most vivid memories of that weekend were the pouring rain, the dense fog, the waist-deep marshes and the long haul to the start.
Just over a year later however everything was different. Saturday dawned warm and sunny, with not a breath of wind turning the wind turbines visible from the start. The event centre was at the local Community Centre, with a steep 1km walk to the start at Benson's Hill. Starts were not until 4 in the evening, meaning all the orienteers were relaxed and ready to race. All of the eight courses were very technical and of middle distance, but due to the blistering heat were surprisingly tough. The terrain was a fabulous open mountain with undulating hills, very intricate contour detail, many horrible marshes but very few tracks. Rock features were very useful for navigation. 
Sunday morning came too soon, and once again too hot to be running in. There was a longer 2 km trek to the start, with longer courses and more climb. Day 2 started at Croaghmeenare, circling around some beautiful lakes and gruelling hills. Once again, courses were technically difficult only today they had physically challenging thrown into the mix too. 
Nerves were running high on Monday morning as people tried to mentally prepare for the stressful Chasing Start at 10am. The winners of each course set out first, with the remaining competitors starting later according to the total time they trail. The first person over the finish line on each course was the overall winner of the weekend. At the start at Benson's Hill on Monday morning adrenaline was pumping and I for one was super nervous, starting first on my course. Courses were the longest yet, but luckily the sun stayed hidden all day and temperatures remained in the high teens. The area was the driest of any of the days, with many of the marshes having dried up a bit throughout the weekend, so terrain was more runnable today than the previous days. Out on the course, orienteers had to concentrate on their own race and remain completely unfazed by the many other hectic competitors out on the mountain, be they on their own course or not. 
Minutes after the prize giving as everyone was making their way towards the cars, the heavens opened for the first time all weekend- lucky!
Overall the 3 day event was thoroughly enjoyed and well organised (thanks to WEGO!), with great orienteering opportunities on great new terrain. Hopefully CNOC will return next year to retain all of our titles! (Adapted slightly from the CNOC web site.)

The editor continues ... The closest and most exciting finish of the weekend was the sprint for the line by CNOC clubmates Sennen O'Boyle and Pat Farrelly in M50, with the timing unable to separate them. Pat went out about 4 minutes clear of Sennen who caught him on the final controls See photo above). David Healy (GEN) won the M21 class and Maeve O'Grady (DFO) the W21.
What always surprises me is that such a small bunch of people as Western Eagles, probably numbering less than 10, can put on a high-quality three day event like this at a location so far from their base. The courses were planned with a remarkable economy of controls, using SportIdent's ability to allow planning with criss-crossing legs. Planning easy courses for young juniors is difficult in an area like this and, if there was a deficiency, it was in achieving this. A minor quibble might also be the visibility of some controls on the senior courses - they could be seen from a long distance, but you still had to get across the terrain.
On the plus side, the area had dried out a lot from IOC last year, and the cuckoos were still in fine voice, so all in all it was a very successful weekend. In common with the Shamrock O-Ringen, the numbers of Irish competitors was relatively low but there was a fair smattering of runners from further afield: Germany, Scandinavia, Hungary and the UK at least.
Results are here, Routegadget is here. Photos are here. The results are presented as three distinct days which makes it a bit difficult to get the overall picture, but the Routegadget routes will capture some of the excitement of the competition and bafflement of the runners!
Next year there will be a Shamrock O-Ringen on the Sheep's Head Peninsula in Co. Cork on the June Bank Holiday weekend (4th-5th-6th June 2011)  mark it in your diary now. Details from Cork Orienteers.

Watch Jukola Live!
Watch the Jukola Relay in Finland live this Saturday here. More than 15,000 runners will take part in the Venla (women's) and Jukola relays this Saturday. At home the focus will be on the Northern ireland Championships at Tollymore in the Mourne Mountains on Saturday. Details here.

Irish Team travel to Scandinavia
Six members of the Irish elite squad are heading for Finland this week as the first leg of the 2010 Nordic tour kicks off. This is part of the team's preparation for the World Championships in Trondheim, Norway, in August - the selection races will be in Norway in July.
The Nordic tour consists of three World Cup events held in Finland, Sweden and Norway throughout June.
The Irish team of Niamh and Seamus O'Boyle, Gerard Butler, Darren Burke, David Healy and Nicolas Simonin start the competition this Thursday 17th June.
You can follow the team's performances on the Nordic Tour website here.
We also hope to have regular updates from the team members on the Irish blog here.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

June Preview

Donegal Three-Day
The area around Lough Eske in Co. Donegal is the venue for three exciting days of orienteering on the June Bank Holiday weekend. Mapped for the 2009 Irish Championships, the open mountain terrain resembles West Cork, with its marshes, crags and contours. The weather at the Irish Championships, particularly at the Relays, didn't showcase the areas as it might have, but hopefully this time Western Eagles OC's efforts will be seen in better conditions.
Details of the events are here.
Tollymore Orienteering Festival
The Northern Irish Championships are being held on Saturday 19th June at Tollymore Forest near Newcastle in Co. Down. Following on from last year's very successful, inaugural ‘Tollymore Festival of Orienteering’, LVO will be hosting a full programme of events on the weekend. Everyone is welcome to join in the weekend's activities.
The programme looks pretty much like this at present, with the facility in place to camp on either or both Friday and Saturday nights.
NI Championships – a full range of courses on offer.  
String course – always a popular event for the young and the not so young. At the recent Slievenagore event, the competitive spirit of the elites could not be contained and multiple runs ensured the course time falling, quickly at first and then with some reluctance.
TempO  - Exercise the brain, even if your legs are tired – pit your wits against the fiendish Mr Gartside in a timed Trail O problem.
Evening barbecue and social event. 
Prizegiving for LVO club champs and for NI Champs
Night orienteering. (10pm start)
Adult training session run by Helen Baxter
Junior Fun Day session run by Izabella Stefko - details here.
TempO – another puzzle to solve.

Entries are open here. Cheapest entries until 14th June. You can book your barbecue and camping along with the race entry, please make sure that you include for all in your party even if all are not entering the race. We don’t want to run out of food.
Everyone is welcome for what should be an excellent weekend of orienteering.
Gordon Stephens, LVO
Incidentally, if you're on for a spot of shopping, Decathlon, the giant sports supermarket chain, are opening in Belfast on June 17th, at the Holywood Exchange retail park, near the city airport and Ikea ... and LVO are running a Micro-O there on Saturday 26th June.

Belfast Parks
Another LVO venture in May is the Belfast Parks O-Week, a series of free races in Belfast's parks starting on Saturday 30th May in Ormeau Park after the Belfast Cliffhanger (see below).
The following events are on Monday 31st (Belmont), Tuesday June 1st (Woodvale Park), Wednesday 2nd (Barnetts Park), Thursday 3rd (Orangefied & Greenville), Friday 4th (Falls Park) and Saturday 5th (Musgrave Park).
The inaugural Belfast ‘Cliffhanger’ sprint race will take place in Ormeau Park in Belfast on Sunday 30th May from 1.00 to 3.00 pm. If you enjoyed the maze racing at Kilbroney Park on May 8th, you will find this even more fun! The event will consist of 2 prologue races with combined times used to determine A and B finals. If enough enter then there may be scope for semi-finals as well. Each course will pass twice through a specially constructed maze as well as through the more complex area of the park. Course lengths will be about 1.5 km, so everyone should get about 4.5 km if they stay for all 3 races. Start times will be deliberately close together and courses will be ‘gaffled’ to remove the temptation to follow other runners.
The event is the opener of the Belfast Parks Orienteering Week which is aimed at families and newcomers. Once the Cliffhanger is finished the maze will be available for all to try their luck and there will be simple courses in the park, so bring non-orienteering family and friends to watch you race and then to have a go themselves.

Summer Evening races
The Curragh-Naas OC (CNOC) Tuesday evening races continue with the Curragh (May 25th), Hill Wood, Monasterevin (June 1st), Curragh East (June 15th) and Hollywood, Co. Wicklow (June 22nd). In Munster, CorkO's Inter Firm league continues on Tuesdays with Currabinny (May 25), Moanbaun Wood, Watergrasshill (note change of venue from Fota) (June 1), Warrenscourt (June 8), Ballyannon (June 15), Tracton (June 22), Lackendarragh (June 29), Corrin Hill (July 6), James's Fort (July 13), Glenbower (July 20) and Ballincollig Regional Park West (July 27). Bishopstown's equivalent Business Houses league finishes up on May 27th at Corrin Hill. Full details in the Fixtures section of the IOA website. Evening mountain races are running at the moment too: Wednesday evenings - details here.

The Jukola 7-person overnight relay takes place in southern Finland on 19th/20th June. Several Irish teams, or at least teams with Irish runners. have taken part in recent years but TIO isn't aware of any this year. If any of you are going to Jukola, (a) good luck and (b) please write about the event for us afterwards! More than 1500 teams have already entered for the relay and more than 1000 for the women's Venla 4-person relay  earlier in the day. Details of the events are here.
You should be able to follow it live on the internet - Jukola start time is probably about 11 pm local time (9 pm in Ireland).

Exam time
Best wishes to all our orienteering students doing Junior Cert, GCSE's, Leaving Cert, A-levels and college exams. Concentrate on the study for now, get the academic stuff out of the way then get stuck in to the orienteering again!

Leinster Champs Routegadget Fixed
The results and routegadget (route plotting program) for the Leinster Championships at Carlingford were hit by some computer problems, but these now seem to be fixed. You can out in your route from a GPS or using a mouse here. The organisers, 3ROC, apologise any inconvenience!

30th Anniversary Hill Race
On 22nd May the Irish Mountain Running Association (formerly "Hill Running") staged a race on Three Rock Mountain outside Dublin to mark the 30th anniversary of the first organise hill race to Fairy Castle back in 1980. Several orienteers (Peter Kernan, Tara Horan, Catherine Lyons, Joe & Caitlín Bent) ran in both the 1980 race and the 2010 "Fairy Chase". Photos, results and reports are here. Almost 120 runners took part.

Setanta Rogaine entries open
Setanta Orienteers have opened online entries for their 13th Rogaine, a two-person score event in Wicklow, on the weekend of June 26-27. The event will have two categories, a 6-hour and a 24-hour. Details of the exact location are a closely guarded secret until just before the event, but you can get information and enter here. The event has been running since 1998 and offers a mountain-marathon type experience without having to carry all your kit for two days.
Rogaining started in Australia in the 1940's - the word reportedly is composed of the names of the three inventors, Rod Phillips, Gail Davis (née Phillips) and Neil Phillips. (It has also been defined as a "rugged outdoor group activity involving navigation and endurance", the initial letters of which also spell "rogaine"). [This activity should not be confused with the hair restorer "Rogaine", also sold as "Regaine"].

New Wicklow Maps by EastWest Mapping 
Two new maps - Wicklow Mountains West and Lugnaquilla & Glendalough are now both available from EastWest Mapping - details here.

The new maps are in the same general style as their Dublin & North Wicklow Mountains Map published in 2009 and printed at 1:30,000 scale on 120 gsm Pretex paper which is water and tear resistant. Retail price is same at €9.95 per sheet. They have a value deal for people who wish to purchase a set of the three maps at €29.00. The maps should be available in Eason's, National Map Centre, Great Outdoors and shops in Wicklow in due course.
Barry Dalby writes "Fieldwork on foot and by bike was undertaken in 2009 (great autumn!!) and 2010 interrupted somewhat by snow & ice etc. I think we've done a pretty good job at capturing the forest, road, track and path detail as well other physical features. Contouring is still at 20 metres - not ideal, adequate in Wicklow for general hillwalking and biking. Hopefully we can improve with more contour detail in the future. As with any map, doubtless we have missed some features and/or new forest tracks have been constructed etc. As always, I appreciate any feedback on detail that appears to be missing or incorrect so that we can chase it up on the ground. Where there is a significant issue, I'll publish free .pdf updates on our website.

One aspect that I have invested a lot of time & effort into is a thorough review of the placenames of the hills and the location of 'heritage' features etc. This has been a substantial task in itself and of course, open to improvement. I have written some of my thoughts on this aspect which you can find here. In general I have deliberately chosen diversity as far as forms of names are concerned to reflect the richness of this aspect of our heritage. I have also placed an emphasis on the names known and used by the good people who live in the Wicklow hills rather than in some cases, those recorded on OSI material.
I trust you enjoy using these maps as much as we have enjoyed making them and I thank you for your support. I also hope that they'll go a little way towards a more complete record of these hills and valleys so close to many of our hearts.
Finally, I might mention that Wicklow Mountains East sheet will be published early next year. I will be also looking in more detail at releasing digital versions in due course as time allows. Thanks."
Barry Dalby
Eastwest Mapping,
ph: 00353 (0)53 9377835
fax: 00353 (0)53 9377835

Quote of the month
"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."
"Citizenship in a Republic", Theodore Roosevelt; Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910