Thursday, 5 December 2013

December 2013/1

Sprint for the Juniors
The second of the Campus Sprint events in support of the Junior Squad is on Saturday December 7th at Albert College and DCU in Glasnevin, Dublin. Kieran Rocks has planned two courses of about 2.2 and 2.9 km (straight line distances) starting and finishing in the park but mostly on the Dublin City University campus. Start times from 11 to 1 pm at Hampstead Avenue off Ballymun Road.
There will also be sprint events in Cork, Belfast and Limerick, with the proceeds going to the irish Junior Team. See more details here. You can register online here, or just turn up on the day.
Come and sprint for the Juniors!
(You can read about some Junior activity here, where Robert Pim, Zach O'Sullivan-Hourihan and Caoimhe O'Boyle went training with the top British juniors in the Lake District recently).

Night-O starts
The weekend of December 7th/8th is a busy one for orienteering, with the first of the Dublin by Night events on Saturday at Carrickgolligan, between Kilternan and Shankill, Co. Dublin. Two courses,start times from 6 to 7 pm. See details from the organisers, GEN, here.
For night-O fans, there will be more night events at Phoenix Park (January 4th), Glendoo (January 11th), Massy's Estate (January 18th), Tolka Valley Park (January 25th), Rockbrook Park School (February 1st) and a CNOC event on February 8th. Kerry Orienteers are also running one at Knockreer, Killarney, on February 15th.

Looking forward, the  Northern Ireland Night Champs are on February 22nd at Loughrey Campus, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone.
There has been some discussion on the IOA Forum about night events: how technical should they be? Would people travel further for more technical challenge or would they prefer easier to get to events that maybe aren't as challenging? What would you like?
So, say goodbye to Saturday Nights!
As an aside, the night event planned by Allan Bogle for 5th December at Loughermore had to be cancelled because of the storms and the exposed terrain.

SouthEast short course & POC at KK
Also on the weekend of 7th/8th December, Waterford Orienteers are launching their new map of Kilkenny Castle with a South east Short Course League event on Sunday 8th.
Leinster revives
A groundswell of support for the revival of the dormant Leinster Orienteering Council has resulted in a planned meeting on December 12th after the presentation of the Autumn Series league prizes at BaseCamp in Middle Abbey Street in Dublin. See details on the new IOA Forum here.
Priorities are fixtures co-ordination and more cooperation between the clubs to promote the sport by running series of local events.
Jon Musgrave comes to Hillsborough
Jon Musgrave- one of the UK's top coaches and silver medal winner from WOC 1993 - is coming to Hillsborough on 14-15th Dec to hold a coaching workshop. The weekend is designed to be beneficial to both athletes and coaches.
The Saturday session is aimed at juniors/ beginners and those that are interested in coaching at that level. The Sunday session is for older more regular orienteers and those that would like to coach at that level.
Basically if you orienteer- or would like to start orienteering- then this is the perfect weekend for you!!
NIOA Coaching Officer Allan Bogle needs to know if you are interested in coming. See more details here.
See the short promotional video for orienteering (and particularly for the Swiss brothers Martin and Daniel Hubmann) "Go hard or go home"  here. The "Route to Christmas" feature is back for another year at World of O. See Day 1 here. Orienteering in south Wales at Easter? Entries to the 2014 Jan Kjellstrom O-Festival in the Brecon Beacons at Easter have opened. See details here. The JK is Britain's biggest competitions, with sprint, two day's individual and a relay over the Easter weekend.

Finally, the sad news that Nuala Rothery, wife of Seán and mother of former Irish Champions Eoin and Colm, died recently after a short illness. Seán, one of the founders of Irish Orienteers and of the IOA, and designer of the original IOA logo, is still orienteering in the M85 class whenever it is provided (well done, Frank Ryan for having the class at the Connacht Championships). Both Eoin and Colm are now based in Australia but are still active in orienteering, Eoin having embraced MTBO as well as the running variety, and is a regular reader of TIO and was a frequent contributor in earlier times, as can be seen from the TIO archives here. Our sympathy goes to Seán, Eoin, Colm and Fionnuala and their families.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

November 2013

Championships Time
While the Irish Championships come at the effective end of the competition season, at the beginning of May, the Northern Ireland, Connacht and Munster Championships cluster in the autumn. This year the Connacht Championships were brought forward to the end of September only to be moved back to the end of October again following a clash with the Senior Home International, and the Munster Champs were run a week later.
It's unusual these days to get to run in a forest on two successive Sundays, with so many events taking place on open mountain, but both Championships provided good orienteering in good forests. The Connacht Championships, run by Galway's Western Eagles club at Newcastle Demesne near Ballymahon in Co. Longford, offered an interesting mix of coniferous and beautiful runnable beech wood, with an elegant setting in front of Newcastle House, the seat of the King-Harman family since the 1700's, on the banks of the river Inny. Heavy rain early in the day tested the waterproof maps to the limit, while Frank Ryan's courses used the best parts of the wood, though anyone taking the longer road routes got to know one or two sections of road intimately. 3ROC's Colm Moran took the M21Elite course while CNOC's Niamh O'Boyle won the W21 Elite. The event was run largely for the benefit of visiting orienteers as the small number of Connacht runners were mainly involved in helping: there was, however, one Connacht prizewinner in Derek Conerney, 2nd in M40L. Once again, hats off to the small group of orienteers in Connacht who ran the event: in all honesty I have to say it was much better than I had expected! You can see the results, routes and split times here.
The following Sunday, Cork Orienteers ran the Munster Championships in a classic Galtees forest at Toureen Wood near Cahir. Galtees forests tend to have large erosion gullies running down the sides of the mountains and forests roads running parallel to one another across the slope, and Toureen Wood is no exception. Starting high and finishing low may have reduced the climb on the courses but it didn't eliminate it altogether. The turnout was better than for Connacht, with a good representation of Munster and Leinster runners and a handful from Connacht and Ulster, not to mention a couple of Swedish visitors. Cork O's Darren Burke retained the Munster title, his fifth, while his clubmate W18 Niamh Corbett continued to make her mark and took the W21 title. Yet another good day's orienteering in quite detailed forests where, again, the planners (Liam O'Brian and Willie Fitzgerald) made the best use of the area. You can see the results, routes and split times here.

Wherefore Art Thou?
For those unfortunates who weren't able to make the Munster Championships, there was some consolation in the Three Days of Rome the same weekend.  About 20 orienteers from Ireland made the trip, and you can read Niamh O'Boyle's account of the races here:

With the World Championships to be held in Venice in 2014, meaning an embargo over parts of the city, the Italians took the opportunity to offer a 3-day event in Rome instead. It attracted 18 orienteers from Ireland out of a total of 974 from 17 countries. Our group of myself, Kieran Rocks, Susan Lambe, Marcus Pinker and Ger Butler had a great apartment just down the street from the Colosseum. 

 Day 1 was held in a fairly straightforward park, made much more interesting and fun by running the event as a mass start night-O! Villa Borghese is one of the most popular parks in Rome just north of the city centre. Fast and furious, you had to run fast or get left behind. Wilbert Hollinger kept his cool to finish first by 5 seconds in M65. Mary O'Connell of 3ROC took 2nd place in W50 and Aoife McCavana of GEN was 3rd in W18. My map with route from the women's elite course is here.

Day 2 in Villa Ada was a totally different proposition - green and hilly with lots of route choice (through the green or around on paths?). It was hard to follow the little paths in places and many people lost time wandering around, including me on no. 10. Wilbert was 1st again, Mary was 2nd again, and Marcus Pinker took 3rd place in M35. Again, my course/route is here.

Day 3: the main event. This was the one that we had been waiting for; a chance to run around ancient Rome, past the Colosseum, on the same streets that the Emperors once ruled over. The race didn't disappoint and required forward planning and nifty footwork to avoid tourists and garbage trucks in the narrow streets. There was also a challenging crossing of a major road - the option being to throw yourself in front of the cars and hope they stopped on time to save time or politely wait until they had passed. Marcus was the only one in the top 3 today, with a fine 2nd place in M35. Most of the W21 course is here (no A3 scanner - hence no. 1 is missing).
The Irish put up a good show overall with Marcus sneaking up to 2nd on M35, 19 sec ahead of 3rd after 112 mins of running! Wilbert took 1st place on M65 despite dropping time on the third day, and IOA chairperson Mary was consistent enough to finish 2nd. I'm not sure if they will run this event again or if it will revert to Venice, but it's definitely a nice choice for a weekend of orienteering in November (25 degrees and sunny :)

Calling all Controllers
IOA is running a one-day Controllers' Course in Kildare on 16th November, given by the doyen of UK controllers, Graham Nilsson. Graham has given controlling and planning courses here before and they are excellent. However, it is limited to 15 people and by the time most of you see this it will probably be over ... (but look for a dramatic improvement in course and event standards?)

O-Bits ... EYOC Photos taken by Gerry Meehan at October's European Youth O-Championships in Portugal are here ... IOA are running a two-day First Aid course in Newbridge on 30th November/1st December. At present there are only 2 places left. Details here ... There is to be a sprint event at Dublin City University on Saturday 7th December to raise money for the Junior Squad. There were four great sprint events last year for the same purpose, so here's a chance to do some sprint-O training in preparation for the Irish Sprint Championships at Maynooth at the beginning of May ... JK2014: entries are now open for Britain's biggest O-event, at Easter (April 18-21) in South Wales. See here ... Sad news: the death occurred on November 5th of Nuala Rothery, wife of Seán Rothery, one of the founders of Irish orienteering, and mother of former Irish Champions Eoin and Colm.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

October 2013

VHI 2013
To round off the reports on this year's Home International series, here is Team Manager Helen Baxter's account of the Veterans' event where, to everyone's surprise, Wales finished in second place behind England, relegating Scotland to third and Ireland to fourth.
Team Manager Helen Baxter
After something of a scramble to put together a full team the Irish Veterans set off for Norfolk on the first weekend of October. It all started very well when the NI contingent went to pick up their two Skoda Octavias and found they had been allocated a couple of Mercedes Benz B class. It was a little worrying that they were white and even more worrying that they were Mercs given the usual mucky parking fields at orienteering events, however they were very comfortable. As it turned out there was no need to worry, the parking was on hard standing and a nice dry field.
Things started to go downhill a little when we reached the YHA in Sheringham to be met with an unapologetic ‘There’s no hot water all weekend’. I’m sure it was an unfortunate coincidence that the English team hadn’t managed to book in time and were accommodated in a different hostel (with hot water). That and the fact that the bar wasn’t open and they were intending to lock up at 11 with half the team (plus some Scots and Welsh) still en route almost sent me into meltdown. Instructions to use the keypad on the door weren’t complete either so when they were passed by phone to Andrew at 12.15 am it didn’t work. Fortunately Philip had waited up, helping Mary with a bottle of red, so was able to let them in.
Next day, fortified by breakfast, but not necessarily showered, the team had the morning to explore Sheringham as the Relays didn’t start until the afternoon. I waited with bated breath for Kathryn to turn up as rumour had it her passport had expired – she managed to persuade Ryanair to let her aboard much to my relief. The Relay area was in three distinct parts; a sloping contoured area and a flat area with lots of small paths separated by a wooded holiday park with multiple rides and roads. Running was fast and furious with England dominating the event. The main surprise was when Wales pushed Scotland into third place. Despite some good runs we were bringing up the rear by the end of the day and 18 points down on Scotland. Organising club NOR had arranged for us to use shower blocks on the campsites so at least we had access to warm water.
The four teams managed to drink the hostel dry of red wine that evening – obviously we were all in training for the Individuals the next day. The Individual day dawned sunny and warm: Sheringham Park was a great area with some well planned courses – the bracken added to the challenge but Marcus, Toni, Mary, Jean and Colm produced fantastic runs. Despite our best efforts the deficit was too much to make up so we held on to fourth place, but congratulations to Wales who held onto their second place leaving Scotland in an unaccustomed third. Photos are here. Full results are here. Relay map and routes here; individual here.

It was a great weekend and the long term plan of lulling the other nations into a false sense of security is going well! Next year it’s the Forest of Dean near Bristol on 13/14 September, so start the fitness training now!
Helen Baxter
Team Manager

The team that travelled was: M35 Marcus Pinker; M40 Declan McGrellis, Bobby Smyth; M45 Angus Tyner, Billy Reed; M50 Colm O'Halloran, Aonghus OCléirigh; M55 Andrew Cox, Philip Baxter; M60 Colin Henderson, Raymond Finlay; M65 Wilbert Hollinger.
W35 Toni O'Donovan; W40 Jeni Pim; W45 Heather Cairns, Julie Cleary; W50 Mary O'Connell, Kathryn Walley; W55 Bernie O'Boyle, Helen Baxter; W60 Jean O'Neill, Teresa Finlay; W65 Sue Pim.

Northern Ireland Championships: Meelmore and Luke's Mountain
M21E winner Colm Moran
About 180 ran in this year's Northern Ireland Championships on the rocky slopes of the Mourne Mountains on October 12th, with top spots on the two Elite courses going to visitors Colm Moran (3ROC) and Niamh O'Boyle (CNOC).
The map, updated for the World Police and Fire Games in August, covered the south-facing slopes of the Mournes and, though not basking in sunshine, the conditions were fine for running, with a cool breeze and good visibility. The underfoot conditions were good, with little heather and reasonably dry, and  Harold White's courses brought the runners on the longer courses first west and then back east along the slopes by the old quarries, with a long leg across the hillside. The shorter courses did a clockwise loop with the juniors following the few old mining or sheep tracks available. The Meelmore café provided parking and also refreshments for the most patient orienteers in the world.
You can see the results here and the courses and runners' routes on Routegadget here. Bizarrely, there seem to be two LVO websites without clear communication between them, so you may not end up quite where you expected ... a bit like orienteering, really!
Harking back to the last TIO, a look at the numbers in various age classes is interesting. If we take both M21 classes together (M21 Elite and Long) there were 18 entered for this 14-year age spread. If we look at the next three age classes (M35, 40 and 45) - admittedly 15 years - there were 16; for M40-45-50 there were 34, and for M45-50-55 there were 36, with similar proportions in the Women's classes: where are all the 21? Are they all off doing adventure races or mountain biking, sports where you can get an immediate return for your investment in terms of adrenaline rush and instant gratification?

Schools' Orienteering
There is a lot happening around the country in schools' orienteering. There are primary and secondary schools competitions in Munster, in Cork, in Leinster and in Northern Ireland. The Irish Schools' Championships are being hosted by GEN in Co. Wicklow in April. A short video promoting orienteering in schools has been released by IOA - you can see it here.

For your diary, here are the forthcoming schools' fixtures from the IOA fixtures list:

Leinster (Primary)
13 November - Cabinteely Park
12 February - Santry Demesne
30 April - Irish Primary Schools Championships (GEN)

Leinster (Secondary) 
23 October - Santry Demesne
4 December - Cabinteely Park
29 January - Malahide Castle
12 March - Leinster Schools Champs (Secondary) - Djouce Woods, Enniskerry
8 April - Irish Secondary Schools Championships (GEN)

South East
12 February - South East Schools' Championships - JFK Forest Park, New Ross (Primary)
13 February - South East Schools' Championships - JFK Forest Park (Secondary)

22 October - Farran Forest Park
22 November - Doneraile
28 January - Curragh Wood, Midleton (Secondary)
29 January - Curragh Wood (Primary)

13 March - Munster Schools' Champs (Primary & Secondary), Fota, Co. Cork.

Northern Ireland Schools Association
EVENT 1- 26th SEPT: Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen
EVENT 2- 16th OCT: Stormont
EVENT 3- 28th FEB: Garvagh
EVENT 4- 17th APR: Castlewellan
EVENT 5- 16th MAY:  Portglenone
EVENT 6- 18th JUNE: Drum Manor

We also have an extraordinary situation in Munster where an alternative schools' orienteering organisation, also calling itself the Cork Schools Orienteering Association, which is not affiliated to IOA, is staging more than thirty schools events  throughout Munster, some on the same day as the officially sanctioned events ...

From the archives
30 years ago ... in September 1983 Eoin Rothery was urging us to enter the 1984 Irish Championships at Killary, the first complex open mountain area which was mapped in Ireland (before that we had thought of orienteering as being only in forests) ... Joss Lynam entered into correspondence with The Irish Orienteer about his course length at the 1983 Irish Championships on Keeper Hill ... IOA Fixtures Secretary Bernard Phelan was trying to get the clubs to commit to major events farther in advance ... Four schools (Wesley, de la Salle, Oatlands and Muckross Park) ran schools events in Leinster and LSOA Chairman Brian Duffy lamented the lack of development in schools orienteering ... DUO were about to unveil their map of Glencree at the 2-Day in November ... entry fees were £6 for seniors and entries closed six weeks before the event in those pre-internet days ... The Irish Orienteer Trophy inter-club competition was about to kick off another round, with Thomond v Lee Orienteers v Western Eagles; Ajax v 3ROC; Eastern Command v GEN; NWOC v Setanta ... the ripples of the "Moving Crag" controversy at Curragh's event at Stradbally in May were still being felt, with an Ajax Limerick competition including the following verse:

"There was a Young man called Wally
who went hunting crags in Stradbally
though he looked up and around
that crag couldn't be found
it had gone for the day to Offaly" ... 

Both Aonghus O'Cléirigh and Wally Young were anxious to improve the selection process for WOC teams ... there was a report on the 1983 World Championships in Hungary where only Wally Young and Eileen Loughman made it through to the final ... Norway finished 1-2-3-4 in the men's race. This was the first time that qualification races were used to select runners for the finals. The Irish relay teams finished 18th and 15th ... National Orienteering Day was on September 25th ... John McCullough gave yet another report on the 1983 Swedish O-Ringen in Smaland where Aonghus ÓCléirigh won the H21A class on Day 5 ... the World Military Championships was to be in Brazil in November ... the IOA organised a course planning competition ... the first seven teams at the Tio Mila overnight relay in Sweden finish within 48 seconds of one another after 13 hours of racing. Finland's Kalevan Rasti win ... the inclusion of Ski Orienteering as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Canada is threatened by Curling ... IOA Juniors Officer Larry Roe was encouraging schools to make O-maps of their grounds ... IOA were running a development conference in October in Kilkenny... Plassey Orienteers (PLO) ran a relay event at Foynes, Co. Limerick ... and ECO ran an event on their new map of Fauna, near Donard in Co. Wicklow, which another club had been mapping under a different name, little suspecting that two maps were being made at the same time until the two groups of surveyors met in the forest. "What are you doing here?" "Making a map. I might ask you the same question ...".

35 years ago ... In Autumn 1978 Curragh Orienteerers were about to launch their new 4-colour map of the Curragh (printed on yellow paper to save ink) ... John McCullough reported on his first trip to the Swedish O-Ringen ... the second edition of John Disley's book "Orienteering" had been published (Cost £3.25) ... Wally Young and Eileen Loughman were heading the Leinster Ranking List ... Brian Porteus was about to run a planning and organising course at Newcastle Youth Hostel in Co. Down (Cost approx. £3). Brian is now the President of the International Orienteering Federation. The Irish Junior Championships were run in Donadea, Co. Kildare on 14th/15th October (I was sent by the planner to put out controls in the dark with sites marked by streamers made from pieces of black plastic rubbish bags - the only was to find them was by touch!). The two-day Leinster O-Ringen was in Clarabeg and Donadea. Schools events were run on Sundays and there were 9 planned for the season in Leinster.

You can read the full story in the Irish Orienteer and Leinster Orienteering Clubs' Newsletter archives here.

And finally ...
The venue of next Sunday's CNOC Leinster Autumn Series event (October 20th) is at the Curragh, Co. Kildare - the location isn't shown in the IOA fixtures list.
Some reminders: don't forget to enter the Connacht Championships on October 27th and the Munster Championships on November 3rd.
Good luck to the Irish team travelling to the European Youth Orienteering Championships in Portugal on october 24-27: hope you don't miss too much school!
And thanks to the people who replied to my recent request for confirmation that somebody out there is actually reading this!


Saturday, 5 October 2013

HI Time

An interesting idea!
September and October are Home International Time, with the Juniors in South Wales in mid-September, the Seniors in Cooley last weekend and the Veterans this weekend in Norfolk. There is always a close tussle between England and Scotland for first and second and between Ireland and Wales for third and fourth. The countries with arguably the best orienteering (Scotland) and the biggest numbers (England) win out. Ireland and Wales often struggle to field a full team, borrowing runners from older and younger classes to make up the numbers. This was not a bad solution last weekend, though, when W35 Toni O'Donovan ran in as winner in the W21 race at the SHI in the mists of Carlingford. We have occasional flashes of brilliance but we don't have the strength in depth.
It's a numbers game, though: with such a small number of orienteers here it's difficult to make up a team. There are plenty of people orienteering, in parks, school grounds and forests, but how do we translate that participation to active membership?
The people who come along casually to do some orienteering don't make the maps or run the events. The core of active orienteers is getting older and is not being replaced by new blood at the rate that's required. The M21 and W21 classes, a 14-year age span, should be full of competitors, but if you look at many big international competitions, it's the veterans who form the biggest group, so it's not just an Irish problem.
What incentives are there for someone to join a club? A nice social atmosphere? Good facilities? Regular technical and physical training? Coaching to help improve? A clubhouse on the edge of a fantastic forest? Trasnport to events? Lots of free gear? Reduced entry fees for events? A spirit of adventure and of community? Any of the above?

Anyway, back to the HI's. Mike Long's report on the Junior event follows. The Junior team is preparing for the European Youth Championships later this month in Portugal; the remaining Juniors will have a great weekend's orienteering in Co. Waterford in two weeks, so there's lots of activity, but the numbers are small and the bigger the base the higher the pyramid.

SHI Relays, Carnawaddy
SHI 2013
The rotation of the three Home Internationals meant that it was Ireland's turn to host the Seniors. Some negotiation between Northern Ireland Orienteering and IOA ended up in two areas in Co. Louth, Carnawaddy and Carlingford Mountain, being chosen for the event and Fingal and 3ROC volunteered to provide the orienteering.
The relays at Carnawaddy on the Saturday ran the teams straight out onto the open mountain and on to the interesting part of the map, with its crags and contours. Val Jones's courses ran across the hillside, giving the spectators and waiting runners a fine view of the race. Luckily the visibility was good even if conditions were cool and windy, but the under-strength Welsh side sufferd two injuries which put them out of contention, with one English injury also interfering with the teams' plans. Good runs by the Irish on their home turf brought the score after Day 1 to: England 26, Scotland 22, Ireland 16, Wales 10.
Overnighting in the medieval village of Carlingford, the teams didn't have to travel far for Sunday's individual race.  Carlingford Mountain has played host to the SHI before (in 1997?) and one Welsh runner had run in that as a W16. Its presence dominated the village, particularly with its permanent cap of cloud which was to play such a part in the proceedings on Sunday. The first couple and the last couple of controls were below the cloud, but the rest of Ger Butler's courses kept the runners in very limited visibility and challenged their natigation, fitness and nerve to the limit on the upper part of the mountain. Great wins from Toni O'Donovan and Jack Millar inspired the Irish team but still the final result was Scotland 48, England 46, Ireland 31, Wales 15.
You can see the relay results and routes here, with the results and routes for the individual and the associated Leinster Autumn Series event which followed the early-startuing SHI here. Read the Scottish perspective on how they routed the Sassanachs here.

Championships time
Following the rescheduling of the Connacht Championships so as not to clash with the Senior Home International, we have a concentration of regional championships coming up soon. The Northern Ireland Championships on October 12th at Meelmore and Luke's Mountain in the Mournes; the Connacht Championships at Ballymahon, Co. Longford on the 27th and the Munster Championships at Toureen Wood, Cahir, Co. Tipperary on November 3rd.
Another attractive event is the Welsh Championships in the sandy forest of Newborough in Anglesey on October 13th but the ferry prices are outrageous and the ferry times aren't great either, so that idea got the chop. Quite a number (eighteen?) of Irish orienteers are going to the three days in Rome at the beginning of November, but Italian law requires that all competitors have a medical certificate stating that they are fit and well, and a certificate from their club to say that they are members. Whatever happened to adventure sports?

Simone Niggli Retires
Multiple World Champion Simone Niggli-Luder (Switzerland), holder of 23 World Championship Gold Medals from 2001 to 2013, is quitting elite orienteering after the 2013 World Cup series. In 2003 and 2005 she won all four gold medals (Sprint, Middle, Classic and Relay) at the World Championships!
Read more here.

Junior Home International 2013

The 2013 Junior Home International took place in South Wales on the weekend of 14-15 September. Ireland was represented by a full team of 24 at W/M 14, 16, 18 age groups. We had 4 debutants: Ciara Fitzgerald, Dara O'Cléirigh, Cian May and Zac O'Sullivan Hourihan.
The individual day was held at Mynydd Llangatwg, an area immediately adjacent to one of the JK competition days for next Easter. From my vantage point (OK it is easy for me to say!) it looked like clean, runnable but technically tricky open mountain terrain. I am told that the runnability reduced on the higher ground and that the ferns were poorly mapped making route choice difficult.
The relays on Day 2 were held at Clydach Terrace just off the famous (well to us Civil Engineers anyway!) Head of the Valleys Road. In this area the ground has been much altered by spoil heaps from mine workings etc. so was very tricky technically. The planner choose an excellent change over area on a hill overlooking most of the area.
In the end the Judith Wingham trophy (Ireland v Wales) came down to the performance of the last Welsh girls on their last relay team and we were beaten narrowly by 3 points. If I am honest I guess we did not deserve to beat Wales as they had 3 podium places on Day One and our best results were 5th, 7th and 8th (all girls). The juniors were excellent ambassadors for Ireland, behaved well (I missed the céilí so not sure how that went) and were definitely the best supporters.
My thanks to Ruth for her technical leadership during the weekend and to Rosemarie, Jeni, Brian, Steve, Gerry and Nigel for driving and lots more. Congrats to Cliona, Niamh, Niall and Harry, who are moving on upwards from the M/W18 ranks for their efforts over the years. Róisín was awarded the trophy as best Irish athlete of the weekend for her 5th individual place and a strong run on leg 3 of the relay.
Full results can be found here
An excellent set of pictures, taken by Gerry Meehan, can be found here.

Mike Long

6th London City Race - Clean around the bend
This was my third London City Race, on September 22nd, and it moved downriver from the historic centre to the Victorian docklands on the Isle of Dogs: Eastenders fans will recognise the area from the TV series opening credits. Somewhere recently I read that is was a marshy area in the past and called the Isle of Ducks. 

Getting off the train, we were up high, overlooking the start at West India Dock. Courses were less tricky than in my previous two London races, but the location was unusual, with big basins, lifting bridges, industrial areas, modern skyscrapers and warrens of houses, combined with Mudchute Park featuring a city farm and a reconstructed WWII anti-aircraft battery as a control site. Two of our controls were down by the river itself, on a gravelly tidal beach, so we got the full whiff of the Thames.
The competition area was in the large U-bend in the river, just across from Greenwich. The younger juniors ran in Mudchute Park, just across the road from the event centre, but the rest of us took a train to the start: we had a Docklands Light Railway ticket printed on our race numbers - that's joined-up thinking!
The map was at 1:5000 scale and was about A3 size, with the competition area split into two: the northern part on one side of the page and the southern on the back.  The mapper was Italian Remo Madella who also surveyed the sprint map for JK2011 in Belfast, around Stranmillis College.
It's a very enjoyable race and certainly gives visitors a new perspective on one of the world's great cities.
You can see the map, courses and results here.
Next year the race (on 21st September) will revert to the heart of the city and will be tied in with three other city races to make a series: Porto in Portugal, Edinburgh and Barcelona. Ryanair, here we come!
Another city race to watch next year, though, is the Venice race during the World Championships in Italy.

The City Race was preceded on the Saturday by an Ultrasprint run by LOK in Victoria Park in North London. The 1:1250 scale map showed every tree and bush of quite s small section of the park, and included a special orienteering maze with 2 to 4 controls in it. Runners did three short courses of about 1 km with about 25 controls each. These times were added to find the fastest four in each category (Juniors, Vets etc) who then had a head to head race, after which the rest of us ran a final course to finish 5th, 6th etc.
Typical control site
We had no control descriptions or control codes to check that we were at the right control (there were more than 60 controls out) and if you punched the wrong control you weren't disqualified but got a 30 second time penalty, so it paid to be careful (a lesson I learned the hard way, twice!). The precise location of the control was shown by a small dot in the circle and, in the example on the right, there could well be another control on the opposite side of the tree.
A lot of work for the organisers in terms of computer programming, mapping, control placement and maze construction, but a lot of fun for the 300 or so participants. At least this time I realised that there was an enlarged version of the maze down in the corner of the map, not like the previous time I did one of these.
You can see a video of the event here and  here. Results, maps and courses are here.
Verdict: packed a lot into a great weekend - orienteering, sightseeing, visiting, getting parking tickets ...

On the level ... In my own City Race, I lost 1 minute on the first control by getting the levels wrong and running past a set of stairs in a building without seeing them, and I never recovered the lost time. I ran around the corner and instead of seeing the control, the road disappeared into the bowels of the earth. Later, a small gap in a wall on the map lured me to it, only to find that it was a printing defect in the map and I was again on the wrong level!

Come in, do you read me?
Since the revision of the IOA web site, it's a bit more difficult to see The Irish Orienteer on the page. If you are reading this, and you would like it to continue, do drop a line by e-mail to to encourage the editor to keep going! Thanks to Mike Long and the people who have done reports for TIO ... how about some more from people? John McC.

Monday, 26 August 2013

August 2013

Back to Business
A full list of orienteering fixtures ranging from mountain bike through Championships to Internationals starts this autumn. After a busy summer for our international representatives in the Czech Republic and Finland for the Junior World Champs and the World Champs itself, the focus now is on the action at home.

Setanta are running the only MTBO event on the fixture list at Djouce on Saturday 31st August - last year's event combined route-choice with some very steep and technical small tracks (too tricky for me to ride!), but so far no other clubs are following suit - maybe if there was a Leinster orienteering organisation some more coordination between clubs would happen.
Fingal, meanwhile, are running three scatter events in the Dublin area, including some new maps, and the energetic folk in Western Eagles are staging the Connacht Championships on September 15th at Ballymahon (- so what if it's not in Connacht: if Galway can play hurling in Leinster and London can play in Connacht, what's a few miles across the Shannon between friends?). Entries open until 6th September - details here.
On the Home International front, the Juniors (M/W14-16-18) travel to south Wales for the Junior Home International on the open limestone moors on September 14-15, while England, Scotland and Wales come here for the Senior Home International in Co. Louth (M/W20 and 21) on September 28-29, hosted by Fingal (Relays at Carnawaddy on Saturday) and 3ROC (Individual, combined with the first Autumn Leinster League event at Carlingford on Sunday). The Veteran Home International (M/W35-65) is in Norfolk on October 5th/6th.
In Munster, the Cork Autumn League and the CorkO Autumn Leagues are starting, plus the Munster League, the Kingdom League in Kerry and the South East Short-O series (including Kilkenny Castle
In between the JHI and SHI, the 34th Mournes Mountain Marathon is on September 21-22, but entries have probably closed for the event. (This weekend also sees some Irish orienteers travelling to London for the 6th London City Race, starting near Greenwich, and combined with an UltraSprint race the day before).
Slightly further away, timewise, are the Northern Ireland Championships at Meelmore in the Mournes on October 12th (Saturday) and the Munster Championships at Toureen Wood, near Cahir, Co. Tipperary on November 3rd. The Juniors have their eyes on the European Youth Championships in Portugal from October x to y.
The full list of IOA fixtures is here, with Northern Ireland fixtures here.

Summer reports

Finland: Mike Long reports on the Junior Tour to the World Championships at Vuokatti -
A party 28 juniors and parents attended WOC 2013 in Finland and occupied four adjacent apartments in Kajaani Polytechnic School. A fantastic week was had by all. Proof of this was that there was much discussion on a similar trip to WOC 2014 in Italy before leaving for home. There was a separate group of Irish Seniors (who were competing at WOC) in Vuokatti but contact between the two groups was very good, as Paul O'Sullivan Hourihan (manager of the senior squad), was staying with the juniors.
The week involved competing in the Kajaani Open Week, which was run in parallel with WOC and on the same terrain, and spectating at the WOC events as well as supporting the Irish contingent. Some training was also organized by Ruth Lynam and we also competed in a sprint event on the same course as used by the elites for qualification.
The events were held on two distinctly different terrains. Days 1 and 2 were in beautiful open forest on a very runnable moss cover floor. Thierry Gueorgiou described it as being like a cross country run”. Days 3 and 4 were in extremely complicated terrain (some of which was not unlike France in 2011).
Competition-wise our best result was Ruth who finished in 5th place of 74 finishers in the W55A category and was our only prize winner.
You can get some of the excitement of the WOC week from the Elite bulletins which were issued each day during WOC: I'll add them if I can figure out how!

Scotland: John McCullough was one of a number of Irish orienteers who went to the Scottish 6-Day, Moray 2013.
The temptation of running for four days on forested sand dunes, an urban sprint and two days in classic Highland forests was too much to resist. Moray 2013, in the region south east of Inverness, returned to the area of the sixth World Championships in 1976, the first in which Ireland took part: the names Culbin and Darnaway resonate with anyone as obsessed with orienteering as I was in those days!
More than 3000 competitors from across Europe and further afield were attracted by the reputation of the event which was enhanced this year by the selection of this part of  Scotland as the venue for the 2015 World Championships, tied in with the next Six-Day.
The event centre at Brodie Castle also provided space for tents and camper vans, but competitors were staying in all kinds of accommodation throughout the region. Days 1, 2, 3 and 5 were on forested dunes, with a sprint on the rest day after Day 3, and classic Scottish forest on days 4 and 6. Very heavy rain on Day 1 at Lossie kept the runners cool: a narrow strip of complex dunes along the coast, but spoiled by a big motorbike track all along the complex part which made the navigation easy. The inland part of the area was pretty featureless but did have some detail in contours and vegetation. All the sand dune maps were at 1:7500 scale with 2.5m contours.
Day 2 at Carse of Ardersier had long ridges of low parallel dunes, with some more complex areas nearer the sea. Summer returned, with sunshine and heat. A novel idea today was a Limerick competition, which could include a rhyme with the name of the area "Carse" but without using the obvious ...
Each day the parking areas were close to assembly so that long hikes were minimised, though there were a couple of long walks to the start. The usual traders, food stalls and other services were on hand each day.
Day 3 at Culbin, used for WOC 1976 and to be used again in 2015. We were in the western part, the least interesting section. Hundreds of small hills scattered randomly across the map; energy-sapping heather and brashings on the ground. Lesson 1 (learned half way around the course): go around the tracks, not straight through the forest.

Wednesday was a rest day, with a chance to run in a sprint race or go to a mountain bike orienteering event. We chose the sprint at Lossiemouth, right beside a busy RAF fighter base. Those luck enough to have entered early got a course around a tricky housing estate with lots of alleyways, followed by a section in a big gravel-pit: it may not sound very promising, but it provided a real challenge, with winning times in the low teens of minutes. This was also the first day of the Euromeeting: three days of orienteering at sprint, middle and long distance in WOC-relevant terrain. Juniors and later entries (such as myself) were limited to the gravel-pit section, which was OK but lacked the variety of the houses. (British Orienteering rules prohibit juniors running where there may be traffic).
Interestingly, two of our younger orienteers, Laurence and Jonathan Quinn,  outran five of the Irish Men's team in the Euromeeting in today's sprint race ...

Day 4, Loch of Boath, again saw the return of the rain. Moderately contoured forest, a 1:10,000 scale map, and lots of heather and fraughans underfoot meant that you knew you were in Scotland. Some tracks, but not where you want them; 5 metre contours - lots of them, but very few black (rock) features: fifth day running in a row - legs are starting to tire. This was the middle distance race for the Euromeeting, with 8 Irish men and 3 women running.
Day 5, back to the sand dunes of Roseisle: sunshine, sea, forested sand dunes: a lovely area, with a map-exchange for the longer courses. A long way to the start (the organisers weren't able to use the original route) so I only arrived, well warmed-up, as my name was being called!
Day 6, last chance to improve my position. Only your best 4 days count in the 6-Day, so you don't actually have to enter or to run every day. Coulmony & Belivat, another classic highland forest with good visibility, marshes, contours, heather and hills: Scotland in a nutshell. A long downhill run-in, and another 6-Day finishes. The Euromeeting Elite Men had 17.1 km today with 490 metres climb and 33 controls, and it showed as they ran in.
Some Irish results were Jonathan Quinn 9th M18L,  James Logue winning M45L with Bill Edwards second, Wilbert Hollinger 6th M65L, Frank Martindale 7th M75L; Niamh Corbett 5th W18L and Róisín Long 11th; Julie Cleary 5th W45S, Mary O'Connell 5th W50S, Helen Baxter 7th W55S.
Overall results, routegadget (runners' routes) etc are on the Moray 2013 web site here.
Scotland in 2015? Definitely!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

July 2013 - Summer break for TIO

World Orienteering Championships, Vuokatti, Finland
You were probably following the World Championships team in Finland on the IOA web site, on facebook or on the Senior Squad blog, so there's no immediate need to rehash their adventures here. Well done to all the team, particularly Nick Simonin on qualifying for the Long final, and to the Men's Relay team of Nick, Neil Dobbs and Darren Burke, but also to Rosalind, Susan, first timers Olivia, Kevin, Conor and Josh, and to Darren and Niamh.You can see some photos of the team in action here.
This is the last of the current format of World Championships, and next year we'll be facing a new reality as a Grade 3 country, entitled to one runner in the men's and women's long finals, but without the possibility of running three men and three women in the qualifiers, so forest orienteering is taking a back seat to the more TV-friendly Sprint format. As a result there are many good Irish orienteers who will be denied the chance of ever running a forest WOC race.
However, we may still get more runs than we did in the past: at the 1976 WOC, the first in which Ireland took part, there were just two races, an individual (long) and a relay. We sent a team of six runners to Scotland ( Monica Nowlan, Eileen Loughman, Pat Healy, Paget McCormack, Wilbert Hollinger and Wally Young). In those days the WOC was run every second year, and in 1979 it changed to even years, but still every second year.
In 1991 a short race was added, which changed to "middle distance" later, and in 2001 the "Sprint" race was included. From 2004 the event was run every year, and in 2014 the format will change again.
The change from even to odd years in 1979 was to avoid a clash with the summer Olympics, as in those distant days the IOA still hoped that orienteering would become a full Olympic sport.
You can read the plans for WOC2014 and beyond on the IOF web site here, and also read the submissions from the member federations in favour of and against the proposal here.
From Ireland's perspective, and that of the other smaller, under-resourced countries, the change is not a welcome one. Maybe the format will change back in future to allow more countries to try to qualify in the forest?
See the squad facebook page here.

Junior World Orienteering Championships, Hradec Kralové, Czech Republic
Just before the World Championships, the Junior WOC was on for under-21's in the Czech republic. Again, you could follow the fortunes of the team on-line on the IOA web site or various other places. Well done to Aine, Niamh, Jack, Eoin, Jonny and Niall. You were running against the best in the world in your age class, so don't be disappointed with your performance - it's a great experience and one you can build on.
Just after exams isn't a great time to have to run at JWOC, but  don't be disheartened. You will have seen the support, funding, facilities, maps and terrain that other countries have. Orienteering is a very small sport in Ireland, numbering active orienteers in the hundreds, not in the thousands or tens of thousands, but we can still compete with much bigger countries and hold our heads high.
Next year's JWOC is in Bulgaria ...

and coming soon ...
After the Scottish 6-Day, Moray 2013, events start off at home with the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast and the Mournes, then 3ROC's three Tuesdays (13/20/27 August) in Dublin's Phoenix Park, followed by Fingal's Sunday Scatter Series in September. The Autumn League series starts in Cotk too.
Also in September we have the Connacht Championships at Ballymahon, Co. Longford on the 15th, the Junior Home International in South Wales on the 14th/15th, the Mournes Mountain Marathon (and the London City Race and Ultrasprint) on the 21st/22nd, the Senior Home International in Carlingford on the 28th/29th. See the IOA fixtures list for details of most of these.

How about this?
If you want to add an additional challenge to your orienteering, here's a little titbit from the internet which you might find interesting: the Swedish Orienteering and Firing a Rat from a Cannon Championships: see here. (Warning: If you are of a sensitive nature you might not find this amusing, or you might even be offended, so don't go there ...)

See you in September!

John McC.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Irish Orienteer June 2013/2

A Worm's-eye view of the Jukola
First leg mass start at 11 pm
The Jukola Relay is a big overnight 7-person relay run every year at midsummer in Finland. It attracts a loyal following, with many runners coming back year after year, and teams ranging from the elite clubs like multiple winners Kalavan Rasti down to social groups and work-based teams of postmen and firemen. This year I met one runner who is in his 43rd successive Jukola and who is hoping to run in fifty - something of a rarity as you can't run until you are at least 16 years old.
The competition this year was based at Jamsa, an area of forests and (of course) lakes about two and a half hours drive north of Helsinki. Team numbers were down on last year when the event was close to Helsinki, but still attracted about 1600 teams, equivalent to more than 11,000 runners. An associated 4-person relay for women, the "Venla", is run in the afternoon before the Jukola and featured 1200 teams, another 4800 runners.
Part of the map
The choice of venue must be dictated by finding a suitable parking and changeover area close enough to reasonable roads and public transport, as the terrain everywhere seems to be so good. Parking was in the yard of a big paper mill and we were bussed the 10 minutes or so to the competition centre. Here a whole town had been assembled, with sports shops, food, toilets, a post office, church, tents for teams to stay in, showers and sauna, plus all the orienteering requirements like changeover area, big screen TV, PA systems etc.
Irish interest focused on Nick Simonin (Leg 5 for Lidingo 1), Conor (1st leg for Tisaren) and Ruairi (6th leg for Scotland) Short, Andrew Quin (leg 6 for Lidingo 2) and Neil Dobbs (leg 3 for Helsingin Suunnistajat) all running, though on different teams.
I had ended up scheduled to run leg 2, about 12 km at night, with a London OK team. We worked out a rough timetable based on expected range of good and not so good results and I expected to be starting some time around 1.30 in the morning. The question was, how to prepare for this: when should I eat? should I try and sleep beforehand? 1.30 a.m. in Finland is only 11.30 pm in Ireland, so how much adjustment would my body clock have made? I no longer go running at 11.30 at night, but there was a time when I did ... partly so the neighbours wouldn't see this eccentric in their midst.
We arrived during the Venla relay, following it on the big screens with live GPS tracking of the leading teams. On the last leg Denmark's Emma Klingenberg slipped past Halden's Mari Fasting by taking a marginally shorter route on the last leg, and clinched the trophy for her club, OK Pan from Arhus.
Maps at the ready
Food and rest were the first priorities, so we were thinking tactics like a Formula 1 team working out pit stops. I opted for the ham and potato casserole supplemented by the odd munkki (doughnut) or pulla (cinnamon flavoured pastry) while others went for chicken and pasta or other options. I got my gear sorted out before it got dark, and got dressed ready to run before hitting the sleeping bag. The PA was still working away and the sky was bright outside so I didn't get much sleep. I heard the Jukola starting at 11 pm with a loud gunshot (actually, two shots for some reason) and a microlight flying overhead filming, and dozed a bit for an hour and a half before getting ready. 12.10 a.m. and the leading runners come through: the usual suspects but with Murray Strain of Scotland lying 7th! See a video of the start from the air here.
O-shoes, headlight, EMIT brick, compass, glasses, race number ... all OK. Drink some water and go towards the start. A final bite to eat (a bowl of porridge with milk and jam set me up nicely) and into the changeover area.
Right on time, first leg David Saunders came in, handing me my map and advising me to be careful in one complex area. Look at the control description for the first control, fold the huge map, and off we go. At this stage, thousands of runners had been through so there were elephant tracks through the forest. Do I really need a headlamp? To read the map - definitely; to see where I'm going - it's a big help, though you can see the shapes of the ground and where the trees are.
A long run out to the start triangle, then follow the elephant tracks through the forest, onto the path, across the wide ride with the power line, across the road, into the forest and down the hill to the big depression: spot on. The EMIT unit on the site is facing the wrong way so I have to do a loop around the control to get my brick down to register. Up the hill past an unused control (all in place but the code numbers blanked out) to my re-entrant. The control codes are printed on the map beside the circles so it's easy to check you're at the right one; less easy to check the descriptions as you have to open up the map the size of a newspaper and fold it again on the run. On towards the southern part of the area which is hillier: up the steep hill, hands on knees giving an extra push, over the top and down by the knolls to the small reentrant. Phew! There it is.
Some take it less seriously ...
Other runners are around me, many on my leg but some from later legs already coming through. It's two o'clock in the morning but still not completely dark: there is light in the sky on the horizon but I'm not sure if it's from the sun setting or rising. It's rather overcast so the low sun when it rises may not be too dazzling.
Our aim was to keep our 5th leg runner out of the mass start at about 9 a.m. If we all ran to schedule we should manage that fairly comfortable, but anything could happen!
Look out for the drinks stations dispensing water and "Gutzy" sports drink. The course tonight is as long as the three days of the Shamrock O-Ringen rolled into one, so just keep going and guzzle the Gutzy. Remember not to use drinks stations as attack points as they aren't always quite where they are marked on the map. Run into the forest from a drinks station with dozens of runners milling around. Can't see the control. Back out to the track and in another way - there is it. Should have done that the first time.
The map is excellent: the forest is mostly runnable with good visibility and some paths and tracks plus the additional ones made by the earlier runners. Very little bare rock, few huge boulders, well-defined vegetation changes but some deep, wet and muddy drains. Someone in a Swedish OK Ravinen top goes past me and shouts "Hi, John!" - must be CompassSport editor Nick Barrable on Leg 3. Keep going to the tricky area David told me about: find the blob of grey for bare rock, over the hill to the control, then cross the drain into the green forest and on to the next control. Wrong number. Where am I? Back to the drain and realise I crossed it too far to the right. Cross a second drain and things start to make sense - there it is! Back on track again.
Three o'clock in the morning and the sky is brightening. The birds start singing and a couple of cuckoos join in. My headlamp is still going strong: it's not really necessary now, but it's too much trouble to take it off. Follow the marsh, over the hill and down into the scattered young trees to the pond. Running on the easier flat ground now, but I drift off to the right. Make the correction but I realise I'm tiring and starting to lose concentration. Grab a handful of mixed nuts and raisins from my pocket and plough on through the marshy forest.
Legs tiring at this stage but concentrate on not making mistakes - that's where time can be lost. Into a complex area of scattered trees, scrambler tracks and contours for a couple of controls - OK. A couple of long legs coming up but it's flat. A runner stops in front of me and pulls down his trousers at the edge of the path to ... well, we won't go there! I can now hear the PA system at the finish - that always puts extra pressure on. Some easy controls coming up, while I had expected some tricky ones approaching the changeover. Pick up a couple of paths and some elephant tracks, everyone running in much the same direction now. Put away the map, run towards the sound. Out of the forest into the open. Last control - 333. Where is it? I feel everyone looking at me. I can see 222 and 444, but where is 333? Wipe the sweat from my eyes and look at the map: OK, 50 metres to the right. Punch and run, up the bridge and down again, round to the finish timing unit. Throw in my map and keep running. Take the next runner's map and look for him in the sea of expectant faces on the changeover line. Give the map to leg 3 Colm O'Halloran, mention the complex area that David had told me about, take his jacket. "Have a good run - you'll enjoy it!". He says "I ate your banana". Thanks, Colm!
Walk back around to download my results, in the middle of a gaggle of leg 2, 3 and 4 runners: we knew we weren't going to win, but we are on target for keeping Alison out of the mass start and with luck we might even finish higher than our team number of 1108.
Back to the tent to wake up Julie, our leg 4 runner, and get some food and drink into me. Get changed and into the sleeping bag. It's 4.30 in the morning, 2.30 Irish time. What am I doing here? Can't get warm in the sleeping bag but nibble fruit and nuts. It's too far this year to walk to the showers and the sauna, so I'll just have to stay as I am. Eventually, sleep.
Meanwhile at the sharp end the top teams are battling it out. French and Swiss names (Adamski, Gueorgiou, Hubmann, Hertner) mingle with the Finns, Swedes and Norwegians. Winning the Jukola is a huge thing - will Finnish club Kalevan Rasti do it again? The spectators huddle around the big screens, wrapped in blankets or with deck chairs. The Helsinki postmen come and go from the sauna. The daily menu rolls on, from chicken and pasta to pytt-y-panna (fried potato with bacon bits), to breakfast. The PA announces the final leg runners coming in ... Thierry Gueorgiou anchors Kalevan Rasti and finishes almost two and a half minutes clear of Kristiansand's Daniel Hubmann in a team time of 7.27.58.
The sun comes up and warms the ground. Bodies are strewn everywhere around the army tents, dozing on mattresses after the night's exertions. Our final leg runners, Ronan and Mark, make their way to the changeover for the final mass starts 20 minutes apart. It's heating up and the last two legs are long. Now I'm glad I did leg 2, even though the others have managed a night's sleep. All across Finland, armchair orienteers have tried to stay awake all night watching Jukola live on TV (admittedly it's not the most riveting, but it has a hypnotic fascination, like counting sheep).
While the last two are running, there's time for breakfast and some final shopping in the selection of orienteering gear shops. Pick up some bargains (gaiters reduced from €26 to €10, Jukola shoe bags down from €10 to €3 ...) and laze around. The protracted prizegiving with speeches and announcements in Finnish, Swedish and English takes forever, so I give up on it.
Everyone in: no disqualifications, no injuries, no DNF's, all running towards the faster end of their predicted time. About 400 teams behind us. We ran our fastest time since 2005, so it could be worse.
However, this will be my last Jukola. At least until next year in Kuopio ...
See the Jukola 2013 web site here.

Other News
This week the Junior World Championships and the World Championships teams are abroad, making final preparations for the events in the Czech Republic and Finland in the coming days.

JWOC (essentially for the M/W20 classes) start at Hradec Kralove in the Czech Republic on Sunday, with the long race on Monday, middle qualifier on Tuesday, middle final on Wednesday, sprint on Friday and relay on Saturday. The team is led by Greg McCann and the runners are Niamh Corbett and Aine McCann, Jack Millar, Niall McCarthy, Eoin McCullough, and Jonathan Quinn.
Last week temperatures were in the 30's but they have coles to 15-20C this week and it looks like they will stay in that range for the duration of the competition. The team were training there at Easter in the snow but their familiarity with the maps and terrain will be a good start for JWOC. Follow JWOC here.

Meanwhile at WOC in Finland some of the Senior team are moving northwards, training for the long, middle and sprint races. Temperatures there are warm, in the 30's, and the mosquitos are out, but the forests are great and preparations are going well.
The championships are the week after JWOC and are based at Vuokatti, 7 hours drive north of Helsinki. The team is:
Sprint: Darren Burke, Josh O’Sullivan-Hourihan, Kevin O’Boyle
Middle: Nick Simoni, Conor Short, Darren Burke
Long: Nick Simonin, Conor Short, Neil Dobbs
Sprint: Niamh O’Boyle, Rosalind Hussey, Susan Lambe
Middle: Niamh O’Boyle, Susan Lambe, Olivia Baxter
Long: Rosalind Hussey
Follow WOC here.See the squad's facebook page.

Looking forward ...
There are a few things to look forward to during or after the summer: the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast will feature three orienteering competitions on August 5th, 8th and 9th. The orienteering will be a sprint race in the city, middle distance in the city parks and long distance in the Mournes. See the WPFG web site here. There should be opportunities for a run even if you're not strictly eleigible for the games. All eyes will be on Robbie Bryson (ex DUO and Ajax) who must have a good chance of a medal in the orienteering as well as in the fell running race.
Later in the month 3ROC are running three Tuesday evening events in Dublin's Phoenix Park, with the same two course format as last year: dates are August 14, 21 and 28. September will also see the popular Fingal "Scatter event" series on Sundays.
In September we also move into Home International mode, kicking off with the Juniors (M/W 14, 16 and 18) in South Wales on the 14th and 15th. The Seniors follow with a joint Fingal/Three Rock weekend in the Carlingford area for the event (M/W20 and 21 classes) on September 28/29. Sunday 29th at Carlingford will include a Leinster Autumn Series competition and the LVO Club Championships. The Veterans (M/W35-65) finish off the series on October 5th and 6th at Sheringham in Norfolk.
If you are near a car ferry with some free time on the 13th October, how about a day trip to Anglesey to run in the Welsh Championships on the fantastic forested dunes of Newborough near Bangor?
Looking further forward, we have notifications of out of bounds areas for the 2014 Irish Championships to be run by Setanta in Wicklow on May 3-5  south and west of the Wicklow Gap , a three day in Oughterard, Co. Galway on the June Bank Holiday weekend 2014 (great areas, maybe drier underfoot then?) and the 2015 Irish Championships on Slieve Croob, Slievegarron and Cratlieve, Co. Down, in May 2015. (Slieve Croob was used for JK2011).

If YOU are at any interesting competitions, why not write about them for TIO?