Reports

Joe Woodley – JWOC 2016

The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) has always represented the major goal in my Junior Orienteering Program. 2016 was my final year in the Junior ranks and whilst I have raced for Great Britain at several European Youth Championships and twice at the Junior European Cup, I was determined to go out on a high at JWOC in Switzerland. Throughout the Winter of 2015 and spring of 2016 I put an extra focus on my training, nutrition and performance lifestyle. I’m currently studying at Sheffield University and the great training group and tailor made strength and conditioning program made this a lot easier. Unfortunately, I was hampered by a knee injury for much of the season limiting the volume of training I was able to do. Thankfully I was able to reach a good fitness level in the weeks leading up to our Great Britain team selection races. After some solid performances I waited anxiously for news on the selections. I was delighted when I found out I’d been selected alongside 11 others (6 boys and 6 girls in total) for JWOC. Winning the British Middle Distance Championships in M20 Elite Just three weeks before JWOC was a final confidence booster and confirmed I was in good form.

The team met at Manchester Airport on the 6th of July to begin our trip to Switzerland. We flew to Bergamo airport in Italy. On arrival we stopped for food and to do a large shop – seemingly buying every banana in the supermarket. We then drove across the border and through the beautiful Engadin Valley to reach our accommodation and the event centre in the village of Scuol. We were staying in a Youth Hostel alongside many others teams. We spent the next few days training and getting accustomed to how it felt running at altitude; especially important for those of us running the long distance race held at between 2200m and 2000m above sea level. Each member of the team was running two out of the three individual races (Sprint, Middle or Long) as well as the relay race.

The first race of the week was the Sprint – this was the race that I wasn’t doing. Frustrating as it was to sit this one out it was great fun supporting the rest of the team who were racing. A particular mention must go to Megan Carter-Davies who had a great race to finish in 7th place, equaling Great Britain’s best ever female sprint result at JWOC. Dane Blomquist though disappointed with his race, deserves a mention as the best British male finisher in 41st. That evening we debriefed as a team and congratulated our sprinters, before discussing the Long Race. The long race was fairly remote and we would have to take public transport; a train and bus to reach the pre-start area.

I woke early on Monday in order to catch my train – I often struggle to eat before big races but the vast array of Swiss Muesli, yoghurts, cheeses, meats and breads available at the Youth Hostel made things easier! I was glad to share my train and bus journey with Jenny Rickets a fellow British Team member; we chatted about our University’s – Edinburgh and Sheffield and the great rivalry between them. This served to take my mind off the race keeping me relaxed. Almost as soon as my race started I realized it was going to be a long tough day. The terrain was rough and steep with many rocks and lots of vegetation.  I managed to keep my navigation clean and battled around the course. Upon finishing I was drained – the heat and altitude had taken its toll on my body. I was disappointed with my performance but knew this wasn’t the time for moping. The sooner I could take on board fluids and food the better my recovery would be; this had to be the priority if I wanted to give myself at chance of performing in the middle distance race to come on Wednesday.

Tuesday was a rest day and all the team took the opportunity to have a long lie in before cramming in as much food as possible. After breakfast we had a team meeting. We had all found the long race really tough – our best result came from Will Rigg who placed 31st. It was now important to put this behind us and focus on our next goal the middle distance race. We also met up with the Swedish team at their hotel and played various games such as ping pong and table football!

The middle distance race consisted of a qualification race on Wednesday and a final on Thursday. I was really excited for this race – and had high hopes of making the final. The Qualification races divide the competitors into three heats A, B and C. The top 20 runners in each heat progress to the Final. I ran hard but more importantly avoided mistakes in the first technical loop of my course and was in 6th place before a long leg to number 8. Unfortunately, I missed my control by about 10 meters and it took me around 1:45 to relocate. I battled hard hereafter, nailing the rest of my course as heavy rain began to fall on the steep rocky slopes. When I finished I faced the agonizing wait to see if I would make the top twenty. In the end I was gutted to miss out on a top 20 position by just 1 minute – frustratingly my time behind the leader would also have been good enough for qualification in heat B. I found this hard to take as my race was so much fun and I’d nailed 90 percent of the course but just one mistake had cost me. However, that’s the way orienteering is and why we keep coming back, searching for that illusive perfect race!

On Thursday those of us who didn’t make the final travelled to the arena to spectate. We had a great chance of some top results with Fiona Bunn finishing 2nd in her heat with Megan 3rd in hers. We also had three guys, Dane, Daniel and Sasha in the men’s Final. First through the arena was the Dane after whom the rest of the team gradually filtered through. We cheered everyone through and it was awesome watching Megan take 4th place in the middle distance. Sasha also produced a solid race to finish in 16th on the highly competitive and hard fought men’s’ course.

Friday was the Final day of racing, the relay. All of our four teams were strong and capable of a top result. On first leg for me was Will Rigg, he made some mistakes early on then ran well to bring us in in 24th position. I ran a strong clean race to bring us up to 21st place with Harrison on last leg again running well to bring us up to 16th. The relay was arguably my best performance of the week and a real positive to end on. The other men’s team were 9th place (12th including 2nd teams). The women’s first team were a fabulous 5th and the 2nd team were 16th. Finishing with 4 teams inside the top 20 was great way to finish the week. Whilst I wasn’t satisfied with my individual performances JWOC has only fueled my hunger and desire to make it to the top. The team had a lot of fun and meeting Junior orienteers from across the world was a real highlight.  I can take away many positives from my races at JWOC, particularly the majority of my middle distance race in which I kept pace with the very best Juniors in the World. Transitioning into the senior ranks next year will be a huge challenge but one that I approach with a lot of great memories and valuable experience gained at the Junior Level.

I’d like to thank; Airienteers, The John Taylor Foundation, Yorkshire and Humberside Orienteering Association and the Leeds Sports Federation whose generous donations made this trip possible.

The Team

Joe Woodley, Middle Qualifier

Julie Emmerson – JWOC 2016

Dear John Taylor Foundation,

I would like to say a big thank you for the contribution you have made towards the cost of me competing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships last week. I have had a long season packed full of injuries and despite many hours of cross training, I unsurprisingly didn’t get the results I had originally aimed for in the individual races. However it did all come together in the relay. I ran the last leg in GB’s first team and the three of us all put good solid runs together to finish in 5th place, which is the best result ever by a GB girls relay team at JWOC! I went out in 7th place and quickly passed two runners but got overtaken by Finland who had the champion in the long distance race on last leg. Going through the spectator run-through I knew I was in 6th place (the last podium position) so the last loop was all about keeping it together. The worry of losing that position was at the back of my mind all the way to the last control but when I ran into the finish I heard I had moved up to 5th place! It was an amazing feeling to go up on the podium and to end a disappointing week on a high. On the whole it was a great trip to the beautiful Engadin valley in Switzerland and the races have provided valuable experience.

Thanks again and all the best,

Julie Emmerson

Julie – centre

Laurie Dawkins – English Schools

I just wanted to provide a report following the  grant that you kindly  awarded me earlier in the season which meant I could attend a pre season  training camp in Portugal. This enabled me  to spend a concentrated period of time with my coach to prepare for the athletics season. I have been selected for and achieved a bronze medal at the National English Schools Championships. This is my first year in the under 20 age group and I am a year young so i have another year to go in this age category. I am currently ranked 7th in the UK and I aim to improve on this by the end of the season.

Thank you so much for the funding which has made this achievement possible. I attach a photograph of me training in Portugal and a photograph of me receiving my medal at English Schools.

Laurie throwing

Laurie getting her Bronze

Grace Molloy – JWOC 2018

JWOC 2018

The Junior World Orienteering Championships (JWOC) 2018 took place between 9th-14th July in Hungary. I was selected to represent Great Britain at this competition which is for the best U20 athletes from around the world. This was my 2nd JWOC and I was hoping to improve on my results last year and also my good results at the Junior European Cup in October 2017, my most recent international. Last year at JWOC I recorded 19th and 20th positions in the middle and long distances respectively and had a bit of disaster in the relay, bringing the team home in 12th. In the Junior European Cup I won the bronze medal in both the long and sprint distance races but again had a disappointing relay where the team finished 9th. This year at JWOC I was racing all of the disciplines (sprint, middle, long and relay) and I thought the long would be my best chance at a top result.

I had been on a training camp in Hungary last Summer with the GB squad to prepare for the challenges of the terrain and heat. We found it was very different to racing in the UK so a group of 10 of us decided to go on another preparation camp in March. These were both very useful as they allowed me to practise orienteering in similar areas to those I would race on at JWOC. After a series of selection races in April the squad was finalised and we arrived a few days before the competition started and after a couple more training sessions in relevant terrain I felt well prepared to race.

The first race was the long distance and at 10.2km, it was the longest ever female long race at JWOC. One of the main challenges I anticipated was the heat, with July highs averaging 30 degrees and sometimes rising to 35, but fortunately it was notably cooler than this so I didn’t have any real problems with the temperature. I started well but then made some costly mistakes in the middle section. I finished cleanly but my time of 70:49 was only enough for 38th out of 147. I thought I might have placed higher but I wasn’t running fast enough to compete with the top 10 and my mistakes dashed any hopes of replicating my top 20 from last year.

The next day was the sprint and despite some previous good international results in sprint, I didn’t think I would be fast enough to break into the top 15 even with a clean run but I wanted to get as close as possible to that. I had been sprinting well so far this season and from looking at the area on Google maps, and training on similar areas, I expected it to be a fairly straightforward course so I felt like I could give it a good go. However as soon as I picked up the map I realised how wrong I was. It was the most technically challenging sprint I have ever raced and particularly in the first half I felt like I made  lots of small time losses and had none of my usual flow. I reassured myself that everyone would be losing time and if I didn’t make a major mistake and kept pushing physically as much as I could then I would still be able to get a decent result. The second half was easier and when I finished I knew I hadn’t had any disastrous controls but also knew my race had been scrappy throughout and that I lack the pace to compete with the very best. I was therefore very pleasantly surprised to discover that my time of 17:44 put me in 17th place. However I quickly forgot about my own race to celebrate the hero of the day, Matthew Fellbaum, who finished in 2nd place to equal Britain’s best result at JWOC.

The middle qualifier was the next race, with the top 20 in each heat qualifying for the final. The middle terrain was the most challenging and very different from anything I had raced in before so although I had recorded a top 20 result in the final in the middle distance last year, I didn’t have any real aims for this year other than to try to have the best race I could. I lost time in the harder first half and I couldn’t make up for it in the easier second half so I finished 22nd in a time of 30:46 which meant I just missed out on qualifying for the final. However, I was actually pleased with how much I had improved in the terrain since first trying it last Summer.

Not qualifying for the middle final meant that I had a day to rest up for the relay. I have had plenty of good international individual races, and plenty of good national relay races, however all 4 of the international relay races I have run for GB have been horrific. So I was really hoping to break this trend and have a strong run in what promised to be fast race. I was running 2nd leg with Fiona Bunn on 1st leg and Chloe Potter on 3rd leg. Fiona has had some excellent 1st leg runs in international races before but after a small mistake early on she came through the spectator run through (about 10 minutes from the end) only a minute down on the leaders so very much still in the mix. It wasn’t long till she was coming down the run in having clawed back more time on the leaders and up to 8th place. I knew I wasn’t far down in time on the leaders or a podium position (top 6 in orienteering) and I wanted to give Chloe the chance to fight for a top position. I had a pretty much perfect run until the final loop where I lost concentration and lost about a minute on the wrong hill. I handed over to Chloe delighted to find out we were up to 6th . Chloe had a quality race, mixing it in with the top girls as many nations keep their best runners for last leg, and even though she scared us all by narrowly missing a control and having to go back for it, she brought us home in 4th! We were all buzzing with the result which is the best Britain has ever done in a JWOC relay.

Getting on the podium in the relay was a fantastic way to end the week and it left me really excited to try to improve again for JWOC 2019 in Denmark.

JWOC 2018 Team

Relay Team JWOC 2018 Grace in centre

JWOC 2018 Relay Podium

Grace Molloy – Thank you

Thank you very much for your letter and I am delighted to be awarded a grant by the John Taylor Foundation. I really appreciate the support you have given me and also the support you give to other athletes.

Racing at the Junior World Orienteering Championships was an amazing experience for me and I was really pleased with my performances, especially in the relay event. I have attached a full report of the competition.

I am flying to Australia this weekend for 6 months of coaching, racing and training there which I am really excited about.

Thanks again.

Yours sincerely,

Grace Molloy

Lucy Haines – Pre-JWOC Camp

This August, I headed to Silkeborg in Denmark with the British orienteering team, to run in the Junior World Orienteering Championship 2019 terrain ahead of next year.  It was an invaluable experience as I learnt the different skills needed to tackle this terrain. We spent the week in a hostel which was situated near all of the areas for training (and lakes for swimming!)

The day after we arrived, we got stuck into the Danish forests. The woodland consisted of large rolling spurs and re-entrants, with patches of light green, which was usually easy to get through. Some of the flat open forest plateaus reminded me of southern areas in the South Downs, whilst the areas of spurs and steep re-entrants were similar to areas of Cannock Chase.

Throughout the week we completed three long, two middle, one sprint and two relay style sessions. All these training sessions involved various exercises and different techniques to focus on which were important in tackling the challenges of this type of terrain. One of my favourite sessions was on the final day, where we ran long legs in groups, each taking different routes (or slight variations in routes) and matching the running intensity. This allowed us to compare paths options to forest options and options of going around the top of a re-entrant compared to running straight, often down a steep gully and up the other side. Often, if the forest was white, it was quicker to go straight.

Another good training session was the relay training as there were other national teams taking part too, like Sweden, Norway and even some of the Danish senior squad who had just returned from the World Champs. The training was set up like a mass start, with over 40 runners on each of the boy’s and girls’ course. This training turned out to be almost as competitive as a JWOC relay! Overall, it was a great week with some great people and I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Denmark for a Pre-JWOC camp.

Thank you to The John Taylor Foundation for their support.

Pre-JWOC map sample

JWOC training area

Francesca Sene – Thank you

Hello there,

I would say the grant I received to buy equipment for my triple jump training earlier this year definitely helped me skyrocket to the next level of performance. I won Hampshire county triple jump (senior division) and as a result was asked to compete regionally, where I jumped a PB! (10.10m)

At the moment I am sidelined due to some shin problems but I am still training 6x a week just avoiding impact at the moment. I feel indebted to the charity and will be forever grateful for the support you gave me when I didn’t have enough money to get the equipment I needed.

I will continue to update you as I progress further.

Yours gratefully,

Francesca Sene

Francesca Sene – Gold Hampshire County Triple Jump

Matt Fellbaum – JWOC 2018

I’ve been orienteering nearly all my life, my family all went together to local events throughout my childhood and I became a part of the local club Manchester and District. My Dad still reminds me of the time he taught me how to use a compass on Alderley Edge, and I have countless memories of playing with friends at Lyme Park on summer evenings. As I got a bit older I joined the North West Junior Squad and developed hugely from lots of coaching and training camps. I’m so grateful for all the work the many coaches, but especially John, Sue and Richard, have put in over the years and thus given so many juniors amazing experiences! The 3 Norway tours I went on are where I fell in love with the sport and made great friends, enabling me to experience how good orienteering can be. However, all throughout my time in the squad I wasn’t very good at running, I was quite chubby, and my map reading was a bit rubbish as well. I had a long way to go!

I managed to get into the England and GB teams, running multiple Interland’s, JHI’s and EYOC’s. My results at the international races were okay but nothing special, nothing to say “this guy’s good”. But I knew and was always reminded by my all-knowing father and brother that I was on an upward curve – I can get to the top I just need to keep going down the path. And they were all incredibly valuable experiences that showed me what the big races were like, and how to perform well at them. I was doing well but for years everyone had been talking about JWOC as the pinnacle of junior orienteering, and I knew I wanted to get there – a huge achievement in itself.

It took me a couple of years trying to get selected for JWOC but last year I went out to Finland with the team. It was incredible, the 300 best juniors from around the world, all together for a week of serious quality racing. My results were again nothing special but one of my best mates got GB’s best ever results, and a coveted podium place (which in orienteering is top 6). This was amazing, and so inspiring! I wanted that, but unfortunately, I’m no way near as talented – problem!

I decided to spend the next year committing fully to performing at JWOC. That doesn’t mean I became a hermit for the year and never went outside other than to train, but I made sure in every decision I made I considered how it would affect my results. This was very tough at times, and I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re pretty certain of what you want, but it is definitely the best way to succeed in sport (and probably life).

I arrived at JWOC knowing that no matter what happens I did my best over the year to do as well as I can, and I can be proud of that. Monday was the long race and although I ran well, the result was again nothing special (27th), and I felt demoralized, maybe I can’t get the result I want? Maybe it isn’t worth the effort? Maybe I’m just not good enough yet?

The next day was the sprint. Let me put this into context. I have been told my whole life that I’m not fast enough to do well at sprint. I know that I’m 2 minutes slower than the best over 5km. I have no chance of success, so may as well not care about the result and enjoy it, right?

Even though I knew I had no chance, I had still done everything I could to prepare for the race. I spent tens of hours making a map from street view to familiarize myself with every building. I spent tens of hours with my coach talking about technique and planning my physical training. I spent hundreds of hours out in the cold and the rain on my own, training hard.

And I got lucky. The course was among the most technical international sprint races there’s ever been, which suited me perfectly. All the favourites made big mistakes, opening the door for an outsider. I had a very good race, not perfect as I got a couple of route choices wrong, but my execution was almost perfect.

I finished and I was in the lead. 2 hours passed by, with everyone starting faster than me but all making mistakes. 2 runners left to finish, a German and a Hungarian. Everyone thought I had it. The Hungarian came 8th. The German beat me by 8 seconds.

Sport is brutal.

But that was the joint best result Britain has ever had at JWOC. I think I’ll take it.

Matt being interviewed after the JWOC Long

Matt, on left, with his Silver medal

Matt in the forest

Amber Anning – Junior GB Vest

Hello

I hope you and the trustees are all well. 

I am just writing to let you know that I have been selected for the British Junior team to compete at the Loughborough International this weekend. It is my first Junior GB vest and it will be such an honour to wear it. I will be competing in the 200m and am also in the 4x100m relay team. 

Thank you for your ongoing support. It has made all the difference and I am really excited about my season ahead.

Best wishes,

Amber Anning

Amber Anning – Warm weather training

Dear Trustees of the John Taylor Foundation,

I hope you are all well. I would just like to thank you so much for the grant given to me in order to help with warm weather training. I had a fantastic time being in America and training in such warm weather conditions. I will attach a few photos so you can see what it was like!

Thanks again for all your support and best wishes for the rest of the year,

Amber Anning