JWOC 2015- Rauland, Norway
This year I was selected to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Orienteering Championships for the first time. JWOC was held in Rauland in the Norwegian mountains from the 5th to the 10th of July in very technically demanding terrain.
The whole team flew out to Norway a few days before the competition began to do some orienteering training on the model areas. These areas were quite similar to the competitions areas, and this helped us to get used to the way things are mapped in Norway. We also found that open marshes were good features to use as they were very obvious, which is quite different to north-west England.
The first race of the week was the sprint, which I was not running in. This was because most members of the team were only selected to run for two of the three individual disciplines. However, I enjoyed watching the rest of the team compete, and finish with some excellent results.
My first race was the qualification race for the middle distance. The course was almost entirely slope orienteering, with lots of legs diagonally across vague slopes. This required very accurate use of compass, and I made quite a few mistakes early on in the course, eventually finishing in 30th place in my heat and qualifying for the B final. (There are 3 heats and finishers 1-20 in each heat go through to the A final, 21-40 go through to the B final and the rest to the C final).
The middle distance finals were the next day. The start list is in reverse order of the results from the qualifier, so I had a start time in the middle of B final. I found the course a lot more enjoyable, although it was still quite technical, and I finished in 8th place. I knew that the terrain for the long distance was similar to some areas of the middle final area, so having a good run built up my confidence for the long distance race.
Between the middle finals and the long distance we had a day off from racing, and some of the team went to the long distance model area mainly to familiarise ourselves with the 1:15,000 map scale used in the long distance races. In the afternoon, we also went for a short swim in the lake near where we were staying.
Because there are no qualifiers for the long distance race at JWOC, the start window for the long distance runs from 9am to 2:30pm. I had an early start at 9:31, which meant that after I had finished I got to enjoy watching the rest of the team finish as well. Some of the runners were wearing GPS tracking, and there were cameras out in the terrain, so there was a lot to watch on the big screen in the arena. There was lots of route choice on the course, but it was also very physical as there was quite a lot of climb and the open marshes were quite energy sapping. I had a fairly clean run, although I made a bad route choice when I caught up some runners who had started ahead of me, and I made a few errors in the control circle.
My position at the end of the day was 54th, and I was the first British girl. The top result of the day was Aidan Smith finishing in 4th position on the men’s course, which was the best ever GB result on the JWOC long.
The final event of the week was the relay, which was held in the same arena as the long distance. The boys relay started first at 9am and the girls relay started later at 10:20am. We were held in quarantine before the start, so we couldn’t speak to any members of the team who had already run and we couldn’t see the big screen where they were showing the GPS tracking. Fortunately, we could still see when our runners were coming in. I was on second leg for the second team, and we came back quite far behind after the first leg. I had a clean run apart from one control, where I made a massive error, but I still brought the team up a few places. Fiona had a good run on 3rd leg and we finished in 32nd.
In the evening there was a party for all the teams at the hotel where some of the teams were staying. This was a great opportunity to relax after a week of hard races, and to make new friends from some of the other teams.
I really enjoyed my week in Norway at JWOC 2105, and I have learned a lot about my orienteering which will help me to improve my training over the winter. I would like to thank the team coaches for all the support they gave us while we were competing, and SROC, the NWOA, and the John Taylor Foundation for the financial assistance they gave me.