Laura Brown – Orienteer

Junior European Cup 2022

The Junior European Cup was an incredible opportunity and I am so glad that it was my international debut. JEC 2022 was held in Blankenburg, Germany right on the edge of the Harz mountains. The competition consisted of a sprint race, a long/classic race and a relay race. The nerves when we arrived were through the roof, as entering the hotel after a slightly stressful journey we saw all the different teams (from 12 different countries) wearing all their national kit and I think that’s when it really sunk in for me that I was really about to compete for GB!

After doing a practise sprint in the town we were staying at, we had a lot of time to chill so many of us went to explore the stunning town to get a good view of the castle that overlooked town on the hillside.  

It was an early start on the Saturday and a short drive to a neighbouring town to go into quarantine for the sprint race. Surprisingly I felt pretty calm, the only thing I was nervous about was the 135m of climb!!! The area was very challenging both physically (due to the amount of climb as we went all the way up to the castle on top of the hill) and technically challenging.

On the Sunday it was an even earlier start to the day to get to the long event. The long was combined with the German Championships, so it was very busy and you could feel the buzz. The finished was inside a castle on the top of a huge hill- with 80m climb to the last control!!! The area we were racing in was amazing with 3 different kinds of terrain to run through so it was challenging. It was very very hilly towards the end of the course and with lots of little rock features so was tricky but very fun.

Finally, the relay on the Monday. I have got say I was most nervous for the relay as this time it’s not just about you, you are running for a team and I was determined not to let them down. The relay area was amazing, a hilly but technical area that was really runnable so it was a fast race. I was on the 1st leg sharing a mass start with around 80 M/W 18s and M/W 20s. The race went really well and it was amazing to run alongside so many other amazing athletes. As the girls GB team (with Alice Kemsley and Emma Crawford) we managed to get 22nd out of 43 other girls teams so we were really really pleased.

Overall, despite being pretty disappointed with my individual results, I was really pleased with my mindset and the way I handled the pressure of the races. Now that I have had a taste for international competition, I am even more determined to improve in the hope to be selected again in the future.

I would like to thank you for sponsoring me, your support makes it possible for me to be able to take these opportunities and grow as an athlete. These kinds of experiences encourage and motivate me to further improve my orienteering, as it is a good platform to prepare me to start my final year of W18.

Thank you, Laura Brown, LOC W18