Thursday, May 25, 2017

Clare Durand: "I'm the only serious Trail Orienteer within a three hour drive"



To talk about Clare Durand is to talk about resilience. It’s in Lancaster, in the desert north of Los Angeles, in the United States, that we’re going to find her. Clare studied Geography and Computer Science, worked for the government making military maps, worked on movies and television as an assistant director and taught Mathematics. She’s now directing local musical theatre productions, is an active volunteer with the Girl Scouts and is writing a series of children’s spy novels. Enough? It seems not. She’s also building a small business, organizing local orienteering races and training. In the midst of this whole bustle, Clare doesn’t neglect her own preparation, as she’s one of the most prominent and committed North American Trail Orienteers.


How did Orienteering came to your life? Why Orienteering and why not Gymnastics, for example?

C. D. - As a child, I was a competitive swimmer. But I stopped swimming at the age of 15 to have more free time. I did a single trail-based orienteering event during college with a colleague but didn't pursue it. A few years later, I had moved to the East Coast and attended a beginner's event that I read about in the newspaper and was hooked. I've always really enjoyed maps, navigation, and hiking, so it's no doubt this was the sport for me.

Do you remember when you first did TrailO? Was it love at first sight?

C. D. - I first did TrailO at a demonstration event in Wyoming, around 2000. I did very well. This was exciting to me, because I am not a naturally talented runner, which makes it more difficult for me to have high placings in Foot Orienteering. But TrailO was something I could really excel in.

What do you see in TrailO that makes it so special?

C. D. - What makes TrailO special is it's availability to people of all mobility challenges and it's purity as a map reading challenge. But I think it does make it difficult to get people practicing TrailO. Most outdoor enthusiasts want to be more active, and I'm sure it must be difficult for someone who cannot enter the terrain to understand the map in the same way that those of us who also do FootO can.

We are used to see you representing the US team in the World Trail Orienteering Championships. How do you assess your results so far? Would you expect something better?

C. D. - I've been disappointed to not have some higher placings, especially in PreO. I have had a few really excellent single day performances, but have not accomplished this for two days in a row when it counts. I've been encouraged by my continued improvement in TempO. Last year I came close to making the final, which is a big jump from being near the bottom of the standings in Italy. It's hard to keep up with the amount of TrailO that goes on in Europe. My competitors are getting much more practice. I also have never won the U.S. Championships in TrailO. That's a big target for me.

What is the most difficult part of being Trail orienteer in the United States?

C. D. - Lack of events and training opportunities. The U.S. is a very large place with very few Trail Orienteers. I'm the only serious Trail Orienteer within a three hour drive, so there is no one to help me train near home. Any local events are put on by me, but since I am also putting on most of the local Foot Orienteering, it leaves little time for TrailO. Similar conditions exist for most of our team members.

Please, complete the sentence: For having a strong TrailO team, the United States would...

C. D. - (…) Commit to having many more TrailO events throughout the country and have Trail Orienteering training camps. Our team is not attracting new people. We need to attract more new orienteers and especially figure out how to bring Trail Orienteering to the Paralympic population who might be interested in our sport.

You were the course setter of the 2017 US TrailO Championships, recently said held in Camp Sherman, California. Are you happy with your work and with the overall event?

C. D. - I was very happy with the course. The competitors had high praise and really enjoyed it. I did have to throw out one control, but this was fine, since I agreed with the complaint once I looked at the situation. I wish we had a better turnout. Less than 20 people competed in the Trail Orienteering events. The last time I set the U.S. Champs (2009), we had over 50 people compete. So this shows how Trail Orienteering is on the decline in the U.S.

What are your goals for the season?

C. D. - I am hoping to go to Lithuania, but am having difficulty fitting it in my budget, so I'm still working on that. A trip from California to Europe is very expensive. If I can go, my goals would be to have two excellent PreO days, possibly reaching the awards level, and to make the TempO final.

Would you like to share your biggest dream with us?

C. D. - I have many big dreams related to my different pursuits. I dream that orienteering would become popular enough in the U.S. that we would have events every weekend in every city. In TrailO my biggest dream would be to achieve the gold medal in PreO at the World Champs.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

C. D. - I think that it is difficult to attract people to TrailO because orienteering is an inherently active sport and TrailO is not. I sometimes wonder if we should develop some sort of Paralympic wheelchair sprint event to bring more athleticism to the Paralympic format.

Joaquim Margarido

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Latin Countries Cup 2017: Victory for Portugal



With eight individual victories and 74 points overall, Portugal won the 23rd edition of the Latin Countries Cup which took place in Asiago, Italy. With two victories each in the Elite classes, João Mega Figueiredo and Andra Cecilia Anghel were prominent individual figures.


Sub-Regional event of the International Orienteering Federation, the Latin Countries Cup came back to Italy and to the beautiful scenery of the Asiago Plateau, for another edition. Included in the Highlands Open HOP 2017, the event was organized by A.S.D. Erebus Orientamento Vicenza and Italian Orienteering Federation, gathering teams from Spain, Portugal, Romania, Italy and Brazil. The program started in Turcio with the Middle Distance race, in which Romania achieved the lead in the standings with three individual victories, against two victories of Italy and one of Spain. However, the favouritism of Italians and Romanians would have an amazing response in the second stage, a Sprint that took place in Marostica, in which the Portuguese team got five individual triumphs, against one victory from Spain.

The stage of Long Distance took place in Monte Corno and, in it, Portugal returned to be the most effective team, adding three more victories to its own account, against two triumphs of Spain and one of Romania. In the sum of points reached in the three stages, Portugal registered a total of 74 points, achieving its second victory in 23 editions of the Latin Countries Cup, after the victory on home ground seven years ago. Romania with 65 points, Italy with 61 points and Spain with 56 points finished in the immediate positions. Brazil, winner of the previous edition organized in Chile, closed the standings with just 4 points. Italy gives now the testimony to Uruguay that will be in charge of the organization of the 24th edition of the Latinum Certamen, in 2018.


Results

Middle Distance
Men/Women Elite – Ricardo Scalet (Italy) and Andra Cecilia Anghel (Romania)
M/W20 – Mihai Andrei Tintar (Romania) and Ágnes Néda (Romania)
M/W18 – Enrico Mannocci (Italy) and Inés Pozo (Spain)

Sprint
Men/Women Elite – João Mega Figueiredo (Portugal) and Mariana Moreira (Portugal)
M/W20 – Ricardo Esteves (Portugal) and Beatriz Sanguino (Portugal)
M/W18 – Alvaro Casado (Spain) and Helena Lima (Portugal)

Long Distance
Men/Women Elite – João Mega Figueiredo (Portugal) and Andra Cecilia Anghel (Romania)
M/W20 – Ricardo Esteves (Portugal) and Beatriz Sanguino (Portugal)
M/W18 – Alvaro Casado (Spain) and Inés Pozo (Spain)

Latin Countries Cup 2017
Overall standings

1. Portugal 74 points
2. Romania 65 points
3. Italy 61 points
4. Spain 56 points
5. Brazil 4 points

More information can be found at http://www.fiso.it/.

[Photo: Jose Ángel Nieto Poblete / facebook.com/ja.np.56]

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

City Race Euro Tour 2017: Orienteering in focus in seven big european cities



Between 7th May and 12th November, 2017, Orienteering will be in focus in seven major European cities. Bringing together the efforts and interests of Paris, Antwerp, Bristol, Treviso, Porto, Barcelona and Bilbao, the 4th edition of the City Race Euro Tour puts sport and tourism once more hand in hand.


Paris was the venue chosen for the inaugural presentation of the 2017 City Race Euro Tour. Starting in the French capital on 7th May, the event will take in Belgium (Antwerp, 13th and 14th May), Great Britain (Bristol, 10th and 11th June), Italy (Treviso, 17th and 18th June), Portugal (Porto, 22nd to 24th September) with the finish in Spain (Barcelona, 4th and 5th November and Bilbao, 11th and 12th November). “Think hard, run fast, feel good” stands as the motto of these seven major Orienteering events in seven major European cities. The Tour targets everyone, leading competitors and also beginners.

The idea of creating the Euro City Race Tour was the result of a partnership established in 2012 between the organising groups of the London City Race and Porto City Race. The outcome of combining the social and sporting interests proved indeed heartening, and then to decide to extend the invitation to other organisations took only a brief moment. Edinburgh and Barcelona joined Porto and London in the first edition. Krakow and Seville joined the event in 2015 and Antwerp, Malaga, Firenze and Lille were ‘newcomers’ in 2016. With a good recipe for success, the European City Race gives the public and the media visibility to increase the popularity of Orienteering, attracting crowds to applaud runners in an urban environment.


First races in Paris and Antwerp

Held for the first time ever, the Paris City Race called to Montmartre, one of the main tourist attractions in the French capital, 393 competitors from 15 different nations. It was quite unusual to see people running, maps and compasses in their hands, through the little streets, parks, restaurant terraces and stairs, side by side with painters at Place du Tertre or tourists searching for the places where Georges Seurat, Erik Satie Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Picasso lived about one century ago. It was in this nostalgic and, at the same time, life-buzzing atmosphere, that the French Juste Raimbault (CLSG Melun) and the British Caroline Craig (North Gloucestershire OC) were stronger than their opponents, achieving clear victories in the Elite category.

One week later, the third Antwerp City Race attracted to Antwerp’s city centre 273 competitors from 18 countries. The event took place on the Het Steen map, a mix of old and new city centre with a passage on the Quay of the Schelde, towards the castle ‘Het Steen’ and the finish on Antwerp’s main square. In the Men’s Elite race, two of the best Sprint specialists fought hard for the victory, with the Belgian Yannick Michiels (TROL) getting a nearly two-minute win over the New-Zealander Tim Robertson (Fossum IF). In the Women’s Elite, the New Zealander Laura Robertson (Edinburgh Southern OC) was 43 seconds faster than the Spaniard Anna Serralonga (TROL) in taking first place.


Results

Paris City Race, 7th May 2017

Men Elite
1. Juste Raimbault (CLSG Melun, FRA) 1:03:23 (+ 00:00)
2. Fleury Roux (NOSE, FRA) 1:04:34 (+ 01:11)
3. Julien Le Borgne (Quimper 29, FRA) 1:04:43 (+ 01:20)
4. Pierre Boudet (Garde Rép., FRA) 1:05:12 (+ 01:49)
5. Maxime Chabance (NOSE, FRA) 1:08:20 (+ 04:57)

Women Elite
1. Caroline Craig (North Gloucestershire OC, GBR) 57:04 (+ 00:00)
2. Celine Finas (T.A.D., FRA) 1:00:13 (+ 03:09)
3. Francesca Taufer (U.S. Primiero, ITA) 1:03:05 (+ 06:01)
4. Clarissa Ricard Borchorst (AC Beauchamp, FRA) 1:03:49 (+ 06:45)
5. Nathanaëlle Gerbeaux (GO 78, FRA) 1:04:28 (+ 07:24)

Antwerp City Race, 14th May 2017

Men Elite
1. Yannick Michiels (TROL, BEL) 31:42 (+ 00:00)
2. Tim Robertson (Fossum IF, NZL) 33:39 (+ 01:57)
3. Tristan Bloemen (C.O. Liège, BEL) 34:21 (+ 02:39)
4. Tomas Hendrickx (K.O.L., BEL) 36:00 (+ 04:18)
5. Benjamin Anciaux (TROL, BEL) 37:30 (+ 05:48)

Women Elite
1. Laura Robertson (Edinburgh SOC, NZL) 35:19 (+ 00:00)
2. Anna Serrallonga (TROL, ESP) 36:02 (+ 00:43)
3. Miek Fabré (Omega, BEL) 36:31 (+ 01:12)
4. Kim Geypen (Omega, BEL) 37:29 (+ 02:10)
5. Caroline Craig (North Gloucestershire OC, GBR) 40:28 (+ 05:09)

All information can be found at http://cityracetour.org/.

Text and photo by Joaquim Margarido


[See the original article at http://orienteering.org/orienteering-in-focus-in-seven-big-european-cities/. Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Thermenland Open 2017: Jan Furucz wins TrailO competition



The Thermenland Open 2017 took place last weekend in Hungary, with some really interesting FootO and TrailO competitions. Susy De Pieri and Jan Furucz were the main figures in the PreO and TempO stages, respectively.


Organized on a basis of a cross-border cooperation between the orienteering clubs of Zalaegerszeg in Hungary, Fürstenfeld in Austria, Medimurje in Croatia and Slovenia, the Thermenland Open returned to Hungary after 2010, 2011 and 2014, for a two-day competition of FootO and TrailO.

Attended by 26 athletes from Slovakia, Slovenia, Italy and Hungary, the TrailO competition was arranged by Zoltán Miháczi, with a PreO stage in Zalakaros Park, and a TempO stage, in Nagykanizsa, a beautiful place near a boating lake. Susy de Pieri (Eridano Adventure), Italy, achieved the victory in the PreO stage, after a tight fight with the Slovakian Jan Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava) and the Slovenian Emil Kacin (OK Azimut). All three competitors finished the course with 22 out of 23 possible points. The two timed stations, with three tasks each, were decisive regarding the winner, with De Pieri being one-second faster than Furucz.

Jan Furucz took his revenge on the next day, performing amazingly in the TempO competition were
he was not only the fastest - with 215 seconds spent in the six timed stations, with five tasks each, and an average of seven seconds of answering time per task -, but also the most accurate, with three incorrect answers. Jan Furucz's total time was 305 seconds, 266 seconds less than the Hungarian Fruzsina Biró (BEA), second placed. Suzy De Pieri and Emil Kacin finished in the third position with the same time, just one second after Biró. Jan Furucz was Thermenland Open's overall winner, Suzy De Pieri finished second and Emil Kacin got the third place.



Results

PreO
1. Susy De Pieri (Eridano Adventure, ITA) 22 points / 38 seconds
2. Jan Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava, SVK) 22 points / 39 seconds
3. Emil Kacin (OK Azimut, SLO) 22 points / 194 seconds
4. Renato Bettin (Or Swallows, ITA) 21 points / 79 seconds
5. Ferenc Fehér (ZTC, HUN) 21 points / 91 seconds
6. Krešo Keresteš (OK Trzin, SLO) 20 points / 86 seconds
7. Fruzsina Biró (BEA, HUN) 19 points / 133 seconds
8. Alessandro Casarin (Or Swallows, ITA) 17 points / 114 seconds
9. (1. Junior) András Csertán (ZTC, HUN) 17 points / 161 seconds
10. Edit Palumbi (VHS, HUN) 17 points / 212 seconds
(…)
15. (1. Paralympic) Miksa Laáber (BEA, HUN) 15 points / 156 seconds


TempO
1. Jan Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava, SVK) 305 seconds
2. Fruzsina Biró (BEA, HUN) 571 seconds
3. Susy De Pieri (Eridano Adventure, ITA) 572 seconds
3. Emil Kacin (OK Azimut, SLO) 572 seconds
5. (1. Junior) Barnabás Hargitai (ASK, HUN) 683 seconds
6. Krešo Keresteš (OK Trzin, SLO) 687 seconds
7. (2. Junior) Vid Keresteš (OK Trzin, SLO) 725 seconds
8. Ferenc Fehér (ZTC, HUN) 729 seconds
9. (3. Junior) Bertalan Kiss (SZT, HUN) 732 seconds
10. Renato Bettin (Or Swallows, ITA) 735 seconds
(…)
17. (1. Paralympic) Miksa Laáber (BEA, HUN) 900 seconds

Complete results, all maps and further information at http://adatbank.mtfsz.hu/esemeny/show/esemeny_id/6564.

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, May 15, 2017

Portugal City Race 2017: Raquel Ferreira wins in Santo Tirso and Vila Real



The Portugal City Race 2017 had its 4th and 5th stages in Santo Tirso and Vila Real. Raquel Ferreira was unstoppable, winning both stages in the Women Senior class. In the Men Senior class, José Lopes and Maikel Rodriguez got the victories.


After Esposende, Braga and Vila do Conde, the Portugal City Race 2017 continued, this time in the City of the Jesuits. The 4th stage, in Santo Tirso, was organized by NAST – Núcleo Associativo de Santo Tirso, gathering more than two hundred participants. With a weak entry on the map, which made him lose quickly two minutes to the lead, José Lopes (Individual) turned out to be the most regular on a grueling course, taking advantage of the successive mistakes of his direct opponents, achieving a surprising triumph in the Men Senior class with the time of 44:50, against 45:06 from Miguel Nóbrega (COV - Natura), second placed. As in Vila do Conde, in the previous stage, Raquel Ferreira (Individual) and Daniela Alves (AD Cabroelo) were the top protagonists in the Women Senior class, with the advantage smiling once more to Ferreira by a comfortable four-minute advantage.

The city of Vila Real hosted the 5th stage of the Portugal City Race 2017, in a race organized by the OriMarão Club which joined 150 participants. After a one-stage break, in Santo Tirso, Maikel Rodriguez (Budiñoraid) returned for another victory, the fourth in the Portugal City Race this season. The Spanish athlete spent 43:06, leaving his compatriot Ángel Soto (Aromon) more than 5 minutes apart. In the women's race, Raquel Ferreira and Daniela Alves played, for the third time in a row, an interesting duel, and once again the victory went to Ferreira with the time of 44:14, against 46:47 of her opponent. With five of the thirteen stages of Portugal City Race 2017 already contested, Maikel Rodriguez and Raquel Ferreira register four wins each and are in the lead of the respective rankings. Ángel Soto and Daniela Alves follow in the second position, while the third place is occupied by Miguel Nóbrega and Andrea Dumitru.


Results

Santo Tirso City Race, 07th May 2017

Men Senior
1. José Lopes (Individual) 44:50 (+ 00:00)
2. Miguel Nóbrega (COV – Natura) 45:06 (+ 00:16)
3. Pedro Rama (ADM Ori-Mondego) 46:52 (+ 02:02)
4. Gil Sousa Pinto (OriMarão) 47:56 (+ 03:06)
5. André Fonseca (COALA) 48:01 (+ 03:11)

Women Senior
1. Raquel Ferreira (Individual) 41:14 (+ 00:00)
2. Daniela Alves (AD Cabroelo) 45:21 (+ 04:07)
3. Candela Puime López (Budiñoraid) 46:30 (+ 05:16)
4. Sara Miranda (Amigos da Montanha) 48:55 (+ 07:41)
5. Cristiana Lagoa (NAST) 50:40 (+ 09:26)


Vila Real City Race, 14th May 2017

Men Senior
1. Maikel Rodriguez (Budiñoraid) 43:06 (+ 00:00)
2. Ángel Soto (Aromon) 48:31 (+ 05:25)
3. Miguel Nóbrega (COV – Natura) 51:25 (+ 08:19)
4. Luís Ferreira (AD Cabroelo) 53:53 (+ 10:47)
5. André Fonseca (COALA) 53:58 (+ 10:52)

Women Senior
1. Raquel Ferreira (Individual) 44:14 (+ 00:00)
2. Daniela Alves (AD Cabroelo) 46:47 (+ 02:33)
3. Alicia Perez (Aromon) 48:40 (+ 04:26)
4. Andrea Dumitru (Individual) 49:03 (+ 04:49)
5. Candela Puime López (Budiñoraid) 49:38 (+ 05:24)

Results and further information at http://www.cityrace.pt/.

[Photo: Susana Luzir / facebook.com/cityraceportugal]

Joaquim Margarido

Monday, May 08, 2017

Javier Oramas: "There are lots of things to do"



Javier Perez Oramas is from Colombia. Passionate about Orienteering, he's a keen contributor to the revitalization of the sport in his country. But the task ahead is anything but easy, as we can see in another great Interview in the Portuguese Orienteering Blog.


I would start by asking who is Javier Perez Oramas?

Javier Oramas (J. O.) - I was born in 1981, in Bogota, the capital of Colombia, and currently live in Barcelona (temporarily because I am getting a master's degree in Big Data). I am passionate about the Biomechanics of sport and my professional formation is in Sports' Sciences.

How were you introduced to orienteering and what makes it such a special sport?

J. O. - I was introduced to Orienteering in the University, as part of a discipline's content, and since then (2006) I've been very interested in it. The most interesting part is the requirement of developing strategies during the course, which make it very fun and also encourages the competitiveness from start to finish because, since you don't know if you are leading, it forces you to push it to the limit.

Would you like to tell us about your career so far?

J. O. - I have practised a wide range of sports, but mostly BMX and Artistic Gymnastics. In 2006 I took part in my first Orienteering race and in an Adventure Race (with maps in black and white), which motivated me to follow the Outdoor sports' line. However, the only offer I found in my country was Adventure Racing (I participated in everything I could) and it was only in 2012 that I ran my first orienteering race under the IOF regulations. Although the Colombian Federation must have had about 10 years at that time, we had very few events and athletes, and it was very difficult to keep a competitive orienteering calendar. So, I started with Trail Running to do my physical preparation while waiting for the next National event. In 2015, thanks to the support of the IOF, which provided two spots to Colombia, I had the opportunity to attend the IOF Clinic and the WOC in Scotland, as a representative of my country.

Is there any truly remarkable situation that you would like to highlight along ten years of Orienteering?

J. O. - The WOC 2015 is, undoubtedly, the moment when my sports and professional career took a new direction. Being my first Orienteering experience outside Colombia, everything was new, but what made it more valuable and enriching was that, before the Championships, we had - and I mean in the plural because we were people from several countries there – an Orienteering Clinic in which they strengthened us as athletes and gave us tools to contribute to the development of this sport in our countries. In addition to this, we were exceptionally accompanied by the IOF throughout the WOC and the 6 Days of Scotland, which made it possible to successfully meet the participation targets.

It was a great pleasure to have you among the participants in the Trail Orienteering Seminar promoted, last December, by the University of Valencia, Spain. Why Trail Orienteering?

J. O. - In addition to being a very interesting discipline for FootO competitors, the Colombian Federation shows a great interest in its development because of its characteristics of inclusiveness.

What memories do you keep from the Seminar?

J. O. - The structure and the topics covered seemed very well addressed, in my opinion, and I now feel able to organize a small TrailO event. I intend to pass this knowledge on to the Federation of my country, which is really interested in organizing some TrailO events in Colombia.

In 2013, Colombia hosted The World Games, gathering some of the best orienteers in the world. This would suggest Orienteering could reap the benefits of such important event but, unfortunately, it seems that things had the opposite effect and Colombia is among the countries that have just been suspended from members of the IOF. I would ask you for a comment.

J. O. - It's very discouraging as an athlete to learn that your country has been suspended, making you reevaluate the international goals. I was surprised by the suspension and tried to get a reaction from the Colombian Federation. They feel that “IOF doesn't provide enough support". I think that IOF didn't evaluate the situation correctly, as The World Games could represent an impulse for this sport in Colombia. The Colombian Federation has had administrative ups and downs and, for that year, was emerging again, with very few athletes. The event didn't have a significant impact on Orienteering's development because of the lack of experience and resources, so I think that, if the IOF really wants the Federations of emerging countries to consolidate, they must adapt their cooperation policies and strategies to the socio-economic and technological realities. And I say it because we are not the only ones with difficulties to make this sport sustainable in the region.

Could you tell us how difficult, or easy, it can be to combine your passion for Orienteering with living in Colombia?

J. O. - No one can expect it to be easy. There are lots of things to do, but there's also a great opportunity of work here. That's why I decided to come to Europe with the aim of preparing myself personally and professionally in Orienteering, and I shall carry all my knowledge to my country.

How can you help Colombia return to Orienteering's map?

J. O. - The scene is somewhat complex to analyze because we have two situations to deal with: a reality of sports development and another purely administrative. In the sporting context, we find that the country's international sporting goals are still unclear, and although the IOF had extended its support in the previous years, I think that an additional support plan towards the WOC is necessary, because the participation in such an event represents a huge sport and administrative effort for small federations, which threatens the continuity of their participation (as it's clear now). On the other hand, the internal situation of the Colombian Federation, with an administration weakened and far from the international framework, requires the dialogue to be resumed. In my opinion, the initiative has to start from the IOF, getting our leaders to react to the call of the International community. Although there are athletes and people in Colombia who are interested in developing the sport, it has not been possible to articulate with the National Federation; and if we add the recent suspension of the IOF, the will will increasingly be less, making it a lot more difficult to return to the international scene.

Would you like to share your goals for 2017 with us?

J. O. - I have planned to prepare this season in Europe, aiming to participate in one World Cup, at least, and if possible, although the panorama has changed, go to the WOC in Estonia.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

J. O. - Developing this sport, in any country, has special conditions that makes the whole process more complex and, therefore, requires a more solid assistance and monitoring model from the IOF than the current one.

Joaquim Margarido

Saturday, May 06, 2017

British Orienteering celebrates 50 Years!


On the 17 June this year it is exactly 50 years since the British Orienteering Federation came into being. The occasion is being marked by the cutting of a celebratory cake, production of a short film, and a special multi-page feature in British Orienteering’s member magazine Focus.


Organised orienteering started in Scotland in the early 1960s with the help in particular of the Swede Baron CA Lagerfelt from Stockholm. The Scottish Orienteering Association was founded on 24 June 1962, with the first Scottish Championships held on the same weekend at Craig a’ Barns (Dunkeld) as part of a ‘demonstration event’ by visiting Swedes. Over the following couple of years, growth of the sport in the south-east of Scotland was particularly strong.

In 1964 orienteering was featured in a 7-minute film on Scottish TV. The book ‘Know the Game: Orienteering’ was first published in 1965; it ran to several editions and, updated, was still on bookshop shelves in the early 1980s.


First steps in England

In England, the West Midlands Orienteering Association was set up on 13 October 1963 following a ‘practice race’ in the Wyre Forest. The first orienteering club in England was South Ribble OC in the north-west, in 1964. This followed closely on the first ‘proper’ o-event in England, held at Whitewell near Clitheroe in late 1963.

In the south of England, a group of well-known ex-athletes – Roger Bannister, Chris Brasher, John Disley, Martin Hyman, Gordon Pirie and Bruce Tulloh – started orienteering after attending a training course led by Disley, who had first taken part himself in Sweden. They soon found that speed and fitness alone didn’t bring success! Southern Navigators was the first southern club, formed in 1965.


Scots and English collaborate – but process is slow

The next big step was the formation of the English Orienteering Association in October 1965. The Scottish Orienteering Association’s suggestion to have a joint meeting in Edinburgh with the new English OA, to consider affiliation to the International Orienteering Federation (IOF), was welcomed. However, for one reason or another it was not held until March 1967, in conjunction with the 1966 Scottish Championships which had been deferred, from the autumn before, because of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

The joint meeting agreed on the need to form a British Orienteering Federation, because “it had been made abundantly clear that membership of the IOF could only be obtained through British membership”. A meeting of the English Orienteering Association in April 1967 recommended the change and agreed to the disbanding of the English Orienteering Association at the time British Orienteering Federation was formed.


First World Orienteering Championship participation in 1966

Enthusiasm for competing abroad was high, and the main goal was participation in the World Orienteering Championships. In May 1966 the IOF Council accepted both England and Scotland as temporary members, pending the formation of a British federation. The English Orienteering Association paid an IOF affiliation fee of 400 Swedish Crowns, and selected a team of ten athletes to take part in the World Orienteering Championship.

The team was astonished to find, on arrival at the venue in Finland, that the Relay team had to be selected from amongst the six participating in the Individual race, as opposed to being four additional athletes. It seems that a vital Bulletin giving this information failed to reach the team beforehand. After much representation it was accepted, on the basis of giving more runners some international experience, that the rule could be broken in the circumstances. However in the end, two of the team, Toby Norris and Chris James who were down to run third and fourth leg respectively, never got a competitive run because the team was timed out at the end of the second leg.


Within 50 miles of Kendal”

The ground was laid for the formation of the British Orienteering Federation. Tony Chapman and Chris Brasher, Chairmen of the Scottish and English Orienteering Associations respectively, began the invitation to the first British Orienteering Federation Championships and Annual General Meeting with the words: “This is the preliminary announcement and entry form for a championship, run by an organisation that does not exist. So let us explain.”

Intending participants were told that the Championships “will be held within 50 miles of the town of Kendal, Westmorland on Sunday 18 June 1967” and that “the inaugural meeting of the British Orienteering Federation will be held at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 17 June 1967 at a venue within ten miles of the Championship area.” The Annual General Meeting venue, revealed just a week beforehand, proved to be in Barnard Castle, 45 miles from Kendal, with the Championships venue, Hamsterley Forest, the full 50 miles away. Such was the secrecy felt to be required at that time!


Early days of the British Orienteering Federation

The new Federation soon found its feet, led by Brasher and Disley. Whereas Brasher managed things, Disley was the technical and ‘field’ expert, and moderator of some of Brasher’s wilder ideas. “Brasher lit fires; Disley dampened them down,” as the obituary for Disley in the British newspaper The Guardian put it.

Brasher led the team that took part in the 1966 World Orienteering Championships, and was the Event Director for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) in Scotland in 1976. His influence was immense in all aspects of orienteering’s development in its early days in the UK. Hugh Brasher, son of Chris Brasher, says: “My father loved orienteering; he called it like car rallying without a car, the best sport so far invented by man and the only sport that keeps you completely and utterly stretched both mentally and physically.”

Disley worked hard to develop course planning, mapping and training standards. Highly respected the world over, he was a member of the International Orienteering Federation Council from 1973 to 1984.


Through the 80s and 90s

Helped greatly by the publicity gained from WOC 1976, orienteering grew rapidly in the subsequent years, and became firmly established in all parts of the UK. In Scotland, helped by the ever-growing Scottish 6-Days event held every other year, but also in many other areas, the standards of competitors and competition increased immensely. Competitors such as Geoff Peck and Carol McNeill were showing the way, and it was in 1993 that Great Britain won its first World Orienteering Championship medals in Foot Orienteering, with a bronze for Yvette Baker (née Hague) and silver for the men’s relay team. Yvette went on to win two silver medals in 1995 and then the gold medal in Short Distance at the next World Orienteering Championships held on home soil, in 1999.

Great Britain also contributed much to IOF work, in Council, on various Committees and in other ways. Sue Harvey became the IOF Secretary General in 1983, working from home. She held this role until 1986. In 1988 she was elected as an IOF Vice President and then from 1994 to 2004 she was IOF President, and is now IOF Honorary President for Life.


Growth and development in the new century

British Orienteering Federation moved with the times: it is now known as British Orienteering and has changed its logo to a more modern design. Domestic championship events have grown in number as in the IOF, and urban orienteering has become a popular alternative to outings in forest and open terrain. The number of clubs has remained much the same for a long time now, and the average age of competitors is getting steadily higher, but a number of initiatives have been introduced to create new forms of competition and bring new people into the sport, and these are beginning to bear fruit.

More World Orienteering Championship medals have come Britain’s way, including Gold for Jamie Stevenson (Sprint, 2003), the Men’s Relay team in 2008, Dave Gittus in TrailO in 2006 and the TrailO team in 2004 and 2005. Most recently, in 2016, Emily Benham won two gold medals in the MTBO World Championships.

GBR staged the World TrailO Championships in Scotland in 2012 and then the World Orienteering Championships, for the third time, in 2015. Here the same assembly area as in 1976, a field in front of Darnaway Castle in NE Scotland, was used for the Middle and Relay races.

Brian Porteous became the second IOF President from Great Britain and held the office from 2012 to 2016, having been a member of IOF Council from 2004.


Looking forward

Over the last 20 years British Orienteering has benefited greatly from government and National Lottery funding, but unfortunately as with many other sports, British Orienteering has recently lost a lot of the financial support it has had from government agencies. British Orienteering has had to trim its cloth accordingly, and become more self-supporting. This is particularly affecting international preparation for the top athletes. Sponsorship too is proving extremely hard to come by. However, there are many positive signs too, and with several top athletes on the fringe of World Orienteering Championship medal standard, Great Britain orienteering moves into its next half-century in good shape.


Text: Clive Allen

[See the original article at http://orienteering.org/british-orienteering-celebrates-50-years/. Published with permission from the International Orienteering Federation]
 

Friday, May 05, 2017

New IOF branding


The new International Orienteering Federation branding has been published. The branding consists of a brand book with guidelines, logos, a visual toolkit and several useful templates.

The new IOF branding has been made to simplify graphical work and to help spread a unified image of the IOF.The IOF branding is based on the fundamental values of orienteering and is developed to fulfil the aims of the IOF.

The most significant news are the new general Orienteering logo, the new discipline logos/symbols and the new World Cup logos. The other logos are unchanged but user guidelines are included in the IOF Brand Book. All the templates are new and besides useful templates for Word, Powerpoint, a cover page for official documents, a template for advertising roll ups and a letterhead, the IOF Brand Book also gives examples of designed materials.

The IOF Brand Book and new logos are found here: http://orienteering.org/resources/communication/.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Dušan Furucz: "We need to simplify the rules"



Dušan Furucz isn’t "just" the World Champion of TrailO Relay. He is also the Director of the European Trail Orienteering Championships ETOC 2018 and one of the IOF Trail Orienteering Commissioners. Versatile, pushy and highly committed to TrailO, inside and outside his home country, Slovakia, he is the guest of the Portuguese Orienteering Blog for another great interview.


Some time ago, I had the chance to interview, separately, your brothers Ján and Peter. It's now your turn to be on the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's tribune and the first question is about Orienteering as a family sport. How important were your brothers (and, maybe, your parents too) in choosing your career?

Dušan Furucz (D. F.) - I think family is always very important in everybody's career. My father was a very good 800 metres runner but ended his career soon after he moved to the adult category. When I started orienteering, at the age of 10 and was coached by Pavol Mesiar, my father supported me enthusiastically. My brother Jan and my sister Ivona followed me shortly and, soon after, my father had taken over our training group, focusing on the Athletics' training method, balanced with a large amount of training with map. I can't forget about my mother, as well. Can you imagine a group of 20-30 children in our small flat before and after trainings? (laughs) My youngest brother Peter joined us about 10 years later. He was considerably younger. I can confirm that my best results were reached when my family directly supported me on the competitions.

Would you like to remember one or two decisive moments that made you adopt TrailO as your favourite sport?

D. F. - I wouldn't say that TrailO is my favourite sport. I'm still feeling more comfortable as a Foot orienteer (I like longer distances, as Long and Rogaining), but the reason for choosing TrailO is my family, of course. My brother Jan is very committed to developing TrailO in Slovakia and “blood is thicker than water”, so I'm helping him. After my first TrailO competition, in the Czech Republic, I was a little confused because it was too strange for me, but my opinion changed with the TempO. Now, I feel like balancing on the edge of TrailO. Nordic style competitions move me up and TrailO ones move me down. I have to say that we are very competitive, me and my brother, and we can't accept to be worse in any discipline. This is the main reason to improve my results in TrailO.

When you first appeared competing at the highest level – WTOC 2014, Italy -, the results achieved were totally surprising for many. We now know that your performances weren't a fluke and the world title in the TrailO Relay, achieved last year, is here to confirm it. Where is the secret of your success?

D. F. - I've always been a better mapper than runner and I'm able to read the terrain very quickly. I created a lot of maps for my club Farmaceut Bratislava and TrailO is a kind of competition for map makers or orienteering university for mapping techniques. As for success? I don't think that I'm a successful competitor. There have been some great results that may have caught me off guard (usually a podium on the first days or when my chances of achieving a good final result are gone), but all the time I had the possibility of getting a medal, I failed. I need to improve on my skills, specially those regarding focus. We get medals on the relay competitions because both Marian [Mikluš] and I are team players and we usually serve responsibly and perform greatly for the team in any orienteering discipline.

What are the most important skills for being a good trail orienteer?

D. F. - Good map reading and visualization are the two most important skills. But there are two other skills which provide a significant difference between average and excellent results. The first one is to stay calm when it counts and the second one is to understand what the course setter means on two or three control points which make the difference. This is the reason why my brother is better than me in the big competitions.

Please, complete the sentence: To be a Trail orienteer in Slovakia means...

D. F. - To be a Trail orienteer in Slovakia means to be a scout or pioneer. We are discovering this sport. Orienteering is a small sport in Slovakia but I think people know it historically, even from the time of Czechoslovakia. For example, the name Jozef Polák is still well-known and I could keep going with some other names. The TrailO is new and totally unknown for the Slovak public. We are presenting it as an integration orienteering discipline and we have to explain what TrailO is, but the awareness is improving. The main difficulty is the number of organizers. We need to improve it.

You're in charge of organizing the European Trail Orienteering Championships next year. How is the event's preparation going? Is everything under control?

D. F. - I hope that we are in time with the preparation's schedule. We would like to end all mapping work before summer. I finished the maps for the Relay and PreO day 1 and I'm working on spare terrains now. I'm expecting that the most courses will be done and checked by advisor Ari Tertsunen this month. My brother is preparing maps for TempO and we asked our well-known Slovak mapper Robert Miček to help us with the map for PreO day 2, to save time for other activities. I have to say that I'm also struggling a little with bureaucratic activities as Event Director because it's a totally new experience for me.

What kind of event can we expect?

D. F. - You can expect different terrains for each discipline, from flat in TempO to high steep slopes in PreO day2. We would like to prepare a fair competition with clear Zero tolerance and we want to be closer to Foot orienteering competitors. You cannot expect tricky tight Zero answers from us and controls with “between” description. I'm expecting that distance between the Zero answer and the closest flag will be more than 5m. You can find more information on our pages at www.etoc2018.sk.

Other particular task is the IOF TrailO Commission. How did you realize your nomination?

D. F. - I didn't expect to be nominated and it was a complete surprise. There are a lot more experienced IOF TrailO members, but I accept the position seeing a tendency for fresh air on it and acknowledgment of our effort to improve TrailO. I asked IOF for time to think about it but I finally agreed. It's a big privilege for me to help the TrailO community. To be honest, on this first year, I have to spare my time for another responsibilities, too. By the way, I would like to congratulate you on your nomination to the TrailO commission, too.

Thank you so much. Is Trail Orienteering moving in the right direction? Are there some priority subjects on which we have to work in order to have better and fair TrailO competitions?

D. F. - It's difficult to discuss the TrailO movement because I've only been doing it for a very short time. But my personal opinion is that we must make our sport more clear and transparent. It is not acceptable that other people see TrailO as a very complex and subjective sport and one day the answer is correct and the other day the same or similar answer is wrong. In brief, we need to simplify the rules, not create problems to the problems and finally, somehow, define the Zero tolerance.

Your brother Peter is developing an amazing game called Virtual-O. Did you ever think of it adapted to TrailO as an instrument for training?

D. F. - Yes, we discuss it very often during our training and consultations. I believe that TrailO courses will be part of VirtualO and we would like to use some live presentations on his program in our European Championships, too. To be honest, he needs more time for implementing all the features and new maps. Do you know that he spent his last year programming and left his job for this period? He returned to work in January and now he continues programming during his free time in the evening.

The season has already started and you were one of the attendants to Lipica TrailO 2017, for the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering's first round. Are you happy with your results?

D. F. - Yes and no. I don't like urban TempO and I knew that it would be totally different from last year's TempO in the forest, which I won. I tried to change my technique, reading all of the descriptions and finding safe answers but, in reality, I lost 60-90 seconds by reading, plus I made some stupid mistakes finding some “creative” solutions. I have to return to my old, quick style. The PreO competition was very tight and I lost my focus on two controls. It was too much for a good result.

The World Trail Orienteering Championships 2017 will take place in Lithuania. Are you looking forward to them?

D. F. - I hope to see a lot of contour lines reading during PreO and especially in the TrailO Relay. I am not so excited with the TempO, which will probably be urban again. I am expecting difficult courses where you won't see winners without mistakes.

How hard will it be to defend your TrailO Relay World title? Do you have any other goals?

D. F. - I think that big countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Finland will be fighting, as always, for the medals and we cannot forget the strong Portuguese and Italian teams. Croatia and the Czech Republic can be nice surprises, too. Yes, it will be very difficult but we will try to keep the World title. I will also try a surprise in the other disciplines.

Would you like to share your biggest wish with us?

D. F. - I have two wishes. The first one is more real forest TempO competitions than urban competitions. The second one and my biggest wish is to win over my brother in TempO on a big competition. I know and believe that I can do it.

Is there anything that you would like to add?

D. F. - I would like to wish all orienteers in each orienteering discipline fun and fair competitions in difficult terrains.

Joaquim Margarido

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

FinTrailO 2017: Marit Wiksell wins for the fourth year in a row



For the fourth year in a row, Marit Wiksell was the winner of FinTrailO 2017. The set of results achieved along the three stages assured her the triumph after a tight fight with Pinja Mäkinen, who would occupy the second position.


Espoo, 20 km west of Helsinki, was the venue of FinTrailO's fourth edition. Divided by three stages – one TempO and two PreO - the event scored for the Unofficial European Cup in Trail Orienteering, attracting 140 competitors from 15 different nations. Organized by OK77, directed by Anna Jacobson and having Åke Jacobson (PreO 1&2) and Roope Näsi and Alahärmän Kisa (TempO) as Course Setters, it was a very successful event, crowning a two-year work on both mapping, course setting and general organization.

According to Anna Jacobson's thoughts to the Portuguese Orienteering Blog, organizers and competitors “were rather unlucky with the weather in the PreO stages: On Saturday afternoon it rained and snowed and there was a storm where big trees fell on the route (right after the competition before the controls were taken in). One flag fell on control 6 so it had to be voided. Then it snowed (!!?) the whole evening and night and in the next morning the course setter got up at 4, changed the tires of the car back to winter tires and went on to bring the flags (93) to the terrain. No markings could be seen on the ground due to the snow, and no control flags could be seen from the road - due to the snow! So we mobilised 4-5 officials (woke them up) who started cleaning the trees of snow. Further, no motorised wheel chairs could drive up the hill (400 m, very steep) to the start, neither could our car meant for transporting wheelchairs (summer tires). Again, 4-5 men took their shovels and rakes, and cleaned the road! It was amazing. Finally, due to our helpful officials, we were able to organise the competition as planned.” And she concludes: “I'm very happy that so many competitors came to FinTrailO and the competitors were very tough when competing in such circumstances we had. I am also happy about that the two ECTO events we organised were challenging but fair. PreO 2 terrain and course were exceptionally nice for map reading.”

FinTrailO 2017 started with the TempO stage, in which Marit Wiksell (Rehns BK) was clearly the fastest, answering correctly to 27 out of 30 tasks (6 timed stations with 5 tasks each) and finishing with the time of 258. Ján Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava) got the second place with 266 seconds and Erik Stålnacke (IFK Göteborg), the most accurate with just one incorrect answer, finished in the third place with 272 seconds. Marit Wiksell performed at her best in the PreO's first day, finishing in the second place with 26 points and two incorrect answers. Pinja Mäkinen got the first place with 27 points. The PreO day 2 ended the event with a 34-control course and Martin Fredholm (OK Linné) was the only competitor to do a clean race. In the immediate positions, with less one point, standed Antti Rusanen (Keravan Urheilijat) and Erik Stålnacke. Achieving the lowest scoring-time in the combined results of three stages, Marit Wiksell was the FinTrailO 2017's winner for the fourth year in a row. Pinja Mäkinen and Antti Rusanen got the second and third positions, respectively.



Results

TempO (ECTO #3)
1. Marit Wiksell (Rehns BK, SWE) 258 seconds
2. Ján Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava, SVK) 266 seconds
3. Erik Stålnacke (IFK Göteborg, SWE) 272 seconds
4. Pinja Mäkinen (Koovee, FIN) 322 seconds
5. Lauri Mäkinen (Mäntsälän Urheilijat, FIN) 335 seconds
6. Jari Turto (Kokemäen Kova-Väki, FIN) 346 seconds
7. Lennart Wahlgren (Rehns BK, SWE) 352 seconds
8. Geir Myhr Øien (Ringsaker OK, NOR) 376 seconds
9. Antti Rusanen (Keravan Urheilijat, FIN) 388 seconds
10. Lars Jakob Waaler (Porsgrunn OL, NOR) 392 seconds

PreO 1
1. Pinja Mäkinen (Koovee, FIN) 27 points / 12 seconds
2. Marit Wiksell (Rehns BK, SWE) 26 points / 14 seconds
3. Mikko Heinonen (Kalevan Rasti, FIN) 26 points / 16 seconds
4. Michael Johansson (Vänersborgs SK, SWE) 26 points / 19 seconds
5. Robertas Stankevic (RASKK Vilniaus, LTU) 26 points / 26 seconds
6. Ján Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava, SVK) 26 points / 73 seconds
6. Erik Lundkvist (HJS-Vansbro OK, SWE) 26 points / 73 seconds
8. Antti Rusanen (Keravan Urheilijat, FIN) 25 points / 7 seconds
9. Martin Fredholm (OK Linné, SWE) 25 points / 14 seconds
10. Jari Turto (Kokemäen Kova-Väki, FIN) 24 points / 16 seconds

PreO 2 (ECTO #4)
1. Martin Fredholm (OK Linné, SWE) 34 points / 15 seconds
2. Antti Rusanen (Keravan Urheilijat, FIN) 33 points / 16 seconds
3. Erik Stålnacke (IFK Göteborg, SWE) 33 points / 20 seconds
4. Marit Wiksell (Rehns BK, SWE) 32 points / 12 seconds
5. Lars Jakob Waaler (Porsgrunn OL, NOR) 32 points / 15 seconds
6. Geir Myhr Øien (Ringsaker OK, NOR) 32 points / 22 seconds
7. Pinja Mäkinen (Koovee, FIN) 32 points / 27 seconds
8. Aleksei Laisev (Keravan Urheilijat, FIN) 32 points / 31 seconds
9. Michael Johansson (Vänersborgs SK, SWE) 31 points / 15 seconds
9. Samy Hyvönen (RastiPielinen, FIN) 31 points / 15 seconds

FinTrailO 2017 Combined Results
1. Marit Wiksell (Rehns BK, SWE) 524 seconds
2. Pinja Mäkinen (Koovee, FIN) 541 seconds
3. Antti Rusanen (Keravan Urheilijat, FIN) 651 seconds
4. Erik Stålnacke (IFK Göteborg, SWE) 698 seconds
4. Martin Fredholm (OK Linné, SWE) 698 seconds
6. Ján Furucz (Farmaceut Bratislava, SVK) 799 seconds
7. Geir Myhr Øien (Ringsaker OK, NOR) 829 seconds
8. Lars Jakob Waaler (Porsgrunn OL, NOR) 833 seconds
9. Michael Johansson (Vänersborgs SK, SWE) 853 seconds
10. Jari Turto (Kokemäen Kova-Väki, FIN) 916 seconds




To see the complete results, maps, solutions, photos and further information, please visit the event's webpage at http://www.ok77.fi/fintrailo/.

[Photos: Jarmo Koskela / jarmokoskela.kuvat.fi]

Joaquim Margarido