JOK Chasing Sprint 2019 Adventure Show report

On Friday 28 June, Callendar Park near Falkirk hosted the UK’s first ever orienteering event to be broadcast live, as The Adventure Show showed the JOK Chasing Sprint live on a beautiful summer evening, giving a fantastic introduction to the sport.

The coverage began with the Junior Men and Women, where children of all ages competed against each other on live BBC TV, showing off the inclusiveness of the sport for all ages before the elite races. The “Chasing Sprint” format was tweaked from previous editions, to produce a result which created great excitement for TV viewers, as well as those watching at the venue.

The coverage also introduced Trail-O, a type of orienteering which enables people of all physical abilities to compete on a level playing field, showing off the fantastic inclusivity of the sport.

Viewers were also introduced to the level of detail involved in orienteering maps, as well as the navigation and competitive tactics people use in events.

Watch on Catch-up (Available until 27 July 2019):

Junior Men

In the Junior Men, Peter Molloy built up a 32-second advantage through the estate section early on, before losing time in the forest. He was able to hold on, finishing ahead of Sam Griffin & Joel Gooch.

“I made a big mistake at the start,” said Peter. “I was great through the first section at the start through the buildings but then I couldn’t find a control in really thick vegetation. I was running round in circles and then Joel and Sam pitched up and it was actually Joel who found it in the end. We had a good tussle for the rest of the course.”

Joel said: “When I caught up with these guys I was like ‘I might have a chance here’ but then they just got me on the last section in the park.”

Junior Women

In the Junior Women Pippa Carcas held off a determined final sprint from Mairi Eades to create an Interlopers club 1-2, with West Cumberland orienteer Caitlin Irving winning a close sprint for third ahead of Northern Navigator’s Maya Hampshire Wright.

“It was quite a fast course – there was lots of chance to get some nice running in, which was good for me,” said Pippa.

Mairi commented: “I was quite smooth through all the technical stuff in the middle which got me a wee bit closer to Pippa but in the end she was a bit too fast for me.”

Caitlin said: “It was quite nervy at the end, I was quite tired and thought [Maya] was going to beat me but I just got it on the line.”

Women’s Open

The Women’s Open race highlighted the importance of route choice and understanding the map, as commentators did a great job of introducing the sport to newcomers.

Grace Molloy kept in charge of the race throughout until she lost seconds at the penultimate control, slashing her lead from around half a minute to just four seconds at the line over Helen Bridle, with Fay Walsh another four seconds behind in third.

Grace commented on how unique the broadcast was for orienteering in the UK. “It’s my first time live on British TV. Some of the international events I’ve done have been on television but this is the first I’ve won on British TV so it’s very exciting.”

Men’s Open

The men’s open race came together into a thrilling climax with the top three athletes covered by just three seconds as they pushed right to the finish. Kristian Jones managed to hold on for the win just two seconds ahead of Peter Hodkinson, who demoted Scott Fraser to third thanks to a different route choice from the penultimate control, and by then taking the inside line at the final corner in a move any racing driver would be proud of!

“That was exciting – nervy to be a part of but really great,” said Kris. “Having a group of people chase you in the forest is so difficult. The urban bit at the start I was good and I didn’t feel they got any time back on me but as soon as we were in the forest, if I made a little two or three second mistake, even if one of the three chasing me made that mistake, the other two didn’t and they caught me quite quickly.

“They caught me working as a group, picking good lines through the terrain and then as soon as they caught me, Peter and Scott were really pushing it. It was really tight at the end.

“I love these mixed events. The great thing about sprint orienteering is it can take you to areas that are maybe not big enough for a forest event or maybe a bit scrappy and tough underfoot and it’s just great having that variety.”

Veteran Races

Competing first on the day, there was also off-screen action in the Veteran races, with FVO’s Will Hensman taking victory in the Men’s Veterans, JOK’s Roger Thetford winning the Men’s Super Vets, and Robert Hickling winning the Men’s Ultra Vets.

In the Women’s Veterans, ESOC’s Helen Bridle won, with ESOC’s Alison Cunningham winning the Super Vets, and ELO’s Sheila Strain winning the Ultra Vets.