ScotJOS Sprints into Spring

ScotJOS held a sprint themed camp in a sunny Dundee to coincide with Sprint Scotland.

After all the storms and bad weather which have affected recent junior training camps – we could hardly believe our luck for a sunny weekend for our Sprint camp.  With SprintScotland bringing together the top sprint orienteers in Britain for a weekend of racing –  this was an ideal opportunity for the juniors to take part and learn from the best.

The juniors were based at a Scout/Guide hall in Monifieth for the weekend, arriving on the Friday evening in time for some night orienteering at Seven Arches Park in Monifieth. This is a steep sided gorge along the Dighty Burn with an old railway bridge spanning it.  The juniors arriving at speed with bright head torches certainly caused a stir with the Monifieth youth in the park – some of whom thought it was Police coming after them!

It was then back to the hall for dinner and a briefing on Sprint Orienteering (and to try to explain the complexities of the Knock Out Sprint!)

On Saturday morning with the sun shining we loaded up the minibuses and headed to Menziehill in Dundee.  The assembly was at St Ninians Primary School and there was time for football and fun before the racing began. The older juniors were able to race the Knock Out sprint with the top British athletes and the under 16’s were fighting a close battle on course 7. Two of the ScotJOS boys, James Hammond and Sam Griffin, and three of the girls, Isobel Howard, Alice Kelmsley and Iris Macmillan qualified in the top 18 to make it through to the Knock Out Sprint.

It was fantastic to see the squad team spirit in action and hear the cheers and support for their squad mates.

Sam (far right) racing out in the Knock Out Sprint

Many of the juniors, especially those from remoter areas of Scotland had never experienced sprint racing before and it was a great introduction for them at a very competitive but friendly event. Just about everyone admitted to falling into the standard sprint traps at some stage in their racing.

After 4 (or 2 races for the younger juniors) plus lots of football, and other games we returned to the hall with some very tired juniors. After some serious refuelling (and queueing for the one shower!) we then had a fantastic talk from Kris Jones. He talked very openly and honestly about his experiences and training, including a discussion of the importance of confidence as well as speed and concluded with a question and answer session. It was very motivational and we were really grateful to Kris for coming along especially since he had raced hard all day too.

For the 1st time ever we actually had juniors who wanted to go to bed after a long and hard day of racing!

After breakfast and 18th birthday wishes to Alice we packed up and headed to Balgay for the Scottish Sprint Championships. This gave the opportunity for a different form of sprint racing with much of the courses on the steep sided wooded hill in Balgay park. The longer courses also visited the adjacent housing – where the fences between the buildings caught many people out.  There were again fantastic results from the ScotJOS juniors with Scottish Championship medals for James Hammond, Angus Ivory, Finlay McLuckie, Sam Hunt, Isobel Howard, Ellie Darlow and Iona Scott.

There were also chocolate prizes for the overall Sprint Scotland (the sum of the 3 races) – but I don’t think any of these survived the journey home!

Look at those smiles!

Many thanks to Judy Bell (ESOC and ScotJos) for the report and images