World Orienteering Championships 2019 report
Saturday saw the conclusion of this year’s World Orienteering Championships. The first World Championships since the sprint events had been separated off, it took place in southern Norway near the border with Sweden.
Britain had two men and two women in the long race, three men and women in the middle and a men’s and women’s relay.
Wednesday’s Long race saw the return to the British team of Graham Gristwood (FVO) after a year long injury. He and Hector Haines seemed to really enjoy the challenging course. Graham finished an excellent 21st, with Hector just pipping him in 20th. In the women’s race INVOC’s Jo Shepherd equalled Graham, also taking 21st which is a career best for her in the discipline. Charlotte Watson had a great race until a late miss knocked her down into 36th.
Friday’s middle race was in very tough, rocky terrain with low visibility making navigation tricky. Cat Taylor suffered in the thick forest at number 5 dropping 4 minutes and any chance of a satisfactory result, ending up in 27th. Her team mates fared better though, with relatively clean races producing a 24th for Jo Shepherd and a 21st for Megan Carter Davies. In the men’s races both Peter Hodkinson and Ralph Street were relatively disappointed with their results of 31st and 19th respectively – which shows the high aims of the British team.
The relay was in the same tricky terrain as the middle. Peter had a tough time on the first leg, and although Graham and Ralph ran hard on legs 2 and 3 the team finished in 17th. The women fared better, finishing in 9th place, a result which coupled with their strong performances in the individual races allows them three places in the long race in 2021.
The Scandinavian terrain suited the local runners, with both women’s races being won by Tove Alexandersson and men’s individual races were won by Norway’s Olav Lundanes. Both men’s and women’s relays were won by Sweden.