After months of training and three sets of selection races in the spring I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent Great Britain at the Junior World Orienteering Championships to be held in the Swiss Alps. I was selected to race the middle and long distance forest races as well as the anchor leg for GBR2 in the women’s relay.
We headed out as a team half a week before the competition started to train in relevant terrain and acclimatise to the altitude. After an inspiring opening ceremony and watching my team mates in a very hilly and technical sprint it was my turn to race in the long distance on Monday. I was one of the athletes randomly chosen to wear a GPS tracking device which added to the excitement of running a large scale international event. It was a tough course where a combination of altitude, high temperatures and steep hills made it a physical as well as technical challenge. Unfortunately, a technical error at the end of the long leg (over 1km) lost me time but I was happy to finish my first JWOC race in 88th and as 2nd British woman.
I have always enjoyed relay racing and a spectacular arena with incredible Alpine views made me even more excited for the challenge ahead. The first two runners in my team had great races and sent me out into the forest in a strong position. I had a steady run, focussing on avoiding technical mistakes. We finished in 16th position and were the 5th second team managing to beat many nations’ top teams.
JWOC 2016 was an amazing experience for me and although my races had flaws I have learnt so much from them. I am excited and motivated for another year’s training and racing as I enter my last season as a junior. My focus is already on next year’s JWOC in Finland and I intend to put all of the knowledge I gained over the past week to good use.
I am incredibly grateful to the Jack Bloor Fund for helping me fund my racing in Switzerland.