The World University Orienteering Championships took place in Biel/Bienne in Switzerland. The programme consisted of 3 races: sprint; middle distance; and relay. I was slightly apprehensive as this was my first senior competition and my GB forest debut after the Junior World Orienteering Championships forest races were postponed due to risk of forest fire earlier in the summer. However, I was greatly looking forward to the valuable experience I would gain from the competition.
I was second starter in the sprint urban race around the streets of Biel/Bienne. I set off cautiously from the blocks – keen to minimise technical errors early on. I soon got into the map and found the course to be fairly easy technically. I ran past one of my controls that was tucked away and made a few route-choice errors but overall, I was happy with my performance. I finished 45th in a competitive field
I was much more nervous for the middle-distance forest race than I had been for the sprint as I consider myself stronger in the sprint discipline. Due to lack of confidence, I made a mistake to the first control, however I ‘got into the map’ and was able to start pushing the pace whilst keeping the navigation controlled. I was again satisfied with my performance (48th) and was able to identify many areas I could work on to improve my races in future.
The relay competition was very enjoyable. It was great fun to be running with some of the best orienteers in the world in the forest at the same time. I was running well until I was distracted by a Danish athlete going to a different control to mine. I lost a significant amount of time but there were a lot of positives I could take from other sections of my race.
Thank you very much to the Jack Bloor fund for helping with the cost of the competition, it is appreciated greatly.