Sunday, August 22, 2010

JWOC Debut

Finishing the JWOC Long in Aalborg, Denmark

Hello! I’m Emily Ross, 18-years-old, and from New Brunswick. This past July I had the great opportunity to attend the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Aalborg, Denmark as part of Team Canada for the first time. At first I was a little hesitant and nervous about competing at such a high level, but it turned out to be a fabulous experience that made me even more excited to orienteer!

As you may know, athletes get to run all the races at JWOC, which made it very orienteering-filled. The first race was the sprint and even though I made a mistake I came back so excited and pumped for the rest of the week. I did not have many goals results wise, so I just focused on trying my best and having fun—something I feel that I accomplished. It was pretty amazing to run the same courses as these orienteering superstars that you hear about. The level that these athletes are at and the dedication that they have is inspiring. At the same time, I feel I had my accomplishments as well, such as finishing the long! And keeping up with Emma Kligenberg from Denmark for a few legs in the middle qualifier (but I made sure not to get distracted when our legs were forked). I found that while I’m not at the level of some countries there are still several runners that I can compare and compete with. Plus, I have new goals and higher hopes for next year.

The atmosphere at JWOC is also pretty unique. Everyone is the same age as you and loves orienteering just as much, if not more. While things are serious, there is also time for fun like playing ultimate Frisbee with the Brits and Australians or watching the World Cup soccer games with the Spanish (whose team was in the final). What is also neat is that you run into these orienteers at other large events in the summer, such as O-Ringen. Plus I became a lot closer with the other members of Team Canada, which I feel is really important for fostering the orienteering community within Canada as well encouraging each other with training throughout the rest of the year. And last but not least, running for Canada was pretty incredible and empowering. At the end of the sprint one girl asked me for my autograph (I originally thought that she had confused me with Emily Kemp, but it turned out that she just really liked Canada) and I could hear people cheering for Canada while running through spectator controls and to the finish.

Hopefully I’ll get to experience JWOC again next year with even more girls running for Team Canada! I’d like to especially thank Randy Kemp and Jeff Teutsch for their work as team leaders (hopefully we didn’t get into too many shenanigans), Magnus Johansson for his work as national team coach, and Charlotte MacNaughton for her work as COF president. There were so many more who helped me and the team along the way—I truly appreciate everything you did for us! Finally, I highly recommend JWOC for those up-and-coming juniors who want to pursue orienteering. It’s a unique experience and one that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.


  1. Yay Emmy! You did well for your first JWOC and have two more to go. I'm so glad you're excited about orienteering now :)

  2. Nice reading - and good to hear you enjoyed your experience in Denmark and hopefully also at O-ringen, despite all the rain and mud ;)
    Keep training hard and good luck for your coming years.