Monday, July 9, 2012

JWOC Long Bronze for Canada!

Emily K. in the finish chute
It was a dramatic day for the Canadians at the JWOC long distance race in Kosice, Slovakia. The heat and the karst terrain caused problems for many runners, including favourite and sprint gold medalist Tove Alexandersson of Sweden. Tove was leading the women's race until control 10 where she made a 15 minute error. She finished in 22nd position.

 In the afternoon, a thunderstorm rolled in forcing many spectators and finishers to leave the area before the end of the race. The weather also played havoc on the radio control reporting system. Emily Kemp, who had started 126th of 141 women, had just come through the first radio control in 2nd position when the live results suddenly stopped working. Those following at home were left to chew their fingernails and wonder as time ticked by. Rumors started circulating that Emily K. had finished well but there were no details until a tweet from the Americans stated "Emily Kemp number three woman. Final." The official results confirmed that Emily finished in a time of 60:54, 38 seconds behind 2nd place Swede Frida Sandberg and 3 minutes behind Kirsi Nurmi of Finland. Kirsi Nurmi has her own Canadian connection, she was a member of the Edmonton Overlanders Orienteering Club for a year during a high school exchange.
The results board

Emily Kemp's 3rd place is the best ever result at JWOC for a North American. Samantha Saeger of the USA was 8th in the long distance in 1999. Emily is the third non-European ever to medal at JWOC. Troy de Haas and Hanny Allston of Australia have won medals in previous JWOCs.
In 2011, despite struggling with a knee injury, she placed 12 in the JWOC long and helped the women's relay team to 12th place at the world championships in France. For the past two years she has been attending university in France and training with members of the French national team. Emily's goal was to place in the top 6 at JWOC this year. Congratulations on meeting your goal Emily!

Emily, this was your first JWOC race. Why didn't you run the sprint yesterday?

I am just getting over an injury. I had really bad tendonitis in my knee and on the advice of my doctor and my coaches, I decided it was best to focus on the forest events and not risk re-injuring it.

How do you feel taking the first ever medal for Canada?

It is a very happy moment for me. But it is also for all the people that supported me. I got texts from people in Canada and Le Pole in France who have been supporting me and this result is my way to thank everyone for their support.

There has been a lot of pressure before the JWOC but I have been talking it over with the coaches and with Thierry Gueourgiou and the advice I got was to concentrate on the orienteering technique and the results will follow.

I had very good winter training but injuries in the spring have been difficult to cope with. When I couldn't run I did alternate training like aqua-jogging, and gym machines. I did the best I could in the situation.

This was not my best race but I tried to do what I normally do. The legs did not feel fresh because the beginning had a lot of climb. I am happy that today's performance got me this far and I am also happy that I know I could have done even better.

The training camp in May in Slovakia with the French team helped a lot because of the difficult terrain. It is very different orienteering technique in the karst terrain with the big depressions and in the green-yellow detailed vegetation areas. Because of the training camp nothing today surprised me. I knew what to do.

The conditions during the race changed a lot. During my warmup and for my first few controls it was hot and sunny. On the long leg, it was thunder and lightening and then the rain started and it was pouring for the rest of the race. It was dark under the trees and difficult to read the map.

My knee started hurting midway but I succeeded to put it out of my mind. I will take care and rest and recover tonight and tomorrow.

I am excited for the middle race. I feel very comfortable in that type of terrain and hope I can do just as well in that race.

Kendra Murray

Emily Ross
 The rest of the Canadian team also ran the long distance but no word as yet on how they felt about their races.

1. Kirsi Nurmi (Fin) - 57:55
2. Frida Sandberg (Swe) - 60:26
3. Emily Kemp (Can) - 60:54
100. Kerstin Burnett (Can) - 98:49
102. Emily Ross (Can) -100:27
105. Isabel Bryant (USA) - 102:30
109. Kendra Murray (Can) - 108:28
117. Molly Kemp (Can) - 129:49

Kerstin Burnett

1. Eski Kinneberg (Nor) - 69:46
2. Marius Thrane Odum (Den) - 71:43
3. Gleb Tikhonov (Rus) - 72:26
138. Alexander Bergstrom - 148:39
DSQ. Trevor Bray

Full results can be found here
Maps can be found here

Trevor Bray finishing

 Tomorrow is a well deserved rest day at JWOC before the middle qualification on Wednesday.
We will keep you posted on all of the happenings and goings on. Congratulations to Emily and the rest of the JWOC team!

A great article from WorldofO about the long final.


  1. well done by Emily ! Congrats ! Go Canada !

  2. You're so awesome, Emily! Thanks for all the updates and coverage.

  3. Congratulations Emily! OttawaOC so proud of you! To all the Canadian Team we are with you! Enjoy your day off tomorrow and we will see you at the Middle!

  4. So excited for you, Emily! You've worked hard for this and now you've made history! :)

  5. Congratulations Emily on a great run and a fantastic result! OttawaOC is extremely happy for you and proud of what you have accomplished so far. Go Team Canada!