Monday, July 18, 2016

JWOC 2016

Sunday, July 10th, Sprint - Emma W

The morning of the Sprint started with some typical pre-race jitters and the superstitions that Erik informed you all of. (Yes, lucky hairbands really do work!) You could tell that the others were also nervous, but excited to get the day rolling. We all headed down to the town of Scuol to warm-up for our races, and by then the day’s heat was already settling in nicely.

The W20 course was 3.3km, with 85m of climb and a set winning time of 14 minutes (Which was crushed by Simona Aebersold in 13:13!). The course consisted of two sections of technical legs in the town area separated by a long leg. The key here was to plan ahead for that long leg whenever you go the chance. Another good tip that the team had discussed before the race was to look up for obvious features like water fountains or building that stick out more. That way, you can focus on one bigger thing rather than checking off many smaller ones since many alleys and streets looked similar.

Robbie, Emma and Leif in the Sprint, Photos courtesy of Dave Yee Photography

The route-choice leg was long and had some different options.The park route, which I took was shorter, but had lots of twisting and turning. Which route would you take?  
Courtesy World of O

Exiting the town section, we had an uphill leg from 9-10 where many of us lost a lot of energy. Following that, there was an easy leg to a spectator loop and a map flip. The second map had a few legs in an open park that was riddled with some false fences just to mess with you. Personally, I lost some time in the spectator loop because I flipped my map over too early and couldn’t figure out where the loop shot me out to. After some re-focus however, I got right back into it and tried to tell the burning in my legs that it was almost over.

The Canadian boys did well with the top placing for Robbie Graham in 111th place with the best % behind the winner for Canadian men since 2013. For the women, I held a similar placing to last year in 30th place (compared to 28th in Roland!) and the others put in some solid places.


Monday, July 11th, Long - Leif

Monday began at 5:00am with an early breakfast and a 2.5 hour journey to the quarantine, high up in the Fuorn pass near the Italian border. The previous night's chills beginning to fade, I set out on the 8.8km course across open pastures and daringly steep hillsides. With 450m of climb at an altitude of 2200m, the winning time was set at a surprisingly long 70 minutes for such a short Long.

The course started in a rather technical but open section of the map, with some detailed contours and some opportunities to lose some time early on in the race. For me, it was a matter of easing into the terrain, not taking too fast out of the start chute, and keeping absolute control of my navigation as I headed through to control 4.

From there, the course alternated between physically demanding long route choice legs and short bursts of highly technical contour navigation. Leg 7, shown below, gave approximately equal times to both routes, though staying high to the left most likely would have saved power for later on, of which I could have definitely used. A common trend in faster route choices, even on shorter legs such as 18-19, were detours into the open fields, where running was much faster than over the rocky forest floor. The long leg to control 10 brought the M20s far down the hillside, giving way to the promised 450m of quad-burning climb.
Courtesy World of O

The Canadian men all finished within 03:25 of each other, spanning a mere 14 spots in a field of 156 finishers. In the end, the 70 minute winning time was beat by nearly 5 minutes in a very impressive run by Joey Hadorn. The women were not quite so close together, but they did walk away with some better results. Emma Waddington finished in 78th - her best JWOC Long result to date.


Wednesday, July 13th, Middle Qualifier - Leif

A cool morning gave way to pouring rain as athletes competed for one of 60 spots in Thursday’s Middle A-Final. Starting about 150m up the hill behind our accommodation, the three men’s courses weaved down the hillside (albeit with 150m of climb), ending in the adjacent football field (European, mind you). The course ran through technical rock and contour areas, as well as long slopes where a good bearing, accurate side-hilling and an awareness of what features to spot up ahead were critical to successful navigation.

It was a short and fast race, with winning times of around 25min and an A-Final cut-off of about 30min. A little too fast out of the gate, I lost about 1.5min on the first control, ending up too high above the control. After, I managed to run a clean race, keeping up a good running speed and simplifying effectively to avoid getting bogged down in the detail, finishing 1:09 behind qualifying.

Pia Blake ran exceptionally well, qualifying for her first time in the A-Final. She was the only Canadian to achieve this level of performance in the Middle in 2016.

More info & maps:

Thursday, July 14th, Middle Final - Emma W

After another chilly evening in the mountains, we made our way to Susch-Lavin for the Middle Final. Canada had several of our athletes in the B and C finals, who started before our one and only A finalist, Pia. After a long, uphill walk to the pre-start, I headed off on my B final course of 2.9km with 180m of climb.

The race started by throwing you right into a fairly technical area. The second leg was where many other girls had trouble since it was slightly downhill and sidehill with nothing too prominent to catch you if you went too far. They key here was to be careful and not descend too many contours. I took this leg cautiously and nailed it! Here, I caught a girl from New Zealand and we ran the rest of the race by taking slightly different routes and meeting up again. The majority of my course was pretty clean navigationally so that was a pretty rewarding after a not-so-great run the day before.

The course then played around on the top of a small plateau for a while, with lots of small features. The woods were incredible open, and the footing was quite forgiving to the ankles. (My ankles thank you, Susch-Lavin)

Then came a routechoice leg that was common between the A and B finals. I opted for one of the green routes, which was a pretty solid route.
Courtesy of World of O

Finally, the course descended into the arena only to go right back up into the woods again for a short little loop before punching GOat control into the finish. Nope, that wasn’t a type-o. It really was a goat.

Control description: South-eastern foot.

Both Michael and I had personal bests in the B final, placing 17th and 10th respectively.

It was also fun to watch Pia, our superstar A finalist, on the big screen and follow her GPS along. Everyone was cheering!

Pia looking happy with her race!

For more, visit

Friday, July 15th, Relay - Emma W

Now for the fun race! It all started with some face paint by Emma S... (A+ art skills, Emma...truly…)

Jan Erik approves of his face  paint!

The boys race started at 10:30, and Jan Erik led off our A team, and Michael led off the B team. Both boys put in solid first legs, with Jan Erik coming in 20th, and Michael in 40th. After lots of team spirit and great runs by Leif and Robbie, Canada 1 finished 22nd! Christian and Caelan led Canada 2 to finish 34th, both large improvements from last year!

The girls race started at 11:15, with me racing the first leg. Right off the start I was feeling the hills from the previous races in my legs, but the adrenaline was too high to stop! Our third leg had a huge hill that most of the girls were trudging up, it wasn’t that enjoyable.
Killer, right?

For the rest of the course I managed to stick with the middle pack, and finish in 18th with a time way under what I had predicted! After a terrible first leg last year I was incredibly proud of this result!

Both Pia and Nicole had similar feelings about the hills, but we all agreed that the relay terrain and course was fun and enjoyable, and a great way to end the week in 36th place!

Go Canada!


Thanks to all who supported and watched us throughout the week of JWOC. It meant a lot to all of us and helped up along the way! Thanks to our coach Jeff for always giving us helpful tips and training techniques. Thanks to Sabine and Erik for keeping us on time and getting us where we needed to be. Thanks to the o-store for getting all of us our race gear and Icebug Canada for some great shoes and Trimtex for our great Team Canada uniforms!

See you next summer, at JWOC 2017 in Finland!


  1. Thanks so much for the inside scoop! I had fun waking up every morning to check the results!

  2. Awesome post! Great photos, great route snippets, great course descriptions, and loved to hear the inside scoop. It was great seeing so many fantastic performances and to see the improvement in results over previous years. You did the Maple Leaf proud! Congratulations to the whole team!