Monday, June 30, 2014

WOC ~ final selection announced!

With the selection races this past weekend, the selection committee has made their final decision on which races athletes will run at the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) this coming weekend:

Men Long: Eric Kemp
Men Middle: Robbie Anderson
Men Sprint:  Robbie Anderson, Will Critchley, Damian Konotopetz
Men Relay: Robbie Anderson, Will Critchley, Eric Kemp

Women Long: Emily Kemp, Louise Oram
Women Middle: Emily Kemp, Louise Oram
Women's Relay: Emily Kemp, Louise Oram, Tori Owen
Women's Sprint: Tori Owen

The Selection Committee has used its discretion to select the following athletes to the Sprint Relay:

Sprint Relay: Will Critchley, Damian Konotopetz, Louise Oram, Tori Owen

* Note that I did not list Emily and Louise as running Individual Sprint as neither expressed interest in their letters of interest.  If, however, either athlete(s) changes her mind, the selection committee would not object to her doing so.

Per the selection criteria, any appeals must be submitted to by 10:15am PST on July 1. 

You can follow our athletes during WOC on the Live Centre, available through the WOC website. You can also follow the action on this blog, on Facebook and on Twitter

Congratulations to those athletes selected. 

Alison Price
Orienteering Canada's High Performance Committee

Connect with Orienteering Canada:

Talent + Dedication + Support  Performance + Growth

Monday, June 23, 2014

Team Canada Training Camp Update

Some of the gang has arrived in Lavarone, Itlay for pre WOC training. Currently here are Damian, Eric, Will, Tori, Kerstin, Michael and our coach Toni. So far we have trained on five different maps. The terrain is steep with lots of pits and trenches but runnable forest. It seems like some of the most important skills involve knowing where you are on a large side hill and being able to identify the difference between a boulder, rocky area, cliff, trench, pit, rocky pit, cave, stone wall, ditch…
Tori enjoying Italian terrain 
Will and the boulders (which would be a great name for a band)

We are staying at a lovely Hotel in the small Italian Alpine village of Lavarone. The hotel opened for the season the day Eric arrived and we seem to be the only guests here. 
The dinning room in Albergo Corona - Eric, before everyone else arrived... 
Our meals are catered, so we get to experience some genuine Italian cooking. In our spare time we have been sampling Gelato flavours, honing our foosball skills and swimming in “Lago di Lavarone“. Life is hard : )

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Summer is here! What's going on in Europe?

Midsummer has arrived, and orienteering competition season is in full swing! Many of our HPP athletes are already living/travelling in Europe to prepare for competition season. 

So what's on the agenda? Here's a highlights list to give you a sense of what our athlete's and coaches have planned. Of course you'll have to check back to the blog for the inside scoop, photos, stories, maps, etc...

June 27 - 29: Team Canada selection races for the World Orienteering Championships (WOC). 
Although some of the team has already been pre-selected (see past blog post), the final selection will take place at the Alpe Adria cup in Italy from June 27 - 29. Louise Oram, Emily Kemp, Tori Owen, Eric Kemp, Damian Konotopetz, Robbie Anderson, and Will Critchley are vying for the various start positions Canada has available. The selection committee will make their decision by June 30, and athlete's have until July 2 to confirm the selection. More information on the selection policy can be found here. Stay tuned for the selection decision next week!

July 5 - 12: World Orienteering Championships. 
Italy is hosting the 2014 World Orienteering Championships. The sprint will be held close to Venice, with the rest of the races hosted near Trento and Lavarone. It promises to be an exciting week of intense competition. Coach Toni Louhisola and team leader Meghan Rance are accompanying the athletes. You can find details on the program, terrain, old maps, and information on live viewing at the WOC website

July 21 - 28: Junior World Orienteering Championships:
Our junior athletes will be travelling to Bulgaria, accompanied by coach Raphael Ferrand and team leader Stefan Bergstrom. Pia Blake, Emma Sherwood, Trevor Bray, Robbie Graham, Alex Bergstrom, Adam Woods, and Michael Svoboda will represent Canada at the most prestigious event for U21 orienteers. Follow them through the sprint, middle, long, and relay races in this packed week. You can read all about JWOC, the schedule, live viewing opportunities, maps, terrain details, and everything else at the JWOC website

August 2 - 4: Canadian Orienteering Championships:
The Greater Vancouver Orienteering Club is hosting the 2014 COCs in Whistler, BC. Many of our HPP athletes will be there to fight it out for the title of Canadian Champion! Hopefully you'll join us to watch the action in person! Details on the event website.

August 12 - 18: World University Orienteering Championships:
WUOC is held every second year, and this time around the Czech Republic is hosting university students from around the world. The Canadian team of Graeme Rennie, Damian Konotopetz, Eric Kemp, Tori Owen, and Emily Kemp have been selected to represent Canada (Robbie Anderson has declined to attend this event since final selection was published). All the event details are available on the event website

October : North American Orienteering Championships:
Orienteering Ottawa and the City of Arnprior are hosting the North American Orienteering Championships. Will Canada take back the Björn Kjellström Cup from the USA? In 2012 the Future Champions Cup was won jointly by USA and Canada... anything could happen this year! Again, we hope to see you there spectating and supporting the athletes from the sidelines! More details at the NAOC website.

You can follow our athletes right here on the blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter! Please share your well wishes, cheers, thoughts, and praise with our athletes... they love to hear you cheer GO CANADA GO!

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Last weekend I got to take part in the famous Jukola relay. For those of you who don’t know Jukola is a massive night relay event held in Finland.  This year it was near Kuopio and I was lucky enough to go! The relay involves two races, a women’s race, Venla, that starts in the afternoon and has 4 legs ranging from 5-7km and a men’s race, Jukola, that starts at 11pm and has 7 legs ranging from 7-14km. The winning time for Venla is around 3 hours and around 8 for Jukola. Which means Jukola is run throughout the night with headlights (the latitude of the location dictates how many legs have to wear headlights). Although designed as separate men/women relay a lot of women run Jukola as well as Venla.
Map of event centre 
After getting off the bus (I was traveling with OK Linné) and joining the crowd of people heading down the road I noticed a map of the event centre and really started to grasp how big an event for an expected 16 000 runners and 30 000 spectators really is. There are a couple fields full of personal tents and then a further field full of army tents that can be booked by clubs and beyond that are the RV and camper vans! To be honest it reminded me of the fourth Harry Potter book and the tent city outside the Quiddich world cup. : ) However, there were no dancing leprechauns at Jukola, and the tents were the same size on the inside as the outside...
some of the army tents - hard to capture how many there were 

Within the actual arena there were massive tents (reminded me of the type they have at Stampede) but theses were filled with orienteering clothing, shoes and nutritional bars… past that was the actual stadium with VIP bleachers near the finish and perfectly aligned rows of maps awaiting to be picked up.  Within the Stadium there were even more tents (not for sleeping but for pre and post racing). 
I was an extra runner, but, I was quickly able to find a Swedish club that needed one runner and so I was adopted into Sävedalens AIK for the afternoon. I was running with three girls about my age and they were very welcolming and even gave me a team jersey to wear, partly because the 4th runner hadn’t arrived yet and so would meet me for the first time when I handed her the map! I was to run the third leg which was around 6.9 km. After a slight delay in my start (I thought I had time to go to the bathroom and when I came back my partner was at the hand off fence..) I was off running down the 800meter chute to the start. Once on the course it was super fun! There were PEOPLE EVERYWHERE!! But it was almost less distracting because you knew there was so much forking that you really had to know where you were going and run your own race anyways. The neat thing was that once you had figured out which direction you were going there were others running in that same way. And if there was a patch of dark green between the control you were at and the next – no problem just make sure your bearing was right and there would be a path that has been thrashed though the forest going in the correct direction! (you just have to make sure it keeps going in the direction you want!) It was super fun because it gave me that little bit of extra reassurance that enable me to move though the forest that much faster. I had a couple smaller errors but nothing major (other than missing my start!) and was able to hand off to our last leg runner (who was waiting on time at the hand off exchange).
The 1200 or so first leg runners of Venla at the start
I was so pumped on the run and wanted to go again! There had been earlier discussion that one of the men’s teams didn’t have enough runners and so a couple of the girls not on the Linnés all girls Jukola team were talking about running Jukola also. I ran the 4th leg which was 7ish km and had an estimated start at  around 0330 for our team. I of course had to stay up to see the men’s start, so only had about 1.5hrs sleep …but, with the announcer heard clearly throughout and it still being light out, I told myself the environment wasn’t conducive to sleep anyways J I was in a middle of a crowd for the men’s start (watching the back of peoples shoulders with Emily – who ran in the all girls Jukola team for Linné) So even though I saw very little it was so nuts to be in a crowd so excited for orienteering! 
My view of the mens start 
For a much cooler view of the start watch this video!  

It was such an experience to go to sleep (sort of) with the loudspeaker man updating you on the races progress and the wake up at 0245 in daylight and head out on a course. It was absolutely beautiful running in the early morning, with the light streaming though the trees and mist rising off the lakes. The course went pretty well until the second last control and I am going to blame lack of sleep on the subsequent 10mins wandering with no apparent plan...

Sorry about this being such a long-winded post – but there is so much to tell! All I can say is that if you are ever in Finland (or anywhere remotely close) during Jukola it is DEFINITELY worth the trip! Such a cool environment! I mean when was the last time you were at an orienteering event with a sauna!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Post-race analysis

Making the wrong route choice on a long leg of a long distance race can lose you minutes, and finding that route can sometimes be a struggle while you are running the race.  One thing I have often been told is to take a couple seconds to decide exactly how I am going to run it before heading off.  Even if I use 20 seconds to make a decision it could save 5 minutes on the leg in total, making the 20 seconds worth it.

Another thing which is important to help avoid mistakes on future races is post-race analysis.  A couple weekends ago I had a short-ish long with a number of kilometer long legs, some of which went well, and other which could have gone better.

This shows where I went in red, and two alternative routes in blue and green.  This leg went alright, although upon later reflection, it may have been better to go further up the hill on the green or blue route.  My route had me crossing many streams, which means steep gulleys right around the streams.  I ended up crossing 3 of them, while going over the top would have meant crossing none.  There was also a better attack point over the top coming down a well defined marsh.  I had no issues attacking the control from the angle I came at it from, but I could have had.  Even though my route choice went well, I could have chosen a better one.

This control was my big mess up on the course.  I ended up becoming unclear as to where I was and curved away from my bearing, leading to a parallel error.  The red route shows where I ran.  The green route shows where I wanted to run.  Although there were features to check off for the first bit of the leg, the end was more of a vague bearing into the control, with no definite attack point.  It would have been a lot better to run down to the trail and up the long marsh into the control.  Although it would have meant more contours to climb, there would have been a clearer attack point and less hesitant running to stay on track over the whole leg.

Regardless of whether you just ran a sprint, middle or long, or even just finished a training session, it is a good idea to look over your map and route choices once you've caught your breath.  The more you do so, the quicker you get at choosing the right route while running and the less likely you are to make the wrong or less optimal choice.  And on long legs during races, even if you are feeling the pressure of time, try to force yourself to take a few seconds to evaluate the different route choices.  It could save you minutes in the end!

Monday, June 2, 2014

HPP Silent Auction Fundraiser at the 2014 COCs!

Every year the High Performance Program holds a silent auction fundraiser at the Canadian Orienteering Championships. This year the silent auction will be at the Banquet on Saturday evening, August 2 in Whistler Village, BC.

Members of the High Performance Program will be donating items, but we greatly appreciate donations from the Canadian orienteering community and their family and friends. If you would like to donate something, here are a few ideas:

  • Could your club donate an entry to an upcoming event?
  • Are you a crafter – can you donate something like a pair of home-made mittens or a hat? pottery? weaving? sculpture? jewellery? This could be the perfect place to try out something you've been eyeing on Pinterest or Craftgawker
  • Are you a foodie – can you donate a jar of home-made jam, a batch of cookies, a ready-to-go home-made baking mix, some home-made granola? 
  • Do you have a cabin or cottage that you could donate a gift certificate for a weekend or a week’s stay at?
  • Do you live in a tourist destination and could offer B&B for a weekend or longer? (especially great if it was in conjunction with future orienteering events)
  • Are you an artist – do you have a sketch of an orienteering scene, or a great photograph that you could put in a frame?
  • Could you ask your local running/sport store to donate an item?
  • Do you have a new unused item kicking around your house that you would love to get rid of – it might just be someone else’s treasure!
  • other ideas? Think about what you would like to bid on.
If you have an item to donate, you can bring it with you to Whistler or send it along with someone who is attending (here’s the list of attendees). Or contact Emily Ross ( to make other arrangements or if you have any questions.

Your support is much appreciated… And if you are coming to the COCs, please bid generously! Don’t forget your wallet and/or your cheque book. Cash or cheque is the preferred payment method. But we can sort out other options if you don’t have enough cash or a cheque with you.

Those of you who have been to one before know that the Silent Auction is a lot of fun, often with frantic bidding as time runs out. You never know what the highly sought after items will be. And if you can’t make it to BC this year, there is always the option of allowing a trusted friend to bid for you! Just give a budget limit and an idea of what you want.

The HPP is very appreciative of all the support we receive and we look forward to seeing you in Whistler!