Sunday, July 22, 2018

JWOC 2018 - Kescskemet, Hungary


The first event of this year's Junior World Orienteering Championships in Hungary was the long, and it was really was long with the longest distances of any JWOC ever. This was due to the flat, open and very runnable terrain. As this was my (Rachel) first JWOC I was a little nervous for the event especially the quarantine and extra long call-up and all of the extra stuff going on before the start of the race. After the first control where I was a little flustered from being at my first Junior Worlds, I found a good flow and was really happy with the rest of my race. Thankfully, the weather wasn't so hot as the organizers had said it might be and was more like 26 degrees instead of 40 degrees.

The terrain was a mix of planted forests in nice blocks and very open grasslands somewhat like Kamloops if it were squished so that the highest hills were only around 10 meters high. It made for orienteering where there was very limited route choice as going straight was almost always not only very possible but also the fastest option by far. The trails were also very sandy so did not make for fast running as one might expect based on Canadian orienteering.
A map snippet of the middle of the W20 course. The leg from 3 to 4 was a long leg through the planted forests and out into the more open grasslands where as usual straight was the best option.

Me and Jan with the old school results board in the background. Each athlete had a board that they then printed your time onto and slotted you into the correct spot. Our team's best placing of the day was Jan's 13th place (despite him being shown in 14th on the board) making it the best Canadian male result at the Junior World Orienteering Championships.


Following the long we changed gears to the shortest and fastest event of the week. The sprint featured a complex multilevel area with added man-made fences to complicate matters. Have a look at this loop throughout the levels and see what seems like the best route to you:

The sprint wasn't the best race of the week for me as I mispunched when I didn't see a control and had the surprise of finding out that there had been a control number 15 that I had in fact not been to. This was overshadowed by cheering for and watching Emma to her 6th place finish. It was very exciting to have a Canadian as a part of the medal ceremony.

Emma on the podium and a happy Canadian team.

Middle Qualifier and Final

The middle had us taking military transport vehicles into a green maze of juniper bushes, for the final at least and a mix of juniper maze and open forest for the qualifier. As I found out, once you have lost your exact location in the maze of green it is very difficult to relocate without bailing, a sometimes difficult task when you are faced with what seems like no way out without bashing through thick bushes. The middle races were unpredictable with the green and the possibility of trapping yourself in the bushes by choosing the wrong macro route choice and mistakes very easily becoming major and very difficult to correct. The final saw a Hungarian winner for the women so their training in similar terrain must have paid off as it makes sense in terrain so unique to the area. Although, I doubt the Swedes have similar terrain at home and the men swept the podium so it can't just be that.

The military transport used to travel the last part of the drive to the middle and relay quarantines. The benches in the back were not padded and we were given dust masks by the organizers because of the amount of dust churned up by the trucks.


The last race for the week was the relay and took us back to semi-open terrain with fast running. It also brought the hottest day of the week. Even with dumping water on my head multiple times during my warm-up as well as during the race I dried off and was warm again with minutes. Many runners struggled with the heat losing focus and concentration as the race went on due to the heat and dehydration. I was running the third leg and it was cool to be able to see the runners coming through the stadium and cheer for my teammates as they went out on their legs. I ran alone for almost all of the race so I didn't have the excitement of running with a pack however there were elephant tracks through the grass and bushes in places that were helpful for getting through and knowing I was on the right track. I was really happy with my navigation and running in the relay and it was my best race of the week. The open grassland was more predictable and forgiving than the middle terrain and it was nice to be able to navigate at speed again. 

Emma running the first leg for the girls team.

Following the awards ceremony we were able to collect our names from the results board to take home with us. It was a bit of a free for all as everyone ran up to search for their name.

With our name boards after the relay.

After the relay there was the banquet and the team was dressed up in matching outfits even if it we didn't have a specific costume or weren't dressed up as something.

A big thanks to everyone who followed along with the team and our races at this years Junior World Orienteering Championships in Kecskemet, Hungary.
Back row left to right: David, Jan Erik, Tomas, Michael, Graeme, Christian, Jeff
Front row left to right: Meghan, Emma, Rachel, Sianna


  1. Thanks for the great post Rachel! Really enjoyed reading about your experiences and seeing the photos. Congrats on your first JWOC :)

  2. Really nice to hear of your experiences at your first JWOC! I really enjoyed reading about your and your teams' accomplishments. Well done.