The British Sprint Orienteering Championship took place at the weekend at Skelmersdale and 6 POTOC members made the trip to Lancashire for the event.

Sprint Orienteering usually takes place in complex urban areas with courses of 2.5 to 4km in length. Winning times are often around 15-20 mins and the ability to make quick route choice decisions under pressure and good top end running speed are the keys to success.

The British Champs event consisted of age group heats in the morning with runners then progressing onto an A or B final in the afternoon according to their results in the heats.

Three of our members made the A final for their age group. Rob Holdway M35 won his 3.7km heat in 17:31 to progress, Martin Pigott was 2nd in his 3.2km M45 heat and Jean Rostron W75 also made the A final for her 2.2km heat coming 4th.

Making the B finals were Ianka Evans W50 who just missed out on the A final by a few seconds, Elizabeth Bales W55 10th and Alex Evans M18 6th.

The finals took place later the same day with a few hours rest after the morning heats. After winning his heat Rob Holdway had another great run in his 4km A final winning in 19:24 and becoming M35 British Sprint Champion in the process. Well done Rob.

Martin Pigott narrowly missed out on a top 3 place in his M45A final coming 4th. Here is Martin’s report from the event:

I wasn't quite sure what performance to expect as I haven't done a sprint race since the JK in 2018. Looking at the start list I was the 5th ranked, so there was a chance of a podium position.The qualifier went smoothly amongst the identical housing blocks. It was crucial to know where you were as relocating would have been tricky.

The final was just to the north of the qualifying area but had the same finish. The first half of the course was more physical than I expected and there were many footpath railings that slowed you down. I lost 11 seconds on the downhill control 8 after missing a turn & hesitating. But then I had a good part of the race between 9 and 17. The splits show me level with the 3rd placed runner at control 17. I was a bit confused on control 20 and lost 8 seconds, and also to the final control I went the slower way around a building which cost me 3 seconds.

Then I watched the last 3 runners come into the finish, hoping that one of them had made a big error or even mis-punched! It wasn't to be and I had to settle for 4th place which left me feeling a bit flat at that moment. But looking back I feel pleased with my effort and will be aiming for a higher finish at Leeds Uni next June

POTOC’S other representative in the A final’s was Jean Rostron W75 who commented :

“There were only 4 in my class so we all went into an A Final (having successfully completed the qualifier).  Two were the top two UK W75's - unsurprisingly they were 1st and 2nd. 3rd was between me and one other who was faster than me on the day!”

In the W50B finals Ianka Evans was 1st, Alex Evans was 4th in M18B  and Elizabeth Bales was 6th in the W55B final.

All the courses from the weekend can be viewed on Routegadget here.

 The next major event in the orienteering calendar is the British Long Distance Championships taking place at Braunton Burrows on October 2nd.

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