As Scotland prepares to host The 2015 IOF World Orienteering Championships (WOC 2015) - from 31 July to 7 August 2015 in the Highlands and Moray – a number of Britain’s top elite orienteers will battle it out this weekend for the final spots on the GB squad; and the honour of competing in a World Championships on home soil.
The final GBR test races for WOC 2015 will be staged on Deeside and in Moray from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 July. There will be a middle distance race at Torphantrick on 10 July (from 1700) and a long distance race at Glen Tanar on 11 July (from 1200). The forest terrain races will be followed by an urban sprint in Elgin on the morning of Sunday 12 July (from 0805).
British athletes will be competing with international orienteers from Norway, Czech Republic, Spain, Hungary, Poland, USA, New Zealand and Ireland who have been on training camps in the UK.
While the overseas runners have no selection issues at stake for these races they will be out to set the standard for the British team. They will also stand to gain vital familiarity of the tough forest terrain of Darnaway and Glen Affric and the challenging urban landscape of Forres and Nairn that they will encounter at the World Championships in August.
As host nation of the 2015 Orienteering World Championships GB can select 3 men and 3 women for the urban sprint discipline and the forest-based middle and long distance races. These disciplines are orienteering’s equivalent of the 5,000-metres, 10K road race and marathon, often with athletes specialising in each one.
Additionally there are 3 places up for grabs for men and women in the forest relay, and 2 men and 2 women for the urban relay team. Relay team members are sometimes the same athletes that run in the individual races, but often there are relay specialists whose skills are well-suited to the unique demands of running in an orienteering relay where race mentality and calmness under pressure plays such a massive part. That is a big dilemma that the selectors have to wrestle with.
Liz Campbell, the GB Performance Coach said: “We will finalise the team after Sunday’s race. Then the full team will come together a few days before the first WOC races to complete our final preparations. The athletes and staff are all looking forward to this big opportunity with excitement and determination.”
A number of athletes have already been been selected for the GB team. Men - Scott Fraser – Sprint; Graham Gristwood - Long / Middle and Alasdair McLeod – Long. Women - Charlotte Ward – Sprint; Hollie Orr – Middle / Mixed Sprint Relay / Forest Relay; Catherine Taylor – Long / Middle / Mixed Sprint Relay / Forest Relay and Claire Ward – Long / Forest Relay
The remaining places in the team, including reserves, will be announced the week beginning 13 July 2015.