event :: oringen day 1

Sunday July 17th saw the opening stage of the 2005 O-Ringen based in Skillingaryd deep in central Sweden. Around 140 Brits have made the trip out to the worlds largest orienteering event to take on the biggest orienteering challenge open to all orienteers. Sunday saw a day with fortunes as mixed for the Brits as the weather, which alternated between beautiful sunshine and heavy downpours for the majority of the day.

The forests were physically tough, having suffered quite seriously in storms earlier on in the year. Many found the 10min/km barrier eluded them, though some prospered in the highly physical races. Route choice was paramount, with some devilish long legs crossing huge marshes or leaving the option of a very long track run or significant amounts of climb.

Joy Hodkinson of Nottinghamshire flew the GB flag the highest, winning D10 by an exceptional minute and being "delighted" at winning a frying pan. Becca Roberts of South Ribble had a solid run to take 10th position in D18L, with Rhys Findlay Robinson managing 11th in H20L. After a series of mistakes early on in the course, Becky Carlyle was 15th, ten minutes down in D21L, with Hazel Tant clocking 18th position in D20L.

There were a scattering of top 30 positions amongst the GB Seniors, with Roy Malley of Tyne OK gaining 19th position in H75, Ivor Noot and Monika Cooper just missing the top 20 in H65 and D60, gaining 22 and 23rd positions respectively.

In the elite classes Matt Speake was 13 minutes of the lead in 47th position, not making any real errors but finding the 13km quite challenging "I got to 10km km and thought, oh no, another 3km to go!" Claire Ward also found the race tough, managing 57th position. Rose Hodkinson was 10 minutes down in D18E, picking up 42nd place, leading Tessa Hill in 71st position and Ruth Holmes in 83rd. The Male 18 Elite struggled in the face of imposing competition, with John Rocke getting the highest British position of 72nd.

A difficult way to start the week therefore, with many Brits surprised by the physical nature of the terrain and caught out in areas of green where visibility was very low for Swedish terrain. Those who erred on the side of caution found themselves pulling slow times, with risk taking being an important part of grabbing a top time. We can only hope that as the week goes on things get a little less tough!

Follow it all live at Oringen Online and check out the maps & courses available at RunOway

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