14 December 2011

Iten, Kenya - University of Champions

At least, that is what it says on the gate! Just arrived in Iten for a 4 week altitude training camp run by Lornah Kiplagat and her Dutch husband Pieter Langerhorst.

Here are some pictures of the centre, which is 2,400m above sea level, just on the edge of Iten, a town of about 4,000 people (of the Kalenjin tribe) in the Great Rift Valley which runs through Kenya. Iten is about 45 minutes drive from Eldoret, which is quite a big city, 45 minute flight from Nairobi.

Iten is a big centre for training for Kenyan athletes, with many of the best Kenyan runners living and training here on the plethora of dirt roads and 2 (dirt) athletics tracks. The HATC itself has a swimming pool and a gym, and lots of athletes from all over the world staying at any one time.

After a long journey without much sleep, we went out for a 30 minute jog to explore the town yesterday, and this morning I ran 50 minutes. You can really feel the altitude on these first runs - even small hills feel like crazy hard work...

I am looking forward to the next month!


Before heading off to Kenya, I took part in a race called the Brutal 10km at Bordon Heath. It was advertised as the toughest off road 10km in the country, and I guess it probably was. 10km of hills, waist deep marshes and swamps, mud, icy tank wallows, sand and tussocks. All in all pretty good fun for an orienteer! There was some fast running too, as transport between the tough sections.
I went off fairly hard, but had Harold 'Warwick' Wyber for company for the first 8km before slowly getting away at the end for the win. Really good fun, and can highly recommend the series which continues in January.

Website here with loads of pictures and movies from the race.

31 October 2011


Smålandskavlen 2011 2nd place

It was always going to be tough to match winning Smålandskavlen last year, but we came pretty close, finishing second to the mighty Kalevan Rasti. I ran the second leg, my first night race for a while, and I did a decent race, pulling SNO up to 2nd place overnight. I had company for a lot of the race, mostly from Jonas Gvildys and Thomas Carlsson, and in the end Topi Anjala. We quite often had different gaffles, but always came back together. Jonas had the fastest leg time, and I was second.
The terrain was tough, not unlike some Scottish areas, and hilly and stony. Nice way to finish a successful year for SNO, although it would be nice to start turning the top 5s, top 3s and top 2s into wins!

Results here

24 October 2011

Swedish Champion! 2011 round-up

So it has been an interesting couple of months. Firstly, I am now Swedish Champion! Rehns BK were disqualified from the Swedish Relay Championships, elevating SNO to the gold medal. You can read about the disqualification here and see the updated results here. I don't really have anything to say about the disqualification other than that rules are rules, even if they are stupid, and that I am happy to be the champion!

Since SM relay, I went to Berlin to watch my girlfriend run in the marathon, and I went to Switzerland for a WOC 2012 training camp followed by the World Cup final. Unfortunately I strained my calf muscle training in Berlin, and then continued to run on it during the training camp, and the tough racing at the WC final was too much for it, so I could hardly run since then, and in fact I have had almost 3 weeks now without any running. I also had some stomach problems at the WC final weekend, meaning that I had pretty poor results, but as always they were some excellent races.

I have now been selected for the GB performance group for 2012, and I am about to start my winter training in build up to the 2012 Championships. I am always quite motivated at this time of year to start base training, and put into practise all the ideas I have been noting down during the year.

It is also time to look back at what I have achieved (or not achieved) during 2011.


Joining SNO, getting a really nice job and place to live in Södertälje with my beautiful girlfriend!

4th - World Championships sprint distance
11th - World Champs middle distance

3rd - Tiomila
5th - Jukola

Gold - Swedish relay champs
Gold - British middle distance champs
Silver - British sprint distance champs
5th - Swedish sprint distance champs
6th - Swedish middle distance champs

5km personal best (15:02)
10km second best time (31:54)
Gold - Bellmanstafetten


Major foot injury in January, and consequent knee problems for much of the spring
I missed many Swedish races, British long distance and student championships due to injury
Poor World Cups including NORT and WC final in Switzerland

21 September 2011

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Good day for SNO - 3 medals in SM relay

Last weekend I ran the Swedish Orienteering Championships in Middle distance and Relay, and in both races I had a good chance to win, and in both races I failed to do so.

Friday - Middle Qualification
Much more difficult both physically and technically than expected. Very bushy terrain with low visibility and wet marshes made this pretty tough. I was pretty scrappy, especially early on, but held it together to qualify 5th in my heat (top 6 to the final).
Results here

Saturday - Middle Final
With my usual cautious start in difficult terrain, I was slow but steady initially but I caught Jesper Lysell and Petter Eriksson at the second control. I probably didn't take the best route choices to the 3rd and 8th, and at the half way mark I was about 1 minute behind the leaders. Then after passing the competition centre and taking a new map, the course suddenly got really interesting again. Petter took a couple of controls before me, and our pace increased such that at the 15th control (after 31 minutes running and 7 minutes left) I was in the overall lead by 20 seconds. Then disaster. The speed was very high across the slope to the 16th. I was a little higher than Petter but with everything under control. We came to the hill where the control should be, and for some reason things didn't quite fit what I was expecting to see. Petter turned right, but instead of checking or following him, my instinct told me I needed to go left. I did that, ran 20 seconds, realised I had made a mistake and turned around. By then it was too late, I had lost 1 minute, Petter was away to the next control, and I had missed my chance to win the Swedish champs. I even made a 15 second mistake on the next control, probably losing a medal, when I almost ran into a forbidden area and had to go back on myself. Still, it was nice to see that my shape is quite good at the moment, and that I should get some confidence in my ability.
I spent a long time thinking about that 16th control after the race....

Results here
Map here

Varvning - photo SOFT

Sunday - Relay
After the middle distance, it was decided that I should ran the last leg, in the SNO first team with Erik Liljeqvist and Jonas Leandersson on the first 2 legs. They both did a really good job, sending me out in 2nd place, 1 minute behind William Lind of Malungs, and just in the front of a group of another 6 runners. The first control was really long, and when we got there, the group had tightened up considerably. I was happy to let others do the work initially, but I was not afraid to do my own thing (for example the 5th control I took a different route choice to the others, and came back out with the leaders). From about the 5th control, a smaller group of myself, Lysell, Johanson, Troeng and Lind had a gap to the others, and we maintained that to the spectator control. Then there was the biggest forking so far, and I took my controls well and was able to get a small lead. Then I pushed as hard as possible across the fields and through the next few controls. At the next radio control I had a 40 second lead. I was really nervous, especially through the technical controls at the far end of the map, but I managed with only some small hesitations to get through them. I could hear the group behind me, and at the end of the loop (which was forked), I caught sight of Troeng and Lysell. Lysell caught me at the 17th and then ran behind me until the second last. I was hoping we would have a different forking in the end, but he had the same as me. Then on the way to the last control, he changed gear and gave it everything. I put everything I had left into following him, but it was not enough, and in the end he won the sprint comfortably. I managed to stay clear ahead of the chasing teams though, for a 2nd place and Silver medal - my first in Swedish Championships.

Results here
Map here

Prispallen - photo SOFT

I was frustrated by my mistake on Saturday, but in general it was a really good, positive weekend, and now I am looking forward to watching my girlfriend run the Berlin Marathon at the weekend, and then to a nice training camp and World Cup Final in Switzerland.

28 August 2011

WOC reflections and winning Bellmanstafetten

Photo: Jeremy Green

So World Orienteering Champs is over for another year, and I'm back home in Södertälje. After a tough spring, I had to readjust my goals for WOC, and my main aims were to perform to the best of my abilities regardless of positions. I managed to do that in both the Sprint and Middle distance finals, taking personal best placings of 4th and 11th, making it my best individual World Champs ever. I started conservatively in the middle distance, slightly fearful after watching the start of the long distance, but perhaps it was a good thing, allowing me to get into the map, and have a really strong last 2/3 of the race. I was slightly frustrated to be 1 second outside the top 10, but there is always next year!

The relay was obviously a disappointment. After 4th place last year, we had ambitions to fight for a top 6 again. Matt had a really bad day on first leg. It happens some times, especially in this terrain, so we were out of it before me and Scott ran.

All results and maps from WOC are online here

Yesterday I ran my first race for Enhörna athletics club in the annual 5*5km race in Stockholm. I ran the last leg, passed 2 teams near to the end to take the victory. There is a nice write up here (in Swedish).

18 August 2011

Exciting few days! 4th at WOC and Scotland for WOC 2015

On Tuesday I achieved my best ever individual result in orienteering, finishing 4th in the World Orienteering Championships sprint distance in Chambery, France. I ran a safe qualification race in the morning, finishing 8th in my heat (with 15 to qualify), without exerting myself too much. In the final, I had a near perfect race, and paced it perfectly to pick up positions in the last few hundred meters to get myself into the top 6 for the first time.
Apart from 2 bad route choices (to the 10th and 14th), where I lost a couple of seconds each time, I had a clean race with no mistakes or even real hesitations. I really enjoyed running through the crowded streets and narrow alleys, and I was able to push myself hard all the way.

Many people have asked me if I am disappointed to miss out on a medal, but I am really happy to have performed to the best of my ability in a World Championships final and taken 4th place! The medal will just have to wait for now :).

Here are my route choices.

The result is especially satisfying as I have had a poor season due to several injuries, and I was not confident in my physical shape in the build up to the championships, but my preparations in the last weeks were good, training hard with my team mate Scott Fraser. He had a great chance to fight for a medal in the race, but was screwed over by a qualifier disqualification debate, only finding out he could even run the final less than an hour before the start, and then having to run through all the crowds as the marshals in the town didn't know he was running after the main start block.

Results here
Splits here

Scotland for WOC 2015!

Today it was announced that the World Championships will he held in Scotland in 2015. This is really exciting news, and hopefully will provide a real boost for UK orienteering at a time when funding for sport (especially non-olympic) is being dramatically reduced. Details here.

28 July 2011

Scotland for WOC 2015

Scotland is bidding to host the World Champs in 2015, and the decision will be made in about 1 months time. Check out the facebook page here and a leaflet with bid info here (at least to check out the gorgeous guy on the left).

Support the bid for a really cool World Champs in some of the best terrain in the World in the heart of Scotland!

(NB. Scotland may also include haggis, whiskey, ceilidh dancing, bagpipes, kilts, Irn Bru, Loch Ness monster and Scottish people)

02 May 2011

SWEDEN - Sprint champs, Stigtomta, 3rd at Tiomila!

2 weeks ago I moved back to Sweden, to my new apartment in Södertälje. Immediately I went away for the weekend to Gotland for the Swedish sprint champs in Visby, where I was very happy to come 5th.
Last week I ran in Stigtomta relay, I ran the 5th leg and was doing an ok performance running with the leading group until the TV control, then I fell and hit my knee and struggled round the last 15 minutes, losing a little over a minute to the front 2 teams. Unfortunately Scott missed a control on last leg and so we were disqualified.

My knee actually felt ok for a few days after the race, but 4 days after I had some swelling and inflammation., it was really painful even walking and so I had to see the physio - he told me there was no tissue damage, just fluid causing the pain. So it was not particularly good preparation for Tiomila doing no running for 5 days and being unsure if I should even run.
Anyway, I did run, and with some strong pain killers I was able to run the 9th leg for SNO. The boys did an excellent job to send me out with Kalevan Rasti in the lead. I couldn't follow Hertner though, and I finished 2 minutes after in 2nd place. I had a fairly good technical performance and was satisfied with my race.
Matthias Muller did a good job and we finished in 3rd place! A new personal best for me at Tiomila.

18 April 2011

Live GPS tracking comes to Britain - weekend of top racing in July including Harvester Relay

Live GPS Tracking comes to Britain

Sheffield University Orienteering Club (ShUOC) invite you to an exciting weekend of racing on the 16th-17th July 2011. The Harvester Relays return to Ecclesall Woods and Limb Valley, the birthplace of the Harvester - a complex woodland in the suburbs of Sheffield. A middle distance race on the Saturday and an urban race on the Sunday add to what shall be a spectacular weekend of racing.

The event includes a UK first with Live GPS Tracking shown through the night for speactators both in the assembly area and at home.

Even if you’re not intending to run in the Harvesters why not come along for a summer weekend of high quality orienteering. With a Middle and Urban race and informal ultrasprint on the Saturday afternoon it promises to be an unmissable event.

Harvester entries are now
open and individual entries for both days will open in May. A new Ad-Hoc class will be available this year for individuals unable to form club teams, see the website for more details.


10 April 2011

Well who would have thought it....

Photo Rob Lines

Today I took my first British middle distance title (after 3 silvers!). I made a 55 second mistake at the 3rd control, but after that had a close to perfect race and I was able to win by about 50 seconds in front of Rich Robinson and Oli Johnson. It was a nice race - fast running with enough technical challenge to make it interesting, although there were a few very simple controls

Results here

09 April 2011

Silver in British Sprint Champs

Photo Rob Lines

Today the British Sprint Champs were held near Brighton on the south coast. After a pretty terrible winter and early spring, I have finally managed to start to get some running training together, but as this week was really busy in university and I also moved house, it has been a bit stressful! Anyway, I was looking forward to the champs, as I seem to be running ok, and you never know what will happen in the championships situation. I felt really good to start with in the qualification, when the orienteering was more important than the running, I was flying! The latter sections required a bit more leg speed and there was some climb - that is when my body started to struggle, but I managed to win my heat. Perhaps pushing a little harder than I needed to in retrospect.

Results here
Routegadget here

For the final I was quite aggressive, going out hard. The first half was again very tricky and the orienteering speed was more important than the running. After 8 minutes and 17 controls I had had a perfect race and was in the lead by 24 seconds. Then the course changed character, with longer legs and more route choice (and a big climb back to the finish). I started to struggle a bit, and made one bad route choice decision (15 seconds). With 4 (simple) controls to go I was in joint 1st with Murray, but he destroyed me over the last 300m to win by 9 seconds and take his first title. Ralph Street took a creditable 3rd place, with Oli Johnson only 1 second behind. Really good area, map and course, and fantastic weather! I have some vest shaped sunburn now...

Happy with the performance and the result, considering my lack of running this year.

05 April 2011

And now for something completely different

I don't often post non-orienteering related items on my blog, but every now and again something come along that is worth pushing the boat out for, and I felt that this fantastic effort by my clubmate in Sheffield, Daniel 'run-in king' Hartmann is definitely worth it - enjoy. :D

20 March 2011

New year, new club

This year, after 5 years with IFK Lidingö, I have decided to change club and run for IFK Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering. It was a tough choice, as I have had some excellent years and made some good friends with Lidingö, and experienced racing at the highest level in some big competitions. The best memories are winning Smålandskavlen last year, and 7manna the year before, and coming 4th in Jukola in 2008. We also had quite a few races where we did not achieve our potential too.

I lived in Lidingö for 2 years, and it was a great experience, but the last 2 years I have been living in Sheffield. Now I have again decided it is time for a change as I am coming to the end of my masters degree, and I am moving to live in Södertälje in April. I will work part time for Scania, and try to improve myself as an orienteer in a really good training environment. Team Scania and SNO will provide some great resources to aid me in my preparation for national and international success. I am looking forward to training with, among others, World champion Matthias Muller and my GB team-mate Scott Fraser.

So thank you to all in IFK Lidingö for making the last 5 years so good, and watch out in 2011 for the SNO team!

Poms at POM etc

I went to Portugal for 9 days with some British boys and some of the SNO guys and girls to get in some nice training in the sun, but as when I left I could not run, I wasn't hopeful so I rented a bike for the whole trip.
I ended up being able to do some running, and by the end of the trip, I even ran a middle distance quite fast. I did do a LOT of cycling though, and I really enjoyed it - hundreds of km around small roads in lovely rolling hills, mostly in nice weather. The highlight was a 100km from Vale de Seda to Evora.

Day 3 of POM (WRE) - cruised around, a few mistakes

Day 2 of POM, jogged round, lots of mistakes!
Sprint training in Evora
SNO camp night champs, 2nd place after M. Muller. Pretty happy with my run - 31mins for 7.2km in the dark!
WRE middle distance - raced this one and was doing ok until I got tired in the end and started making a lot of mistakes.

I did a lot of training in Portugal, but I did a little too much, and unfortunately I got a cold on my return to UK. This weekend I planned to run British Student champs, but I decided with my cold and my foot injury, that a 60 minute race in rough Scottish terrain wouldn't be the best bet.

Instead, my club put on 2 events around Sheffield, so I took part in both - an urban race in Hathersage in the Peaj District, and a middle distance on a new, really interesting and unique map called Hugset - I had quite a good 'race' but I wasn't running very fast, just a couple of small mistakes (it was really technical!)

I now have 3 weeks until the British Sprint and Middle championships in Brighton, and then I am moving to Sweden, to run with my new club, SNO.

01 March 2011

Comebacks and setbacks

2011 has been a frustrating year so far. I have actually trained quite well, it is just that 90% of that training has been on the spinning bike. I started running again after my foot impalation about 2 weeks ago, slowly building up to running a little each day. On Saturday I decided to test if I could run fast, so I entered the local weekly 5km park run. It felt so good, that after I ran 5 times 3 minutes fast as well. So it was my longest and fastest run since the injury, and it felt good. However, the next day I woke up and I could hardly walk for pain in my other foot!
It seems that I have some sort of compensation injury in my previously good foot, and I have stiffness in my plantar fascia and an inflamed tendon. Basically that means I am back on the spinning bike, and unless there is rapid improvement, Portugal this weekend is looking unlikely.

03 February 2011

First steps

This morning I ran for the first time in 1 month. I did some intervals. 3 times 30 seconds easy jogging with 1 minute recovery. My foot feels very strange, and doesn't really work like it should at the moment. I hope over the next few weeks I will see some improvement so I can get back to training normally. In the meantime I am still getting 2 hours every day (almost) on the spinning bike.

27 January 2011

My new home

For the last few weeks I have been living here

Due to the fact that I can't run because of this

Which happened because of this

Running through the dunes in Barbate, this sharpened root was sticking out of the ground, and went straight through the sole of my shoe and 2cm into my foot (it would have gone through almost any shoe, it certainly was not the fault of the X-talon!).
Trips to hospital every day to get treated and dressed, and it was very difficult to walk at first with the bruising and the BIG HOLE in my foot. Almost 3 weeks on I have still a lot of soreness and bruising, the would is healing nicely, but there is no chance of running yet, and weight training seems to be quite painful still, so I am training a lot of hours on the spinning bike. I have also lost some sensation in the side of my foot and my big toe - apparently I might have damaged the nerves which could take up to a year to grow back - it is very strange not to have any feeling in part of your foot!

My season has had to be reassessed, as obviously I won't be running for a while, and certainly won't be racing for a few months yet. No cross-country this year.

Anyway, apart from that, Spain was lovely - good weather, good training, good company. Here are some pictures.

Read more about my 'accident' in my training log here