The World Schools Orienteering Championships took place around Primiero, Trentino – in the Dolomite area of Italy in May. The junior boys team from Ulverston Victoria HS was selected to represent England and they have returned with a trophy, medals and certificates.
The stunning scenery and temperatures nudging 30C would have been great for a holiday, but provided problems for the orienteers. The terrain was reminiscent of the Lake District, especially of the slopes around Claife, but everything was on a bigger scale. The slopes were much steeper and although 2/3 of the course was downhill the runners had to be very careful not to shoot past the controls. Boulders and crags were over 5m high, but with so many on the ground runners had to make sure that they kept in contact with the map and not get lost among the numerous features.
The first race was the classic (long) distance. The planner tested the runners with a variety of route choices and everyone made mistakes and lost time. Ulverston’s best result came from Adam who, despite losing 8 minutes to the winner, had a strong run to finish in 5th place. Angus was 5 minutes behind in 13th place and James in 22nd place, 8 minutes further back. Patrick made a large mistake and dropped 20 minutes to finish 29th. Ulverston’s best time was achieved by William who finished in first place a minute clear. Unfortunately, when he downloaded he discovered that he had missed a control and was disqualified. After training hard for over a year and running what he felt was the perfect race William was understandably disappointed.
Team positions are worked out by adding the 3 fastest times for each school. The large mistakes spread all the teams out. The local school from Primiero were in the lead 10 minutes ahead of New Zealand. Spain were in 3rd, 11 minutes further back, followed by Slovenia. Ulverston had dropped to 5th, 8 minutes off the bronze medal and 19 minutes behind silver. The final race was a shorter middle distance course. It was going to be very difficult to make up time and it looked like mission impossible to get on the podium.
The Ulverston boys were confident that they could catch up time and set about the task with determination and concentration. Their technical skills were excellent and as each Ulverston runner came to the finish they went into first place. Their final times and positions were outstanding – Adam 2nd, Angus 5th, Patrick 7th, William 15th and James 22nd. They were only 2 mins down on Italy, but they annihilated the other teams beating Slovenia by 14 minutes, New Zealand by 15 minutes and Spain by 19 minutes. They had leapfrogged into 3rd place overall and were only 4 minutes behind New Zealand in silver.
After all the hard work over the last year the Ulverston team deserved their place on the podium and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. They are looking forward to the 2013 championships in Portugal were they will lock horns with Sweden and attempt to overtake both Italy and New Zealand.
The teams are very grateful for all the support they received from SLDC, Marks & Spencer and Ulverston Rotary Club.
|Junior Boys – Individual Results (66 runners)
|Junior Boys – Team Results (14 teams)