DEVON junior orienteer Harry McMurtrie (M18) recently visited Sweden for some serious training! Read about how he got on in the forest...
Having competed in several national selection races earlier this year, I was fortunate enough to be selected for the JROS Gothenburg Camp, held from the 18th– 27thAugust 2018. Along with 13 other Men/Women 18-20s from across the UK, I arrived at the Sӓvedalens AIK club hut on the Sunday and went straight out to help collect controls from a Middle Distance event held earlier that day. This was a good way of getting my eye into the terrain and gave me a taste of the areas and navigational challenges to come.
Over the next few days we did a variety of training sessions, including some tricky long leg exercises, a control pick which was 46 controls long and orienteering intervals with the locals on their club night. Having attended the Stockholm camp last year, as well as training sessions with the South West Junior Squad, my navigation had much improved and I only got lost on a couple of occasions and not for too long each time!
Unfortunately on the Wednesday I sprained my ankle coming back from the morning training session, which meant I couldn’t run properly on it for the rest of the week. However, I didn’t let that stop me from enjoying the terrain and making the most of the sessions planned. We did a sprint training in Gothenburg and joined the club for their relay training as they prepared for the Swedish Relay Championships. I found that throughout the week I was making fewer mistakes on the courses and choosing better and faster route choices.
On the final Sunday we took part in the Gothenburg Long Distance Championships; although the area wasn’t as nice as some of those we had previously trained on, it provided a good opportunity to test what we’d learnt on the tour. With long legs measuring 1.4km and 1.7km it was certainly a challenging course, and the planning meant you had to choose between trying to go straight across marshes or taking the longer path routes. Although I couldn’t run at my usual pace because of my ankle, I was still happy with my time of 66 minutes on the 6.7km course and it was a great way to round off the tour.
The Gothenburg Camp helped me to develop techniques that I had gained in Stockholm and can now use in both Devon and future national events. I’d certainly recommend trying for selection to Devon juniors as it is a very worthwhile experience and you get to run on terrain you can’t find anywhere in England and improve your skills.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Mark Saunders for organising the tour and to Devon Orienteering for giving me a grant to help me attend the camp.
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