Orienteering Ottawa goes to Jukola!

We are very proud to announce that, for the first time ever, Ottawa is sending a team to Jukola. It’s always been a dream, and with three OOC members living in Scandinavia, and other members racing for Team Canada in Europe this summer, we’ve finally made it happen!

An Historic Event

Jukola is the world’s biggest orienteering relay and has been held in Finland every June since 1949. This year there are over 1700 teams of 7 people (~12000 total) registered with another almost 1400 women's teams of 4 registered for the Venla relay. With over 65 years of history, the race is closely tied to Finnish tradition and culture. The name “Jukola” coming from the classic Finnish book Seven Brothers. Because orienteering in the day time isn't challenging enough :), the relay’s seven legs, varying from 8 to 17 km, are run through the night. The relay starts at 15 minutes after sunset at 11pm on Saturday night and the winning teams are expected to finish the 84km of orienteering in about 8 hours.

Below is a video of the mass-start from 2014. It’s expected to be as big this year, with 17,558 total competitors signed up.

The breakdown of the different legs this year is as follows:

jukola legs

Be Careful who you Follow

With so many teams starting the race at the same time the organizers use a method called 'forking' to prevent you from following all the other teams. Forking means that there are several different controls that different runners will go to that vary the course slightly. The general layout of the course is the same but control 2 (for example) for a runner from team 1 might be on a boulder while control 2 for a runner from team 2 might be on a cliff 100m away. By making the controls nice and close together like that you will still see your competitors around you and the pressure to compete is high but you need to focus on your own race to make sure you don't punch the wrong control! The forking is always set up so that each team runs all of the same legs over the course of their 7 runners. Using the example above, runner 2 from team 1 would run to the control on the cliff and runner 2 for team 2 would run to the control on the boulder. Each team of two runners will have visited both controls. With 7 runners on each team and a total of 84km of orienteering there are a lot of forking variations and combinations that could be run!

Check out the 2014 World Championships relay course to see what this looks like on a map.

Nonetheless, 'trains' do form when lots of runners are orienteering together in the middle of the night. When this happens you definitely want to take advantage of it but you need to pay attention to make sure the train you're riding is going to your control!

Team Ottawa

Our team this year consists of six born-and-raised Ottawa runners and one international runner. It’s quite common for the big Scandinavian clubs to have international runners on their teams, so we think it’s reasonable to have a foreign runner with us as well, even if it would have been nice with a full team from Ottawa. Below is a short presentation of each runner with our preliminary running order.

1. Emily Kemp

Emily is just coming off an amazing 4th place in the middle distance at the European champs. She is currently living and training in Turku, Finland, and running for Angelniemen Ankkuri, with whom she will be running the women’s Venla relay. Emily will have a few hours to recover after Venla before giving the guys a tough battle on the first leg.

2. Eric Kemp

It’ll be a little special to see Emily hand-off to her older brother after the first leg. Eric has been training hard this spring and his sound technical skills and night-orienteering experience will get us through the challenging second leg.

3. Robbie Anderson

Robbie is living and training in Gothenburg, Sweden, where he has great access to maps and trainings. His shape is getting better each week after a lazy winter and he should be ready to handle the “long-night” (after a large dose of caffeine at least).

4. Jeff Teutsch

Ottawa’s O-guru, now in Calgary, has had some injury problems again this year. The amazing Jukola atmosphere and rising sun will have him flying through this technical leg.

5. Daniel Martinsson

Daniel hails from the west coast of Sweden and is a good friend and club mate of Robbie’s. He’s heard his fair share of stories from Gatineau Park and is also a proud member of the Bring-back-Bucky movement. He’s just getting back to racing after a long knee injury, but we’re very happy to have an experienced Jukola runner with us in the team.

6. Robbie Graham

Robbie will be hopping on a flight to Finland soon after his last exam at Carleton. He’s been training well, as seen from his very solid results from the recent US Team Trials. The second generation Canadian Team member will continue on to the Junior World Championships in Switzerland afterwards.

7. Steffan Lloyd

Steffan’s home training ground of Chelsea, Quebec has changed this year to Umeå, Sweden, where he is now living with his girlfriend. The former Junior National ski team member has been getting in lots of quality hours in the beautiful northern Scandinavian terrain. We look forward to cheering him in to the finish at the end of the long last leg.

Some Friendly Competition

This year, two other North American clubs have also entered teams in Jukola. CSU from Boston has registered a team several times in recent years and will be challenging us for North American Jukola Champs :) The Yukon is also fielding a team, which, while not as spritely as the Ottawa or CSU teams, has vast amounts of experience under its collective belts and could steal the North American title from under our noses if we're not careful.

Follow the action

We hope you’ll follow us live at home on Saturday, June 18th!

There are always lots of ways to follow along. Live results, live streaming tv broadcast, radio announcing from the arena and some of the controls in the forest, etc.

Find it all at: http://www.jukola.com/2016/en/live/

With the time zone difference the relay starts at 2:00 in the afternoon and will run late into the evening so perfect for viewing at home.


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