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JWOC 2009

Team for JWOC 2009 (click on athlete for full profile): Niall Ewen, Kevin O'Boyle, Ruairi Short, Nick Simonin
Photo links:

Results - Summary of Results, and links to full results are on the JWOC 2009 Results page
Sprint page

10 July 2009: Relays: 19th place for Irish team
The Irish relay team finished the week on a high note with a 19th place finish in the relay. The team was 28th of all the starting teams, but only the first finishing team from a country counts in the official results. A dramatic finish involving Ruairi, the British team and the Italian team saw the Irish finish 2 seconds behind the GBR first team and a second ahead of the Italians. The Swedish long distance champion, Gustav Bergman, made up a deficit of 1 min 41 sec to the Swiss team on the last leg to retain the relay title for Sweden. In the women's race, the Swedish second team had a commanding lead at the last changeover but were overtaken by a strong run by the Swiss girls who held on for a emphatic victory.
Ruth reports:

4 members of the Irish team & 5 races to report, the Relays fell to me.  Relays are a rare occurrence in Irish orienteering, and the lack of practice tends to show in Irish junior relay results.  Experienced relay runners get an extra bit of motivation from the head to head competition, but the less experienced tend to just get lost.

The Irish JWOC relay team was Nick, Kevin & Ruairi. Nick & Ruairi have a good lot of experience running relays in Sweden, but both had been struggling to run to their own satisfaction all week.  Kevin was also having unsatisfactory races and has had much less relay practice.

A relay team has 3 runners, and Niall was the one to lose out, being teamed up with a fairly good Slovenian who had a terrible run, & a less good Croatian who went alright – Niall missed out on the drama, but at least was happy to have a good run.

The relay arena was a very large field with the Dolomites making a perfect picture postcard background (hopefully there’ll be some photos).  As team leader/coach my job was to be at the spectator controls when the Irish runners went through to offer encouragement, advice, & food & drink if needed.  My relay day consisted of 200m m sprint from start to 1st spectator point, 200m sprint to the 2nd spectator point, 200m sprint to the clear/check to see the next runner ready, 100m sprint to watch the map pickup, 100m sprint back to the team tent to congratulate/console the arriving runner, 300m sprint to the 1st spectator point to support the second leg runner, and so on.

The concurrently running Dolomite 5-day Event was held in the morning with the same finish, and hundreds stayed on to spectate, reminiscent of golf crowds as they migrated around the two spectator points & the finish.

As for the race itself, Nick went out on the first leg and showed what he is capable of, going through the first spectator control close behind the leaders, and putting in a terrific run to hand over to Kevin in 22nd place only 3:30 behind the leading Swedes.

Kev missed the map collection board & had to be called back, and my heart sank, it looked as though the pressure was going to get to him.  At the first spectator point time dragged on as runners trickled through, the field well spread out by the highly technical first section, but soon enough Kevin appeared from a thicket, lagging behind the leaders but running extremely well holding on to 23rd place.  Meanwhile other teams had some drama as the 2 leading Swedes who seemed to be almost running together lost several minutes on the 2nd loop leaving Swiss Matthias Kyburz a lead of several minutes.

Kev made no such mistakes and came through to the finish on schedule to hand over to Ruairi.  Ruairi is usually pretty steady, but he was under pressure now with 2 really good runs to follow up and fast final-leg runners to contend with.  He was on time through both spectator points, evidently having a clean run, but very soon after him at the 2nd Hector Haines of GB and Tommaso Scalet of Italy ran through.  The time for advice of the “steady, run your own race” variety was over, we set up a concentrated Irish shouting group on the run-in and we were ready when Ruairi, Hector, and the Italian appeared at the last control.  They charged down the finish lane as we yelled Ruairi, Ruairi, the home crowd roared for the Italian and the large British contingent joined in. Surounded by noise they finished 4 seconds apart, Ruairi in the middle, probably the most exciting finish of the day.

The Irish team ended up in 28th overall, but leaving out the non-competitive 2nd teams they were 19th country, out of 33, a really terrific result by any measurement.  But more importantly it was a great relay run, 3 clean fast races by the lads.  They couldn't have done any better, and in a relay where the results show the top teams obviously having navigation problems that’s quite an achievement.

Provisional results:
1. Sweden 2:08:51
2. Switzerland 2:09:34
3. Denmark 2:12:03
19. Ireland 2:33:51

10 July 2009: Relays on Saturday 11th
The relays are being held at Val Canali valley, with mixed coniferous forest of varying visibility to challenge the runners.  The men's relay starts at 14:30 (Italian time) and the women's at 14:40.  The courses will be tough and challenging, with the men facing 6.4km legs with 285m of climb.  Once again, there will be live results throughout on
Irish Team:
First Leg: Nick Simonin
Second Leg: Kevin O'Boyle
Third Leg: Ruairi Short

11 July 2009: Nick shares his experience of the middle distance

Nick's account of his middle distance 'A' final run (open map to see the controls)
Today the middle final took place in San Martino. We where expecting a course that would challenge our technical abilities and also our physical. That's exactly what we got. Like yesterday we started well above the finish.
My plan was to start off like yesterday's qualification race: steady and sure. Then see how much I could push towards the middle and end of the course. It didnt happen like that at all. I missed about 3:30min on the first 5 controls, meaning that any chances of me bettering my place yesterday was gone. As you can see on the map the first few controls needed a lot of control and discipline on the tricky Italian slopes. I had however caught a Frenchman who started 4 min ahead of me by the 3rd but was also caught by another Frenchman 2 min after me at the 4th.

At the 5th control I refocused and decided to take a easy route over the open area to the 6th and drop down. I ran clean enough until the spectator(13th).
Running down the hill I could hear "Danny Boy" being sung by a wannabe Irish group (the New Zealand team) which lifted my spirits . We then had a very technical loop at the end (see map extract, left). My plan was to put the foot down from the 11th until the 13th and then apply the hand brake at the end and not loose to much time by making mistakes in the rocky area. However I nearly mucked it all up by going to  the 17th control instead of the 14th after the spectator. I quickly realised my mistake in the large depression east of the line between 13 and 14, loosing only 20sec. I had a clean run from then until the end of the course.
I was disappointed by my bad start and knew I had not done myself justice but soon came around and looked at the positives. It was however nice to be back in the show piece event of the Jwoc middle final day. The terrain and course was really nice and well set up for the 1000 or so spectators to look at the best juniors in the world in action.
As for the other guys Ruairi did the best placing 3rd in the C final only 40 sec behind first, showing us more of what we are used to from him.Kev didn't have the best of runs but did manage to better Niall by 3sec. Niall recovered well after a 8min mistake at the 1st control.
Later today we are running in the final event of Jwoc: the relay. This starts at about 13:30 Irish time. I will be heading out first followed by Kev on second leg and Ruairi on last leg. We are all feeling good and looking forward to causing a mini upset in the results. Watch this space.
Finally as this is my final event for Ireland as a junior I would like to thank all of you who are involved in helping the junior squad in whatever way that maybe. But most importantly I would like to thank Ruth for all the work she does with us though out the year. In the few years I have been involved in the junior squad I have seen huge changes and watched Ireland move up the results at international events. This doesn't happen overnight and hope to see it continue over the years to come (Nick out!).

10 July 2009: Online videos
Interviews with the course planners, some coaches and the JWOC champions can be viewed on this website.

10 July: Middle Distance final: Nick finished a fantastic 44th place in today's A final in San Martino.   The three other boys contested the C final, with Ruairi coming out on top in 3rd place.   You can see the map of the A final here.   Full results here. Nick and Ruairi will be reporting from Italy later this evening, so check back for more.  The relay race is being held tomorrow, Saturday 11th, and the team and running order will be announced this evening. 

A final, 4.1km, 190m climb
1. Olli-Markus Taivainen, Finland 26:21
2. Philipp Sauter, Switzerland 27:00
3. Ulf Forseth Indgaard, Norway 27:39
44. Nick Simonin 34:37

C final, 2.8km, 100m climb
1. Elena Nabil Abderramen, Spain 19:44
2. Vasili Straltsou, Belorussia 19:49
3. Ruairi Short 20.26
33. Kevin O'Boyle 28:25
34. Niall Ewen 28:28

10 July: Middle Distance qualification: Ruairi reports
Today the JWOC middle qualification race was held beside the town of San Martino di Castrozza. With only the top 20 from each heat qualifying for the A final, the competition was always going to be tough. The map was once again quite technical with contouring and height judgment being important but the forest was really nice to run in with high speeds possible especially because of the large amounts of downhill in the course!

Kevin had the early start but he tried to put the early morning rising behind. He ran well in the beginning of the course with only a small miss but then two big mistakes nearer the end cost him time and in finished in 36 minutes. Niall was second of the Irish out but again he wasn't happy with his running, losing almost 11 minutes before control 3 and then finishing the course cleanly with a time of 47. I had a similar race to Niall missing about 6 minutes on the second control but being clean on the whole rest of the course and finishing in 38 minutes.
Nick was then left as the big hope and he delivered, making it into the A final with a good run, only a small miss near the end costing him time. When he came in he was in 6th and the commentator exclaimed that it was a surprise to see an Irish guy making the final which wasn't appreciated by us.
This left myself, Kevin and Niall waiting to see whether we would make the B final but as time passed we slowly slipped down the results with Kevin only missing the B by 11 seconds!
So tomorrow, after we run early in the C final and try to make amends for today we'll all be cheering for Nick and watching what should be an exciting final (Ruairi Short, photographed left)

09 July: Middle Distance final: start times for the final, on Friday 10th July, are online. The athletes will start in reverse order to the positions that they finished in today, so the winners of the heats will go out last.

Irish team start times (all times Italian):

A final, 4.1km, 190m climb, 19 controls
Nick Simonin (pictured left) 11:21
C final, 2.8km, 100m climb, 11 controls
Niall Ewen 9:09
Ruairi Short 9:31
Kevin O'Boyle 9:52

There will be live results from the organiser's website, and there is a live blog on

09 July: Middle Distance qualification: NICK INTO A-FINAL
Nick had a great race to qualify easily for the A-final, beating the JWOC sprint silver medallist in the process. The other 3 boys will contest Friday's C-final. Unluckiest of all was Kevin, who missed out on the B-final by 1 place (11 seconds).

See map for heat 1 here
See full results here


Men's heat 1
1. Martin Hubmann 26:20
55. Niall Ewen 49:13
(time to beat to qualifiy for A-final: 31:39)

Men's heat 2
1. Matej Klusacek 26:17
41. Kevin O'Boyle 36:16
48. Ruairi Short 38:36
(time to beat to qualifiy for A-final: 30:52)

Men's heat 3
1. Matthias Kyburz 26:43
11. Nick Simonin 29:52
(time to beat to qualifiy for A-final: 30:55)

08 July: Middle Distance qualification on Thursday 9th July
The middle distance qualification in San Martino will be fast and furious, with a 20 minute estimated winning time for the 4.4km men's race. There are 3 heats, with the top 20 in each heat progressing to Friday's A final, the next 20 in each heat to the B final, and the remainder to the C final.

Irish start times (all times Italian)
Kevin O'Boyle 9:26
Niall Ewen 9:38
Ruairi Short 9:48
Nick Simonin 10:32

07 July: Long distance results: Nick best-placed Irish athlete in top 50
The long distance championships proved to be a tough challenge for the Irish boys.   Gustav Bergman from Sweden ran an amazing race to take the title of JWOC long distance champion by over three minutes from Soren Bobach (Denmark).   Nick Simonin finished best of the Irish with a fantastic 49th place.  Ruairi broke into the top 100 with 97th place.   The butterfly loops were the downfall of the two other Irish juniors, Niall and Kevin - Niall doing the loops in the wrong order and Kevin missing out on a loop.  In the women's race, Soren's sister, Ida Bobach took gold ahead of pre-race favourite Jenny Lonnkvist, the sprint gold medallist.
Niall shares his experiences of the long distance final:
A thunder storm had raged all the previous night and by the time we arrived at the start the mountain sides were flowing with water torrenting down every available re-entrant and path, tiny ditches now in full spate.
As my start time approached i became slightly nervous but at the same time I thought "this is what i have worked for all year, why shouldn't i enjoy it?" 
                                                 "It takes ages to get anywhere on ?@^!#* 1:15,000"
Number one went terribly; I reached my attackpoint and my mind in an over excited voice told me I was wrong, 2 minutes running aimlessly in a damp forest slows you down, back to my attack point, used my compass and there is was. (More swearing). The first seven controls carried a similar theme and vocabulary. After a very scenic sight-seeing tour of the surrounding countryside I copped myself on. I concentrated on my plan and direction: every control had an attack point and catching feature and it was all going so well until....

Butterfly loops are thrown in by planners who hate orienteerers. But it was going great - I was hitting all the controls through the butterfly and back into the wilderness of unfamilliar forest, yet something was clicking in the back of my mind like a broken part. "Its probably just the exhaustion" I told myself, as the heavens opened above and thunder exploded above my head.

At the spectator control I was tired but still going well, although the makers of energy gel need to create a flavour that isn't reminicent of battery acid.

The final loop was cold, the wind crept in among the trees at the edge of the forest and I was saturated. I nearly fell up the hill to the final control and limped as fast as I could up the run which had now become a boggy trench. But the disturbance was still in the back of my head telling me that something was wrong.

I reported to download, the splits paper looked weird and someone had written wrong order on the bottom, it all made sense: during the butterfly loops that had blurred by back in the forest I had swapped the loops. I felt really hollow, not really sad, more disappointed. How difficult could it be: 12 obviously comes after 11, but no time to think of that now. I was beginning to become genuinly hypothermic, I arrived at the baggage drop to find my bag in a puddle of water, my lunch flowed from its paper bag. The tents would have been barely suitable for a garden party and a kind hungarian girl untied my shoe laces because my hands had stopped working. I sank into reserve mode somewhere between sleep and death, thinking 'next year it's all to train for.'
The Irish junior squad will be resting tomorrow for a full report of us sleeping and lazing about see the irish junior squad blog.
Niall out!
(Note: It's surprisingly common among top orienteers to make mistakes on the butterfly loop, most notably multiple world champion Thierry Guergiou in the World Cup race last year (missed a loop) and also World Champs bronze medallist Kajsa Nilsson in this years Nordic Champs).

See the men's course here (click on the map to view the full course).

M20 results (full results here):
1. Gustav Bergman, Sweden 65:55
2. Soren Bobach, Denmark 69:17
3. Martin Hubmann, Switzerland 69:25
49. Nick Simonin 92:51
97. Ruairi Short 107.12
Kevin O'Boyle Dsq
Niall Ewen Dsq

07 July: Long distance live: The long distance championships can be followed via live results on the JWOC homepage, and on the World Of O blog, There is a huge range of start times, from Niall first out at 11:32 (Italian time) to Nick at 15:32. The men's course is 9.5km with 440m climb, and an expected winning time of 72 minutes.   The Passo Rolle terrain is mainly coniferous forest with good visibility, lots of rock and contour detail, at high altitude (up to 2000m above sea level!). Good luck boys!

Irish start times (all times Italian):
Niall Ewen 11:32
Kevin O'Boyle 12:38
Ruairi Short 13:42
Nick Simonin 15:32

06 July: Sprint final (map here)
From an early start time, Kevin O'Boyle (pictured below) impressed in Irish colours today to lead home the Irish challenge. He was followed home by Nick Simonin, Ruairi Short and Niall Ewen.   The Swiss orienteer Matthias Kyburz, whom I am reliably informed is a 'beast', took the JWOC men's sprint title from a field of 169. Jenny Lonnkvist of Sweden won the women's title by almost half a minute.
Kevin reports from Italy on his race:

Today, the JWOC 2009 Sprint was held in the towns of Mezzano and Imer, deep in a valley in the Dolomite mountains of Northern Italy. I will be writing about my race, feelings before and after, and also about my fellow teammates performances.
I stretched and warmed up very well before the race. The day was humid and sweat was soon forming on my brow. After a brief period on the warm-up map, all was set. My start time of 15.36 was displayed at the pre-start, and I cleared and made my way through the six-minute callup.

At this time, I'm not really sure how i was feeling. There was certaintly confidence, but also unease and even fear. I had told myself previously in the day that there is no room for holding back in this event, you're either willing or you're not. Would I run well? How would I deal with route choices that would undoubtedly appear? One thing was certain. Pain and sweat would feature.

Suddenly, the map is in my hand. The minutes leading up to the start of my sacred voyage had flown by in a blur of descriptions, clock beeping and silence in the start area. Number 1 is just a haze of building corners, sharp turns and a rocketing heartrate. Spike. 2, 3 and 4. Spike. (see map) After this section of the course, the long leg of number 5 loomed. Because of the complexity of the first part, I had had no time to plan. However, I saw a route quickly, it was clean and straightforward and I went. Spike. 6, another quite long leg. I can safely say right now, that a hill has never hurt so much. I glued my eyes to my map and pounded out the steps, like a man posessed. Down the road, and there's number 6. All was going well.
Controls 7 - 13 were again very complex, with narrow alleys, uncrossable walls and alot of screaming locals. However, I lost concentration exiting 8 and was disorientated briefly, but realised I had missed an obvious route choice and taken a much longer one. Minus 20 seconds. A pause on my way to 10, surely a precious second or two lost. Spiked 11, but on No.12 i again lost concentration, and found myself facing olive green. I'm pretty sure that I offended some locals with an unspeakable word here, but I was gone in a second. I desperately needed my flow back.
Control 14 was the longest leg of the course, but I thought my route choice good, going along a northern road and spiking the control. At this stage in the race, I was in extreme pain. 15 and 16 were a sweat-blinded tangle of rapid strides and chaotic avoiding of playground equipment.
17, another long leg. The control description flashed over and over in my head. My legs were screaming in agony. But I forced myself to focus. A few sharp turns, 17 and 18 spikes. I stagger across the road crossing. i'm not going to lie, at this stage in the race i wanted to lay down and cry. I'v never felt so exhausted. Nothing was real anymore, except the map in my hand and the orange and white flags dotting the trampled grass. 19... 20... 21... spectator loop. I have nothing left. but I drive on, knowing the regret will come later if I don't. At 22, there's a control in the depression, but i ignore it. many people mis-punched here. Around the fence, hit 23. Onto the track, 24. if you asked me to repeat exactly what happened on this last loop, I couldn't. My brain was in shut-down. Only my legs and a strain in my heart mattered.

The run in was the most painful moment of my life. It went on forever. But when I throw myself through the laser finish and collapse in a sweating, panting mess and some woman grabs my finger and stuffs my card in an SI box, I know that I've run a good race. I lie there for a good minute, the sun beating down on my battered and bruised figure.
In the end, I finish in joint 71st, two and a half minutes behind the incredible Matthias Kyburz. I'm quite happy. I was extremely pleased to learn that i was best of the Irish. Nicholas Simonin was having an excellent race until control 8, and from there he said that he just kept losing time in various areas. Quote Nick," I don't have the excuse of I'll do better next year anymore =)" Ruairi Short ran an expected mistake-free race, he reports that the sprint isn't his favourite distance and that he's looking ahead to tomorrows gruelling long. Much the same with new CNOC recruit Niall Ewen, who also prefers the endurance race. Niall will be reporting on tomorrow's Long distance, which we are all extremely looking forward to.
Until then, Kev out!

M20 results (full results here)
1. Matthias Kyburz, Switzerland 14:43
2. Midos Nykodym, Czech Republic 14:56
3. Martin Hubmann, Switzerland 14:58
71. Kevin O'Boyle 17:16
88. Nick Simonin 17:43
111. Ruairi Short 18:29
129. Niall Ewen 19:27
06 July: Opening ceremony photos: click here

05 July: Sprint startlist released
The first race of JWOC will take place tomorrow - an exciting sprint race in the towns of Mezzano and Imer, 650 to 700m above sea level. 172 aspiring junior world champions will line up in the men's event, with 123 women on the start line.   The men's sprint is 3.1km with 90m climb.   The start list has been released and the Irish will be starting as follows (Italian time):
Kevin O'Boyle 15:36
Ruairi Short 16:17
Nicholas Simonin 16:55
Niall Ewen 17:02
Venue: Dolomites, Italy

Dates: July 6th - July 11th

Athlete profiles, maps, interviews and results will appear here... tune in, don't miss it!

Monday 6th July: Sprint final
Tuesday 7th July: Long distance final
Thursday 9th July: Middle distance qualification
Friday 10th July: Middle distance final
Saturday 11th July: Relay

Go Ireland!

Official homepage of JWOC 2009:
Link to page with photos of terrain and old map samples: