Ralph's Latvia World Cup Round Up

Latvia World Cup Report

“How was Latvia?”
“It was great, the pastry game was strong”
“And what about the orienteering?”
“Some of it was really nice”
“And the rest?”

This short conversation, however accurate it may or may not be, does leave out some vital parts of an exciting weekend. The highlights of which were definitely an individual joint 4th place for Cat Taylor in the sprint race, and a 5th place for the Women’s relay team. There were also many other performances  which could easily be overlooked but which should still provide both the athletes themselves, and the many fans of the British Senior Team, cause for optimism.

All they do is win diplomas

Picking races that British runners are going to do well in is actually fairly straightforward (Mixed Sprint Relay, Sprint, Forest Relay). The team has picked up a diploma (4th to 6th) or better in at least one of these disciplines at every World Championships since 2010.

Girls 5th Nation in the Relay (Credit: Will Gardner)

The pleasing thing about the relay was that both the Men and Women performed reasonably well. The Women’s 5th place is (when compared against WOC results) their highest finish ever since the introduction of the three leg relay in 2003. It is only beaten by the 4th place from 1999.

Charlotte coming into 5th Nation in the relay (Credit: Latvian organising team)

The Men’s team were 9th, a step up from this year's WOC, and also good considering the late change made to the team, Peter Bray in his first senior international relay, replacing a sick Graham Gristwood, to run the last leg.

In the Sprint Cat Taylor took control of the race from her early start position, and once Galina Vinogradova finished behind her it really looked like a medal might have been heading her way. Unfortunately it was not to be, as Sabine Hauswirth held her nerve over the final couple of minutes to sneak in front. Cat’s 4th place is still a good improvement on her previous best World Cup sprint result.

Cat about to begin the nervous wait as the next 28 runners cross the line
(Credit: Latvian organising team)

Chris Smithard was the only British man to make the final, with an impressive 2nd place in his heat. He finished 17th in the final. Charlotte Ward and Hollie Orr were the other A finalists from Britain, they finished in 32nd and 34th respectively.

Individual forest fun

The opening race of the weekend was the middle distance. The Brits did not trouble the top of the result board. It is very hard to write a group write up when you are lacking top results to focus on, the simplest way to sum it up is probably that as a team we have some people who are looking for top results, and some people who are looking at their own performance. Those people who were looking for top results were disappointed, whereas some people were pleased with how they had raced. The challenge will be what can be learned from these races that can improve performances in the individual forest races next year. Send in your suggestions for green and slightly windblown forest!


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