This year the European Youth Orienteering Championships (EYOC) was held in Poland, based in the city of Jaroslaw between 30th June to 3rd July. There were three races in total; Long, Relay and Sprint.
Before we travelled out the team had spent time familiarising ourselves with the terrain that we would be faced with by looking at maps of the area and planning courses for each other. Only the Long area had a previous map and so one of the GB coaches created a map of the Sprint area for our use! To further help with preparations as what to expect from the terrain, when we arrived we had the chance to walk around the town where the Sprint was to be run and also participate in the model event on the Eastern part of the area where the Long was to be held. We knew after the training events that it was going to be a tough few days ahead of us with temperatures hitting 30º Celsius as well as the extremely physical terrain.
Being my last year at the competition I had hopes that all my training, both physical and technical, in the lead up to the competition would enable me to post pleasing results, but unfortunately this was not exactly the case. In the Long race I made a number of technical mistakes and was also feeling very physically drained due to the heat and tough terrain. This led me to a 34th place and out of the top 20 finish I had hoped for, 6 minutes behind 20th position. For the Relay it had been decided that I was to run in a mixed relay and was on first leg, my preferred leg! This race I was much cleaner than the previous day with only one technical slip up and was much happier afterwards. The Sprint was the last race and I was feeling very tired and not as sprightly as I had hoped. This meant the whole course was a struggle to get up to speed, and even though technically relatively clean I ended up in 36th place.
I had a great time in Poland and I am very grateful for the financial help I received from YHOA – this helps me to continue orienteering to high levels and rely less heavily on my parents for financial support. I have learnt many lessons from the EYOC 2016 experience about where the faults are in my orienteering, specifically in technique and how to approach racing and can now work on these so that in the future I can achieve that top 20 placing that I have set my sights on!