While we were in Hungary (the venue for next year’s world championships) I was allowed a day off for good behaviour so of course I chose to go orienteering. The only event available was the county sprint championships, taking place at an open-air museum near Polgár. It wasn’t an expensive outing: 900 HUF for the bus there, 800 HUF entry fee and 300 HUF for lunch. It was relatively cool and windy, but rainless like all the other days we spent in Hungary. The turnout was pretty good – there were 134 competitors in a county with the same population as Worcestershire, and half of them were juniors.

The event was the fun side of orienteering – easy courses made even easier by the opportunity to wander around the park before the races! There were two rounds, at 10.30 am and at 2 pm. After a few days off from running, the run to the first control was a bit of a shock to the system! And then I made the obvious mistake on the second control of not noticing that it was behind the fence, and lost about half a minute. But the rest of the run was fine and I came 6th, just a few seconds off 3rd. My head was burning with the exertion!

My run in the afternoon was going very well indeed: 3rd at the 10th control, but then my boring old knee problem set in and I walked the rest of the way. Frustrating, but I was never in the running to be county champion anyway!

Holding a competition on such a tiny area is great for the sport. You need to have two rounds to make the journey worthwhile (I don’t think I’d’ve bothered with a 70-minute bus ride for a single 12-minute run) but the atmosphere was excellent. I’d definitely say that this needs to be developed as one of the two key forms of orienteering.


Local website. Results: first round, second round

Száva Zsigmond was there.