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Manchester & District
Orienteering Club

An interview with Ben

MDOC Junior Ben Kyd tell us about his favourite aspects of orienteering, and why the British Schools Orienteering Champs is his favourite competition, plus his greatest achievements (so far) and what he's been doing to maintain his orienteering skills during lockdown ...

14th Aug 20

1. What was your first experience of Orienteering?

My first experience of orienteering was at a local MDOC event at Heaton Park. Taking part through my local school, the Fallibroome Academy, I was introduced to the sport and enjoyed it so much I ended up running the same course twice!

2. What is your favourite aspect of Orienteering?

The ability to make your own decisions on how to get to each control is definitely my favourite aspect. Having this freedom has definitely benefited me in my competing, as it means that the strongest runners aren’t always the fastest to complete the course.

3. What is your favourite competition and why?

There are many different competitions that I’ve taken part in, but I think my favourite has to be the British Schools Orienteering Championships (BSOC) where I compete as part of the Fallibroome team. We normally spend the whole weekend in a hostel together and compete in some sort of training exercise or local competition within the area on the Saturday, followed by the national competition the following day. These weekends are always a lot of fun, and being a coach for the school club, it’s a delight to see everyone excelling at the sport and many of us walking away with medals.

4. What is your favourite Orienteering area?

It’s very hard to pick a favourite area to compete in, because there are so many different areas that are used for different styles of orienteering events, from sprints to long distance. My favourite urban area has to be the town of Wirksworth, in which I took part in an event on New Years Day, and the combination of the local town and the surrounding fields and forest made the event a enjoyable technical challenge, especially in the area they called ‘The Labyrinth’. In terms of woodland and park areas though, my favourite area is a place called Brasted Chart, which combines a lot of hill running with the lower visibility of thick woodland, making it a real challenge to navigate, similar to MDOC’s local area, Alderley Edge.

5. What is your greatest Orienteering achievement?

Before lockdown, my greatest orienteering achievement was winning an international event being held in the streets of Liverpool, which was an interesting experience in itself as they hadn’t closed any of the streets, meaning that we had to duck and dive through the busy city centre whilst focussing on making sure we didn’t make any mistakes. Throughout lockdown though, I’ve been competing in a lot of virtual Temp-O events, which are a recreation of real life events that occur, and so now my greatest achievement has to be securing 7th place in an international league, beating many of the top Temp-O athletes in the world.

6. What things have you done to keep orienteering over lockdown?

During lockdown I’ve competed in a lot of virtual Temp-O events, which have been great for revising all the mental orienteering techniques, including map interpretation. I have also attempted to increase the amount of running I have been doing, through both making virtual courses within the MapRunF app, and running permanent courses found in multiple parks within the local area.

See other entries Categorised under: Juniors