Darnaway Forest is the location for today’s Middle race at the 2015 World Orienteering Championships which are taking place over eight days between 31st July to 7th August.
Over 300 of the best athletes in the world have descended on the Inverness area for the week, joined by another 5,000 spectators and competitors who are also enjoying the Scottish 6 Days biennial festival of orienteering running alongside the World Championships.
Orienteering is a combination of elite running and navigation skills, with competitors having to find their way between a series of checkpoints (otherwise known as controls) as fast as they can. There’s no set route between the checkpoints, it’s up to a competitor to decide which way to go without getting lost. It’s the first time since 1999 the UK has hosted the World Championships and the Highlands of Scotland are providing a stunning backdrop.
Today’s action in the Middle race starts just before midday with the women’s race. The first competitor is due off at 11.54am and then at 90 second intervals until the last runner out at 1.45pm, followed by the medal ceremony at 2.20pm. The favourite to take gold is the experienced Swede, Annika Billstam, who took her first World Championship Middle title last year at the age of 38, and will be looking to add to her grand total of ten World Championship medals.
In the men’s race the favourite is Norway’s Olav Lundanes, the 27-year-old defending champion who is ranked the No.1 forest orienteer in the world. The first man is off at 2.12pm with the last man out on the course at 4.15pm, with the medal ceremony at 4.50pm.
A full list of the athletes to look out for this afternoon is available on the World Orienteering Championships website. This also includes travel directions towards the bottom of the page.
Admission is on the day and it’s free entry all spectators!
The next event in the World Championships is tomorrow’s Relay, starting from just before 2pm at the Darnaway Forest venue and once again free for spectators.