World Orienteering Championships Classic Distance

The original classic distance. The ultimate test of speed, stamina and orienteering ability. The flagship race in the orienteering world. The most prestigious of races. Yesterday 45 men and 45 women took up the challenge to be the world number 1. The men had an epic 17.5km course (estimated winning time 100 minutes) and the women 11.7 km (75 minutes). Both proved to be longer than expected.Women´s Champion Simone Niggli Luckily the conditions were perfect. The anticipated hot conditions have not arrived this week, and the day was warm but not hot, with some cloud cover but no rain. The women were off first, with British girls Jenny Whitehead and Rachel Elder posting fast early times. But they were never going to stay at the front for long, and as the race progressed it developed into a battle between Norwegian Marianne Anderson, Czech Dana Brozkova and multiple world champion Simone Niggli from Switzerland. In fact these 3 dominated the race, exchanging the lead several times. When Anderson finished she had a big lead with only a few other runners to finish, then Brozkova finished in what was then 2nd spot. Then all eyes turned to Niggli, to see what the defending champion could do. As she entered the last straight it was clear that she was going to take her 11th senior world title, and in the end she won by 25 seconds in a time of just under 80 minutes.Men´s champion Jani Lakanen with Frenchman Francois Gonon Then it was time to follow the men´s race. Defending champion Andrey Khramov had a fairly early start, and it was him that set the pace. In what was a very close race (compared to a lot of previous World Champs), the lead changed hands many times, but in the end it proved to be a two horse race between Swiss Marc Lauenstein (silver medallist last year) and Finn Jani Lakanen (current European champion). Both showed themselves to be very strong, even at the end of a race that lasted over 105minutes, and in the end it was the Finn who took the victory by approximately 1 minute. Lauenstein took the silver and Khramov the bronze. It was always going to be difficult for the GB team to match the sprint results, but all 5 athletes in the final acquitted themselves well. Both guys made the top 20, with Jamie Stevenson (pictured above) taking 14th and Jon Duncan 17th (PB). Both may be disappointed with the results, but that is only because of the very high standards they both set themselves. Jon was only 6 1/2 minutes down over a 105 minute race and in many other competitions that may have been enough for a medal or podium position. All 3 girls made the top 30, with Jenny Whitehead 26th, Rachel Elder 28th and Alison O´Neill 30th (all PBs). You can see results and photos on the WOC website.