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Orienteering Saturday League decided

By SPP Reporter

MOST of the front runners in the Moray orienteering league turned out at Grant Park for the deciding race in the club’s Saturday League.

Siobhan Evans and Andy Stevens at the Sunken Gardens control.
Siobhan Evans and Andy Stevens at the Sunken Gardens control.

It was a fitting venue for what has been a remarkable and memorable season for the sport Moray senior team of the year, Moravian Orienteers.

Forres Academy student Jennifer Spencer received high praise from the top competitors for designing a senior course that kept runners thinking the whole way round.

Long legs, such as the one from the floral garden to the south side of the woods near to Cluny Hill College, gave a choice of routes where runners had to make the choice between distance and climb.

Predictably, first place on the 3.5km long course was claimed by last year’s champion, world M50 sprint bronze medallist Jon Hollingdale who claimed his seventh win of the year in a rapid 22:28.

Hollingdale was over a minute ahead of fellow Forres Harrier Dave Weir who was bronze medallist in his age class in the Scottish Orienteering League.

Arguably the club’s most-improved senior runner, Steve Perry, claimed 3rd spot.

Anderson’s Primary confirmed their place at the top of the Moray and Nairn Primary Schools League in style. Their star orienteer Isobel Howard literally ran away with the short-course race. Boys League champion from rival school Applegrove, David Spencer, was not competing having designed the course while Forres Primary Schools champion Scott Perry had elected to run against older juniors on the long course.

This left Boys League runner-up Lewis McWilliam (Elgin) and local cross-country star Bruce Evans as her closest rivals.

Lewis produced an accurate run but didn’t quite have the speed to match Isobel while Bruce, despite producing six fastest splits on the 15-leg course to Isobel’s five, made small errors at vital stages. But girls power won the day as both lads ended up three minutes adrift.

Forres providing the big highlight of the local orienteering year when the town hosted the World Sprint Final, so the venue was a fitting way to end the season. Control no 43 in the sunken garden replicated one of the World Championships control sites and many runners admitted to thinking back to that amazing event last summer as they put on an extra spurt of speed.

Around 350 different people have run in the series this year, with 217 club members gaining league points – 128 of them from the junior ranks which indicates a bright future for the club, and for sport in the area.

League winners who will receive their trophies at the first event of 2015:

Junior Boys: David Spencer (Forres)

Junior Girls: Isobel Howard (Rafford)

Senior Boys: Daniel Campbell (Roseisle)

Senior Girls: Mairi Weir (Carron)

Senior Men: Jon Hollingdale (Kintessack)

Senior Women: Kathryn Barr (Dyke)

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