Forth Valley orienteers dominant in TV race

Picture: Michael Gillen.
Picture: Michael Gillen.

There was significant local success in the 2019 JOK Chasing Sprint at Callendar Park, with a number of Forth Valley-based athletes producing fine performances to get on the winners’ rostrum.

The event was televised live by BBC Scotland’s ‘The Adventure Show’ and a field of over 200 athletes gathered for one of the highlight races in the national calendar.

See pictures from the event: In pictures: Falkirk hosts first live TV orienteering event

The Open races both went to Forth Valley Orienteers athletes, as Kris Jones and Grace Molloy ran on in the latter stages of their events to claim top spot.

Kris won in 19 minutes 18 seconds, two seconds up on Peter Hodkinson, and Grace in 17.24, four seconds ahead of Helen Bridle.

There was late drama in both races, as Kris moved from third to first in the last 100 metres of the 3.7km final with a decisive kick, while Grace emerged from the forest 30 seconds up on the field, only to visit the wrong control site at the bridge and see her lead slashed to a mere four seconds.

The Veteran races were a ‘bluewash’ with five of the six on the podium coming from FVO. Will Hensman won the men’s race (24.24), with Roger Goddard one minute behind, and Ross McLennan taking third spot in 31.17. With Mark Johnston fourth (31.18) and Paul Hammond sixth (31.30), it meant five local men in the top six.

Janine Inman was first home in the Women’s Vets race (22.51), but was pushed off the top of the podium by Helen Bridle, who, although she was running in the Open class, remained eligible for the veterans’ prize. Rona Molloy was second in the vets race (23.55).

Gary Longhurst got his race tactics just right on the night, as he claimed second place in the men’s SuperVet class (24.14), having gone into the race as the seventh fastest qualifier out of eight.

Fiona Hendrie ran on in the women’s SuperVet race, moving from fifth quickest qualifier to third in the final (20.02).

Peter Molloy topped the podium in the Junior Men’s race, but not without a big scare, as the chasing pack snaffled up his one minute lead as the race entered the forest.

Peter had to get the wheels on to take the win in 19.24, with a quick run-in.