Interland is a competition held every year between England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands with around 42 atheletes put forward from each team. England competes against two Belgian teams (Flemish and French speaking), the Netherlands, and the French. The competition is for all ages from W and M14 to W and M60+.
This year, Interland 2020 was held at Burnham Beeches and Egypt Woods on Sunday 1st March by Hertfordshire Orienteering Club. England took the win with an amazing 182 points in the Interland cup, 50 points above our closest rivals. A link to the full Interland results on the Orienteering England website is here....
England also won the Youth Cup with a stunning 76 points!
A big thank you to SYO for supporting the athletes running and subsidising event costs, and another big thank you goes to all the England team managers for organising it all. Finally, thank you to Hertfordshire Orienteering club for hosting Interland 2020.
Here are the reports from some of the SYO juniors who competed:
Interland was held in England this year, which meant we only had to go down on Saturday afternoon. We stayed in a vey nice youth hostel, sharing with the Belgians.
On race day, I had a full English to fuel my efforts although due to a very early start of 9:38, we had to wake up at 6:30. It was pretty cold but fine once you got running. The area was very nice in the top half, offering runnable woodland and gradual hills. The bottom half was swamped in holly bushes, which made getting through quite hard. My run was ok; however choosing to go straight through the holly definitely cost me time. As a team however we did very well winning the junior category and the overall competition.
It was England’s turn to host the Interland competition this year and the area chosen was just North West of London - a woodland called Burnham Beeches. The accommodation was quite a way away from the training and event but we didn’t do the training and instead drove down on Saturday afternoon. The hostel was really nice and the England team were sharing a lodge. I was in a dorm with the W14s and 16s who were all really nice and I already knew quite a few of them so it was a good room.
There was a bit of scramble to get a table at dinner but the food was good apart from the dry burger. After a discussion on how to eat oranges it was time for a quick team talk. We were given information about the next day and then we got our England kit. It was great that this year we had the option of women’s sizes so my O top fitted nicely and the hoodie is really comfy. Afterwards it was time to go back to the dorms and get ready for our early rise the next morning.
The next morning it was a bit of an effort to get out of bed at 6am, eat breakfast and make pack lunches. It took around 50 minutes to get to the area and soon we arrived in a muddy English field. The start was close, only 500m down a track, and after warming up on the way I was ready to run. At the start we had our terrain photos taken and then one by one we were off into the forest attempting to defend our Interland title. The wood was quite vague with a few features and the terrain was fast. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of undergrowth as the final details recommended gaiters but the area looked fine with very few patches marked and as it turned out; it was lovely runnable forest – nothing compared to the man eating brambles in South Yorkshire!
I was the first finisher out of the entire competition, which was fun and I had loads of the time to relax although I had to wait the longest for confirmation of my position, hoping that I wouldn’t drop any further than my 3rd place. Before the prize giving we had our team photos taken in our England hoodies and jackets with our team flag. After a tense wait the scores were finally given and England came ……1st in both Juniors, Seniors and overall.
And then it was time for the long journey home…..
Interland was an amazing experience and I loved running for England for the first time. It was a great chance to see friends and also meet new people. Being asked to run for England was an amazing opportunity and I loved every second of it, beside the dry burgers! Thank you to John the team manager and all the other helpers and thanks to SYO and YHOA for supporting me and Lucy Wiegand for taking me and a few others there and back.
This year I was selected to run for England in the annual Interland competition, to be held on the first day of March.
At around 2 o’clock the day before, me, Max M and Conrad R drove down to the accommodation where we would be staying overnight. My dad took us down to Interland along with his camera (link to the photos of the race here....).
It took a total of 3 and a half hours of travel to the youth hostel which we were sharing with the teams from Belgium and some French athletes (I think….). We had a big log cabin for our England squad. I was sharing a dorm with all the M14's which was kind of chaotic (in a good way). We had a bit of time to settle in and unpack before dinner at six o’clock. We had pre-ordered food – everyone chose to have a beef burger and chips – admittedly not the most carb-loaded food to eat before the race day, but nice nonetheless. We then had oranges for dessert. We had time to go back to our cabins to relax before briefing for the following day. At about this point, we realised that it was a good idea never to all leave the room without the key (as demonstrated by another dorm….) After being briefed about next day’s activities and receiving my England badge, we headed back to our rooms to get ready for bed. It would be an early start tomorrow and I wanted to get some kind of sleep. I got to sleep at about 11 o’clock which wasn’t that bad, giving me a good 7 hours of rest for the upcoming day tomorrow.
I woke up to an alarm the next morning at exactly 6:15. Completely dazed, I banged my head on the side of the metal bed, which really hurt. 20 minutes more laying down and I knew I needed to get up quickly to get to breakfast on time. I crawled out of bed, got changed into my hoodie and headed for breakfast. I had cereal and a nice cup of tea, but there was a full English breakfast on offer as well. Feeling more energized than when I just woke up, I headed back to our dorm to clean up and move our bags to the foyer to leave the accommodation. We arrived at the event centre (slightly held up by the Belgian bus taking 5 minutes to get out of the car park entrance) with plenty of time before anyone would run. A beautiful bright sunny day overlooked a muddy field that was our temporary base. There was a big white marquee for all our bags and for shade from the sun. Despite it being so bright, it was actually very cold, so I ran in a thermal with t-shirt over the top. It was a short walk to the start, just 500m down a very muddy path in the woodland. The terrain on my 5.1km course was very runnable woodland with some intricate contour detail and a few holly thickets and streams. My run went averagely well but an 11 minute leg that should’ve taken 5 minutes put me a few places down. When we all were back, we ate the lunch that we had prepared just that morning. Results came in quickly and it was time for the prizegiving. England won by 50 points in the Interland Cup, and also won the Junior Cup by 14 points!! In the end it was a great experience and I was proud to be able to run for my country. A huge thankyou to everyone who supported me along the way including SYO, YHOA, and all of the England team managers and organisers.