When Conor was asked to describe Night Jukola training in Finnish terrain, his eyes lit up and the only word he could say was "Awesome!"
Starting out, the map was tough to get a handle on, but starting in the twilight helped to get used to the map before darkness fell completely (think able to run in forest but difficult to read the map kinda darkness). The Night Group ran as a pack, taking different route choices to controls to see which kind of terrain is better to run in as the event gets closer. The splitting of the group allowed them to sample more terrain types in the limited time available. As an example green is green and should be avoided, until the massive elephant tracks form motorways through it. The plan was to do a short 5km course, but, as happens when orienteering in Finland, the terrain is so fun they "accidentally" did the full 9.5km course. They arrived home at approx 02:00... they are still asleep (except Conor, who was sleeping on the floor(not on the floor tonight, apparently!)).
The day group had similar experiences to the night group. Niamh took the day off after running the World Cup race in the morning. The other 3 day runners ran the 5km course in the technical terrain, taking different routes and waiting at the next control to discuss the leg and how to improve on it. It makes the orienteering more social; unlike running alone, getting lost and being an hour behind everyone else at the finish after each mistake just makes the next mistake worse.
The groups will do a second and final training session today before finally moving into the luxurious accommodation that is a Finnish Military tent at the Jukola arena!!
Updates to follow
CNOC Jukola Team