JK11 Memories

JK11 Memories

Can you believe it is ten years since we hosted the prestigious Jan Kjellstrom Festival Of Orienteering (“The JK”) right here in Northern Ireland.  Over 2,000 orienteers (yes really!) descended for four days of top quality orienteering and local hospitality over Easter 2011.  We did Tourism NI proud (thank you for the grant!), with competitors travelling from Ireland, Britain, Norway, Sweden…..the list goes on – 23 overseas countries in total.

Our Event Centre at Stranmillis University College in Belfast also joined with Queen’s Elms (literally – we dismantled a fence!) to play host to our Day 1 Sprint event on 22nd April.  This was followed by the sunny sand dunes of Day 2 Tyrella South, the mountainous slopes of Day 3 Slieve Croob, and finishing off with Day 4 Relays back at Tyrella on 25th.  Back in those days, most orienteers ran a Long distance on both the Saturday and Sunday, with just the elites cantering round a Middle distance on the Saturday.  The Sprint and Long distance days were both World Ranking Events (the first Sprint WRE in staged by any British Orienteering) – yes, the event team do seem to like a challenge!

How did this happen?  A powerful lot of teamwork!  We have counted up 51 officials and 223 helpers.  Although hosted by NI Orienteering, our volunteers came from orienteering clubs all over the island of Ireland and beyond.  At the helm of this somewhat crowded ship stood Harold White (LVO).  Harold is deserving of much praise, and has rightly been honoured with several awards including a Torch Trophy.

Harold White receiving the Torch Trophy from Princess Alexandra

  • “[Harold’s] composure under great pressure is still a source of wonder to us all” – Richard McCourt LVO, Day 1 Assistant Controller
  • “JK 2011 will be a hard act to follow” – British Orienteering feedback survey
  • “Quite possibly the best ever for a festival event” – British Orienteering feedback survey
  • Total delight, putting the competitor first.  EXTREMELY friendly organisation team” – British Orienteering feedback survey“
  • He put an enormous amount of work in” – Murray Cowan LVO, Assistant Event Coordinator

Harold White – outstanding in his field at Tyrella

This day ten years ago, competitors were starting to arrive at the Information Point in “Stran”.  Ann & Harry Savage, LVO led the team here, and recall “meeting the competitors that we’d had many emails back and forward with in the preceding weeks.  It was great to put faces to names and the competitors were all very appreciative of the high level of organisation and personal attention they received”.  Ann also recalls a busy, busy pre-event day – and the strangeness of being in Stranmillis all evening and coming out about 11pm into the darkness.

We have had such fun taking a trip down memory lane.  JK 2011 was a very special event.  Over the next few days we are delighted to share photos and stories from the weekend, and trust you will share with your friends, and join in with memories of your own.

For now, sit back and enjoy this fine short video of the weekend.

Read Harold’s Report and check out the list of JK11 officials.

Susan, Juls, Harold & Stephen, NI Orienteering

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For more information on orienteering in Northern Ireland, a great place to start is with one of our DIY Orienteering courses