Published on September 19th, 2014 | by nioa-publicity


Wild Wood, Wine and Boar. VHI Report

Bobby Smith (NWOC) Day 1 VHI

Bobby Smith (NWOC)

This year’s Veteran Home International was held in conjunction with the Caddihoe Chase in the Forest of Dean; a type of terrain that Irish runners rarely get to experience – mature mixed woodland with old mine workings, charcoal burning platforms and plenty of deer and wild boar.  The maps had a high proportion of white which resulted in some fast times – (although I did hear one or two vets complain that brashings didn’t count as runnable!).  The Youth Hostel had hot water which was a definite improvement on last year although the bumpy, narrow, steep access road was more than a little hair-raising for the drivers.  For the third year in a row the weather was great, no rain and some sunshine as each day wore on.  Ireland put in a full team of 24 (9 from NIOA clubs) and everyone completed their races which meant points were scored by all.  There were some notable results on Day 1 with Marcus Pinker picking up 4th in M40 and Angus Tyner coming 3rd in M45 plus Toni O’Donovan and Jean O’Neill coming 2nd in their respective classes and Ruth Lynam winning W60 by 12 minutes!!  The dinner that evening was a welcome social occasion with the more energetic members of the team opting to walk to and from the village hall (a mere 5k round trip).
Ruth continued her fantastic form on Day 2 by being the leading runner in on the first leg of the Relays causing great excitement in the Irish team and a certain amount of surprise elsewhere.  This team came in 2nd in the WMW class.  Ruth you were definitely ‘Queen of the Forest’ this weekend (man of the match doesn’t sound quite right).  Despite some other strong performances in the relays (Marcus managed to pull his team up 7 places in the MWM class) we didn’t quite manage to catch the Welsh but there is always next year even if it is on their ‘home’ terrain at Teifi Pools (used in Croeso 2012).
The VHI weekend is a great opportunity to run in different terrain. It tends to be a relaxed and fun weekend.  If you haven’t put your name forward before – don’t be shy. While ability might be the main selection criteria, availability is just as important.  If you are over 35 Helen Baxter (the Team Manager) wants to hear from you – it’s never too early to express an interest!  Next year the event will be held over the first weekend in October – get it in the diary.

About the Author

Jane Wilson of Lagan Valley Orienteers is the Publicity Officer for NI Orienteering. Please contact us via

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