Junior athletes are put through their paces

Deeside’s juniors are off to a flying start in the club’s early season races.

A few of the older, hardier ones battled their way in the dark through some of the valley’s toughest terrain on Birsemore hill where they had thick forest, rocky ground, steep hills and wet bogs to contend with.

Alexander Chepelin, from Banchory Academy, emerged the winner on the long course, edging veteran Jon Musgrave into second place.

First in the girls was Rhona McMillan, just pipping the rising star, Jenny Ricketts. Times were close on the short course, with only one second separating the top two after 50 minutes out in the forest.

Experienced orienteer Andy Tivendale managed to secure the win over youngster Abigail Mason.

Only two courses are available for the night races each week and they’re both technically difficult. They inspire the experienced or just the adventurous to get out the door each and every Wednesday evening for a physical and technical challenge made much harder by the dark. Headtorches are essential!

Last weekend, the juniors were out in force, all battling for positions in what would be new age groups for lots (the orienteering year is based on a calendar year).

There were seven courses on offer, all varying in distance and difficulty. On the shortest course we had many new families coming along to have a go for the first time.

Rory Pritchett had a storming run to get round the 1.4km course in a time of 12 minutes and 42 seconds. At each control point he worked out the right way to the next control by setting his map and reading the detail to see how to get there.

In 2nd was Rachel Salway, just a few minutes behind.

The Olivers got off to a great start with Calum in third and Jackson in sixth.

The stand-out performance from the other courses was undoubtedly that of Eilidh Campbell, who held off the threat from two juniors from the neighbouring club on the 3km course, managing an good run to hold a clear winning margin.

Eilidh has also been named in the 2014 Scottish Junior Orienteering Squad as one of the youngest in the team.

The Scottish Junior Squad this year has 33 athletes, of which 11 are from the club, MAROC. This just shows the strength in depth of the juniors in this area.

Congratulations to Alistair Chapman, Jake Chapman, Luke Graham, Joe Wright, Ross McMurtrie, Eilidh Campbell, Rosie Getliff, Abigail Mason, Evelyn Mason, Bronwyn Matthews and Jennifer Ricketts. These juniors will be travelling the country to train and compete in many high profile races.