EOC Long distance golds for Harju and Regborn

The European Orienteering Championships in Estonia saw a tough long distance unfolding Thursday afternoon with Venla Harju (FIN) and Martin Regborn (SWE) being crowned as champions.

Thursday’s competition was a return to the forest disciplines after a heavy sprint focus for many orienteers in the first half of 2022 – and it was at the same time the first EOC forest competitions since the 2018 championships.

And the rather flat and often dense and “bushy” Estonian terrain outside Rakvere seemed to be a perfect match for the Finnish team.

Harju’s first gold
Despite losing time on the 12,9 kilometer course, Venla Harju was the fastest woman in the forest and took her career’s biggest win by sealing the gold after nearly 90 minutes of running.

Reigning World and European champion in Long distance Tove Alexandersson (SWE) lost time at several controls during the first half of the course and despite a fast finish, she was 17 seconds slower than Harju at the finish line and took silver.

None of the runners could claim to have a perfect race in the tricky terrain with very low visibility in some parts – Marika Teini (FIN) made mistakes as well, but secured the second Finnish spot on the podium with her bronze medal.

Three Swedes, Sara Hagström, Lina Strand and Johanna Öberg was fourth, fifth and sixth.

Regborn’s greatest result
Similar to Harju, Martin Regborn made his career’s best result by winning the men’s long distance ahead of Eskil Kinneberg (NOR) and Elias Kuukka (FIN).

Regborn ran some longer route choices than most of his competitors around the river passing through the terrain but avoided any larger mistakes and was 31 seconds ahead of Kinneberg at the finish.

Elias Kuukka stayed clear of larger time losses and ran in to his first individual championship medal – making Finland the most successful nation today.

Kasper Fosser (NOR) was fourth and Emil Svensk (SWE) fifth after leading the competition until the last part of the course, where he lost vital time. Yet another Finn, Olli Ojanaho claimed the sixth position.

Illness among some of the Swiss runners kept Elena Roos, Daniel Hubmann and Matthias Kyburz from starting today.

TV, GPS-tracking, maps and results are available at IOF LIVE:

Kasper Fosser is the new leader of the men’s World Cup – 20 points ahead of today’s champion Martin Regborn with Tim Robertson (NZL) in third position.

Tove Alexandersson expanded her lead to more than 100 points, with Lina Strand in second position and just crowned European Champion Venla Harju in third.

Current World Cup standings after three out of six races here:

After a well deserved rest day, 120 athletes will run the Middle distance A-final Saturday afternoon.

Follow the broadcast at IOF LIVE from 13.30 EEST (UTC +3) here.

Photo: Donatas Lazauskas