Athletes will head to southern England for the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering

Thousands are set to be welcomed to southern England for the Jan Kjellström International Festival of Orienteering over Easter weekend (April 19-22).

The event is open to top international elite athletes who will be competing for top medal positions, while it is also looking to attract and encourage families and individuals of all fitness levels and abilities to take part and soak up the festival atmosphere.

The festival programme includes:

Friday April 19 – Sprint race -Aldershot Garrison
Saturday April 20 -Middle distance – Windmill Hill, Frimley
Sunday April 21 – Long distance – Cold Ash, Hermitage, Newbury
Monday April 22 – Relays – Minley, Fleet

The three individual events will form part of the 2019 UK Elite Orienteering League and the UK Orienteering League and there will be Trail Orienteering (TrailO) taking place for para-athletes. The JK2019 TrailO will also be the first British events ever to be part of the European Cup in Trail Orienteering.

Orienteering is an outdoor sport and the aim is to navigate in sequence between control points, using a map, and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time.

It can be a family activity as well as for top international competition and there will be taster courses suitable for beginners of all ages and abilities. Athlete William Gardner mapped out last year’s World Orienteering Championships in Latvia for AW which provides a lowdown on the sport. Check it out here.

Many leading orienteers are top runners in their own right, with European medallist Kris Jones having won the Scottish cross-country title last year, then improved his half-marathon PB to 63:55 in Cardiff. Read an interview with Jones here.

The JK event is named after Jan Kjellström, who was an orienteer from Sweden who played an important role in the development of the sport in Great Britain.

Di Smith, JK2019 event coordinator, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming top international athletes as they compete for the top medal places across the weekend.

“We are also looking forward to seeing many families and individuals taking part, with courses planned to suit all ages and fitness levels.”

Jennie Taylor, communications officer at British Orienteering, said: “This event generates a real boost to the local economy with people travelling from overseas and across the UK to enjoy top quality orienteering.”

For more information and to enter visit the JK website.

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