This is the first of a new regular feature to introduce some of our members – find out how they started orienteering, what they like about it and more! First up is our newly appointed club captain, Harold Wyber.
336 (need to get out to more championships and other high scoring events!)
When & how did you start orienteering?
I first got in to orienteering aged around 10 or 11, my brother and I accompanying our cousins (the Lunds) to relatively local events every month or so. I am grateful for them for introducing me to the sport, although I became far more active upon starting at university (Warwick), where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join an enthusiastic and fairly large student club then captained / coached by GB elite and current Swedish Champion Graham Gristwood. This gave me the opportunity to train and compete at a decent level as well as opening my eyes to the world of multi day and overseas orienteering events.
When did you join CHIG?
1996 or 1997, I think. More accurately this is when I first joined CHIG; during my time at Warwick I joined the local club OD (Octavian Droobers), which worked closely with the university club, although upon returning to London in 2007 I rejoined CHIG.
What do you like/enjoy about orienteering?
Its a bit of a cliche but I would say that its the sense of thinking on one’s feet – I do enjoy and do a lot of standard running but orienteering offers so much more of a mental and physical challenge in terms of trying to maintain the perfect balance between running as quickly as possible and fully interpreting and processing the information provided on the map and borne out in front of you as you pass through the terrain.
What types of events do you usually enter? What course?
I wouldn’t say I’m especially picky about which type of events I enter and will generally go for anything I can get to on an available Saturday or Sunday. I like the fast and furious nature of park-Os (I’d definitely recommend the summer London Park-O series) and urban events but I know that I should do more forest events to improve my technique.
What are your orienteering goals?
Broadly, to be more consistent and make fewer mistakes – I’m sure almost everyone could say this to a degree but it really does apply to me! More specifically, I’d like to get within at least the top 10 in the BOF rankings within the next year or two. My big, orienteering-related goal for the year is to win the elite course of the OMM in October, which I’m planning to run with Graham Gristwood following our success in the B-course in 2006.
Do you do any training for orienteering?
I do a lot of running – 6 or 7 sessions a week, typically c.50 miles – as well as cycling and weights but I can’t say that I do much orienteering or navigation training. I should do more but I treat some events as training sessions too in terms of trying to focus on certain techniques.
What is your proudest moment in orienteering?
Probably either coming 25th in the M / H21L course on day 3 of the large Swedish multiday event Origen, in 2008. That or second place in last year’s Cambridge Street-O
Favourite ever event?
Got to be the Venice Street-O, an amazing orienteering experience. That said, the huge Finnish night orienteering relay Jukola comes a close second.
Apart from orienteering, do you do any other sport or outdoor activity?
As part of my weekly training regime I cycle to or from work four days a week, and have done a few cycle tours. I’ve fenced since I was around 10 and try to keep this going while I’m also looking to make a return to triathlon after a 2.5 year absence. I also compete in cross country running events over the winter for Woodford Green AC with Essex Ladies as well as fell and road races over the summer. All in all a fair mix and enough to keep me occupied.