Who is Who
Eddie Harwood, M55, GBR
Picture: Eddie Harwood (black t-shirt) analysing the map in Finland, with Norman Jones, Sharon Crawford, Margaret Dearman (Eddie's partner) and Luís Santos.
You are a regular A Finalist in WMOC (18th in Italy, 17th in Canada, 32nd in Finland), but I feel you are able to do much better. What happened in these events?
In Italy I was frankly disappointed in the standard of the final - it was far to short and was technically the easiest day of the week. I made 2 careless concentration errors and there was no way back from there.
In Canada I thought I had really got my concentration together and was running well, then I made a parallel error and took a long time to sort it out.
In Finland I was definitely running the best ever for me in a WMOC final. A drawing error on the map caused me to interpret a hill as a depression. Every time I got near I couldn't understand this hill and went away again -7 minutes lost. I believe that from this point (halfway) I was the fastest to the finish.
Do you think you are able to show in Portugal 2008 your real potential performance? Which would be a good result for you? Who else is in a good position to win your class among people who have already entered?
I certainly hope so - if I can run as concentratedly as I did in Finland. I have not looked at the entry list but I fully expect it to be very competitive. I am expecting extreme heat which I think I will cope with far better than many of my rivals.
Next summer we will have, for the first time in WMOC, a Sprint Race (Qualifying and Final). Do you like this new situation? Personally, does it suit your abilities and skills?
I think it is great for the sport. Personally I usually pull up the field late on and the longer the event the more it suits me. However I have had some amazingly good results in sprint races considering I have no speed particularly on firm surfaces. Stamina through rough terrain is definitely more natural for me.
In M55 and M50 will come some good British athletes whom we know from previous Portuguese races: Neville Baker, Andy Hemsted, Ian Ditchfield Would you add other names?
Not knowing if they are going or not, Axel Blomkvist is a much faster and fitter athlete than me and must have every chance if he believes it in himself. Alistair Wood is physically more like me and technically very strong.
I noticed the absence of another good friend and good athlete: Vincent Joyce (silver medal in Canada; 8th in Italy and Austria). I hope he would still enter, but he had a bad injury last year...
Sadly Vince has chronic arthritis in his ankles. Sometimes he can run it off - maybe Portuguese heat will help him if he is at WMOC.
Before WMOC you will compete in Portugal, next February. You have entered to POM (Algarve) in M45, which is our best veteran class. You will compete against Mário Duarte, Albano João, Manuel Luís and José Fernandes. Why did you choose M45, competing against people ten years younger ten you?
I find M55 too short and winning is not my priority. Hopefully I can still put in a competitive performance. I intend to enter the event the following weekend also in M45.
Algarve 2008 will not be your first race in Portugal. I remember you from S. Pedro do Sul (February 2007) and, in the following weekend, from Nisa, where you won M45. Do you have any special memories from these two events?
POM2007 was the coldest event of the winter!! The model event was so bad that I gave up after 400m and thought I was going to die. I don't know how the Portuguese coped as you cannot be used to it, and the organisers were just amazing the way they stuck to their jobs.
The Nisa weekend was more what I was expecting except weather wise, and the terrain was just so lovely. I came away with nothing but admiration for Portuguese orienteers and how you are growing your sport. I think the weekend events and free floor space are crucial, and make a lovely atmosphere.
In POM we will have a second runner Harwood. She is Pen, a W75. Can you introduce this lady to us?
This is my mother (W81) - very inexperienced -she really only started when my father died 5 years ago. She is probably the fastest runner in the group but makes a big mistake in nearly every event.
Do you have other orienteers in your family?
My partner Margaret is a regular "average" orienteer and has been to many WMOCs with me. In 2005 she came 16th (I think) in WMOC in Canada, a performance utterly outside any other - (She ran more than usual because she was terrified of bears). She also had a remarkable 2nd (overtaken on the run-in) in the B final in Italy.
Last summer, after WMOC in Kuusamo, you won the classic Scottish 6 Days. Was it a difficult victory? Do you have any special memories from this event, including in previous years?
In 2003 I managed to win all 6 days. I was trying to repeat this but in the end was grateful to hang on to overall victory. Coming from the huge disappointment in Finland was very motivating.
Please, give us a good reason for a trip to Tay 2009, to the 17th Scottish 6 Days.
The Scottish 6 days is always a great event and more than anywhere else that I know of provides a huge variety of terrain and technical demands. It is a beautiful part of Scotland. It is a difficult area to find terrain that is not spoiled by bracken, but I think the choices of area are good.
Which are other main highlights of your sporting career?
WMOC is my focus each year and all too often I have failed, and on a number of occasions something outside has failed in the final such as my contact lens disappearing in Norway, map folding inside the bag and losing a leg in Australia, and this year's map problem in Finland. I have managed 5th which was pretty good. Fortunately I love competing and never get down even when the focus of the year falls apart. Returning from Norway to the Scottish 6 days has to be my best as I was actually working during the week. However I ran almost flawlessly winning every day. Day 1 in particular was very technical, and after my only big mistake of the week (2 min) I ran in a zone never achieved before or since.
Who were in the past your Elite top? And, now, after Jamie Stevenson, do you think GBR can have another world champion for the next 5-10 years?
Yvette Hague (now Baker) was our first World class orienteer. I remember her amazing the World by winning the Nordic Cup in detailed sand dunes in Denmark. If my memory serves me correctly she then had a WOC medal taken away when they were being over fussy about every pin hole being inside the correct box and they disqualified her. She went on to win GOLD in WOC99 before retiring. The men were good but not at that time likely to win individual medals. The silver relay WOC medal in the USA was a fantastic achievement - Jonathan Musgrave, Martin Bagness, Stephen Palmer and Steven Hale who ran the event of his life in that race. We now have several men capable of winning major races but so do many nations and it is very difficult to break through at WOC.
Can you give us a general approach to British orienteering?
There is quite a debate going on at the moment between those that want to move the sport on with much more variety of terrain and event types, and those that want to stick to regular similar type competitions. Weekend events, which I see as a major reason for the success of the sport in Portugal are uncommon and because of UK costs very expensive for most. Generally with far more older and richer competitors I do not see the free, or even cheap, floorspace that you use as working here. We have 120 clubs from maybe 250 members own to about 10. There are races throughout the year with the major competitions generally between March and June and September to November. Our best national events can attract about 2500 people, but a recent national event (in November very far north) had only about 200. The junior classes in our major events have far fewer competitors that they used to, but there are parts of the country where local events are thriving with many youngsters. As in all sports the areawhere we see a huge decline in participants is the 18 to 39 age range.
How many orienteers do you have in your club? Do you have any responsible position in your club or in your federation?
We have about 30 of all ages that actually compete more than once a year. We are very far north and a long way from big populations. I have been club chairman but am not very good at it - far too laid back! Now I just see myself as the troubleshooter on the committee.
Have you ever organized an orienteering event? Do you have good memories from that experience? Can you tell us any story about it?
I try not to organise as that is not my talent. I plan and control courses regularly from National to local level. Planning important events can be very rewarding. My style is such that I always receive lots of comments, not all complementary.
What is your birth date and what job do you have?
17 July 1952. I broker utility services - telephone, internet, electricity, gas. I am very good at saving people money. It suits me very well as I get paid on usage, therefore I can go abroad for a long time and the money still comes into my account.
How did you discover orienteering and for how long have you practiced it?
I first heard of it at University in 1969 but when I realised it involved running I decided not to actually do it. Ten years later someone told me about it again when I was climbing in the Scottish Highlands. I thought it would be a good way to try to get fit. I went to an event in a bramble infested wood and panted my way round the long course in twice the winners time. I loved it and was hooked.
Which have been the best events where you have been?
Veteran World Cup (VWC) 1992 Tasmania because it took place in a village in the middle of nowhere. Everyone stayed there and the whole village was involved. The prize giving was the best ever - an evening by a swimming pool with a 1960's band - the village turned up and no-one went off to a selective banquet.
VWC 1997 USA because the terrain was so special. [The name WMOC was introduced in 1998, before it was VWC.]
Swiss O Week 2006 can never be bettered. No cars - very varied high orienteering in the most fantastic setting with unimaginably good weather. Is there anywhere else in the World that has the infrastructure and terrain? And could that weather ever be repeated?
Do you remember your best (perfect) race, or the worst, or the most exciting?
Day 1 Scottish 6 days 2003 - running in the zone ant technically absolutely perfect (after early mistake). I won by 7 minutes.
Possibly my worst ever was at the chasing start in POM2007. I was second starter after Tom Karlsen with a good gap to third. I never got my head going - among other things I ran from 8 to 10, thought I was at 9 and then ran to 5 (?) even after sorting that out I ran back to the top of the hill and number 1 instead of down to the visible spectator control. I finished almost the slowest runner of the day.
What kind of training do you use to do?
Not enough. I normally do an interval session once a week. The other training as very varied. Rarely do I run more than 5 times in a week. I rely on what I did when I was younger. My hardest ever week was:
Sunday - an M21E national event
Monday - ran the 3 Peaks race route approx 37km 2000m climbing
Tuesday - ran the Borrowdale race route approx 32km 2500m
Wednesday - ran the Wasdale race route approx 34km 3000m
Thursday - ran the Langdale race route approx 22km 2000m
Friday - raced someone up and down Blencathra approx 7km 900m
Saturday - ran Northern Counties hill race approx 23km 1800m
Sunday - ran Saddleworth race approx 3km 200m
I think I benefit from this to this day.
What do you enjoy most in orienteering?
The variety. I love the challenge of new terrain, new courses, and the fact that not even the easiest areas cannot fall apart with any slip of concentration. Unlike many when I fail to cope with an area, I love it and can't wait to get back and have another go there.
Beside the competition in terrain, you are also a Catching Features player...
It's good fun, but I am not good at it. When orienteering for real one keeps looking all around to see what I happening. In Catching Features you go the way you are looking I have never mastered this.
What are your hobbies besides orienteering?
Ornithology - I carry out many bird surveys, and always record every species I meet every day.
Music - I play the piano and sing even in competitions.
Can you suggest a book, a film or a music that we can't miss?
Its personal taste, but if you want to try romantic classical music, listen to Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs - I know no more emotional experience.
What are your favourite websites or blogs?
Nopesport for British orienteering.
What do you expect from WMOC 2008?
Heat! Great forests requiring continuous concentration - top 10!
Considering your previous "portuguese experience", can you suggest anything to people coming for the first time?
I don't feel qualified to say. For those driving for the first time when you see a traffic light and a speed limit, make sure you are not approaching 1 km/h faster than allowed.
Do you want to say anything else?
I would like to say that I along with, I think, a majority of WMOC regulars are unhappy about the 4 yearly conjunction with the World Masters Games. It adds nothing to the event except a massive increase in the entry fee. Having to drive to Edmonton last time wasted us half a day and 10s of litres of petrol all for nothing. It is also absurd to be having the event in Australia for the 3rd time and the 2nd this century. Please IOF, think again.
(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2007 Nov. 26th.)
[2008-06-20] Carlos Monteiro, WMOC Event Director
[2008-06-20] Dieter Wolf, M55, SUI
[2008-06-19] Timo Teinila, WMOC speaker
[2008-06-19] Jorge Simões, WMOC Event Director assistant
[2008-06-18] Blair Trewin, M35, AUS
[2008-06-18] Mariett Matias, WMOC Media responsible
[2008-06-17] David May, WMOC Senior Event Advisor
[2008-06-16] Gottfried Tobler, M60, AUT
[2008-06-16] Tuulikki Salmenkylä, W45, FIN
[2008-06-16] Arvo Majoinen, M80, FIN
[2008-06-14] Fernando Costa, WMOC Marketing responsible
[2008-06-13] Sarah Dunn, W40, GBR
[2008-06-12] Santos Sousa, WMOC planner
[2008-06-11] Sigurd Daehli, M55, NOR
[2008-06-10] Alexandre Reis, WMOC mapper and planner
[2008-06-09] Nick Duca, M40, CAN
[2008-06-07] Tiago Aires, WMOC mapper and planner
[2008-06-06] Irina Stepanova, W55, RUS
[2008-06-05] Luís Sérgio, WMOC mapper
[2008-06-04] Ari Kattainen, M50, FIN
[2008-06-03] Rui Antunes, WMOC Mapping coordinator
[2008-06-02] Jon Musgrave, M45, GBR
[2008-05-31] Jacinto Eleutério, WMOC Course coordinator
[2008-05-30] Rune Carlsson, M70, SWE
[2008-05-29] Åke Jacobson, IOF President
[2008-05-29] Augusto Almeida, POF President
[2008-05-28] Jurate Uleviciene, W55, LIT
[2008-05-26] Vladimir Ioffe, M70, ISR
[2008-05-23] José Fernandes, M45, POR
[2008-05-21] Ezio Paris, M55, ITA
[2008-05-19] Gabriella Györffy, W40, HUN
[2008-05-16] Alberto Minguez, M40, ESP
[2008-05-14] Tomas Zdrahal, M55, CZE
[2008-05-12] Paulo Becker, M45, BRA
[2008-05-09] Ingrid Roll, W70, NOR
[2008-05-07] Jerzy Parzewski, M55, POL
[2008-05-05] Hugh Moore, M60, AUS
[2008-05-02] Martin Checkley, M55, GBR
[2008-04-30] Etienne Bousser, M60, FRA
[2008-04-28] Andreas Grote, M40, SUI
[2008-04-24] Liudmila Labutina, W65, RUS
[2008-04-22] Freddy Sillien, M60, BEL
[2008-04-17] Tomislav Kaniski, M35, CRO
[2008-04-14] Eero Tuuteri, M85, FIN
[2008-04-10] Lena Nordahl, W80, SWE
[2008-04-07] Albano João, M45, POR
[2008-04-03] Tom A. Karlsen, M55, NOR
[2008-03-31] Kayoko Sakai, W55, JPN
[2008-03-27] Finn Arildsen, M45, DEN
[2008-03-24] Anne Nurmi, W45, FIN
[2008-03-20] Peo Bengtsson, M75, SWE
[2008-03-17] Alida Abola, W50, LAT
[2008-03-13] Matti Railimo, M60, FIN
[2008-03-10] Cornelia Eckardt, W35, GER
[2008-03-06] Joaquim Sousa, M35, POR
[2008-03-03] Birgitta Olsson, W75, SWE
[2008-02-20] J. Salmenkylä, M75, FIN
[2008-02-18] Torid Kvaal, W65, NOR
[2008-02-15] Mykola Bozhko, M55, UKR
[2008-02-13] Pavlina Brautigam, W45, USA
[2008-02-11] Ferran Santoyo, M35, ESP
[2008-02-08] Sole Nieminen, W80, FIN
[2008-02-06] Stefano Galletti, M40, ITA
[2008-02-04] Gillian Ingham, W50, NZL
[2008-02-01] Jörgen Mårtensson, M45, SWE
[2008-01-30] Tom Hiltebrand, M50, SUI
[2008-01-28] Baiba Ozola, W40, LAT
[2008-01-25] Eddie Harwood, M55, GBR
[2008-01-23] Marje Viirmann, W45, EST
[2008-01-21] Alexander Afonyushkin, M40, RUS
[2008-01-18] Paulina Majova, W55, SVK
[2008-01-16] Björn Linnersjö, M65, SWE
[2008-01-15] Lillian Røss, W85, NOR
[2008-01-10] Tapio Peippo, M55, FIN
[2008-01-07] Elizabeth Brown, W90, GBR
[2008-01-04] Erkki Luntamo, M90, FIN