Two national teams train at CERN

The Swedish and Czech national orienteering teams trained at CERN on Wednesday, at the invitation of the president of the orienteering club, Lennart Jirdén.


Tove Alexandersson, a junior member if the Swedish team.  Three weeks before she won gold, silver and bronze medals at the Junior World Championship. 

The two national teams were training at Aix-les-Bains and were invited to come to CERN by the Laboratory's orienteering club. These top athletes had to find their bearings at CERN in the chilly July rain. CERN has a dynamic orienteering club which earned itself an international reputation by getting actively involved in the orienteering world championships last October, which took place in Geneva and Saint-Cergue and for which it prepared the routes. Having proved its worth on that occasion, the club will be helping to organise the next championships in 2012.

CERN Map given to the runners. The triangle marks the starting line, and the double circle, the finish. The circles represent the control points where the runners' had to get their cards punched. The total distance of the course was 2950m as the crow flies, but the actual distance covered was much further because of the obstacles. The best time recorded during Wednesday's training exercise was 18 minutes and 27 seconds.

Three athletes from the Swedish and Czech national teams reach the finishing line.

 "I really enjoyed running on the CERN site but I'd thought it would be a lot more modern," said a member of the Swedish team. "It was very hard to choose which route to take looking at the map as it was really detailed. There were a lot of difficulties because of the areas that were barred." After completing their training exercise, the teams visited various buildings and experiments.

Lennart Jirdén has plenty of plans for the club's future. The club has already started a project involving 9 to 12 year-olds from schools in Geneva and is working on another for 12 to 16 year-olds. "For the second time this year, we organised orienteering days for ten different schools involving a total of 800 children," explains Lennart. "This was followed by a school championship in Geneva in June for the children of all ten schools." The club intends to repeat the exercise in the future and to get more schools involved, especially French schools in Saint Genis-Pouilly, Ferney-Voltaire and Péron, in order to set up a cross-border challenge.

CERN's orienteering club organises around fifteen competitions every year. The next one is scheduled for Saturday 27 August. For further information go to the club's website.


by Alix Marcastel