Orienteering World Cup hosted by CERN Club

Elite runners took to the streets of Geneva for the last leg of the Orienteering World Cup, from 8-10 October. The Geneva finals were hosted by the CERN Orienteering Club and concluded months of competitions held across 5 countries.


Women's World-Cup winner, Simone Niggli (centre).  © Ilknur Colak

The final events of the Orienteering World Cup took place in the Old Town of Geneva and Saint-Cergue, with runners following routes prepared by the CERN Orienteering Club. Orienteering is a sport of navigation, using only a compass, map and your sense of direction. The objective is to get to all the points on the map as quickly as possible, choosing your own paths as you run. This was the CERN club’s first successful participation in the World Cup, cementing its reputation as a fixture in the international orienteering world.

Orienteering is not your typical Swiss pastime. Developed in Scandinavia, the sport has been gaining popularity internationally. “The Swiss Orienteering Federation wanted to promote orienteering in this region, as it is underdeveloped,” says Lennart Jirdén, Swedish-born President of the CERN Orienteering Club. “This is a great opportunity for us to increase exposure to the sport.”

The CERN Club was founded ten years ago and it’s still the only orienteering club in Geneva. As the sport was not very well known in the region, the CERN club decided to try to engage not only CERN staff, but also the people of Geneva. “We had to start from scratch and it became our job to promote the sport”, confirms Jirdén. The club regularly runs beginners-level orienteering events to encourage new participants to join in. Similar programmes have since been developed by other clubs, including Lausanne and Annecy, which hope to emulate the success of the CERN club.

Men's Wold Cup Winner, Daniel Hubmann  © Ilknur Colak

Orienteering is a sport based on intellect. “Physical and intellectual exercise are both required,” says Jirdén. “In Scandinavia it's often the higher education establishments like universities where orienteering is very popular. You find that some of the best runners are engineers or physicists.” Although typically held in wooded areas, more accessible orienteering events take place in urban areas, as was the case for the World Cup final, where participants work their way around buildings and roads.

The CERN Orienteering Club organizes 16 to 18 big events a year, aimed at all skill levels. Whether you're interested in a leisurely stroll, a day out with the family or learning a new sport, come along to the Orienteering Club’s next event. Beginners are invited to participate, and can bring along friends and family of any age! For details, visit the club's website: http://club-orienteer.web.cern.ch/

News – Final Results

Simone Niggli and Daniel Hubmann became the international orienteering champions after this weekend’s World Cup. Swiss-born Niggli had been guaranteed the title after her victories in the French World Cup events earlier this month, but by no means was she complacent for the final. She proved unbeatable running on home territory – winning the women’s final by a margin of 14 seconds. Hubmann, also from Switzerland,  pulled out all the stops to secure his trophy, winning the men’s final by 9 seconds.

One hundred and forty runners took part in the World Cup semi-final, and 80 went on to qualify for the final in Geneva Old Town. Held alongside these international events were two Swiss National competitions, each hosting 1200+ Swiss runners.

by Katarina Anthony