Covid-19 causes all orienteering to stop

The current Covid-19 virus pandemic has prompted the Irish Orienteering Association to close down all orienteering activities, initially until 29th March, but it is likely that this will continue well beyond that.

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Covid-19: the map we never wanted to see

In Britain and Northern Ireland the announcement was made today (17th March) that O-activity will cease until further notice. Yesterday it was announced that the JK at Easter and Croeso 2020, the Welsh 6-Day, in August have been cancelled. The Leinster Championships has been postponed and there must be a question-mark over the Munster Champs – could we have three Munster Champs in 2021? (We were already due to have the 2019 and 2020 events this year …)

On the international front, the Swiss World Cup races at Neuchatel in May, the Spring Cup in Denmark this month and World Orienteering Day in May have been cancelled. In fact the IOF have announced that all IOF (international) events until 31st May have been cancelled.

This can only be the thin end of the wedge: a decision about the Irish Championships at the beginning of May is imminent but it doesn’t look very hopeful.

Other international events at risk include the European Youth O-Champs in Hungary, Junior World O-Champs in Turkey, World University O-Champs in Russia and the first Sprint World O-C in Denmark.

So, maybe not such a Happy St Patrick’s Day for everyone. Looking at the bigger picture, we can have health without orienteering but we can’t have orienteering without health.

So, keep washing your hands and taking sensible precautions, everyone, and we’ll see you in the forest when this storm blows over.

In the meantime, look for the fresh green leaves, the daffodils, the lambs and the lengthening evenings. We can still run in ones and twos, go mapping, run on the permanent courses and look forward to the resumption of normal service.

Best wishes from 3ROC