Hannah Hateley is a 13-year-old pupil at Weaverham High School in Cheshire and a member of the England junior orienteering team
I’m a bit tired today as I ran for my club (Deeside Orienteering Club) in the Peter Palmer Relay event at the weekend. This is a five-person relay that starts in the middle of the night so I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I do have enough energy for hockey practice at school though which I do purely for fun.
Orienteering is not just about fitness and running. It’s also about map reading. Today I look at some old maps of the Junior Home International competition areas as this gives me a feel for what to expect. The individual area looks steep and physical, but the relay area looks more tricky and technical – which is what I like.
Mr Goodall, who teaches PE, suggests I try after-school running club to improve my fitness, so this is my first session.
I go to club training night. We do a selection of team challenges, exercises and fun games in a school gym and grounds with club-mates. I’m going tomorrow. I pack my bags and make sure I have my overnight stuff, compass, electronic ‘dibber’ and lots of warm clothes. I’m beginning to feel really nervous.
Only the morning at school, then I’m picked up by the minibus that’s collecting all the squad members from the north of England. We are staying at Pencelli Outdoor Centre and I am sharing a room with Fiona who is a friend from down south. I get my England top. It looks great but is a bit baggy on me. How proud am I?
It’s the individual race at Mynydd, Llangattock. I am right. It is steep and hard. I take it steady and am doing OK but lose time near the end at a control in the bracken and then struggle on the uphill finish. I finish sixth out of 15, but English girls are first and third, so we just pip Scotland in my age-class. At night all the teams get together and dance at a ceilidh.
It’s the relay race at Clydach Terrace and I’m doing the second leg in the England fourth team. I have a good run and catch up many of the leading teams who are struggling near the spectator control. We finish third and England fill the top three places. Wicked. England win overall. It’s a great experience and I’ve got another year in this age-group so hopefully I will get selected again in 2014.