Grace from Forth Valley gains good experience at World Orienteering Championships in Czech Republic
After a stellar junior career, Grace was named to Team GB for every event in the Championships.
However, with a world ranking of 260 before the event, it was more about gaining experience than fighting for medals this time around.
She had an early setback, as she missed out on a place in the middle distance final, finishing 20th in qualifying.
With the top 15 athletes in each heat, Grace was pulled into the tightest of three heats and knew only a perfect run around the forest at Smržovka would be enough.
Despite a solid half of the race, where she gained ground, a small error eventually ruled her out, as she finished in 37.34.
Undeterred, Grace pulled herself together and led the women’s team to the Forest Relay two days later.
She was bold from the start and took a direct route through a valley, a choice made by only three other leading teams, and followed it up with a good route choice towards a rather northerly approach. than the southern route. favored by many other competitors.
Grace passed the baton in sixth and her teammates Jo Shepherd and Megan Carter-Davies were able to keep the pressure on the leaders, eventually finishing one spot in seventh.
The last race of the week was the long distance over a 9.5km course with 650m of elevation gain and Grace was dragged into the first starting block.
Attacking the course from the start, she had an error-free run and was the fastest of the first 30 starters before the big guns came out and pushed her to a final place of 25th.
“Despite the surroundings, this was possibly my cleanest forest run series ever,” Grace said.
“The relay in particular was pretty solid, and I just needed a bit of race practice.”
The championships saw Grace enter the top 200 in the world for the first time, as her ranking rose to 191 for the forestry disciplines, while her sprint ranking improved to 64th in the world.