Kris Jones – fighting for more medals

Kris Jones won bronze in the Sprint at the European Championships in Switzerland

At the European Orienteering Championships in May, British orienteer Kris Jones won his first senior medal. Now he is ready to take new steps forward in Latvia.

Text and photo: Erik Borg

Kris was bronze medallist in the Sprint in Mendrisio in Switzerland, in the first final of the European Orienteering Championships. That was his first medal in an international championship at senior level; he has won a Junior World Orienteering Championship medal too.

Recently he achieved a new personal best over 5000 metres with a time of 13.45, and in the Jukola Relay this year he was the first to finish the first leg.
– My strengths are my physical fitness and my ability to make good decisions. I don’t have the best orienteering technical skills, but I can use these strengths to get good results; particularly in the Sprint distance and the relays. I work full-time, so I generally focus on one or two competitions a year, normally concentrating on the WOC, he says.

He will race in the Sprint, the Sprint Relay and the forest Relay at Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships.
– I hope my performances will be good enough to fight for medals in all three races. It is always tough to run the Sprint Qualifier, the Sprint Final and the Sprint Relay all within two days. I would rather that there be some time to rest between the races, but I am confident in my preparations and I don’t think that tiredness will be a factor.

He is from Swansea in South Wales, and started orienteering with his family when he was around 12 years old. Now he is living in Scotland.
– I enjoy running and orienteering in my spare time. I think that I am quite calm and laid back in general.

How have you prepared for Latvia?
– I haven’t been to Latvia for any training camps before the World Orienteering Championships; I will prepare at home in Scotland. Over the last few months, my focus has been primarily on improving my physical shape. In the last few weeks before the championships, I have focused on preparing for the orienteering. There is a lot of great sprint orienteering terrain in Scotland.

What does the first leg win at Jukola and also the PB on 5000 metres mean for you?
– In a way I was a little surprised by both results, especially as they came so close together. I know that I am capable of doing a great first leg in a relay, but sometimes you also need a bit of luck to come back at the front. With the 5000 metres, I had set my goal at running under 14 minutes, but I felt good and stuck in a lot longer than I expected. It is always nice to have recent results to take confidence from.

He has been a member of the Norwegian club Lillomarka for the last seven years.
– I have really valued being part of the team. I have some great friends in the club and I always look forward to racing or training with Lillomarka.

What’s your future goal for both orienteering and athletics?
– I’d like to continue to improve. In orienteering, this means aiming for medals. I don’t know where my future lies in athletics; I’d love to get another GB vest, but I’m happy to continue doing lots of different races (road/cross-country/track/hills) and pushing myself to perform as best as possible.

How much are you working?
– I’m a full-time PhD student, studying biomechanics in the golf swing. I’ve never been a golfer, but my academic background is in sports biomechanics and golf is a great sport to study. I’m in the final year of my studies so after the World Championships, I will be very busy trying to write the last sections of my thesis.