Orienteering offers a unique challenge for loners

Orienteering offers a unique challenge for loners

We spoke with Wojciech Prukop, Tooling Technologist at our Wroclaw plant, about his passion for the cross-country event and his own personal sporting achievements.

Wojciech, your passion confirms that running has many different names. We do not often hear about orienteering lovers.

Unfortunately that’s true because the popularity of orienteering in our country is decreasing - especially in contrast with Switzerland, Scandinavia, Germany and Russia. The largest orienteering event in the country only manages to attract a few hundred participants. Thirty years ago, when I started my adventure with orienteering and ran professionally as part of the WKS Olesniczanka club, it was a representative discipline of the Polish army. Many local communities were involved in its development. Currently it loses out to road racing, which I personally do not like as much.

What makes orienteering special, among all running events?

For me, the most important aspect is the fact that it is not monotonous, moving from point A to point B, as I find to be the case in marathons and other road races. Orienteering is a challenge for body and mind. At the start of each race, players receive a map with the route marked, and control points which need to be reached in turn and registered with your reader. If you add to this the natural surroundings - dense forest, mud, hills and numerous intertwining routes – the result is something which only this sport can offer: a unique adventure. I can’t find the same experience in road racing - I do not like crowds. Orienteering victories depend on solitude. It's from my perceptions and conditions alone that the outcome develops.

Speaking about results - what are some of your achievements?

I ran professionally from 1986-1996, and during those ten years I stood on the podium at some of the biggest national events. I recall with particular fondness a gold medal at the Polish Championships of the Polish Army in 1989 and a silver in the Polish Cup Team Cross Country Orienteering in the early nineties. Orienteering is a passion that has stayed with me to this day, despite the fact that for a long time now I only take part in competitions as an amateur. Relatively recently I started to compete in road runs over medium distances, and once a year I take part in the Wroclaw marathon.

What do people who want to start orienteering need to know? Do you have any proven tips?

As with any sporting activity, above all wear appropriate clothing and comfortable shoes, and watch your body. These are the fundamentals if you want to run safely and reap the greatest satisfaction. Tailor your outfit to the weather, so as not to chill or overheat. On cold days remember a warm hat, and in the summer something which protects the head from the sun. In terms of shoes, do not trust branded solutions - choose models that match your foot shape and your gait, and are adapted to the conditions on the route. Take care of your body. Relying on energy drinks and high dietary supplements is not good for your body. Our running abilities should be determined by the limits of our natural strength, with any deficiencies in magnesium and potassium corrected each day.

Wojciech Prukop runs in the colors of the Koelner brand, one of Rawlplug own brands. This year he has already competed in a number of events including the Grand Prix Wroclaw CITY TRAIL with Nationale-Nederlanden, Wroclaw Night O-Fight 2016, Green Wroclaw and the half marathons in Pila, Sobotka, Miekinia, and Wroclaw. In the near future he will take part in the Mikolajki Race in Wroclaw, the 22km crossover run in Bartków and the New Year's Eve run in Trzebnica.

See photos from previous races:
- Half Marathon in Pila,
- 34 PKO Wroclaw Marathon.

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