Czech sweep at the Long distance

4. 7. 2024

On July 3rd, 2024, Hůrky woke up to a misty, cold, and rainy morning. Despite this, what transpired in the following hours on the Long distance course in the adjacent forest is likely to remain one of the most memorable experiences in Czech orienteering for a long time. Many were cautiously optimistic – Czech juniors showed good form, preparations had gone well, the team was compact and bolstered by Michaela Novotná’s fresh championship title from the sprint – but no one dared to predict the outcome.

The race developed slowly, as is typical for the Long distance format. Initially, it was difficult to gauge the quality of performances from placements and times, especially since the weather could have affected the ability to achieve the set target times. However, after a third of the race, Daniel Bolehovský finished, not taking the lead by a few seconds but by several minutes. This subtly but steadily boosted the cautiously optimistic atmosphere in the arena. This sentiment was further strengthened shortly after when Swiss competitor Matthieu Buehrer, the dominant sprinter from the previous day, overtook Bolehovský but only by a minute, indicating that the Czech representative’s performance was very promising.

Encouraged by this positive development, spectators eagerly awaited the defending champion, Lucie Dittrichová, at the finish line. Winning is difficult, defending the title is harder, and last year’s title from Romania could have been a burden. However, in practice, it turned out that for Lucie, defending the title served as motivation rather than a burden. She reached the finish line with visible physical reserves and literally demolished the rest of the field with a lead of seven and a half minutes.

Even the most cautious fans had to admit that the race was going to end well – a medal was almost certain, with a bit of luck, two.

The day was far from over. While the men’s category saw the duo Buehrer – Bolehovský confidently occupy the top two positions, fending off one attack from competitors after another, things were happening in the women’s category. Twenty minutes after Lucie Dittrichová, Viktorie Škáchová took to the course. Through consistent and quality performance, supported by precise map work, especially towards the end of the race, she comfortably secured second place behind Dittrichová. The cautious optimism in the arena turned into outright joy.

While Dittrichová and Škáchová were already resting at the finish line, enjoying their comfortable lead, fresh world sprint champion Michaela Novotná was just getting ready to start. She showed neither fatigue from the previous day nor loss of focus from her recent success. From the first controls, she demonstrated that she was not just a sprint specialist but also possessed the same skills in the discipline from the opposite spectrum of orienteering races. Her run into the arena was watched by everyone, including participants of the accompanying Czech O-tour races, and the atmosphere was charged with tension, anticipation, and pure joy as it was clear the spectators were witnessing an extraordinary result. Michaela Novotná crossed the finish line in second place, two minutes and fourteen seconds behind Lucie Dittrichová, completing a full sweep of the podium by Czech women competitors.

Attention then turned to the men’s race, where for a considerable time Jan Strýček held a medal position, hinting at a possible Czech double in this category. However, this was ultimately thwarted by Zefa Fa’avae (NZL), who pushed Daniel Bolehovský to third place, and Loic Berger (SUI), who edged out Jan Strýček to fourth place.

The race thus turned into a Czech showcase, with the home team taking all the medals in the women’s category and bronze in the men’s category, with Jan Strýček finishing in fifth place on the extended podium. or the home team, the championship could not have wished for a more beautiful race on the classic course.


Men: 1 – Matthieu Buehrer, 2 – Zefa Fa’avae, 3 – Daniel Bolehovský

Women: 1- Lucie Dittrichová, 2 – Michaela Novotná, 3 – Viktorie Škáchová

Official Results

A quick race gallery

A large race gallery (more photos to follow)

Extended photo galleries will follow.