This article was written by Steve Wilson (CLYDE/JOK) in October 1996 and is based in part on the article by the same author in Compass Sport (Vol. 11 No. 3 p. 16). Any comments or corrections are welcomed!

A Brief History of JOK

JOK stands for Jesus College Orienteering Klubb. Its members are not followers of an obscure religious cult, but are all former members of Oxford University Orienteering Club (OUOC) who had so much fun orienteering with their friends at Oxford that they didn't want it to stop just because they'd left!


The club is named after Jesus College, Oxford and began life in 1985 quite accidentally as a OUOC club joke. Once a year, OUOC organises the inter-collegiate orienteering competition (universally known in Oxford-speak as "Cuppers") to which club members usually try to cajole one or two of their reluctant friends for the greater glory of their college. However, in the summer of 1985 Graeme Ackland of Jesus College excelled himself and turned up with about twenty members of his college, none of whom had ever been orienteering before, and then led them in a mass psych-up session before their runs! Despite all these efforts Jesus didn't win, but somehow the joke that Oxford University O.C. should be named Jesus O.C. stuck. Maybe because the whole idea was such a JOKE the word "Club" got changed to the Swedish spelling "Klubb" and JOK was born.

Club Colours

During the next year (1985-6) whenever anyone wanted to be a bit different from the mainstream of OUOC they did so under the banner of JOK, regardless of what college they were from. Dave McIntyre and Graeme Ackland assumed the roles of ring-leaders, and when OUOC planned a summer tour to the French 6-Days in the summer of 1986 it soon became a JOK tour instead. Tired of the tasteful dark blue OUOC o-suit a special JOK o-suit was created in the newly-adopted club colours, which had been chosen by combining the ring-leaders' college colours of yellow and maroon (Teddy Hall) and green and white (Jesus). At a time when most o-suits were still reasonably plain, the JOK suit was designed to be as gaudy as possible and, since Jesus is traditionally a Welsh college, bore the large red Welsh dragon on the back. (Apparently use without permission of this national symbol is one of the few remaining capital offences in British Law!)

Most rebels join the establishment in the end, and this case is no exception. Graeme Ackland was elected OUOC Chairman for 1986-7 and so Dave McIntyre took the nominal title of "JOK President". JOK still only existed in the heads of OUOC, but instead of being quietly forgotten now that its raison d'être had gone, someone suggested that it should continue, in a rather more formal way, as a club for ex-OUOC members who wanted to stay in touch after they had left Oxford. The idea was quickly adopted and Anthony Walker, who graduated in 1986, became the club's first "real" member.

Flying Pigs

Sports clubs need mascots and one was quickly adopted by JOK. The flying pig symbolized the likelihood of anyone in the club ever having a good run! The flying pig was incorporated into the club emblem designed by Dave McIntyre, which shows a rather chubby pig on a shield quartered into the club colours over the motto "Porci Vis Musca". The motto means "Pigs Might Fly" in the worst schoolboy Latin, with "might" as in "strength" and "fly" as in the insect. Various mistranslations for "pigs" such as "custodes" which means "police" were discussed, but all considered too corny even for JOK! Dave (or more accurately Dave's mum) was also responsible for the manufacture of the splendid multi-coloured club banner bearing the emblem which has flown at events all over the world ever since!

The 1987 OUOC/JOK summer tour was to Sweden for the O-Ringen and saw, for the first time, a mixture of current and former OUOC members in the same tour. A new tour o-suit was specially designed, with the colours of the previous suit rotated and dragon replaced by the image of a very "smug and portly" pink pig drawn by Ken Broad of Ultrasport. The omens for the tour were good when Jon Cross won a large plump pig in lurid pink at a fun fair in Stockholm and "Björn", as it was instantly christened, made numerous appearances on run-ins during the trip. JOK also won their "sensational" banner was selected as the "Best Club Emblem at the 5-Days" and the "jovial orienteers from Oxford University" were rewarded with a full colour centre-spread picture and report in the event newspaper. The tour was a great success and continued later in the summer when a substantial number of JOKers took part in the Scottish 6-Days event (Highland 87) for the first time.


At the start of the 1987-88 academic year JOK was finally put on a formal basis when a constitution was drawn up and the club was affiliated to BOF through SCOA as a closed club. (JOK qualifies as a closed rather than an open club because membership of JOK is restricted to members of the Oxford University. Since membership of Oxford University is for life, this includes people after they have left Oxford but not, for example, the children of JOK members.) After two years in charge Dave McIntyre stepped down to become the 1988-89 OUOC Chairman and the JOK Presidency passed to Rachel Hunt (now Wilson), who had left Oxford the previous summer. The 1988 OUOC/JOK tour was to Czechoslovakia and, of course, another o-suit was required. This time the design was based on the Scotland o-suit proudly worn by the outgoing OUOC Chairwoman Rona MacLeod (now Molloy). It had the same distinctive St. Andrew's cross on the back, but bore the word "Stoatland" instead of "Scotland" and was in JOK club colours rather than tasteful blue and white. ("Stoat", like most of the other club words which appeared around this time, was coined by Rob Hart. A glossary of some of these OUOC/JOK words and their meanings is attached.) A highly successful tour was marred only by the "defection" of Björn, who disappeared during the tour and was never seen again. However, Teresa McIntyre manufactured a replacement (this time with real wings) christened "Björn again" and more recently Piers Newbery was responsible for two further additions to the litter, including "Björn three". Games of Bridge have always been one of the main pastimes on JOK tours, but the 1988 trip also saw endless games of "Pass the Pigs" and the "hog call" of "Sooee" was quickly adopted as the club cry. It has been heard at events all over the world ever since!

Estonia Exchange

The next year saw the most ambitious OUOC/JOK project yet - an exchange visit with the Estonian Orienteering Federation. The scheme was the brainchild of Araba McMillan and involved a trip to Estonia in the summer of 1989 by a record number of twenty-four people to compete in the annual Ilvesteade four-person four-day relay event. Once again a special o-suit was designed, again in the club colours, but this time with the legend "PVM" on the back in honour of the club motto. On their return to the UK a somewhat smaller group of JOKers also took part in the Scottish 6-Days (Loch Lomond 89). The return part of the exchange took place during Easter 1990 when OUOC/JOK hosted a visit by an Estonian national team to the Jan Kjellstrom (JK) event held that year in Scotland. Thanks to the combined efforts of OUOC and JOK the visit was a great success, and was crowned when the Estonians won the Women's Open relay! A smaller group of Estonians returned the next year to (unsuccessfully) defend their title at the 1991 JK in Sheffield.

Summer Tours

The 1990 OUOC/JOK tour was to France and Switzerland and included Roger Thetford's memorable stag-night alk-o! For the first time no special tour o-suit was designed and instead the rather splendid "Oxford/Estonia Exchange" o-suits, originally designed as gifts for the Estonian visitors in a combination of club colours and Estonian blue, were standard issue. The next year (1991) was rather more low key with a small group of JOKers going on the OUOC tour to Czecholsovakia (a popular destination with impoverished students in those days) and a larger group attending the Scottish 6-Days in Galloway. 1992 saw an epic JOK tour to Italy and Austria which involved driving a less-than-road-worthy minibus from Glasgow to the Alps and back. The trip was memorable to several events including Anthony Walkers's epic search for this passport and breaking the minibus key off in the ignition lock in the middle of an Alpine thunderstorm. 1993 was the year of several tours, with trips to the Belgian 3-Day in the spring, the Scottish 6-Days in Deeside in the summer and the World Champs in the USA in the autumn. 1994 saw another full-blown tour to Norway and Denmark, where the blazing sunshine more than justified the break with tradition involved in choice of a special white and pink o-suit for the trip! Last year (1995) saw another trip to the Belgian 3-Days in the spring, then a full tour with OUOC to Italy and France followed by a classic Scottish 6-Days in Speyside. This year (1996) JOK had two tours - a trip to Finland in order to take part in the thousand-team-strong Jukola relay (where JOK managed a creditable finish just inside the top quarter of the field) and a return to the Czech Republic. Nothing is finalised for 1997, but there is already talk of Tio Mila and the Colorado 6-Days!


As more OUOC members left Oxford and joined JOK the club continued to develop. In 1989 the first JOK Annual Dinner was held in the "Go Dutch" Pancake House in Oxford and the first Annual General Meeting took place during the JK in Somerset. Rachel Hunt stepped down in 1990 to be succeeded as JOK President by Anthony Walker, who was to be followed two years later by Steve Wilson and then the current incumbent Beccy Osborn. As the club grew so did the workload and so other office holders were enlisted. Notable amongst these were Seamus Cunnane, Josie Evans, John Emeleus and Kate Kilpatrick, all of whom excelled at the increasingly difficult task of keeping in touch with a steadily-growing club, producing regular newsletters and keeping the club finances in order. A recent innovation is the holding an annual "JOK Championships". It all began with an idea by Jon Cross that it would be fun to see now many JOK members could be persuaded to run the elite course at a National Event. Naturally the winner would be "JOK Champion" and so the first JOK Championships were held at a fog-bound National event on Eyam Moor in November 1992, with the men running M21E and the women W21L. The idea of a club championship proved more popular than that of running elite, in the last couple of years the competition has been held at a badge event on a technically-interesting area in conjunction with the AGM.


Relays have always been an important part of JOK's activities ever since the first JOK relay team ran at 1986 BUSF in Slaley Forest and Graeme Ackland got overtaken by Andy Winter in the run-in after he fell in a large puddle! After a great deal of debate at several AGMs the club has a rather strict policy on relay teams that nobody should run for JOK if their open club (if they belong to one) wants them instead. Despite this self-limiting ordinance classic JOK teams names such as "Diced Parrots", "Björn Free", "Björn To Run" and "The Flying O'Kelly Brothers (and Sisters)" appear regularly at all the major relay competitions. Major successes have been winning the British Open Women's title in 1996 (Beccy Osborn, Annemieke Van Gulik and Jen Leonard), the Harvester Trophy Open title in 1995 (Jon Cross, Seamus Cunnane, Ben Stansfield, Steve Wilson, Nigel Wright, Graeme Ackland and Rob Hart) and Harvester Trophy Women's Open title in 1996 (Rachel Wilson, Liz Cross, Beccy Osborn, Annemieke Van Gulik, Jane Hailey). As well as orienteering races JOK has had a regular presence at the annual Calderdale Way Relay, achieving a best performance of 15 out of 98 teams in 1995.

Chasing Sprint

The club has always tried to be innovative, and this tradition continues with the recent introduction of the JOK-organised "Chasing Sprint". Brainchild of Piers Newbery, this event combines the excitement of a chasing start with that of sprint-o in a novel two-round format. Three events have been held so far, and the latest (held last summer in conjunction with a National Event in the Lakes) was the biggest and most successful so far and saw the splendid "Flying Pig" trophies awarded for the very first time.

The Future

Hopefully, JOK will continue to grow as orienteers pass through the ranks of OUOC, but this is not automatic and the club is aware that as its founder members grow older (and move north!) links with OUOC need to be maintained. However, if the achievements of the last ten years are any guide then the future for JOK will be bright indeed!

JOK Presidents
See the JOK Committee Page
JOK Tours and O-suits
1986 France Welsh Dragon
1987 Sweden and Scotland Flying Pig
1988 Czechoslovakia Stoatland
1989 Sweden/Estonia and Scotland Original PVM (with white back)
1990 France/Switzerland Oxford/Estonia Exchange
1991 Scotland and Czechoslovakia
1992 Italy/Austria New PVM (with hoops)
1993 Belgium, Scotland and USA
1994 Norway/Denmark White and pink
1995 Belgium, Italy/France and Scotland OUOC Alpine Jaunt
1996 Finland and Czech Republic
JOK Relay Victories
1994 White Rose Relays Open Champions
1994 Harvester Trophy 1st Women's Team on C Course
1995 Harvester Trophy 1st Women's Team on C Course
1995 Harvester Trophy Open Champions
1996 British Relay Championships Women's Open Champions
1996 Harvester Trophy Women's Open Champions
JOK Champions and Championship Venues
See the JOK Trophies Page
JOK Chasing Sprint Venues and Winners
See the JOK Chasing Sprint page
Glossary of OUOC/JOK words
Stoat Anything fast or good
Miller Not very good (rhyming slang)
Peach Anything good or enjoyable
Tool A mistake
Spike To find a control exactly without hesitation