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Jo Allison Inducted into OA Hall of Fame

Photos: 2001 World Games, 2006 WOC Relays, 2017 National League

Jo Allison was one three orienteers inducted into the Orienteering Australia Hall of Fame Athlete Division announced at the 2022 Annual General Meeting.

Jo Allison was one of Australia’s top orienteers for over a decade, representing Australia at nine World Championships, three Junior World Championships and one World Games, and won a World Masters Championship. She was the first orienteer to represent Australia at nine World Championships.

World Championships

Her nine World Championships were: 1997 (Norway), 2001 (Finland), 2003 (Switzerland), 2004 (Sweden), 2005 (Japan), 2006 (Denmark), 2007 (Ukraine), 2008 (Czech Rep), and 2016 (Sweden).

Her best results were:

  • Long: 23. place 2004, Västerås, Sweden
  • Middle: 17. place 2008, Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • Sprint: 28. place 2005, Aichi, Japan
  • Relay: 4. place 2006, Aarhus, Denmark (the best ever result by an Australian team). The other team members were Grace Crane and Hanny Allston.

Jo Allison was a noted and highly-reliable relay runner, often taking on the challenge of being the first leg runner. She was in the women’s relay team at eight of the nine World Championships she attended, with the teams finishing eighth or better at four of her last five Championships.

World Games

Jo Allison was one of the four members of the team to represent Australia at the 2001 World Games in Japan, the first time Orienteering had been included in the Games. She finished 13th in the individual race and the mixed-gender relay team of four was a close fifth, 15 seconds behind third.

Junior World Championship

Jo Allison represented Australia at three Junior World Championships: 1993 (Italy), 1995 (Denmark), and 1996 (Romania). Her best results were:

  • Long: 15. place 1996, Govora, Romania
  • Middle: 15. place 1996, Govora, Romania
  • Relay: 11. place 1996, Govora, Romania

During her mid-teen years, she had to overcome stress fractures in her lower legs, which is a common injury suffered by young female runners.

Retirement from International Competition

Jo Allison retired from international competition at the end of 2008 season (but made a brief return to the World Championships in 2016) to concentrate on having children. Her boys were born as indicated:

  • Roy Shepherd 10/08/2009
  • Lewie Shepherd 14/07/2012

Return to National Competitions

Jo Allison returned to national orienteering in late 2013 and made a cameo appearance at the 2017 Oceania Championships in New Zealand winning the W21E class Long Distance final at age 40 on 16 April 2017. She also anchored the Australian women’s relay team to victory in the W21E class.

World Masters Championships

She used those races to prepare for the World Masters Championships, winning the Long Distance A final in the W40 class on 29 April 2017.

National League Competitions

Jo Allison was one of the two top female orienteers in Australia for over twenty years. She won her first National League individual series at age 19 years in 1995 and her fifth and last, at age 41 years, in 2017. Only another potential Hall of Fame athlete, Nastasha Key, has won more series, six, than Allison and no woman, other than Key, has equalled Allison’s standing at such a high level for such a prolonged period in Australia.