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WOC Long men: Map and Route-choices

Double Norway with gold for Olav Lundanes and silver for Anders Nordberg. A very disappointed Thierry Gueorgiou (FRA) took the bronze and is very hungry for showing his strength on the middle distance on Saturday. Francois Gonon (FRA) came 27 seconds too late for the bronze medal in 4th.

The WOC Long distance was exactly what the Norwegians needed for their World Championships – now there may be even more spectators for the middle distance in Granåsen on Saturday.

Update! See also grouping analysis WOC Long distance men

– The JWOC medals are just children medals

Olav Lundanes has gold medals from JWOC – but for him those are nothing worth compared to the gold medal he won at the World Champs over the long distance today. – The JWOC medals are just children medals, Lundanes said at the press conference after the race. Read on below to see the runners comments from the race.

Olav Lundanes:
– There were some short legs in the beginning. Not so technical. It gave me some time to read the map, and I could get a fast start.
– I saw Francois one minute ahead of me in the start, so I knew I was going faster than him. But I did not know really how fast I was before passing the spectator control.
– I was really tired on the last loop. But I knew that I had one and a half minute, so I knew that I could use some time to orienteer carefully on the last loop.
– There were no big surprises in the course. We have prepared for this for a year.
– The JWOC medals are just children medals, these are the medals that count. There will maybe be a cake this evening, but the relay is on Sunday, so no celebration until Sunday.

Anders Nordberg:
– It was a very good race. My speed was quite good in the end. I did one small mistake on the 8th control, but I think that was the only mistake today.
– Of course you always win a silver medal, but this is my fourth medal. It is a little bit mixed feelings. But Olav is a very good friend of mine, and it is a very good day for Norwegian orienteering and for the club. It is a very special day for us.
– Olav has prepared for this race the whole year.
– Our level in this kind of terrain is very high. We are quite good on the long distance in this kind of terrain.
– I don’t think there is anything I would have made different today. I was unsure of my speed in the start.

Thierry Gueorgiou:
– I think I might have been in a good position at the third control, but then I did at least 1.15 mistake at the 4th control.
– Of course I am not satisfied with a bronze medal. I was looking for gold at the long distance this year, so now I have to wait a year until the next chance.
– I promise it will not be that easy to beat me next year
– I like Anders and Olav quite much. I spent some training camp with Anders earlier this year. I said earlier that if somebody beat me on the long distance, it should be Anders. Now it was also Olav, but that is also OK. But it still hurts.
– I think it does not matter if it was me or him on bronze. We are both in the same position. None of us are happy with bronze, for both of us we are only happy with gold.
– We are really eager for good results at the relay on Sunday.
– I am looking for the middle distance now.

Route choice analysis

We first look at the long leg. Below you see the routes of the best runners on the decisive long leg in the WOC 2010 long distance final. Olav Lundanes is fastest with a direct route, but Millegård going all the way to the right looses only 10-15 seconds to Lundanes. Nordberg and Haldin run to the left, and loose some more seconds – but generally the important thing on this long leg was to make a choice, and keep pushing all the way.

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The image below shows routes of all runners colored based on time on the complete leg. Green is fast – red is slow. You can see that going right is generally faster – i.e. few runners loose time when going right, but runners have also achieved good times by going more direct and left.


The long leg to the third control was the first routechoice challenge in the mens course. Of the top runners, Nordberg was the fastest here by choosing a right variant, but cutting through the marsh in the last part of the leg where others went around either to the left or to the right. Gueorgiou went left and was faster than the rest – but lost 15 seconds to Nordberg. Millegård lost quite a bit on this leg, but not due to his routechoice.

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The next challenge was the leg 4-5. Here Gonon was fastest with a left variant – all the fastest runners on this leg of the ones in the top choose some left variant. Gueorgiou and Omdal going right – and Lundanes going more direct – all loose time on this leg. Haldin goes all the way right using the path, and looses more than 40 seconds to Gonon. However, Merz also went right, but run 9:12 and did not loose so much time (thanks to comments for this information).

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The leg 6-7 did not offer that many choices, but it is interesting to see how different the routes of the top runners are in the forest. Not a very decisive leg regarding route choice, but Millegård and Nordberg loose quite a bit of time here whereas Gonon runs an exceptional leg up the hill, and seems to be very strong in this part of the course. Looking at the routes, it is quite surprising that there is a minute between Gonon and Nordberg/Millegård. Both Nordberg and Millegård do the same “mistake”: Choosing the steepest approach were they have to climb instead of running – and also are not good enough at keeping the straight compass course. Gonon uses the marshes were he can, and uses that to gain an advantage.

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The leg 20-21 is nearly the same as in the womens class – where Simone Niggli and Emma Claesson took a big chunk of time on the other runners by going around the road to the right. In the mens class, Omdal and Millegård go right. Millegård’s time is nearly equal to Lundanes’s best time going direct, while Omdal looses close to a minute. Omdal looses most of this time on the last part into the control where he goes in too early – and Omdal is also not that a strong runner on the road. Gueorgiou and Nordberg loose some time on this leg (30-40 seconds). Nordberg looses at the start of the leg by not running direct enough. Gueorgiou looses most of the time up the steep hill in the middle of the leg.

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In the last part of the course there were no bit routechoice problems for the runners. Below the routes for the top runners are shown. Nordberg is fastest – followed closely by Gonon and Gueorgiou. Lundanes looses nearly 50 seconds – but according to his own comment he kept the speed a bit down to concentrate on the orienteering as he knew that he had a 90 seconds advantage – he also took it easy in the final run-in – knowing that he was already a World Champion!

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3DRerun of WOC Long distance men

To get a better picture of how the race developed, the following 3DRerun gives you additional information about what happened. This is a simulated mass start of the top runners.


1 Lundanes,Olav NOR 1:32:41 + 00:00
2 Nordberg,Anders NOR 1:33:21 + 00:40
3 Gueorgiou,Thierry FRA 1:36:21 + 03:40
4 Gonon,Franois FRA 1:36:48 + 04:07
5 Millegård,Marcus SWE 1:37:33 + 04:52
6 Fraser,Scott GBR 1:37:36 + 04:55
7 Hubmann,Daniel SUI 1:37:57 + 05:16
8 Haldin,Mats FIN 1:38:25 + 05:44
9 Omdal,Hans Gunnar NOR 1:39:39 + 06:58
10 Tsvetkov,Dmitry RUS 1:40:07 + 07:26

About Jan Kocbach

Jan Kocbach is the founder of WorldofO.com - taking care of everything from site development to writing articles, photography and analysis.

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  1. how much was the total climb?

  2. @Hannu: 770 meters according to Bulletin 4.

  3. Wow, impressive work. Your analysis covers the essence of orienteering, distance vs terrain. Add to that a personal ability of the runners and you have a great article.. thanks

  4. I really do hate the way how Thierry expresses himself about the race. Both here (press conference) and right after the race. He behaves like he has no recpect to other competitors and this was not for the first time. I think someone should point this out. If he had not wanted the bronze, he should have waited those 30 seconds and I think Francois would have been very happy with the bronze yesterday. For me, Thierry is definitelly not the kind of the sportsman everyone should admire – not only achivements, but also behavior makes the personality… Hope that Francois will beat him on Saturday!

  5. Matthias Merz had a time of 9:12 to the 5th control, and he went right on the path. So if you are fast on the tracks and marshes you are also fast on the right one.

  6. @Seva: Thanks for the information.