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Route Choice Puzzle: Choose 5 of 7

Today’s Sunday Route Choice Puzzle is a follow-up to Route to Christmas were more sprint legs were requested. The sprint race “Effretiker OL” was organized in Switzerland today – and as the Swiss federation now has bought GPS-units, there is GPS-tracking available with several top runners.

The course has a special spreading method in the course: Instead of a butterfly or phi-loop, runners are to choose 5 out of 7 controls within the ring between control number 2 and 3. What would be your choice?

The puzzle is as usually first provided without routes – you may take a look at it and think about how you would solve it (if the image is too small, you may click on it to get it larger). Note that the control to the northwest of the 2nd control is at the house corner.


Next you can draw your own route using the ‘Webroute’ below. Think through how you would attack it, and draw the route you would have made. Some comments about why you would choose a certain choice are always nice for the other readers.

Then you can take a look at how the runners solved the “puzzle” – below the tracked runners are sorted in order based on the GPS tracking times. As you can see, the main problem for several runners who lost time (especially Fabian Hertner) was that they had not checked the control description of the control northwest of the 2nd control.

Did you choose a good order? What do you think of this kind of spreading method?


Wrong choice to first control

From this race, it is also interesting to see how Fabian Hertner is much faster than the other tracked runners to the first control by taking a northern route choice. Everybody is probably too busy reading which 5 of 7 controls to choose after the second control….

Complete map in Omaps.worldofo.com

You find the complete map and GPS-tracking in omaps.worldofo.com at this location or in 2DRerun here.

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. noone wanted to cross the river to the last control? Not forbidden!

  2. On the printed map it was forbidden to cross!

  3. @Daniel: Thanks for the information!

  4. Definitively interesting from a runner’s view. When the start beep sounds, it becomes a nice and funny challenge. I’d like to run it ;-)

    Suitable for valuable competitions? I’m not sure…

    First, I’m not sure whether this method is fair enough. The quality and consistency of the map is even more important than in the cases where all competitors run the same controls: If a part of a “spreading area” is questionably mapped, some competitors may be affected, and some not. Tenuous, at least…

    Second, this changes the focus of O towards to “planning in intervals” (vs. common “planning continuously”). In the example, you have to plan 8 of 10 controls and routes while running from start to 2. When leaving control 2, the plan for the next 6 controls is fix (and implies the route plan). A later correction of your plan will be disastrous.
    This is different from common continuous planning: you make a (route only) plan for the next x controls, but you have the chance to adapt the plan from control to control (when you understand map maker’s peculiarity once, or when you learn what your body is able to do in this terrain at this day, …)
    The new spreading idea might oblige to some runners, and be inconvenient for others, so it moves (distorts?) something in O.

    => urban terrain and sprint are possible implementations — if at all. Unthinkable to do this in the WOC 2011 terrain :-)