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Interview: Gueorgiou picks Matera sprint race


I will only keep the sprint race in Matera, because that was the race I enjoyed the most this year and I always felt short in time to take proper decisions, multiple World Champion Thierry Gueorgiou answers when asked about the best course he run in 2013.

Choosing a sprint race as his top candidat for “Course of the Year 2013″ might seem like a strange choice for the reigning World Champion over long distance who has middle distance as his favourite discipline.

– I had almost forgotten that sprint races could be fun sometimes, Gueorgiou answers when asked about the most fun trainings or races he participated in this year.

Enjoying orienteering is not about disciplines, but rather about challenges and fun courses – and as you can test for yourself in this RunningWild of the Matera course, taking the right choices in this tricky course on the legendary Matera map is difficult even when sitting behind your computer. To understand even more about the race – take a look at this headcam-video from the race by Øystein Kvaal Østerbø. You find the complete course here.

Below you can read the full interview with the French “King of Middle”.

About “Course of the Year 2013″: The rules are simple: Suggest a course from a competition or training in 2013 using this link, and state the reason why you think this course deserves to be “The course of the Year 2013″. The best among all the suggestions will be chosen – and there will be a voting process among the readers of “World of O”. Sponsor prizes of around 3500 Euro are to be won by the ones suggesting / voting:  Andalucia O-Meeting in Spain February 14th-16th, MOC in Italy March 13th-15th, Bergen Sprint Camp in Norway January 31st-February 2nd, 3+3 Sälen in Sweden June 27th-29th, Ilves-3 in Estonia May 2nd-4th, OOCup or Bubo Cup in Slovenia at the end of July/start of August, Orievents training camp/NAOM in Portugal in January,  Portugal O-meeting in Portugal March 1st-4th, the North Americal Champs in Canada October 10th-13th, and 3 days of Trenches in Italy May 31st-June 2nd. See all details about the sponsors & prizes below – to me all of them are tempting!

Q: What was the best course you run in 2013 – and why (please provide a link to the map or the map as an attachment)?

Luckily, it has been a very good year with many top events like O’ringen or Silva League held in special spots

– Well, it is always hard to pick just one and also you can set a great course but if it is just a basic terrain, the feeling won’t be very special anyway. So, it is more about the combination terrain/course here. Luckily, it has been a very good year with many top events like O’ringen or Silva League held in special spots. This said, my choice is between those four, MOC sprint in Matera, POM sprint in Monsanto (see map further down in the article), MD Finnish test race in Juuanvaara (see map below) and WOC Middle distance qualification. But I will only keep the sprint race in Matera because that was the race I enjoyed the most this year and I always felt short in time to take proper decisions.

Q: Did you set any courses in 2013? If so, is it possible to share the best (in your opinion) with World of O’s readers?

– As every years, I have set a LOT of training courses, mainly for me, and sometimes for others, like this basic one in Borås for Västergötland orienteering federation.


It would be just great if you could find downloadable trainings from every forest in the world

I also feel lucky now to have the famous “Lunsen” forest [Journalists comment: Lunsen is a paradise for orienteering – just look at this course down in the corner with all that magnificent terrain left on the map] as new playground and it has inspired me lately to develop a project with the support of OK Linné (more about the project here), based on the idea of the Strava app. It would be just great if you could find downloadable trainings from every forest in the world.

Q: In which race or training did you have most fun in 2013 – and why?

Those two special events in Monsanto and Matera – had almost forgotten that sprint races could be fun sometimes! ; )

Q: What is the race you look most forward to in 2014?

Like every year, WOC middle distance! That’s the main reason why I decided to continue my career in 2014.

Q: What is the worst course you run in 2013?

… to know there is a better terrain just some kilometers from there, and we run the biggest event of the year in an average terrain.

It is always hard to point out one particular event because behind every competition there are lots of eager organizers, but I have now the chance to clarify what I said after the WOC long distance this year. I was a bit frustrated because the result is always just a small part of my enjoyment; it is always the terrains which bring me the biggest excitement and memories. The course wasn’t bad at all that day, it was a lot of interesting micro-routes here and there. But I have been training in better terrain around Vuokatti which could have been a perfect pick for a long distance format. That’s what will make me always disappointed – to know there is a better terrain just some kilometers from there and we run the biggest event of the year in an average terrain.

Q: Which elements in an orienteering course are most important for you in order for it to be a good course?

There is no clear recipe as the course setters have to first use the specificities of the terrain, but what I am sure, is that spectator passages and start in the arena have never make the course any better.

Q: What are your goals for next year – and do you plan to change your training and/or focus in order to reach your goals in 2014?

My main goal is to find back some consistency in middle distance and I guess the best place to check if there have been some improvements in my technique is still at World Championship!

Q: Will you focus on the World Cup even if all races count in the overall next year?

I haven’t yet taken my decision concerning World cup but I am skeptical with the new scoring system. It seems a lot easier to get a good placement in World Cup overall nowadays just by running every races, especially coming from a country where you could possibly run every individual race at WOC. But I am not sure if you maximize your chances to end up WOC or EOC with a medal with this strategy. And, in my opinion, you can win all the possible races during one year, if the WOC gold is missing, your season hasn’t been a success.

Q: Thanks a lot for your time, Thierry. And good luck in the new season!


The following rules are given for “The course of the Year 2013″.

  • The course must have been run in competition or training in 2013.
  • Suggestions are submitted as a comment to this post – including link to the map with course in a quality which is good enough for the readers to understand the course and the challenges involved. Please add information about location/date if that is not clear from the link provided. Also include which sponsor prize you are interested in if you win.
  • You must give a reason for why you think this course deserves to be named “The course of the Year 2013″ (or why it is the best course you run/set this year). All reasons are valid. Examples can for example be “varied orienteering challenges”, “extremely technical orienteering”, “high fun-factor”, “fantastic map”, “spectacular orienteering”, “fantastic nature” – a combination of these – or a totally different reason. To get all the way to the top you should probably have a combination of reasons…
  • The course may be any discipline – e.g. a long distance, a middle distance, a sprint distance. It may also be a technical training course – like e.g. a corridor orienteering exercise.
  • There will be a voting process among the readers of “World of O” in order to name “The course of the year 2013″. This is your second chance to win sponsor prizes!

Prizes from our Sponsors

Prizes from our Sponsors always makes it more fun! There will be a prize for the first one suggesting the course which ends up becoming “The course of the Year 2013″, and prizes drawn among the ones suggesting and voting. All prizes are transferable to other persons (you don’t have to travel yourself).

Event sponsor: Andalucia-O-Meeting – February 14th -16th 2014
  • Prize offered: Competition Package for 2 persons – including entry to 4 AOM events in 3 days, 5 nights in 4**** Barcelo Punta Umbria Beach Resort and a 4-map training package before or after the event. Value about 640 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • After 4 very nice years in Canos De Meca (Barbate), AOM moves to Punta Umbria, Huelva province, West of Andalucia! New terrains, maps, accommodations and, as usual, high level competitions in a very mild climate! More info at aom2014.com

Event sponsor: MOC 2014 – March 13th-15th
  • Prize offered: Competition, training and hotel package for one person: Entry for one person at the 10th anniversary of MOC Mediterranean Orienteering Championship in Tuscany + MOC sprint training camp in Venice district + accommodation half boards for 7 nights. Value about 500 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • You are welcome in MOC- Tuscany 2014! The Mediterranean Open Championship Orienteering 2014 is organized March 13th – March 15th. Final stage in Florence, UNESCO city. Orienteering with a lot of fun. Great events with world class runners! Read more at www.orienteering.it and www.facebook.com/pwtorienteering.

Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp – January 31st-February 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each consisting of 2 complete Bergen Sprint Camp packages: Entry for all 4 races + training Friday morning + Saturday evening program consisting of presentation held by World Champion Mårten Boström and dinner. Value about 400 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • For the 5th time in a row, BSC is held in the city center of Bergen, Norway. We provide all participants with challenging courses, good maps and interesting analysis of the sessions – hoping to improve the sprint orienteering technique for everyone. See more at Sprint-Camp.blogspot.no – including all courses and analysis from previous editions of BSC.

Event sponsor: 3+3 Sälen – June 27th-29th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 BIG training+competition packages – each for 2 persons consisting of: Entry for the complete 3+3 2014 competition week + maps for 8 different trainings during the training camp + TUBE from Bagheera from Fjällmaraton Sälen. Value about 380 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • 3+3 is a 3 Day orienteering event organized by Malungs OK in Sälen. The event is famous for its open landscape above the “tree-level” and good drawn maps and excellent combination of orienteering and holidays. The 2014 edition returns to the Hundfjället terrain made famous during O-Ringen 2008. More at 3plus3.se

Event sponsor: Ilves-3 – May 2nd – 4th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 persons – consisting of: Accommodation for 2 nights in a nice guesthouse (including breakfast) and start fee for the 3 Day competition Ilves-3 in Estonia. Value about 350 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Ilves-3 is an awesome 3-day competition weekend on relevant terrain for WOC 2017 in Estonia. Welcome to everybody – from kids to veterans. Get to know Estonian orienteering! More to come at OKIlves.ee

Event sponsor: OOCup / Bubo Cup 2014 – July/August 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Your choice of full entry to either complete 5 day Bubo cup competition or complete 5 days OOCup competition + small Slovenia training package consisting of up to 3 training maps. Value up to 300 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • OOCup is a 5 Day orienteering event organized annually in Slovenia. The event is famous for its Karst orienteering and excellent combination of orienteering and holidays. Bubo cup is the younger brother of OOCup – offering the same excellent orienteering experiences and quality you are used to from OOCup – but with a more relaxed attitude at the events. You can even manage both races with some rest in between. Bubo Cup is organized from July 24th – 28th 2014 – OOCup from August 1st – 5th 2014. More at www.bubocup.com/ and oocup.com

Event sponsor: Orievents /Training Camps, Alto Alentejo, Portugal
  • Prize offered: Competition + training package for 2 persons, consisting of: Entry for NAOM 2014 – January 25th/26th 2014 + training camp (6 trainings) + 3 days of accommodation in half board at Castelo de Vide Hotel. Value about 270 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Orievents / GD4C’s Training Camps “Alto Alentejo” are an excellent training opportunity for Orienteering of good quality during the winter. Start the new season in training camps in Alto Alentejo, Portugal! More at www.naom.pt and about the training camp at Orievents.

Event sponsor: Portugal O-Meeting – March 1st-4th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each one for 2 persons – consisting of: Entry fees for the 4 stages of POM 2014, model events, night sprint, trail-O and regional dinner. Value about 260 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Portugal O’ Meeting is already a well-known established international event, normally reaching the highest average points in World Ranking Events, excluding the World Championships. 2014’s Edition will be held nearby Serra da Estrela, on low grounds but with high density of rocky elements in all stages. More info at pom.pt/en/

Event sponsor: North American Orienteering Championships 2014 – October 10th-13th 2014
  • Prize offered: A full NAOC2014 Package for 1 person – transferable to other person. Including all three races (sprint, middle, long), accomodation (hardfloor or camping), all model maps, all training maps, food (3 hot breakfast, 3 hot dinners including banquet),transport to and from airport. Value approximately 200 Euro.
  • This biennial event is the largest and the premiere orienteering event in North America. With national team spots on the line, the best in North America will be there. The host town Arnprior, just outside Canada’s National Capital – Ottawa, is situated on the stunning Ottawa river and we are working together to bring you the best in orienteering and more. Expect the best that North America has to offer and get ready to take control as Orienteering Ottawa welcomes the world from October 10th to 13th, 2014! More at www.naoc2014.ca

Event sponsor: 3 days of Trenches 2014 – May 31st-June 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for 3 competitions, sprint, middle WRE and long WRE. A full package of training maps on WOC 2014 training terrains + a shirt for the event. Value about 200 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • The “3 days of Trenches” competitions will be held on 31st May, 1st June and 2nd June 2014 between Trentino and Veneto. Many national teams will use these competitions as final selection races for WOC 2014 so there should be very strong fields. 2014 is a special year for the Asiago plateau because it is the Centenary since the beginning of the First World War. On the Middle and Long terrain all runners will cross a lot of trenches, military buildings and caves used 100 years ago. It will be possible to visit many historical sites. More at the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/3days2014

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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