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Route to Christmas: Day 13 2013

Todays leg in Route to Christmas is a very fresh one – from a long distance night orienteering race just two days ago. It is a long leg – more than 1.5 km long – and the choice you have to make is a typical one for night orienteering: Straight with higher risk or around on a road.

This might not be the most interesting leg in itself, but I was at the start line it makes it possible to discuss some of the choices you typically have for this kind of legs. To set the scene: This was a mass start race with around 30 runners in this category starting together. The start triangle was just a few meters from the start point, so you can’t do the choice while running towards the start control – i.e. you have to do the route choice while standing still. The terrain was wet – the marshes are deep – and the small tracks are slow (in some interesting way they are at the same time stony, muddy – and you sink some inches down for each step). It is quite far around on the road – but is it too far? How much larger is the risk by loosing significant time by going direct compared to when going around? Which option is fastest with perfect execution? Make your choice – and read on below.

The leg is as usually first provided without routes – you may take a look at it and think about how you would attack this leg (if the image is too small, you may click on it to get it larger):


You find other maps from the area in omaps.worldofo.com here. See also latest additions in 3DRerun from this area in order to learn more about this terrain type.


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

Then you can take a look at how the runners have solved this leg below.



Standing at the start, my judgement as a runner was that the risk of loosing time was larger going direct (even if my strength lies more in going direct) – and thus I took the road around. This was partly based on the risk for doing mistakes direct – and partly that it is difficult to know the runnability. It turned out that most others did the same – just a few runners took the direct option. When approaching the control, the fastest runner going direct (Rune, blue line in the first illustration) and the fastest runner going to the left (Alan, not in the illustration as did not use GPS-watch) appeared at the same time. Thus it would seem like the two alternatives are equal.

However, looking a bit more at the GPS-tracks of two runners running the direct option (see the third of the figures below – this is a so-called time-adjusted autOanalysis where the time losses/gains are adjusted according to the running speed of the two runners – these must be used with care), you can see that Rune looses 20-25 seconds by doing a wrong turn between the lakes around the middle of the leg – and another 5-10 seconds closer to the control. Thus there is at least half a minute more to be gained on the direct route. On the left route, there wasn’t much more to gain according to Alan who was “running very fast”. Rune and Alan would have approximately the same running speed.

To conclude: I would have run direct next time. With optimal execution it should be approximately half a minute faster, and the orienteering on the direct route is not very tricky. What do you think?

Density map

See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far.

Additional information

You find the complete map in omaps.worldofo.com at this location.

Route to Christmas series

The ‘Route to Christmas’ series at World of O has been very popular the last years – and I have therefore decided to continue the series this Christmas as well. If you have got any good legs in RouteGadget, GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2013-competitions – or old forgotten ones which are still interesting – please email me the link at Jan@Kocbach.net, and I’ll include it in Route to Christmas if it looks good. Route to Christmas will not be interesting if YOU don’t contribute.

Not all legs are taken for the interesting routechoice alternatives – some are also taken because the map is interesting – or because it is not straightforward to see what to do on a certain leg. Any comments are welcome – especially if you ran the event chosen for todays leg!

Note that there may be some errors in the Routegadget data (sometimes somebody draws a route for another runner just for fun). Please add a comment below if you spot en error.

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. As I wrote in my route suggestion I would probably have followed the pack, but I thought the direct route was the best: With my relatively slow road running speed I would probably save time going straight here, and I would be less tired for the rest of the race.