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Venla 2015: GPS Analysis of Decisions and Mistakes in the Relay


Domnarvets GoIF (Dana Safka Brožkova, Karolina A. Höjsgaard, Lena Eliason and Emma Johansson) won the exciting Venla 2015 relay. Each woman made a solid performance and secured a good starting position for their final leg runner – Emma Johansson, who decided the relay on the route choice on the long leg in the middle of the course.

Second place was taken by Alfta ÖSA OK. Both teams climbed several steps in the results compared to last year – Domnarvets with start number 34 and Alfta ÖSA with start number 27. Third place went to Järla Orientering in the end. Many of the favorite teams were put out of the podium fight already in the first leg, for example OK Pan Århus, OK Linne and Stora Tuna. Some of these even on the very first controls of this four leg relay.

Guest post: This is a guest post written by Slovenian Orienteer Klemen Kenda. Kenda took the challenge after viewing the HowTo video on how the Jukola 2015 analysis was made, and submitted the first leg of the Venla relay as a test. The work was good – and here is the analysis of the complete Venla relay. Some modifications have been done by the editor.

Overall results

Leg 1

Many times during the Venla/Jukola relays we heard the well-known fact that a relay can not be won on the first leg, but it can easily be lost. Many of the favorite teams encountered problems on the first leg – many already in the first couple of forked controls. However – many teams did also manage to do a solid job. Here is the list after the first leg. Top teams with low start number are highlighted. Note that only two of the teams finishing within the Top 10 last year – OK Tisaren and Järla Orientering – where within the Top 20 after this year’s first leg.

Lilian Forsgren managed to secure a perfect start for OK Tisaren. She managed a very clean leg, with maybe just one suboptimal micro route choice and a bit slower pace towards the end of the course. She handed over the relay with 13 second gap to the next team. This made the race really interesting for OK Tisaren with the grand lady of orienteering, Simone Niggli on the last leg. Lilian commented for the live TV:

– On the long legs it was a lot of route choices where you just had to run really fast   in the end it was more tricky, I think, a lot of people made mistakes and maybe you get tired and it is hard to get focused and get all the details right.

Stora Tuna’s Julia Gross was one of the runners from favorites that got into this trap. The mistake to control 10 took her nearly 6 minutes more than the best teams – which was exactly the gap to the leading team for her in the finish! The gap and lost contact with the leading group made it extremely difficult for Stora Tuna to compensate, even with Tove Alexandersson on the last leg.

Aija Skrastina, Kalevan Rasti, did a +2:30 mistake already to the first control, following the train to another forked control. Catching up from 170th place was a big struggle. Even with optimal route choices, she seems to be losing time – on a long leg to control 5 she lost over 1:10 to Galina Vinogradova (Alfta ÖSA OK) on the same route. Kalevan Rasti finished the 1st leg at +5:07 on 40th place.

OK Linne, Järla and OK Pan Århus werea mong the clubs whose 2nd team finished in front of the first team in the first leg of Venla relay. Except for one minute mistake to control 7, Hilda Forsgren (OK Linné) was just slower in running and sometimes taking less smooth line based on the GPS.

OK Pan Århus, without Emma Klingenberg this year, was fighting for a third consecutive victory in Venla. Miri Thrane Ödum followed Klingenberg’s usual strategy to the start control – leading the pack with a gap of more than 10 meters down to the second team when arriving at the start control. Thrane Ödum did a good race in the first part of the leg, but the chance for a historic third victory in a row was lost in a short 700 meter interval betweenthe  second and third TV controls. Thrane Ödum lost a more than 4 minutes on this forking, making similar mistake as Julia Gross.

Nydalen SK from Norway seemed to have had the same problems as Kalevan Rasti on the first forking (no GPS is available for Elise Egseth), dropping down to 178th place at the first intermediate time and after that struggling to get into the front again. The team gained 53 seconds in the last 3 legs towards the lead, but still finished 5:00 behind in the finish.

Hollie Orr, representing Halden’s first team, was not completely satisfied with her race. Her biggest mistake happened when approaching control  (around one minute). The rest of the course seems smooth for Holie, however her speed (orienteering or running) seems to be slightly slower than that of the fastest team.

A stable race was done also by Elin Dahlstedt-Tysk from Leksands OK, with a really strong team on the last 3 legs (Linnea Gustafsson, Helena Jansson and Rahel Friedrich). With +2:10 they were in the position to attack the very top.

Leg 2

Another group of teams got out of the podium race during the second leg. Among those were Angelniemen Ankkuri (from 2. to 95.), Sävedalens AIK (4. to 44.), Järla Orientering 2 (8. to 51.) and Fossum IF (7. to 41.). Some teams made a solid job and stayed within a decent gap to the lead, but some teams did exceptionally good: Leksands OK’s Linnea Gustafsson, for example, who in the last meters took the lead from Jenny Patana from Hiidenkiertäjät. Most of those teams can be seen in the finish with less than 3:00 gap to the lead.

From the teams that made bigger mistakes in the first leg none really recovered although some of the runners gained time to the leader. Eva Jurenikova managed to put Halden SK within 2 minutes of Leksands OK and finished in the 9th place. OK Tisaren finished with a decent gap of +2:36.

The biggest mistakes were virtually the same as we have seen in the first leg. Sävedalens AIK and Angelniemen ankkuri became a victim of the mistake in the forkings like we have seen with Stora Tuna and Pan Århus in the first leg.

The same happened with OK Tisaren, but on a different forking.

Some more mistakes (IFK Lidingö, OK Linne).

There were also interesting time-losses on a flat leg to control 6. Some teams (IFK Göteborg) made small mistakes there, but others were just slower (probably) in orienteering here. For MS Parma this was the first serious mistake of the relay (+2:43).

A fast route choice to the forked control 13 was been done by Sonja Kyrölä (Tampereen Pyrintö), who gained more than one minute to the runners that still managed a mistake-less run at this point of the race.

Leg 3

Helena Jansson won the third leg for Leksands OK changing over with a bit more than 1 minute advantage to Järla and Domnarvets. Emma Klingenberg and Lena Eliason ran good races and lost only around 40 seconds to Helena, but there was already a 4 minute gap to the teams out of the podium by the end of the leg. Helena ran an amazing leg – only loosing around 25 seconds to the super(wo)man by the end! Also Lena Eliason ran close to perfect, losing time only due to a safer route choice in the beginning and due to slower forking in the middle of the course. Emma Klingeneberg lost time to Helena in the same parts of the course as Lena. Additionaly Emma looked like changing her mind on the route choice towards control 5 – finally decided not to run around, taking advantage of the path.

Several runners had a close to a perfect race in leg 3, but they were just not fast enough for the top 3. Ida Marie Näss Bjorgul brought Halden back into the fight for the TOP 6, but lost 2 minutes to Helena. GPS analysis says that this was mostly due to slower speed. Also Kalevan Rasti had close to a perfect race, but lost +2:46 on the speed and some suboptimal route choices and was out of the fight for medals. OK Linne made a good result with +1:07 from Annika Bilstam, but they were already far behind due to the mistakes in the first leg.

Alfta ÖSA OK also had a very good position, starting just +1:06 behind the lead, but although she gained a place, Josefine Engström lost almost 3 minutes to the lead – this is where Alfta lost the chance to take the prestigious win in the Venla relay as last leg runner Natalia Vinogradova actually gained 1 minute on the last leg. The same happened to Tampereen Pyrintö, where Venla Niemi for TP gained 1 place, but lost +3:32 to the lead. Which is about 9 seconds less than the team was behind in the finish.

A number of teams made big mistakes in the third leg and were suddenly out of the fight for medals. 2nd placed Hiidenkiertäjät had experienced Anu Åkerman in the third leg, who started almost at the same time as Helena Jansson. But mistakes kept piling up and she finished in 8th place and +6:11 behind Helena.

OK Kåre lost 9 minutes to Leksands OK in the 3rd leg. The first 5 minutes were lost already at the first forking. Göteborg Majorna OK lost 8 minutes, OK Linne 2 lost more than 6 minutes and MS Parma a bit less than 5. Also OK Tisaren lost nearly 5 minutes, which made the gap of +7:29 too big even for Simone at the top of her career. Linköpings OK also had a terrible start, losing 6 minutes to the first couple of controls.

Leg 4

Looking at leg results of Venla’s leg 4 must make you smile at least a little bit if you have been following orienteering for the last 15 years. Three women, Minna Kauppi, Anne Margarethe Hausken Nordberg and Simone Niggli, dominating this past decade and more are still looking very good in the top of the results list for the leg. Looking back at Venla 10 yeasr ago the list looked similar but Hausken Nordberg and Kauppi exchanged places – with Simone Niggli at the top of her career (winning gold in all individual WOC races in 2005) down in 6th place.

Many had hoped to see another classic Simone’s last leg, taking down minute after minute from the leading team but … As Simone explained in the interview after the race she had a technically smooth race, but that she “lacks a bit the last gear” in her legs. We have seen, however, many impressive performances from Simone this year. The gap to the top was this time, anyway, too big.

It is quite nice to relive the exciting last leg of Venla!

Leksands OK’s Rahel Friedrich started in the front of Domnarvets GoIF’s Emma Johanson followed close by Elin Hemmyr Skantze from Järla Orienteering. Next couple of clubs were Alfta ÖSA OK with Natalia Vinogradova and Halden SK with Sabine Hauswirth. Rahel Friedrich was visibly slower in the beginning of the course, constantly losing time. After control 3 some dark minutes occured for Elin Hemmyr Skantze came. The fight could have been similar to the one from 10mila, but Elin ran towards the wrong side of the lake (position of the previous TV control). After this mistake she managed to ignore her compass and ran 90° to the right into the marsh.

The victory was decided on the long leg towards control 9, where Emma Johanson took the better direct route and Rahel Friedrich ran around in a non-Swiss manner. Järla also takes this route around and loses the leg to Alfta ÖSA OK, which has problem with attacking the control and loses all the advantage gained on the route choice.

At the end of the last forking 5 teams are in an exciting fight for the second place while Domnarvets has already secured the victory.


At this point of the race Rahel Friedrich is still fighting for the second place, but she loses valuable seconds in the green parts on the non-distinct slopes before control 10. Leksands OK is now visible to Alfta ÖSA OK, but Natalia Vinogradova misses control 13 and has to return for around 50 meters.

Leksands takes the initiative, but Friedrich loses time in the green areas before control 18. Vinogradova takes a better micro route choice here and leads by around 20 seconds. On the next control, she misses without a decent attack point and needs to return again.

The 5 teams punch almost simultaneously 750 meters before the finish line and from then on everything is decided by the running.




About Klemen Kenda

Klemen Kenda is a Slovenian orienteer - president in the Slovenian Orienteering Federation, former Secretary General in the Slovenian Orienteering Federation and also former coach for the Slovenian Junior Team. Klemen is also one of the devoted organizers of the Slovenian race Cerkno Cup.

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  1. Many thanks, Jan, for your analysis!!!

    • Thanks! The analysis is done by Klemen, though. I’ve just done some editing.

  2. Great one! Thanks for the effort :)

  3. Why your analyzis are so weak on womens 4th leg?

    • I forward the question to Klemen. I guess the analysis is focused on the fight for victory. Have you got more details about situations which should have been included in the analysis, Juha?

      • Hi, Juha! There are a couple of reasons for that. Personally it took me quite a while to finish the analysis and this last part was done after a lot of work. As Jan said, I focused on the fight for victory and was not able to focus on anything else at 3am. :)