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Route to Christmas: Day 24 2015

The World Championships in Sweden next year is the main focus for many elite athletes – and this is terrain which may feature many interesting routechoice legs. At the last day in this year’s edition of Route to Christmas, we visit terrain that is relevant for next year’s World Champs. The chosen leg is from Halden – namely leg 2 in the M21 course (the shorter women course had a similar leg) from Høias Day Cup #2 2015 at November 21st 2015.

The tip about this leg is from Eva Jurenikova – Halden’s coach – who regularly tries to challenge her athletes with tricky routechoice legs in this area. The leg Jurenikova has chosem is in the same area were Norwegian Spring was organized this spring – and the course was 11.2 km long, set by herself.

This terrain is quite tough, and is similar to the WOC 2016 terrain in some regards

– 11.2 kilometer does not sound like a lot, but the terrain has several big hills and many cliffs. This terrain is quite tough, and is similar to the WOC 2016 terrain in some regards, Jurenikova explains. – Olav Lundanes won the men’s class in 86 minutes and Hollie Orr won the women’s course in 76 minutes.

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.

There are three distinct route choices. One alternative is to go around to the right and exploiting the paths wherever you find them – also partly running “with” the terrain and avoiding the biggest cliffs on the direct route. Another alternative is to go around to the left, use the road to get some speed, and avoid the worst cliffs. The third alternative is to go one of several direct alternatives. Here you have to fight the cliffs all the way, taking some extra climb.

Here you can take a look at how the runners have solved this leg below:

Here is Eva Jurenikova’s analysis:

– Olav Lundanes took the right around route choice which I thought would be the best (I took this one too on my course). However I was a bit surprised that Eirik Hovind had such a fast time running straight. Many other runners lost one to three minutes when going straight. It is a risky choice with many cliffs. One can easily get stuck, and also climbing up and down takes a lot of energy. The left route choice was not too bad but there for example Magne Daehli has lost a lot of time in the beginning of the leg by not taking the path (instead going straight).

One can easily get stuck, and also climbing up and down takes a lot of energ

So the takeaway here: In this type of terrain your main task is to find a fast routechoice which you can manage to execute as close to optimal as possible. There are small differences in the three route choice alternatives with perfect execution, but especially the direct route is difficult to execute perfectly. And if you have too choices which are equal in time – one with higher risk – you’d probably choose the one with lower risk?

Thomas Natvig has (as always) written a very nice analysis of his training in his map archive (find it via this link; Natvig runs for Halden now and does a lot of training in this type of terrain). Here from Natvig’s map archive (translated from Norwegian):

– Very uncertain about the route choice on this leg. I don’t want to run direct, but see no alternatives around. It doesn’t feel like there is a very goof flow during the leg, but i large parts of the leg I have approximately the same time as Eirik [Hovind] who ran very well on the same routechoice. I lose 45 seconds on a shortcut halfways and 15-20 seconds up the last hill by running a bit further south than Hovind. Direction mistake into the control.

All in all the same conclusion as drawn above. Tricky to execute the direct route well, but if you can, you can do well. Here are only the three fastest, each on their route, compared:


Then an example of where you can lose a minute on the direct route:



Then a comparison between Lundanes and Kamstrup Hovind:


And finally an overview of the pace in different parts of the terrain.

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 – giving the readers the opportunity to do one Route Choice Challenge each day from December 1st until December 24th. If you have got any good legs in RouteGadget, GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2015-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!

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. Thanks for the whole Route to Christmas this year, Jan! I think it really was a huge variety of the most fascinating legs of the 2015 O-season :)

  2. I agree! This calendar is a must! Entertaining, informative, puzzling and definitely motivating for the next season! Yeah, and happy birthday, Jan!