Two runners had the speed to win the Middle distance at the Junior World Championships Middle 2016: Thomas Curiger and Joey Hadorn (both Switzerland). In the end Thomas Curiger (Switzerland) won the Junior World Championships Middle due to excellent orienteering combined with one of the highest running speeds in the start field.
Only the double JWOC Gold winner from Sprint and Long, Joey Hadorn (Switzerland) had higher speed – but in the middle distance it is more difficult to “fix” your mistakes with high running speed (see the biggest mistake of Hadorn above) – thus the scene was set for Curiger. The following analysis takes you through the decision points in the race were the potential medal winners lost their chance to take a medal – and were the medal winners were better than their competitors.
Curiger won 49 seconds ahead of Hadorn with Audun Heimdal (Norway) in 3rd, 1:11 behind. Behind Heimdal the battle for bronze was tight; Anton Forsberg (Sweden) in 4th was only 3 seconds away from the Bronze medal, and Noah Zbinden (Swizerland) was another 5 seconds behind. Curiger was again the most stable runner in the start field, losing a maximum of 13(!) seconds to the leg winner on any leg – but still only winning 3 of the 18 legs. Thomas Curiger had an estimated time loss of only 7 seconds, the largest being 6 seconds (leg 1).
Early starter Anton Forsberg took the lead at the first control early – and nobody throughout the startfield managed to start faster than the Swede. Another Swede, Jesper Svensk, had the best time to both the second and third control – but a time loss of 15 seconds to the 4th control for Svensk meant that Thomas Curiger had the best passing time on all control from the 4th control to the finish. As the following analysis will show, Hadorn “lost” the race to control 4 and 5. Isac von Krusenstierna (bronze medalist from Sprint and Long) did nearly have the speed to win, but even without his mistakes to 8, 13 and 15, it would not have been possible to beat Curiger.
Several of the top runners were in contact with other runners during the race. Joey Hadorn (2nd) was in contact with Olli Ojanaho (19th) for 7 controls (3 controls behind). Audun Heimdal (3rd) was in contact with Matt Doyle (26th) for 8 controls (1 controls behind). Noah Zbinden (5th) was in contact with Topias Ahola (23rd) for 12 controls (12 controls behind).
The course consists of three distinct parts; part one until control 9 is the tricky part with high intensity orienteering where you have to be really careful with your orienteering and find good micro routechoices. It is maybe not obvious from the map, but even if the terrain looks complex, the split times show that going as straight as possible was best for nearly every single leg in this area – despite the complexity of the terrain. There are some quite steep hills here, so running fast requires strong physical capabilities for some of the legs.
The second part from control 9 down to the arena passage (after control 14) features easier orienteering (although with some difficult parts) in a steep slope. One interesting route choice leg from 12 to 13 – and the 11th control is more tricky than it looks like.
The last part of the course is the small loop after the arena passage. Often such a small part after an arena passage does not offer interesting orienteering – but in this case the loop was both interesting from an technical viewpoint and decisive for the last medal. Here you get back some of the orienteering from the first part of the course, while still being in a steep slope. In addition you get the extra pressure from the arena passage.
GPS and Splits analysis
This analysis will not go through all legs in detail, but instead concentrate on interesting points during the race – either for the decision of the race or from an orienteering technical point of view.
Start to control 1: Curiger’s worst control
The first control is interesting because it is probably Curiger’s worst control, with a time loss of 11 seconds to the best split time. Technically this was an easy control just to get into the map. Two of the runners finishing in the Top10 lost more than 15 seconds already on this simple control.
Here is what it looks like in the terrain:
Control 1 to 2: Routechoice leg
The second control was the first control with real orienteering – but it was not as tricky as the women’s first control which was set in the middle of the most technical area. The men’s second leg went through the area, but had some contour features which could be used to regain control over the situation if you lost it on the way towards the control. The leg is interesting because it is one of the route choice legs on the course where you can choose to go around to the right to make the control easy (prolonging the control with the small hill) or go direct/left and run shorter. The routes of the 10 best shows clearly how you lost time by taking the rightmost and easier technical choice, typically giving a timeloss of around 20 seconds. Note how bronze medal winner Heimdal loses significant time for the second leg in a row, 17 + 30 seconds to the best split time.
Control 3 to 4: Hadorn misses
Control 4 is interesting because this is the start of Hadorn’s bad period which lasts for exactly two controls. The leg is not really difficult, but Hadorn loses control, goes too far to the right and searches for some seconds before understanding his mistake and limiting the time loss to 22 seconds. This could have been a lot worse if Hadorn would not have relocated this fast.
Junior Men (M20): Standing at control 4
|1.||Thomas Curiger (1st)||7:08||+0:00|
|2.||Isac von Krusenstierna (6th)||7:10||+0:02|
|3.||Olli Ojanaho (19th)||7:18||+0:10|
|4.||Jesper Svensk (10th)||7:22||+0:14|
|5.||Simon Hector (13th)||7:27||+0:19|
|6.||Mathias Peter (8th)||7:29||+0:21|
|7.||Vojtech Kettner (44th)||7:34||+0:26|
|8.||Noah Zbinden (5th)||7:35||+0:27|
|9.||Joey Hadorn (2nd)||7:36||+0:28|
|10.||Anton Kuukka (7th)||7:37||+0:29|
|14.||Anton Forsberg (4th)||7:45||+0:37|
|16.||Audun Heimdal (3rd)||7:52||+0:44|
|22.||Shamus Morrison (9th)||8:04||+0:56|
Taking a look at the standing at control 4, you can see that it is very tight with the top 10 in 29 seconds. Note also that the race has nearly settled already; as much as 7 of the runners who are in the Top10 at the end of the race are already in the Top10 after 7 minutes of running. Hadorn is down in 9th place at +29 seconds due to his 22 second time loss at control 4.Olli Ojanaho (Finland), Simon Hector (Sweden) and Vojtech Kettner (Czech Republic) are the only ones in the Top10 here who later make mistakes and fall out of the Top10.
Control 4 to 5: Hadorn misses again
Another routechoice leg to control 5. Again it is all about being as close to the line as possible, while avoiding the small steep area early on the leg.
Hadorn takes the best route the first part of the leg, and then loses 44 seconds to the best split time due to running too far on the last part of the leg, seemingly relocating when getting close to the road. Curiger does not have a good routechoice either, going to the left (Kuukka is the other one going left in the illustration), losing 11 seconds.
With this mistake Hadorn is 1:01 behind Curiger – 12 second more than he is behind in the finish. Thus Hadorn is the best in the field from control 5 to the finish.
Second at control 5 is von Krusenstierna, third is Olli Ojanaho. Medalists Heimdal and Hadorn are down in 10th and 15th, respectively.
Junior Men (M20): Standing at control 5
|1.||Thomas Curiger (1st)||9:31||+0:00|
|2.||Isac von Krusenstierna (6th)||9:37||+0:06|
|3.||Olli Ojanaho (19th)||9:49||+0:18|
|4.||Jesper Svensk (10th)||9:50||+0:19|
|5.||Anton Forsberg (4th)||9:57||+0:26|
|6.||Anton Kuukka (7th)||9:57||+0:26|
|7.||Noah Zbinden (5th)||10:00||+0:29|
|8.||Mathias Peter (8th)||10:01||+0:30|
|9.||Simon Hector (13th)||10:03||+0:32|
|10.||Audun Heimdal (3rd)||10:10||+0:39|
|15.||Joey Hadorn (2nd)||10:32||+1:01|
|19.||Shamus Morrison (9th)||10:45||+1:14|
Leg 6 to 7: Hadorn and Curiger fly
Leg 6 to 7 is interesting mainly because this highlights how good Curiger and Hadorn are compared to the rest of the field. On this uphill leg (15 meter climb), Curiger and Hadorn run the same time with two different routes – 7(!) seconds or more faster than the rest of the field. Quiet impressive for a 1 minute leg with all the best juniors in the world.
Leg 7 to 8: Hadorn runs fast – von Krusenstierna & Ojanaho lose time
Leg 8 is an interesting leg due to several reasons. Firstly, von Krusenstierna who was in 2nd spot before this control loses 46 seconds here due to a bad routechoice (probably losing control midway on the leg). The Swede thus loses a lot of time in the bronze fight against Heimdal, but is still well ahead. Secondly, Hadorn runs a fantastic leg, winning the leg with 13 seconds(!) to Curiger – making this the leg where Curiger has his largest single timeloss during the race (although having second best split time here).
Thirdly, this leg is interesting because reigning champion Olli Ojanaho who was in 3rd spot before this control, does a big mistake here, losing nearly 2 minutes and any chance to fight for the medals.
And finally, the leg is interesting from a routechoice point of view because it highlights how navigating the cliffs well here is extremely important. The below animation shows all runners animated with a mass start on control 7. The ones running to the right are fast in the start, but the climb up the cliff is so time consuming that they arrive last at the control.
Leg 9: Video clip
Leg 9 is a short leg which is more of a transport leg than anything else. This leg is mostly interesting because we have a video showing how the terrain looks here:
Junior Men – Standing at control 9
|1.||Thomas Curiger (1st)||15:53||+0:00|
|2.||Joey Hadorn (2nd)||16:38||+0:45|
|3.||Isac von Krusenstierna (6th)||16:43||+0:50|
|4.||Anton Forsberg (4th)||16:55||+1:02|
|5.||Noah Zbinden (5th)||16:58||+1:05|
|6.||Anton Kuukka (7th)||17:04||+1:11|
|7.||Audun Heimdal (3rd)||17:04||+1:11|
|8.||Mathieu Perrin (11th)||17:17||+1:24|
|9.||Jesper Svensk (10th)||17:25||+1:32|
|10.||Shamus Morrison (9th)||17:25||+1:32|
|11.||Mathias Peter (8th)||17:26||+1:33|
Looking at the standing at control 9, there are very small changes from here to the finish – although there is still nearly 10 minutes of running left. The main difference is that bronze medal winner Heimdal is down in 7th place – and that von Krusenstierna is in bronze medal place but finishes the race in 6th place.
Leg 12: Video
Leg 13: Routechoice in the steep slope
The most interesting leg down the slope is the routechoice leg to control 13. Here most top runners ran nearly straight, fighting their way up the hill. The exception among the top runners is Isac von Krusenstierna who tries to save climb by going around to the left – a route which costs him 22 seconds and is now equal with Heimdal.
This illustration shows that von Krusenstierna is far from the only one trying to avoid some climb here:
Junior Men – standing at control 13
|1.||Thomas Curiger (1st)||20:49||+0:00|
|2.||Joey Hadorn (2nd)||21:32||+0:43|
|3.||Anton Forsberg (4th)||21:52||+1:03|
|4.||Audun Heimdal (3rd)||21:58||+1:09|
|5.||Isac von Krusenstierna (6th)||21:58||+1:09|
|6.||Noah Zbinden (5th)||22:00||+1:11|
|7.||Mathias Peter (8th)||22:22||+1:33|
|8.||Anton Kuukka (7th)||22:24||+1:35|
|9.||Jesper Svensk (10th)||22:30||+1:41|
|10.||Mathieu Perrin (11th)||22:33||+1:44|
|12.||Shamus Morrison (9th)||22:38||+1:49|
Looking at the stadings at control 13, Heimdal and von Krusenstierna are now in shared 4th position, 6 seconds behind the Swede Anton Forsberg.
The last loop
Heimdal decides the bronze fight up the hill to control 15. Here von Krusenstierna does a small mistake – going too far to the right and losing more than 20 seconds. Forsberg is 6 seconds slower than Heimdal, and is behind Heimdal now. The rest of the course does not give significant time differences between these runners.
|6.||Isac von Krusenstierna||Sweden||25:53||(+1:32)|
|9.||Shamus Morrison||New Zealand||26:27||(+2:06)|
|15.||Elias Thorsdal Molnvik||Norway||27:05||(+2:44)|
|16.||Alexander Chepelin||Great Britain||27:09||(+2:48)|
|20.||Vegard Jarvis Westergard||Norway||27:16||(+2:55)|