[Updated with GPS animations] The two biggest favourites Olav Lundanes (Norway) and Tove Alexandersson (Sweden) won the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) Long distance.
According to several runners the race was tougher than expected – and the very long route already to the second control after a short first control was a real wakeup call for the runners. In the women’s course the winning time was 86 minutes – 10 minutes more than the expected winning time.
See statements from the runners below the results.
Women’s race: Tight battle between Alexandersson and Gemperle
In the women’s race the battle for victory was very tight between Alexandersson and Russia’s Natalia Gemperle. In the end Alexandersson was 26 seconds faster that Gemperle – deciding it on the last loop where she was pushing very hard together with Norway’s Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg who finished in third place. Judith Wyder (Switzerland) finished 4th after having been together with Gemperle for significant parts of the race.
Here is a GPS animation of the race:
The most interesting leg in the course was the long leg to the second control. Here Gemperle run all the round to the right, winning the leg with around a minute. Alexandersson lost nearly 3 minutes on this leg – but with good performance in the rest of the course Alexandersson still managed to take the victory. Although Gemperles route to the right was the best here, this leg was just as much about execution as about routechoice. Executing this leg well on the different straight routes is not easy – very few of the runners managed.
Men: Lundanes strongest from the start
In the men’s race it was clear already after half an hours running that this was Olav Lundanes’ day. Lundanes caught bronze medal winner Daniel Hubmann (Switzerland) already at the 4th control – and continued picking up two of the other big favourites, Carl Godager Kaas (Norway) and Gold medalist from the middle distance, Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland) before the arena passage. The two Swiss kept together with Lundanes all the way to the finish, while Kaas had to let the group run. Last starter Thierry Gueorgiou also ran a very good race, but struggled in the first half of the course, especially on the long leg to the 6th control. But from there on, Gueorgiou ran very well (20 seconds faster than Lundanes) and finally takes the silver medal just ahead of Hubmann.
Here is a GPS animation of the men’s race:
The men had almost the same long leg to control 2 as the women, but here a left/straight variant was fastest. None of the top runners ran to the right though – only Valentin Novikov who lost around 1:20. For the men the long leg was not as decisive as for the women.
The next long leg to control 6 was however more decisive. Here Gueorgiou loses nearly 1:20 – and was 1:46 behind in the end. From the 6th control to the finish Gueorgiou actually runs faster than Lundanes – mostly due to a good routechoice to the second last control.
Statements from the runners (unedited)
Note that the below statements from the runners are unedited and will be edited later this evening.
– It is hard to compare my three gold medals. I still think Switzerland was the best race and the best achievement by me, because here is homeground. But until 2012, everything went straight without problems. After that I am getting an old man, so every day is a challenge. This has been a big goal since the championships was decided 4 years ago, but of course the middle was also important. It was a good feeling to catch Daniel with 2 minutes, and then I saw Magne… and then I saw Carl… and then I saw Matthias… It was also really good for me [to be with them] when my map got destroyed. I took a new map every time I got the chance. I had not so much map for the controls in the ravine [control 18-19], but they were easy, so that was OK.
– I think the IOF should change to 3 minutes start interval. It is ridiculous to run 5 elite runners together.
– I had a good feeling all the way, but I never had the feeling of flying. It was tougher than expected; more heather; especially to the second control. I was a bit worried that I had taken the wrong routechoice for a while.
– It was a lot about the two very long legs. It is difficult to know where it is good to run in the terrain, and how steep and passable the cliffs are. It is just like it has been in the training camps – sometimes I find the good ways to run, and sometimes I get completely stuck.
– I don’t know if the terrain was more tough that what we expected. It was tough, but I think it was very nice.
– I did a small mistake in the butterfly, but mostly today it was about the route choices.
– You have absolutely no idea how fast you run in this type of terrain. Already at the 2nd control I was very “low” [mentally] because I got the feeling that my route was really bad, I even had to swim to cross a river. Luckily I could see the backs of Lucas and Gustav already at the 4th control, so I got some motivation again.
– I don’t want to be too tough on the IOF today, but I think it is very hard when you invest so much in your training, and you try to be as professional as we are at this table [with Lundanes and Hubmann], and on the same time we get this kind of printing, we get 2 minutes start interval. As runners we don’t want to run in groups – we want to know who is really the best. I really enjoy this championships, but how is it possible that we discover the map makers only one week before the championships and we get no map which is made by this map maker. My routes were according to what we saw at the model event only two days before. We invest so much time and money – I would really enjoy if the standard would be a little bit higher. This is not a complaint at the organizers, I know they spend countless hours of work and do their best, but maybe some people from the IOF are not doing what is needed. For example on the way to the 2nd control, there was a tape which was not on the map. It was very confusing. I mean, who is checking this? We are not running a regional competition! Who is checking this in the IOF?
– It is a strange feeling. When you have been winning a lot, you don’t count those silver medals. I think the ones at this table don’t count silver medals. Of course I knew it will be very difficult to beat Olav on this type of terrain, so I should be happy with this silver.
– Is this your last individual WOC race Thierry ? – Good question, Per. I prefer not to answer right now, i want to use time to think about this.
– It is nice to win a medal again. I mean, if you win three medals in three very different races, you have done a lot correct.
– It is never a nice feeling to get caught. My start was OK I though, but it was not perfect. I noticed that it was very tough terrain; I also had some seconds where I was doubting if I had the right speed. But still I hoped I would not get caught by Olav so quick.
– I think I recovered good after each race. I think the program is very good as it is now. I don’t think that running 3 races was a disadvantage for me.
– I had the feeling it was very tough. We knew that there would be some long route choices, but the one to number 2 was a really tough one. I really struggled to find a good line there.
– It was the 22nd WOC medal today, but I probably would exchange two of these bronze medals into one gold.
– I am really satisfied with my race. I have really been in focus all the way. I was a bit tired after the middle distance, but I could ran quite fast all the course so I am really satisfied.
– I saw Hausken at the 9th control, and then she was a bit faster on the easier controls into the spectator control, and then in the end I was a bit faster again. It was nice to have somebody to run with as I had run alone most of the way.
– I did some mistake on the 2nd control both on the leg and into the control, but I can’t remember any more mistakes.
– I am happy. When I took the map, I found the first control, and then it was difficult to see the 2nd control.
– I have been studying Thierry’s route choices [on his training diary] and saw that he is sometimes running around. And if he is running around, it is definitely worth running around, so I thought I should do it. It seems like running around was even better than the best route [sic].
– I was already tired before the end. And I see that I maybe did a mistake to the 9th control, going to the right. We run fast, but the runnability was not as good as I expected.
– Judith was leading quite a lot in the end. We worked together. A few times I saw that she was taking another route, but then I thought that it was faster to go where she went.
– The gold was close, but that is sport. I have to train harder. I hope next long will also be like that.
Anne Margrethe Hausken Nordberg:
– I stood for a long time still at the first control to think about the route to the second control, and I don’t think I really considered this route around on the long leg.
– Tove usually complains that she is so tired in the end of the course, so I decided to not use her as a reference. So I pushed and was in front from the 10th control until [Alexandersson passed at] the second last control. I heard that I was 5 seconds behind [at the arena passage], and I said to myself that I usually can push more than the others in the end, so I though that I could do this.