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Course of the Year 2017: World Champs Middle


A very technical middle distance course in Estonia took the honors as “Orienteering Course of the Year 2017″ – a course which really challenged the competitors. You had to handle both tricky orienteering in low visibility forest and be able to speed up/down when the difficulty changed. A very worthy winner!

The winning course was also one of the courses receiving most nominations. – One of the most technical races the last couple of years, was the comment from one of World of O’s reader nominating the course. It is also interesting to note that the World Championships Middle distance won the “Course of the Year” contest also in 2014 (Italy) and 2011 (France). You can see the complete course from WOC 2017 middle here along with results and GPS-tracking.

Kiev Open is the “Sprint Course of the Year 2017″ (overall 13th place) and the Western Canadian Championships Long is the “Long distance course of the Year 2017″ (overall 2nd place). See full results below the interview with the course setter.

Interview with the course setter of WOC 2017 Middle: Sven Oras

Q: Sven, congratulations with your course being awarded “Course of the Year 2017″! What are your thoughts about your course getting this type of award?

Thank You! I think it is the aim of every course planner to make the best possible courses, so the competitors leave satisfied and spectators at home or in the arena also can wonder “how they would pass the course”. I am happy to see that so many people are satisfied with the course.

Q: I think many athletes got a bit of a surprise when they saw just how tricky and technical both terrain and courses were at WOC 2017 Middle. What are your thoughts about that?

I am not surprised they were surprised :). The terrain of Vitipalu is one of the best, if not THE best, terrain for middle distance in Estonia. I have gotten lost there myself a few times during planning. We have saved this map for many years just for a big occasion like WOC. Most of the terrain is a nature conservation area, where it is not allowed to cut any trees. This leaves a rough untouched terrain. To get technical courses it was a simple the matter of not giving the competitors the possibility to use the roads and paths.


Q: What is your favourite leg in the course – and why?

My favourite leg is 4-5. It requires precise navigation right from the beginning of the leg up until the end, where there is a bit denser vegetation. There is also a possibility of running via the road to the north. It is a bit slower but there is less chance for mistakes.

Q: Did you get any surprises with respect to which route choices were fastest or were the athletes made mistakes?

No, there was not much surprise here in that respect. Compared to the Long distance where the focus is on making the correct route choice and implementing it, Middle distance is more focused on handling difficult navigation. The fastest route choice is usually the straight line with very few deviations. But as stated in the previous question, the terrain was tricky and technical and running in a straight line was not very easy this time.

It was a bit surprising though that some of the top athletes played it safe on some legs (for example Timo Sild to men’s control 5 and Natalia Gemperle to women’s control 2). I expected this from the less experienced competitors.


Editors comment: Note that split times shown are based on GPS and not actual official split times.

Q: Can you take us quickly through the main challenges in the course, highlighting the legs where you see special challenges?

The first real challenge in my opinion is 1-2. The first leg is quite easy but the second one is more technical requiring more precise map reading.


Then the next challenge is Leg 4-5 described in the previous question.


Then in 6-7 there is an area where there are less objects and use of compass is necessary. It is very easy to come down the slope to CP 7 at a wrong location.


Now the next major challenge comes after legs 16-17-18 where navigation is easier and speed increases. The next leg 18-19 requires a more technical approach again and if the competitor doesn’t adjust after the previous legs, it can result in huge mistakes.


Although I only described a small part of the course, it doesn’t mean the rest of the course is easy. The whole course still requires a lot of skill. [Editors comment: See analysis of the complete course here]

Q: Did you have any special worries about the courses before the race?

One thing that happened in Vitipalu was regarding the TV cable. I don’t remember if it was before middle or relay, but one of our own runners checking the course found that in one location a competitor might run into the cables when straying too far from the ideal trajectory. So, we went to the TV team asking for a shovel to solve the problem. Fortunately, they gave us a shovel and a shovel operator…

Q: When did you start planning the courses – and how many hours do you think you spent on it? Can you take us through part of the planning process?

The first drafts of the course were made even before Estonia was given WOC2017 (but not by me) just to be sure it is possible to have middle distance and relay both on this terrain. I think I joined the team right after our application was approved. I honestly cannot even guess how many hours were spent on these courses not only by me, but also the event advisers, national controllers and the mapper. It is after all a team effort.

What made the planning both easy and hard at the same time, is the small size of the terrain. There was only one possible location for the event centre and fortunately it was in the middle of the terrain. Since we also had relay on the same map, the terrain needed to be divided to minimize the overlap of the area. So, planning was easy because there were not many different possibilities to make the courses, but at the same time it was very hard to find alternative legs or control locations when some possibilities didn’t work out.

Q: Have you got an earlier version of the course with a leg which you really hated to let go?

Below is an alternative version of the second leg. In this version the fastest way should be to go in a straight line, but there are also possibilities to use the road to the left and the right. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get the next leg working starting from control point number 2.

extra leg

Q: Thanks a lot for the interview, Sven. And again congratulations to a great course and a fantastic job!

Results: Course of the Year 2017

We have two very technical courses on top in “Course of the Year 2017″; WOC 2017 Middle in Estonia on top and Western Canadian Champs Long in a very special wilderness-terrain in Canada in second spot (Long distance course of the year). The Aguiar da Beira O-Meeting Day 2 Long distance race in Portugal is in third spot. In fourth spot we found an ultra-long distance race; Norwegian Championships Ultralong. In the 10 top places we have courses from 7 different countries – Estonia, Canada, Portugal, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia. This just shows how important it is to travel in order to really enjoy orienteering!

The “Sprint Course of the Year 2017″ is Kiev Open (Ukraine) in 13th place overall – a very fine sprint course with many challenges,  with sprint courses from Italy and Finland following in the next two places.

Course of the Year 2017: Overall Results

1. WOC Middle 2017 Men
    20370 points
2. Western Canadian Champs Long 2017
    15160 points
3. Aguiar da Beira O-Meeting
2017 – Day 2 2017 Long: ME

    14040 points
4. Norwegian Champs Ultralong M21
    10640 points
5. 10mila 2017 – Men leg 4
    10570 points
6. POM 2017 Day 3 WRE Middle Men Elite
    10510 points
7. WOC Long Women
    8410 points
8. WC-Final 2017 Long Men
    8060 points
9. Norwegian Champs Long 2017
    7490 points
10. Russian championship Long 2017 H21 E
    6690 points
11. ITA Champs Long distance WRE – Complete course
    5530 points
12. Wawel Cup 2017 Day 3
    5400 points
13. Kiev Open 2017 M21E
    5170 points
14. Suomi 100 Orienteering Course
    5060 points
15. MOV Venezia 2017
    4950 points
16. Portugal Training #2 – Dunas de Tocha
    4830 points
17. OOCup 2017 Day 1
    4640 points
18. O-Ringen Stage 3 2017
    4500 points
19. WC-Final 2017 Middle Women
    4500 points
20. JWOC 2017 Long Men
    4470 points
21. Portual O Meeting 2017 Day 1 – Middle
    4110 points
22. Lipica Open 2017 Day 2
    4040 points
23. World Cup Round 1 Finland Sprint Men
    3730 points
24. Maratonsprint Monte Sant Angelo 2017 – MOC
    3650 points
25. 5+5 Days of Sicily 2017 – Stage 5
    3440 points

See also:

Prizes from our Sponsors

Prizes from our Sponsors always makes it more fun! There will be a prize for the first one suggesting the course which ends up becoming “The course of the Year 2017″, and prizes drawn among the ones suggesting and voting. All prizes are transferable to other persons (you don’t have to travel yourself).

Event sponsor: Latvia O-week 2018. August 3rd – 12th 2018

  • Prize offered: Competition package for 2 persons – including entry to 6 races (two sprints in Riga, two middle distances in city Sigulda, a long distance in Sigulda and a long distance in Ādaži), 9 nights accommodation during World Orienteering Championships for 2 person in fully serviced apartment (from 4th to 11th of August, 2018). Value about 900 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • We invite you to the World Orienteering Championships 2018 and Latvia O-week! Latvia O-Week is the WOC2018 Spectator race, a six days long orienteering adventure in Latvia. Discover Latvia for yourself: It is a small pearl of the Baltic countries where you will be able to enjoy a very special flavour of orienteering in the cultural, architectural and historical aura of Riga and Sigulda. 2018 is the year of Latvia’s 100th anniversary. Special preparations for this occasion are on-going in Latvia, and LATVIA O-Week will be among the centenary celebration events. The participants of LATVIA O-WEEK will be the lucky ones to explore orienteering areas similar to those anticipated at the WMOC. More information at http://www.woc2018.lv/o-week/.


Event sponsor: MOC Training Camp + MOC Championships, Catalunya. February 18th – 25th 2018

  • Prize offered: Package for 2 people consisting of accommodation and entry fee for MOC Training Camp and MOC Championship 18th-25th February 2018. Value 900 Euro. Transferrable to other persons.
  • A great combination of the 6th MOC Sprint Camp (18th to 23rd February 2018) and XIV edition of MOC Mediterranean Open Championship Orienteering (23rd to 25th of February 2018). The camp inlcudes 8 organized set of trainings + seminars. Head coach: Emil Wingstedt. Lectures by Emil Wingstedt and Tim Robertson.  The Championship includes 3 races in Tarragona.


 Software sponsor: OCAD Orienteering 12

  • Prize offered: One licence for the software “OCAD Orienteering 12″.  Value about 590 Euro. Transferable to other person (before activation).
  • More information: OCAD 12 Orienteering – Perfect to Produce Orienteering Maps. This edition is dedicated for orienteering map making with a step-by-step wizard for analyzing of LiDAR data, mobile geodata capturing, smart editing and drawing tools, generalization tools, desktop publishing, course setting and much more. Read more at ocad.com.


Event sponsor: Andalucia O-Meeting 2018 + Training package. February 26th – March 4th

  • Prize offered: AOM Competition Package – including entry to 5 events (night, prologue, middle, sprint, long), 5 nights accommodation in Apartamentos Leo and a 6-map package to train before or after the event. Value about 455 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • 2 WRE’s in sweet terrains and maps, a friendly atmosphere and mild climate! More info at andaluciaomeeting.com


Event sponsor: Wawel Cup 2018. July 4th – 8th 2018

  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of entry to full Wawel Cup 37th edition + accommodation in hotel + Wawel Cup T-shirt. Value about 400 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • After a couple of years, Wawel Cup is back in rocky terrains. Wawel Cup 37 comprises the biggest rocks in Jura (Poland), the possibility of seeing the medieval castles and beautiful surrounding nature! And foremost challenging terrains and orienteering… on the highest level. Together we will make it a real worldwide orienteering running feast!


Event sponsor: PIOM 2018. February 17th – 18th 2018

  • Prize offered: 4 packages – each for 2 persons – transferable to other person. Consisting of complete entry to PIOM 2018 – 3 official races (Middle, night sprint and Long WRE) + 2 model events + lunches at the Arena during 2 competition days. Value about 340 EUR.
  • PIOM 2018 will be organized the third Orienteering Weekend in Portugal during the winter time with one WRE Long Distance stage, just 3 days after POM 2018. February in Portugal is considered by many as the official opening of the competition season for its high quality organization and for receiving the top runners of the world. We expect to have more than 1000 runners. Besides some new areas, updated cartography, challenging terrains and courses, you’ll be able to experience the rich gastronomy, as the famous cheese, olive oil and honey (considered among the best in the world). Have a chance to enjoy the friendship of locals and explore the beautiful and untouched nature.  The WRE day will be the long distance on 18th Feb. More at  http://eventos.coc.pt/piom2018/en/


Event sponsor: WOC 2019 spectator races. August 12th – 18th 2019

  • Prize offered: ’Competition Package for 2 persons – including entry to all spectator events during WOC 2019 south of Oslo, Norway. Value estimated to at least 275 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Beautiful terrain and great maps with world championships atmosphere – follow the stars and run in the same beautiful area! Be among the first who are officially ready for WOC 2019. More info to come at woc2019.no


 Event sponsor: Easter4 2018. March 30th – April 2nd 2018

  • Prize offered: One package for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for the Easter4 competition on the Cres island, Croatia + accommodation in pension (B&B). Value about 250 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • In 2018 Easter4 moves to Cres island, Croatia. The race will again be organized by the same team and quality standard as you might be used from Lipica open, OOcup and Bubo cup. Beautiful terrain of ancient Tramuntana forest will satisfy even the pickiest among orienteering enthusiasts. More at easter4.com.


Event sponsor: Bubo Cup. July 10th – 14th 2018

  • Prize offered: 2 packages, each for 2 people consisting of entries for all 4 days of Bubo Cup 2018, Bubo Cup event T-shirt and training map for each. Value about 250 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: After 3 years on Cres island, Bubo cup is coming back to Slovenia where it was originally started. The concept remains the same; high quality orienteering very close to the Adriatic coast & early morning starts to let the participants enjoy the sun and the sea after the competitions. Read more at bubocup.com.


Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp 2018. March 16th – 18th 2018

  • Prize offered: Package for 2 people consisting of free start for all 4 high quality sprint competitions March 16th – 18th 2017 + dinner + swimming.  Value about 210 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: For the 8th time, BSC is held in the city center of Bergen, Norway – established as one of the best sprint weekends organized, with several top WOC runners using it as part of their preparations. This time the camp is moved to March. We provide all participants with challenging courses, good maps and interesting analysis of the sessions – hoping to improve the sprint orienteering technique for everyone. See more at Sprint-Camp.blogspot.no – including all courses and analysis from previous editions of BSC.


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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