Today’s leg in Route to Christmas is a real classic from the past year – the longest leg in the World Championships long distance in Estonia.
The leg is chosen based on a tip from Aigars Kokins – who points out that even if this leg has been analyzed at WorldofO before, it is worth a revisit as one of the really interesting legs this year.
The WOC 2017 Men’s Long distance course offered three long routechoice legs in addition to several medium long legs. The athletes spread out onto a large number of different routes on these longer legs, for some of the legs it was nearly as if there was one route per athlete – as if the athletes searched everywhere for some small pieces of Estonian forest where you could run and get flow instead of just fight. Many took the wrong choice, though… Those of you who have been in these types of Estonian forest at summer time know that there is no such place – all of the forest is green with lots of fallen branches, and generally the forest which is marked white on the map can be slower to get through than forest which is marked light green or even medium green in other terrain types.
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.
Then you can take a look at how the runners have solved this leg below.
Looking at the routes chosen by the runners, they go basically everywhere. Around 30-35 different routes are chosen, spreading out to a fan 750 meters to each side of the line between the control (see video on the top of this article).
The below illustration shows the fastest runner on each main variant, where 10 different main variants are identified. For many of the main variants there are several micro routechoices on the way.
It is easier to understand how fast the different variant are by grouping the routes into variants and given each variant a separate color, allowing for a certain amount of micro-routechoices with each variant:
Lundanes and Novikov are fastest on the straight (blue) variant, half a minute faster than Regborn who is fastest on the variant to the left on the road, with Hubmann and Sild on nearly the same time. However, if we exclude Lundanes and Novikov from the analysis as they were in a separate class physically throughout the competition, direct (blue) and left (red) seems quite equivalent time-wise. This is an example in agreement with what is written in the introduction; there are typically several routes which are nearly equivalent time wise if the right micro routechoices are taken and the route is well executed.
Note that going left has lower risk, and that runners on a lower level can execute it well. 2 km of the 3.5 km route choice for the 2.5 km leg is on road (run with speed around 3:30 min/km for Regborn & co), another 600 meters is on good path, the rest in mostly white forest. It may, however, not be so tempting for the runners to choose this route because you have to run back through the start. This may be the reason why relatively few chose this route. Hubmann, & Co run around 3:30 on the road for these 2.5 km.
Going right (green) is significantly slower. This may be partly due to which runners chose to go right, but compared to going left the length of the leg is approximately equal, but there is 15 meter more climb and the runnability in the forest seems more variable.
Kyburz (who stopped the race and therefore was not in the official split times) ran right in a time about one minute slower than Lundanes/Novikov. Thus although he looses a minute, this is also a valid alternative.
Conclusion: Left and direct quite equal, but for most runners left would probably be the best choice due to lower risk.
See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far.
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 is a pre-Christmas tradition at World of O – 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 2017-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!