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Route to Christmas: Day 24 2022

The final leg in this 16th edition of Route to Christmas 2022 is a quite special long leg from the European Championships Long distance in Estonia. While the runners where allowed to cross the river wherever they wanted (at least some of the runners were aware of this during the race, but not all dared to do it), we will here consider the leg the way the course setter indended it: You are only allowed to cross the river at the designated river crossing places!

There was a lot of discussion about the leg during and after the event due to a forbidden area placed across the road exactly were the fastest routechoice would have been without this forbidden area. The leg also crosses a quite big river, and there are a number of designated river crossing places marked on the map. The course setter had originally intended that these designated river crossing places were the only places were it was allowed to cross the river, but according to the information given at the team leader meeting before the race it was allowed to cross the river wherever you wanted, but in some places you would have to be careful. This did influence the fastest route choice on this leg a log.

I would also like to use the opportunity to thank all of you for following this year’s edition of Route to Christmas, drawing your routes and commenting  – and especially big thanks for all the tips I have been given. This year I could fill nearly all the series with reader tips, which makes my job easier, and gives you more interesting legs!

We here look at the women’s long leg to the 5th control (the men had a very similar leg). 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). And remember: You may only cross the river where there is a designated river crossing place, you also not run in the river as part of your routechoice, and you may of course not run into any out-of-bounds area.


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.

As you can see, most runners chose the straight route, and of those the fastest runners chose to cross the river in places outside of the designated river crossing places. Coloring each of the different alternatives, you can see below that the fastest runner who did not run straight was Sara Hagström (red) who lost nearly 5 minutes to the fastest leg time, chosing a route to the left. The fastest runner taking partly right (green) is Vendula Horcickova, also losing around 5 minutes. The fastest runner going all the way around to the right (purple) is Sanna Fast, losing more than 8 minutes.

Looking at the river crossing more in detail, you can see that you lose around 2 minutes by running around the out-of-bounds area and then crossing the river in the designated place. Thus, it may seem like straight is still the fastest route, even if you don’t cross the river in an un-designated place.

Looking at the split times of only runners who run around the out-of-bounds area (the green ones above), we see that Simona Aebersold is fastest, around 2 minutes slower than Andrine Benjaminsen who is fastest on the leg overall, with Miri Thrane Ødum right behind. As we have very few runners chosing other routes, it is difficult to draw a 100% certain conclusion that straight is fastest even if you use only the designated river-crossings, but looking at the terrain Hagström has to go through to the left after the river crossing, it seems quite probable that you should still go straight. It was a pity that the river outside the river crossings was not marked as out-of-bounds during the race, as this would have made the leg a lot more interesting, and we would probably have had more runners taking other routes and more data to analyze!

Density map

See below for a density map of some of the ones who have drawn their routes so far (available during the day when some readers have drawn their route).

Additional information

You find the complete map in omaps.worldofo.com at this location.

Route to Christmas series

The Route to Christmas series 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.

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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