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Course of the Year 2013: Monsanto evening sprint!


For the second year in a row the “Course of the Year” prize goes to Portugal O-Meeting. Rather than one of the main events at Portugal O-Meeting – the prize goes to one of the “side events” – an evening sprint in spectacular surroundings of the hilltop village Monsanto – “the most Portuguese village of Portugal”.

I had almost forgotten that sprint races could be fun sometimes (Thierry Gueorgiou)

The Monsanto evening sprint was actually the first course suggested for “Course of the Year 2013″ by Pythorias early in the morning on November 12th. This also means that Pythorias wins the prize of his wish: The Competition, training and hotel package for one person at the 10th anniversary of MOC Mediterranean Orienteering Championship in Tuscany. Check out the other sponsor prizes at the bottom of this page.

Congratulations to Portugal and to course setter Tiago Romão. Read on for an interview with the course setter and the Top 10 results list in Course of the Year 2013.

About “Course of the Year 2013″: The rules are simple: Suggest a course from a competition or training in 2013 using this link, and state the reason why you think this course deserves to be “The course of the Year 2013″. The best among all the suggestions will be chosen – and there will be a voting process among the readers of “World of O”. Sponsor prizes of around 3500 Euro are to be won by the ones suggesting / voting:  Andalucia O-Meeting in Spain February 14th-16th, MOC in Italy March 13th-15th, Bergen Sprint Camp in Norway January 31st-February 2nd, 3+3 Sälen in Sweden June 27th-29th, Ilves-3 in Estonia May 2nd-4th, OOCup or Bubo Cup in Slovenia at the end of July/start of August, Orievents training camp/NAOM in Portugal in January,  Portugal O-meeting in Portugal March 1st-4th, the North Americal Champs in Canada October 10th-13th, and 3 days of Trenches in Italy May 31st-June 2nd. See all details about the sponsors & prizes below – to me all of them are tempting!

Photos from the area

Photos provided by Panoramio. Photos are under the copyright of their owners.

– An experience you will remember for a long time

In an article about the Monsanto evening sprint at WorldofO.com just after the event, I wrote the following about the event:

“The sprint in Monsanto and the rocky surroundings at the third day of Portugal O-Meeting is one of those spectacular orienteering experiences which makes an orienteer travel for many, many hours. The mix of old city and rock labyrinth makes it an experience you will remember for a long time.”

In the interview about “Course of the Year 2013″, Thierry Gueorgiou told us that ” I had almost forgotten that sprint races could be fun sometimes” when describing the sprint races in Monsanto and Matera (second place in course of the Year 2013 – see below) – two of his highlights in the 2013 season.

And of course the winners in Monsanto were the two biggest stars in modern orienteering: Simone Niggli and Thierry Gueorgiou. Gueorgiou won the men’s class in the time 18:17 for the 2.1 km long sprint – half a minute ahead of the world’s best orienteering sprinter, Matthias Kyburz (Switzerland). Simone Niggli (Switzerland) – the best women orienteer of all times – won the women’s sprint with a margin of more than a minute down to Julia Gross (Switzerland).

Interview with course setter Tiago Romão

Q: When did you start planning the courses for the Monsanto evening sprint – and how many hours do you think you spent on it?

It is hard to say how many hours I spent because I also planned the 1st day night sprint and helped in the others 4 POM races. However from november I spent about 50 hours on the Monsanto sprint.

Q: Monsanto is a very special village – can you tell more about the village? Was it difficult to get permission to organize a race there?

Monsanto is a small village in Idanha-a-Nova that has become popularly known as “the most Portuguese village of Portugal” in a class of twelve classified historic villages in Portugal. The emblem of Portugal, the Silver Rooster (Galo de Prata), can be seen on the top off the Clock Tower or Lucano.

The mountain Monsanto (Latin: Mons Sanctus) rises abruptly to the East of the Idanha-a-Nova up to 758 meters above sea level.

The most dificult part was to take all the competition material to the middle of the village, because there is just a small road to the village and there is no place to park cars or even for an arena. So I had to plan a course also taking into account those facts, trying to make all more easy for the athletes.

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

I have a lot of legs that I really like because I tried to create a course also quite touristic with controls like 2, 6 and 20 (M21SE) in fantastic places. however my favourite leg is 17-18 because the runner come from 16 in an downhill leg, that give them short time to read the map, and then they find a leg with 3 route choice options.


Q: What is the best course you have planned?

For me the best course I have planned was the 3rd day of POM 2013, I was not the main couse setter but I was very envolved on it, specialy on elite couses.

Q: Where should World of O’s readers travel to experience your courses in 2013?

For 2014 I will just plan courses on 27 and 28 Sep 2014 at Iberian Championships, however in 2015 I will plan at 7 and 8 Feb an WRE race in Idanha-Nova. The readers also can experience my courses at O-Portugal Training Camps in Évora’s region.

Q: What is your work flow as a course setter? How do you start?

Just accept a leg on your course if you would like to run it yourself

First I like to know the terrain even before the map is drawn, and then I create a mental idea of how the courses should be.

After that, when I get the map, I start by choosing the finish and the start places and then I create the longer route choices with no precise control location. After the first draft courses are ready, I find the best control locations on the terrain trying to keep the route choices. Then I make some small adjustments and test the course.

Q: What is your best tip for setting a good course?

Just accept a leg on your course if you would like to run it yourself.

Q: What was the best course you run in 2012 – and why?

The race I must enjoyed to run in 2013 was the 1st day of Trophy of Mangualde, organized by Natura – Orienteering Club of Viseu. The terrain it’s very thechnical and in a very nice landscape. The course has all I want to find in a middle distance race, short and thecnical legs with direction changes mix with longer ones with route choises. The course setter was able to avoid the worst part of the map and use the best that the map has. The finish was in a artificial beach giving a more pleasent way to the event.


Q: What is your biggest success as a runner?

As runner my biggest success was the year of 2009 with the 14th place on sprint at JWOC 2009 in Italy and a sprint final A as junior at WOC 2009. However I still have 24 years old, so I hope to have biggest results in the future.

Q: This is the second time in a row for Portual O-Meeting to win the “Course of the Year 2013″ contest – what can the runners expect in 2014?

Next year the POM will be again in very challenging terrain and all the course setters are persons really involved in the sport, who knows how to take the best from the terrain.

Q: Thanks a lot for the interview and the great course – and congratulations!

Course of the Year 2013: Results
1. Portugal O-Meeting sprint Monsanto

21650 points

Comment: The Course of the Year 2013 – that is all there is to say…

2. MOC Sprint Matera 2013

13790 points

Comment: Matera is legendary – another place where sprint is really fun and demanding from the very first step and until the end. This particular course had a lot of challenging legs – the shorter ones being just as tricky as the long ones. You never get to rest! Suggested by Riccardo Scalet.

3. Swedish Champs Long 2013

11310 points

Comment: A real long distance race in great terrain. Many long and interesting route choice legs. The course was suggested by Marcus Millegård.

4. WOC Sprint Men

9670 points

Comment: There is no arguing that lot of work was put into the WOC sprint course. In addition to the usual course setting, there were total of 47 fences which made total length of 616 meters. Siegfried Bakelants suggested this course, and his comment was that “Because this is the beginning of the Belgians in orienteering! Yannick Michiels gave Belgium the best result ever in a WOC and more Belgians will follow the next years and do even better!”

5. WOC Middle Qual Men Heat 3

9270 points

Comment: This was one of the most interesting races at WOC – a bigger challenge than many suspected. The mistakes made to the first control were extraordinary. There was also a good combination between easier and tricky legs in the remainder of the course. Daniel Roos suggested this course, and his comment was: ” suggest WOC middle qualifier for its technical terrain and nice courses, a shame that the final didnt go in that area”.

6. Antalya O-Days 3 – M21E

9090 points

Comment: The terrain was epic – and this course has several interesting route choices and a good mix of different types of legs – but I guess it is the terrain which makes this course go all the way up to a 6th place.Riccardo Scalet suggested this course – and described both the terrain as the course as funtastic.

7. JWOC Middle 2013 M20

7540 points

Comment: A great course in a fantastic area – but it maybe misses a longer leg with real route choice options to change the rhythm for the runners? Matija Razum suggested this course – and his commet was “Finals started on even more trickier part, controls somewhere between many big stones. Continued with fast part and then at the end again same thing as in Q. Both course and terrain were amazing.”

8. Kratovs O-Labyrinth

6890 points

Comment: This o-technical training is in a different league than the other courses – but it is one of the most fun o-trainings I saw this year. Jissbacke suggested this course with the comment “My suggestion is O.Kratovs LLabyrinth-O. Looks like a really challenging training”.

9. Finnish WOC selection race middle – women

6700 points

Comment: A classic! I spent several hours analyzing this one, and I can say that this was a really challenging and varied course. The course setter really did his job here! Here are a few hundred mistakes from that race. Jeppe suggested this race.

10. WOC Middle Final Men

6450 points

Comment: A great middle distance course – which made for an interesting race. The WOC middle has nearly always been on the Top 10 list – this year in 10th place. Suggested by Jokuja with the comment: “I suggest WOC middle final. It was a really nice, challenging and technical orienteering in an outstanding terrain + a nice competition to follow for the spectators.”

See also:

Results Monsanto evening sprint

M21SE (82) 2,1 km 210 m 22 C
Pl Stno Name YB Club Time
1 3 GUEORGIOU Thierry 79 [5698] KR 18:17
2 1 Kyburz Matthias 90 [5911] Swiss 18:54
3 75 Howald Severin 89 [5911] Swiss 19:34
3 13 Gernot Kerschbaumer 83 [5825] G1.Pan-Kristianstad 19:34
5 35 Antonio Martínez 91 [2267] Colivenc 19:35
6 9 Kiril Nikolov 82 [6027] G5.Kalevan Rasti 19:39
6 81 Jakob Lööf 85 [5825] G1.Pan-Kristianstad 19:39
8 21 Andreu Blanes 91 [2267] Colivenc 19:45
9 36 Arturs Paulins 89 [5954] IGTISA 19:52
10 59 Chris Smithard 89 [6088] SPOOK 20:01
11 31 Ivan Sirakov 88 [5818] G2.Variant 5 20:02
12 83 Haegler Kaspar 88 [5911] Swiss 20:08
13 7 Philippe Adamski 85 [6027] G5.Kalevan Rasti 20:23
14 18 Olle Boström 90 [6150] G1.Järla Orientering 20:36
15 54 Doug Tullie 88 [6068] TUME 20:43
16 10 Kyburz Andreas 88 [5911] Swiss 20:49
17 62 Jonas Munthe 89 [5983] OK Pan 21:00
18 29 Howald Florian 91 [5911] Swiss 21:12
19 42 Pavel Kubat [5772] Vaajakosken Terä 21:15
20 20 Jarkko Huovila 75 [6199] G9.Kalevan Rasti 21:17
W21E (66) 1,6 km 17 C
Pl Stno Name YB Club Time
1 301 Niggli Simone 78 [5911] Swiss 15:51
2 313 Gross Julia 91 [5911] Swiss 16:57
3 312 Anastasia Tikhonova 90 [5853] MS Parma 17:03
4 321 Ausrine Kutkaite 91 [5916] SNO 17:11
5 331 Roos Elena 91 [5911] Swiss 17:22
6 302 BILLSTAM Annika 76 [5715] OK Linné 17:27
6 329 Emily Kemp 92 [1921] Individual CAN 17:27
8 357 Karolin Ohlsson 91 [6150] G1.Järla Orientering 17:41
8 320 Brigitta Mathys 90 [6150] G1.Järla Orientering 17:41
10 309 Jenzer Sarina 91 [5911] Swiss 17:50
11 377 Doerig Franziska 92 [5911] Swiss 18:16
12 308 Celine DODIN 79 [5914] HVO 18:32
13 400 Gygax Katja 92 [5911] Swiss 18:55
14 322 Koenig-Salmi Vroni 69 [5911] Swiss 18:57
15 342 Ingjerd Myhre 92 [6150] G1.Järla Orientering 18:59
16 304 Ida Bobach 91 [5983] OK Pan 19:21
17 336 Sanna Andelin 83 [6081] G6.Lahden Taimi 19:25
18 303 Maja Alm 88 [5983] OK Pan 19:38
19 344 Nina Temyakova 82 [6054] PR 19:39
20 347 Hellmueller Mirjam 92 [5911] Swiss 19:40

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 2013″, 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: Andalucia-O-Meeting – February 14th -16th 2014
  • Prize offered: Competition Package for 2 persons – including entry to 4 AOM events in 3 days, 5 nights in 4**** Barcelo Punta Umbria Beach Resort and a 4-map training package before or after the event. Value about 640 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • After 4 very nice years in Canos De Meca (Barbate), AOM moves to Punta Umbria, Huelva province, West of Andalucia! New terrains, maps, accommodations and, as usual, high level competitions in a very mild climate! More info at aom2014.com

Event sponsor: MOC 2014 – March 13th-15th
  • Prize offered: Competition, training and hotel package for one person: Entry for one person at the 10th anniversary of MOC Mediterranean Orienteering Championship in Tuscany + MOC sprint training camp in Venice district + accommodation half boards for 7 nights. Value about 500 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • You are welcome in MOC- Tuscany 2014! The Mediterranean Open Championship Orienteering 2014 is organized March 13th – March 15th. Final stage in Florence, UNESCO city. Orienteering with a lot of fun. Great events with world class runners! Read more at www.orienteering.it and www.facebook.com/pwtorienteering.

Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp – January 31st-February 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each consisting of 2 complete Bergen Sprint Camp packages: Entry for all 4 races + training Friday morning + Saturday evening program consisting of presentation held by World Champion Mårten Boström and dinner. Value about 400 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • For the 5th time in a row, BSC is held in the city center of Bergen, Norway. 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.

Event sponsor: 3+3 Sälen – June 27th-29th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 BIG training+competition packages – each for 2 persons consisting of: Entry for the complete 3+3 2014 competition week + maps for 8 different trainings during the training camp + TUBE from Bagheera from Fjällmaraton Sälen. Value about 380 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • 3+3 is a 3 Day orienteering event organized by Malungs OK in Sälen. The event is famous for its open landscape above the “tree-level” and good drawn maps and excellent combination of orienteering and holidays. The 2014 edition returns to the Hundfjället terrain made famous during O-Ringen 2008. More at 3plus3.se

Event sponsor: Ilves-3 – May 2nd – 4th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 persons – consisting of: Accommodation for 2 nights in a nice guesthouse (including breakfast) and start fee for the 3 Day competition Ilves-3 in Estonia. Value about 350 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Ilves-3 is an awesome 3-day competition weekend on relevant terrain for WOC 2017 in Estonia. Welcome to everybody – from kids to veterans. Get to know Estonian orienteering! More to come at OKIlves.ee

Event sponsor: OOCup / Bubo Cup 2014 – July/August 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Your choice of full entry to either complete 5 day Bubo cup competition or complete 5 days OOCup competition + small Slovenia training package consisting of up to 3 training maps. Value up to 300 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • OOCup is a 5 Day orienteering event organized annually in Slovenia. The event is famous for its Karst orienteering and excellent combination of orienteering and holidays. Bubo cup is the younger brother of OOCup – offering the same excellent orienteering experiences and quality you are used to from OOCup – but with a more relaxed attitude at the events. You can even manage both races with some rest in between. Bubo Cup is organized from July 24th – 28th 2014 – OOCup from August 1st – 5th 2014. More at www.bubocup.com/ and oocup.com

Event sponsor: Orievents /Training Camps, Alto Alentejo, Portugal
  • Prize offered: Competition + training package for 2 persons, consisting of: Entry for NAOM 2014 – January 25th/26th 2014 + training camp (6 trainings) + 3 days of accommodation in half board at Castelo de Vide Hotel. Value about 270 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Orievents / GD4C’s Training Camps “Alto Alentejo” are an excellent training opportunity for Orienteering of good quality during the winter. Start the new season in training camps in Alto Alentejo, Portugal! More at www.naom.pt and about the training camp at Orievents.

Event sponsor: Portugal O-Meeting – March 1st-4th 2014
  • Prize offered: 2 packages – each one for 2 persons – consisting of: Entry fees for the 4 stages of POM 2014, model events, night sprint, trail-O and regional dinner. Value about 260 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Portugal O’ Meeting is already a well-known established international event, normally reaching the highest average points in World Ranking Events, excluding the World Championships. 2014’s Edition will be held nearby Serra da Estrela, on low grounds but with high density of rocky elements in all stages. More info at pom.pt/en/

Event sponsor: North American Orienteering Championships 2014 – October 10th-13th 2014
  • Prize offered: A full NAOC2014 Package for 1 person – transferable to other person. Including all three races (sprint, middle, long), accomodation (hardfloor or camping), all model maps, all training maps, food (3 hot breakfast, 3 hot dinners including banquet),transport to and from airport. Value approximately 200 Euro.
  • This biennial event is the largest and the premiere orienteering event in North America. With national team spots on the line, the best in North America will be there. The host town Arnprior, just outside Canada’s National Capital – Ottawa, is situated on the stunning Ottawa river and we are working together to bring you the best in orienteering and more. Expect the best that North America has to offer and get ready to take control as Orienteering Ottawa welcomes the world from October 10th to 13th, 2014! More at www.naoc2014.ca

Event sponsor: 3 days of Trenches 2014 – May 31st-June 2nd 2014
  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for 3 competitions, sprint, middle WRE and long WRE. A full package of training maps on WOC 2014 training terrains + a shirt for the event. Value about 200 euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • The “3 days of Trenches” competitions will be held on 31st May, 1st June and 2nd June 2014 between Trentino and Veneto. Many national teams will use these competitions as final selection races for WOC 2014 so there should be very strong fields. 2014 is a special year for the Asiago plateau because it is the Centenary since the beginning of the First World War. On the Middle and Long terrain all runners will cross a lot of trenches, military buildings and caves used 100 years ago. It will be possible to visit many historical sites. More at the event’s Facebook page: facebook.com/3days2014

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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