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Course of the Year 2016: O France Day 5!


A very technical French Long distance course takes the honors as “Orienteering Course of the Year 2016?. The winning course is the Men Elite course at the last stage of O’France 2016 – probably one of the most difficult long distance courses set this year – with a lot of “WOW”-factor due to the very special terrain and the varied challenges.

This course was also among the most often nominated courses – clearly a very tough and a very popular choice. Congratulations go to the course setter Ludo Ruiz and to everybody else involved in this race.  The World University Championships Sprint is the “Sprint Course of the Year 2016? (overall 8th place) and  OOCUP Day 2 is the “Middle distance course of the Year 2016? (overall 2nd place). See full results below the interview with the course setter – and the map with course here.

Challenging start!

Before reading the interview with the course setter, take a look at this challenging long leg which the course setter served the runners to the 3rd controls.  Many runners used several hours in the forest on their courses this day. O’France 2016 was clearly a memory for life for the participants; good or bad depending on how devoted an orienteer you are…


Interview: Course setter Course of the Year 2016, Ludo Ruiz

Q: Congratulations with your course being awarded “Course of the Year 2016″! What are your thoughts about your course getting this type of award?
I think it is overall the organization of O’France and the magnificent courses offered to the runners in all the stages who won, and not only stage 5. We are very proud of the results after the work done by the many volunteers and we thank all the runners who have come.

The challenge of stage 5 was mainly based on the long routechoice legs combined with micro routechoices in the very technical areas.

Q: Several runners have described O’France” as the most difficult race they have ever run. What was the idea behind the challenges you wanted to give the athletes?
O France was actually one of the most challenging races of the year, especially stage 4, a middle distance that put the runners into difficulty with controls in areas with lots of details [Editors comment: See Eva Jurenikova’s Tweet; one of the most difficult courses I have ever run]. Stage 5 took place on the same map, and the runners were able to better understand the difficulties thanks to their experience of stage 4. The challenge of stage 5 was mainly based on the long routechoice legs combined with micro routechoices in the very technical areas.


Q: After spending quite some time setting courses in this terrain, have you got any tips to athletes about how to master this terrain?
As I read in interviews with Thierry Georgiou, official ambassador of O’France; On this kind of terrain we must try to select the important features, and avoid trying to understand all the features of the map, except in some parts which closely resemble a labyrinth [Editors comment: Easier to said than done; a bit like “full speed no mistake”].

Q: Did you get any surprises with respect to which routechoices were fastest or were the athletes made mistake?
We had little feedback from athletes drawing their routechoices, but the feedback we got from athletes with whom we discussed after the race, showed that the race was played out on the two long routechoice. The fastest times on the two routechoices impressed us, for 2 – 3 (2300 m), Lucas Basset puts 12’14 and for 9 – 10 (2000 m), Johan Högstrand puts 14’21. Other runners preferred to make detours to ensure their attack point.


Q: Can you take us quickly through the main challenges in the course, highlighting the legs where you see special challenges?
My favorite leg is leg 2 – 3 because you get it very early in the race, and it proposes many routechoices. It is the routechoice with the biggest time differences. The most important challenges in this race were the long routechoice legs and short technical legs, which require different techniques of orientation. So I find that leg 9 – 10 offers a real challenge because it is followed by a short routechoices in a labyrinth area.

I find that leg 9 – 10 offers a real challenge because it is followed by a short routechoices in a labyrinth area.


Q: Did you have any special worries about the courses before the race?
Before the race, we still have a lot of questions and we decided to change the course for D14 – H14 a few hours before the race.

After controlling of the course 3 months before the competition, we set out 130 checkpoints 2 months ahead of the competition

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 race began to be prepared in 2013 with the search for a new area. We then visited the lands mapped one year before the competition. The course setting began just after that – I decided that to make it a nice show, I would set the start and the finish in the same area (it was a chasing start), and also to add a spectator control for H21E. This may have made the course setting more difficult. After controlling of the course 3 months before the competition, we set out 130 checkpoints 2 months ahead of the competition. It is difficult to estimate the time spent, but it is a great experience and a good teamwork with my two controllers (Daniel Poëdras and Philippe Pogu), and the entire organizing team!

Q: Thanks a lot for the interview, Ludo – and congratulations with your win as course setter in “Course of the Year 2016″!

Results: Course of the Year 2016

We have two very technical courses – both part of multiday events -on top in “Course of the Year 2016″; O-France Day 5 in France on top and OOCup Day 2 organized in Italy in second spot, and the best middle distance course on the list. The World Orienteering Championships Long distance in Sweden is in third spot. In the 9 top places we have courses from 9 different countries – France, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, USA, Finland, Hungary and Poland. This just shows how important it is to travel in order to really enjoy orienteering!

The “Sprint Course of the Year 2016? is  the WUOC sprint in Hungary in 8th place overall,  with sprint courses from Poland and Portugal following in the next two places.


1. O-France 2016 – E5 (H21E)
    16580 points
2. OOCup 2016 Stage 2 – M21E
    15830 points
3. WOC 2016 Long M21E
    13950 points
4. JWOC 2016 Middle Men
    9970 points
5. POM Day 3 Long WRE MSE
    9700 points
6. North American Championships Long 2016: M21E
    8370 points
7. Finnish Championships Long 2016: M21E
    7830 points
8. WUOC 2016 Sprint Men
    7730 points
9. WCup Poland Sprint 2016: W21E – P1
    7170 points
10. Lisbon Orienteering Meeting 2016 WRE Sprint Men
    6780 points
11. O-idol 2016 H16
    6340 points
12. Finnish WOC selection Long 2016: M21E
    6320 points
13. JWOC 2016 Long Men
    5960 points
14. Lipica Open 2016 Day 2 M21E
    5690 points
15. WOC 2016 Middle Men
    5100 points
16. Russian Championships Long 2016 M21E
    5050 points
17. Swiss O-Week Day 4 M21E
    4910 points
18. Finnish Middle Champs 2016: M21E
    4860 points
19. Norte Alentejano Day 1 – M21SE
    4520 points
20. WUOC 2016 Sprint Relay, leg 4
    4490 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 2016″, 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: MOC Training Camp. March 4th – 12th 2017

  • Prize offered: Package for 2 people consisting of accommodation in half board and entry fee for MOC Training Camp and MOC Championship 4th-12th March 2017. Value 1440 Euro. Transferrable to other persons.
  • More information: 5  days of training camp with head coaches Janne Salmi and and Jaroslav Kacmarcik – IOF will test new formulas of sprint! MOC Championship will be organized in two UNESCO sites, Archeological Park of Paestum and Royal Residence of Caserta Park! See Bulletin MOC camp and Bulletin MOC Championship.


Event sponsor: Fin5 2017. July 10th – 15th 2017

  • Prize offered: The traditional Fin5 Orienteering week offers one free Family package; participation for the whole Fin5 orienteering week includes max five starts for 2 adults and 1-3 children (age 16 or under) in competition series or in open courses. Transferable to other persons. Total value up to 645 euros.
  • More information: Welcome to Tampere, Finland to enjoy the Fin5 Orienteering Week arranged at the same time with the Junior World Orienteering Championships 2017! Competition areas and arenas for Fin5 will be the same as for the JWOC-races. Fin5 offers you orienteering along high class tracks at three different terrains. Two forest orienteering terrains are located within 30 minutes driving distance from Tampere center. Sprint arena is in the city center.  The largest inland city in Nordic countries offers versatile accommodation options and lots of activities during your visit. More information: 2017.fin5.fi.


Event sponsor: Estonian Orienteering Week 2017. July 1st – July 8th 2017

  • Prize offered: Estonian Orienteering Week package for 2 persons consisting of entries to all 6 races (with the maximum value of 240 Euro) and hostel accommodation in Tartu for July 1st – 8th (value of 350 Euro). The package will be completed with WOC 2017 souvenirs. Total value about 600 Euros.Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: Estonian Orienteering Week is the spectator race for the Nokian Tyres World Orienteering Championships 2017 taking place in beautiful Tartu and Southern Estonia. Estonian Orienteering Week allows you to enjoy your own races and be a spectator in the World Championships. Tartu, the WOC 2017 host town is the home of culture and good flavours with many historical landmarks and outdoor cafés. Southern Estonia is characterized by rolling hills, deep forests, blue lakes and quiant towns with old churches, manors and castle ruins. Welcome to Estonia! Read more at woc2017.ee/eow.


 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: Antalya Orienteering Festival 2017. October 29th October – November 5th 2017

  • Prize offered: One big Antalya Orienteering Festival package for one person: Accommodation + Entry for all 5 races + All Transfers. Value about 500 Euro. Transferable to other person.
  • Antalya Orienteering Festival will be held for the 3rd time in Antalya, Turkey. We provide 5 different terrains and challenging courses, good maps and good weather for orienteering holiday.  See more at www.antalyaofest.com


Event sponsor: Bergen Sprint Camp 2017. February 10th – 12th 2017

  • Prize offered: Package for 2 people consisting of free start for all 4 high quality sprint competitions and accommodation for 2 persons for 2 nights February 10th – 12th 2017.  Value about 450 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: For the 7th 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. 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.


Software sponsor: Virtual-O

  • Prize offered: 10 licenses of Virtual-O Founder’s Edition with exclusive content. Transferable to other persons until you activate the license key on Steam. Value about 400 Euro in total.
  • More information: Try the new generation of orienteering simulator, and spend your next training in the virtual forest. Coming soon to Steam Early Access. More information at virtualo.org.


Event sponsor: Portugal “O” Meeting 2017. February 25th – 28th 2017

  • Prize offered: 3 packages – each for 2 persons – transferable to other person. Consisting of entry to complete 4 day Portugal “O” Meeting 2017 – 2 model event + 4 official races + 1 Urban Night (Middle, Urban Nigth, Long, Middle-WRE, Long). Value about 330 EUR.
  • More information: The Portugal “O” Meeting is a foot orienteering event, integrated in IOF’s World Ranking (IOF WRE) and in the Portuguese Orienteering Federation’s Cup. As in 2011 the POM 2017 is back to Alentejo where it merges with our event, North Alentejano “O” Meeting. Three neighbor Counties with excellent conditions for Tourism and Sports of Nature (Portalegre, Alter do Chão and Crato) join hands and work together to create an unforgettable event. Read more at pom.pt.


Event sponsor: Easter4 2017. April 14th – 17th 2017

  • Prize offered: 2 packages – for 2 people – consisting of: Entry for the Easter4 competition in Slovenia + 3 training maps each + 4 nights accommodation in hostel. Value about 250 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • Slovenia will be the place to be in Easter 2017. The new Easter4 race was a success in 2016 – and is again organized with the same high quality maps and courses as you are used to from OOCup, Lipica Open and Bubo Cup. Late easter in 2017 means even better conditions. More at easter4.com.


Event sponsor: Kainuu Orienteering Week. July 25th – 30th 2017

  • Prize offered: 2 packages, each consisting of 2 free participations for the whole week in any class at Kainuu Orienteering week 2017 (competition or open). Total value up to 250 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: Kainuu Orienteering Week is one of the Finlands’s biggest orienteering week and the worlds’ second oldest orienteering week, as it has been held annually since the year 1966. Kainuu O-Week is held in the Kainuu region of Finland and traditionally the event is held in the beginning of July. In 2017 Kainuu Orienteering Week will celebrate the 50th anniversary week and it will be held exceptionally in the end of July. Come to enjoy the orienteering and holiday week for the whole family in the great sceneries and terrains and pure and beautiful nature of Kainuu region in Finland. First entry period will be closed on 30th of november 2016. For more information see www.rastiviikko.fi.


Event sponsor: Bubo Cup. August 1st – August 4th 2017

  • Prize offered: 2 packages, each for 2 people consisting of entries for all 4 days of Bubo Cup 2017, Bubo Cup event T-shirt and training map for each. Value about 250 Euro. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: If you want to combine beach holidays under the Croatian sun on the island Cres with technical orienteering, Bubo cup is the perfect choice for you. Surprisingly enough you find very interesting orienteering here – partly Karst and partly the famous olive groves. Events are organized with early starts from 8 AM due to the heat – thus if not all of your family are orienteering enthusiasts, you can still have most of the day together at the beach. Read more at bubocup.com.


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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