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Interview Lina Strand about Course of the Year 2019

–  It started with a short leg uphill, where you directly could feel the roughness of the terrain and feel that it would be a long and tough day at work, Lina Strand explains about her favourite forest course in 2019. Long legs with interesting routechoices interspersed with some tricky shorter legs is a good description of this course. Read on for more about this course, and the other great orienteering courses Lina Strand ran in the 2019-season.

Strand did some great races in the 2019-season – with the silver medal at the World Orienteering Championships (WOC) Long distance being the highlight. This interview is part of the “Course of the Year 2019″ contest organized by World of O. In the introduction article you can suggest YOUR favourite course for “Course of the Year 2019″ – there are prizes to be won worth more than 6000 Euro.

Interview Lina Strand

Q: What was the best forest course you run in 2019- and why?

For me, it was the WOC long distance test race organised by Halden in Norway [Editors comment: This race was also chosen by Lucas Basset (men’s course) and Denisa Kosova (women’s course) – definitely a great course]. It challenged the runners in all the ways a long distance should do, according to my opinion.

2019 WOC Selection Long D21E World

» See map in omaps.worldofo.com

It started with a short leg uphill, where you directly could feel the roughness of the terrain and feel that it would be a long and tough day at work :). Then a very long leg was waiting with the first half with no possibilities to find an easy runnable route, but with a second half where you could chose to run quite much around or to go straight.

My choice may be affected that this competition was one of my best runs in 2019, in a terrain where I feel much at home. :)

The course also had a second long route choice leg, but where there was no obvious route choices at all, neither where to go “straight” or no possibility to go all way around. If you could use your road skills on the first long leg you had to show other skills now. [Editor’s comment: See the second route choice leg and the best routes (based on GPS-times) below]

img_1 (4)

img_2 (4)

The course had an arena passing, but with almost no taped route, but still you passed the arena, getting information from the speaker about positions, which is a challenge to your mind during the last part with tricky controls. My choice may be affected that this competition was one of my best runs in 2019, in a terrain where I feel much at home. :)

Q: What was the best sprint course you run in 2019 – and why?

I ran only one sprint competition during 2019, the Swedish League sprint in Stockholm during the spring which was a good course (but already picked by Gustav!), so I would rather chose a sprint training. It’s from the national team training camp in Spain during January. We ran a knock-out sprint and the semi final and finals were in the village Cehegin.


A complex sprint area with many narrow streets and stairs. The final course offered many route choices, so it was a lot of possibilities to chose your own route from the rest of the group, but a lot of tactics when it was smart to go or not. It’s hard to get rid of the pack when the speed is limited by the complexity of the course/area, but if you are on top of your own orienteering, possibilities come and then you have to take it. That is what I liked with this one, it challenged you both physically, technically and tactically.

… And now I realised I also ran the sprint relay at World Cup in Finland. The course was good, but what I remember more is the great atmosphere at the arena – very well done by the organisers as the placement of the arena didn’t affect the courses in a negative way for this kind of event.

World Cup Sprint Relay, leg 1

» See map in omaps.worldofo.com

Q: What was the most interesting orienteering terrain you run in in 2019 – and why?
Aguiar da Beira, in Portugal [Editors comment: Actually from the Satão-region, see comment below]. We were there with the national team in March, and it was a great area for , both night and day orienteering. The runnability is mostly good to very good, especially on the bare rock areas, where you can go super fast, but it is still demanding orienteering and you also need to be smart in micro route choice planning to be fast.

Q: What is the most interesting course you ran (or saw) in your own home country in 2019?
I have neither competed or run so many orienteering sessions in Sweden during 2019 and no one of those was so special :). So I will chose one I didn’t run myself – the Obygdshelgen competitions in North east of Sweden. I heard the competitions and the terrain was great, and it looks amazing!

Q: What is the most interesting routechoice leg you remember from 2019? Did you take the right choice?
As the first long leg from the test race in Norway is already mentioned, I chose two even more decisive legs, the two long legs at the long distance at WOC in Norway.

WOC2019W_05C_12001 (1)

At the first long leg I am surprised not more runners ran the left route choice which turned out to be the best. For me it was a clear one, to avoid all the zick-zacking around the forbidden fields on the right route. I was also happy to be able to run a bit on hard ground and save my terrain legs a bit, which was according to my tactics.


However, I chose the wrong route on the next long leg:


Here it was better to go straight, so those two long legs was a good combination, where you got trapped if you only stuck to one special tactics with route choice planning.


Q: Did you set any courses in 2019? If so, is it possible to share the best (in your opinion) with World of O’s readers?
Yes, I have set some courses during the autumn as I have started to work as an orienteering coach at the local orienteering school in Gothenburg. This is a part of one sprint interval session we had some months ago. sprointintervaller

Q: What is the race you look most forward to in 2020?

The WOC races.

Q: What are your goals for next year – and do you plan to change your training and/or focus in order to reach your goals in 2020?
My goal is medals at WOC. During winter time I do quite much the same I did last winter, but when I do orienteering I will do sprint instead of forest orienteering, so there will probably not be so many hours in the forest the coming months :)

Q: Have you got any comments about the development of international orienteering? 
I believe IOF must be more sharp when it comes to secure the quality of the maps and courses according to the problems with the olive green during the men’s middle distance in China. It should just not happen if you have some kind of controllers. I have respect that organising an event like this, in a new country is challenging, but it is not an excuse. I believe it’s a good ambition to spread the international competitions, but with that comes more work by the organisation – it may cost more time and money, but it has to be done in the right way and it is not the runners that should pay the costs for a cancelled or unfair race due to organisational errors.

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 2019″, 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: Five Days of Italy 2020 – June 28th – July 3rd (Italy)

  • Prize offered: BIG competition and hotel package for two persons, consisting of competition fee and hotel accommodation for 7 nights, half board. Value 1.520 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
  • You are welcome in the Dolomites to  5 days Italy 2020 in Paganella Mountain, Fai della Paganella and beautiful “Dolomiti di Brenta”, amazing Trentino landscape. Read more at www.5daysitaly.it


Event sponsor: 53rd Kainuu Orienteering Week Finland (KOW), June 28th – July 3rd 2020 (Finland)

  • Prize offered: 4 packages, each consisting of 2 free participations for the whole week in any class (competition classes or open courses) at Kainuu Orienteering Week 2020. Total value up to 800 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
  • Kainuu O-Week is the biggest Finnish orienteering week, and it has been held annually since 1966 in Kainuu, Finland.  The 2020 event will gather 5000-6000 participants from all around the world. The 2020 competition terrain is very suitable for all categories and perfect for running and orienteering – the orienteers will be running in the fast and beautiful pine forest terrain of Haverinen, consisting almost exclusively of pine forest of varying ages, in certain areas the contours are with small features. The visibility is mostly excellent, in some seedling areas slightly poorer. The ground is solid and clean; it is not stony. One river (Varisjoki), a few mires and ponds bring their own contribution to the orienteering tasks and landscape. For more information see www.rastiviikko.fi.


Event sponsor: Andalucia O Meeting – February 8th – 9th (Spain)

  • Prize offered: Competition and Training Package with accommodation for 4 persons. The package includes entry to AndaluciaOMeeting 2020 for 4 persons, 3 nights accommodation in 4p Apartment Leo Deluxe and Training Package if you want to stay longer. Total value 650 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
  • Fun organized (Sportident) trainings and competitions in surprising Huelva! More info at https://sun-o.com/en/event/andalucia-o-meeting-2020/ & https://sun-o.com/en/camp/huelva-organized-camp/


Event Sponsor: EGK Swiss 5 Days 2020, May 20 – 24, 2019 (Neuchâtel, Switzerland)

  • Prize offered: 2 packages, each for 2 free entries for the entire Swiss 5 Days Orienteering 2020 and spectator access to the 3 World Cup races. Total value 600 EUR, transferable to other persons.
  • More information to these exciting races under: www.swiss5days2020.chNeuchâtel, the place to discover!


Event sponsor: Hungaria Cup – August 19th – 23rd 2020 (Hungary)

  • Prize offered: 3 entry + accommodation packages, each for 2 persons. Each package consists of 2 free entries for all 5 days in any class at Hungaria Cup 2020 + accommodation. Total value up to 500 EUR. Transferable to other persons.
  • More information: Hungaria Cup is Hungary’s biggest orienteering competition, held annually since the year 1967. This year we set camp at lake Velence close to Budapest. Terrains will include tricky open areas, mixed forests and a botanical garden. Those interested in more special orienteering challenges can try Paddle-O, Biathlon-O, Mobile-O and Beer-O. Come to enjoy orienteering and all kinds of leisure activities. Did we mention that we also have great wines? For more information see http://hungariakupa.tajfutas.hu/en


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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  1. Sprint relay course from Finland is not the one linked ;) You linked one from 2017
    But, as always, great articles Jan. Keep it up!

    P.S. Would be nice to come to worldofo page a bit more during the season, always great stuff here

  2. The map of São Matias is from Satão and not Aguiar da Beira. It is very close but they belong to different regions.

    Thank you!
    Miguel Nóbrega