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Route to Christmas: Day 15 2019

Today we travel to wonderful alpine terrain between 1400 and 2000 masl. in the Austrian Alsp. The chosen leg is leg number 9 in the M21 course from the Austrian Long distance championships, organized as part of Zirbenland Open.

Thanks to Axel Koppert for the tip, and for providing some missing routes. There is also a 20 minute highlights broadcast to enjoy from the race:

Here is Axel Koppert’s introduction to the leg:

– This year the Austrian Long Distance Championships took place in the Seetal Alps which are known for the marvelous stone pine forests. It was the first time that these forests have been used for orienteering. Together with the mountain scenery and the open parts above the tree line this area offers great orienteering. However, what looks so gentle from far might be brutal rocky and bushy terrain. What makes orienteering here difficult for the runners is that the runnability varies constantly. Running on the paths might sometimes not be as fast as expected because of all the roots and rocks, especially between the green alder shrubs. This picture by Philipp von Arx tells a lot about how the terrain.

2019-08-15 13.17.48_1600

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.

Here is Axel Koppert’s analysis of how to solve the leg:

– The first part of the race was mainly uphill and very tiring. Therefore our (mine and Christian Marko’s) expectation for leg 8-9 was that runners would tend to run along the paths and use the opportunity to run on a better surface. The slope on the direct route is very steep and rough (the boulder fields are partly overgrown by some low bushes) and looks intimidating from below. The green parts are green alder shrubs which are really dense and difficult to pass through. Based on our test runs we expected that the direct route would be potentially slightly faster then running around, but for sure it would require strong legs and a strong mind. While it seems to be obvious how to execute the path route, we were not sure on how to exit from control 8 to the direct variant.

In the end Helmut Gremmel was fastest on the leg by running around on the path while Robert Merl was second fastest just some seconds behind by first running down onto the path, and then running steeply up the hill without(!) path – a route which surprised the course setters. Germot Ymsen lost around half a minute by running in the slope – the others might have lost even more on this route as it is much more ricky to execute. For most runners the path variant of Gremmel is probably the fastest (note that split times here are from GPS and not from official split times – all split times and results are available here).


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. If you have got any good legs in GPSSeuranta or 3DRerun from 2019-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!

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. Looking at the overall results you can see that Helmut does not run the same speeds as Gernot and Robi in general. Helmut is already down 4 minutes to Gernot at this point (8th control /20.39 RT) Thus his route might well be even more better than the shear running time on the leg suggests.

    Would be interesting to have some “normalization” on the different routes, just to avoid that not the strongest runners always take the best routes.

    • That’s a really good idea – obviously it would be “lot of work” to get the comparison with the mistake-free times, but just to compare the relative leg-time-differences with the relative total-time-differences would get us a long way to this, right, and perhaps not require too much work?