For the past two months our ambassadors have served you technical challenges. Now you can read all the assessments from Mari Fasting and Petter Thoresen.

 

Mari Fasting grew up in Moss, and she recently was one of the best female orienteering runners of both Østfold and the world. One of her favourite areas to perform technical training is Våler Varde, just outside her home city – and only a few kilometres from the embargoed WOC competition areas. Mari is looking forward to seeing the world elite runners as well as the spectator runners coming to Østfold in August 2019. 

- In general, I find Våler varde to be a terrain that is very nice and open, with long ranged visibility in the hilltop areas. The surface is firm and grants possibility. The large marshes and less contoured areas have more undergrowth and other obstacles to restrict your speed. Østfold terrains are often about making a good overview of the terrain and knowing where the terrain allows you to run fast, Fasting says. 

One of the biggest stars

Petter Thoresen of Halden Skiklubb is one of the most winning orienteers of all time. He has won five WOC golds, three silvers and one bronze medal. Add to that several World Cup victories, Norwegian Championship gold medals and numerous triumphs with Halden in 10-Mila and Jukola. Thoresen has made an analyse of the Norwegian Championships course from Missingmyr, Råde, from 1996.  

- Most importantly I hope you look forward to WOC in Østfold and Norway. I think you’re in for a great and memorable experience. And we will do our best to help you settle in and have a good time, both with o-activities and socially. For a start I intend to give you some advice on how to run fast and secure through the forests in Østfold for WOC 2019. There was a Norwegian Championships at Missingmyr in Østfold in 1996, and the course had many interesting legs in a highly WOC relevant terrain, Thoresen says.  

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Leg 1 - Petter

This is not a leg that wins you the race, but just might be the place you lose it! In that way it’s a good first leg, and very challenging. Three route choices stick out, but the straightest one (green) is the first I abandon. The risk of losing time is too big, even though it seems as a fast choice. Normally it’s preferable to go around left along the road (purple), however the control entrance is just as difficult here as with the slightly to the right route choice (blue).  Given that the risk level in the control entrances are about the same – the good runnability and the shorter distance I choose the right option. 

Notice that you’ll follow natural lines in the terrain in the beginning, and when entering the danger zone, you’ll find a good point of attack from the marsh and over the big knoll (1). From there you’ll cross right through the visible terrain lines to aid you in keeping the right direction in to the control. But your view will be restricted in the partly green area, so you’ll definitively will make good use of your compass to nail the control. Use the detailed points for support.  

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Leg 3 to 6 - Petter

Leg 3

This leg can be won – here you’re supposed to run fast! Simplify and focus on the most obvious details, no time to consider any micro route options on this leg. The main route choices are straight (green)nor around right (blue) but considering the speed you can maintain for either of the choices straight ahead is really the only option. The right option will not have you run that much faster. And as I’ve said, this leg is all about speed, so you’ll need to handle the small risks you take. The straight option will have lots of bare rock as surface, a surface that helps you maintain pace. Keep at straight direction and make sure to slide around and between the wet areas and other obvious obstacles. However, some dangers are involved. Make sure to find the right spot to pass the row of rock face (2), otherwise you’ll lose time. Be precise. Two terrain lines complicate the leg, and on these places, you’ll easily lose your direction and get drawn towards the direction of these lines (see markings 3 & 5). You could end up arriving the “danger zone” (4) inadvisably and lose time. Mistakes at the last line could result in time loss entering the control. Both lines are what I call «tangent problems» and the only way to solve them is to be extremely vigilant and concerned about your direction while crossing them. Notice that there’s a “stop fence” right behind the control. (Marked “fence” on the map). If you see it and use it to your advantage, you’ll be able to keep high speed all the way in to the control. But again, the biggest potential time loss will be to not focus on high speed and simplification. 

Legs 4 & 5

Two typical Østfold legs. The course offered few details on leg 3, but around controls 4 and 5 there are many details. It’s time to slow down. Risk awareness is the key point here, these are not the kind of legs where races are won!

The alternatives for both legs are fairly straight. Exit/entrance and the amount of risk you are willing to take will decide between them. Runnability is not an issue here. Look for good terrain lines you can use. For control 4 the entrance will be most important, I’d choose left (purple) over right (green). Less details to occupy your mind and you get closer to the control before you’ll need to precision orienteer. The dense marsh will be wise to cross at its’ narrowest point, and you’ll save energy that you’ll need later in the race.

Much of the same goes for control 5. Again, the entrance makes me choose left (purple), marginally easier with less details and control entry across the terrain lines. The exit from control 4 is furthermore more ideal for the left alternative, where you follow the terrain lines until they stop, and you have given yourself a good position to move forward from. Left is in general the less risky option.

Leg 6

This in in most cases a given left choice (purple), but the signs of an old slope make me choose right (blue), and I assume there’s still some runnability along the path.

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Leg 7 – Petter

The general advice in Østfold is to assess the straight options right away! ONLY when you found this alternative not to be very good you start looking in to wider options. There is a possibility to consider going around right (blue) here, as you get to follow path and you’ll get a good exit from the control. The entrance at control 7 is however VERY difficult (8). 

Both risk wise and speed wise I think one of the straight options is best, but which one? At the control exit (6) it’s crucial to find a route that’s without too many obstacles and with low risk of directional errors. And the entrance should be as safe as possible. I like the exit best with the left (purple) option because it seems fastest and easiest to perform technically. You’ll run across the passages in the terrain and quite simple technically, and the passages shouldn’t slow you down. I’ve tried to illustrate which routes are fastest and easiest by drawing lines. Lines that represent challenges in keeping the direction as intended. The more lines, the more challenges. You’ll see that option left has less lines and should be the easier option.

Left is the easiest option to perform, but is it also the most runnable? I think so, out of two reasons.  Firstly, the route is flatter and smoother, and secondly it contains less obstacles like dense areas (green) and cliffs to get stuck in and lose time. Do you see it? Last but not least the entrance needs to be considered. Both straight options have the same entrance, so it doesn’t affect the route choice as such. It is however important to be cautious about making a good entrance. You’ll need to hit the cairn (7), and from there your compass bearing needs to be performed with sniper precision. You’ll easily end up making a big time miss!

Once the choice is made focus on keeping high speed and be precise with your direction between each shift of terrain, so you don’t lose time. And be aware of the control entrance. How these legs are conducted will show in the final results between the best runners.

Tip: 

To faster reach your final route choice, start by assessing which control entrance you prefer. Then you should in my mind abandon the longest route choice on leg 7 without further ado. It’s simply too easy to miss with an entrance like that! After that assess the mid parts of the leg and leave the exit for last. 

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Leg 8 - Petter

Only two obvious choices here: straight (green) or left on the path (purple). The leg is however both important and difficult. At first glance left appears preferable, but is it now? And if not, why?

The exit is pretty similar for both options, go through the yellow/green area and find the path. The mid-section is slightly faster going for the left option along the path, but the alternative is not that much slower as white areas usually mean good runnability. 

The control entrance will have to decide. In my mind it’s unnecessary to put yourself through the risks by choosing the entrance from the path towards left (9). By fighting your way through green areas where you lose both overview and speed, you’ll also easily end up missing the control in such a low detailed area. On the straighter option you’ll have terrain lines to follow and adjust your direction. I choose what we most often do in Østfold, straight ahead – the safer and faster option. 

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Leg 1 - Mari

It could be tempting to depart from the line and choose either a northern (green) or southern (blue) option as you’ll face a great deal of contours on the straighter option. The key point for this leg will in my opinion be to find the open areas to the right and the passages with firm and nice surface close to the line. I think this is the best choice. If you look at the route choice further north (green) it could also be a good alternative but bear in mind that the marshes may have high heather this late in the summer, and they’re far from dry either. It will probably drain more of your energy than it appears at first glance, so the question is if it will be wiser to stay closer to the line. For me to consider running the southern option (blue) the control(s) would have had to be placed further south, only then I would have considered to go around south and make usage of the field in the bottom. 

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Leg 2 - Mari

Occasionally you get route choices even with the short legs in Østfold. Even though you seldom waste time on a straight choice (green) it might be difficult to perform the leg in the best possible manner with this kind of physically challenging terrain. In those cases, you should look for simpler alternatives that’ll allow you to maintain high speed. Apparent passages and paths are easier to follow and allow higher speed on a firmer surface. Both right (purple) and left (blue) are good options, with apparent track lines and high pace. The right option (purple) is possibly the best as you don’t encounter any contours during the control exit, and you can hold a steady high pace all the way to the point where you’ll cross the marsh passage with slope and creek (purple circle). From here on you’ll need to precision orienteer the last part of the control entrance. A slight left option (blue) is not bad either, but I deem it slower because of more running in marsh and you’ll take on some contours at the beginning.

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Leg 3 - Mari

In Østfold it’s seldom wise to deviate much from the straight line, unless there’s many obstacles and cliffs in your way. At this particular leg I would consider the northern or southern option as you’ll avoid the steepest climbs and you can simplify to keep high speed. If you choose the area north of the line (purple), you need to be aware of hitting the good passages alongside the contour formations. If your capable of performing this route choice well, it’s definitely the best option. It could be tempting to go south as well (blue) to be able to run on path for a bit of the leg. The smaller paths and slopes might be a lot curvier and slower than they appear on the map. It also looks like you’ll have more total climb for this option.

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