Karst terrain in Slovenia is very different from almost any terrain that can be encountered in the championships events across Europe or even the world. Orienteering strategy and technique needs to be adjusted accordingly. We will write you some hints that can be learned from the analysis of the last WRE event held in the SEEOC/Cerkno Cup 2018 similar terrains - at Alpe Adria Orienteering Cup middle distance at Kalce (approximately 15km from SEEOC middle distance/relay stage).
We will analyze 4 different route choices and tactics taken by competitors at the event. There seems to be a delicate balance between running on the path and running straight. Often it is good to take good paths, even roads vs. going straight - at the expense of the longer distance, the ratio being even up to 1:2. But it is important, what is the quality of the path.
There seem to be 2 dominant route choices at this leg with a couple of sub-variants. The winner of the race Martin Binder (AUT) seems to take the pretty straight route, risking 125m straight interval on the ridge to another path. Compared to those, who ran on the path almost all of the way (to the right) he saves 100m in distance, which gives him approximately 20sec lead. Matija Razum (CRO) and Mark Bogataj (SLO) seem to pick the same routechoice but they realize it much worse, piciking up additional climb when crossing a series of depressions.
Take away message: It is worth finding good passages between paths and taking special care about the realization. Any small mistake is punished severely in this harsh and slow terrain.
This leg does not seem to have any particular routechoices, but the runners spread - also according to experience through the race. Franz Glaner (AUT) and Martin Binder (AUT) win this leg by taking a relatively straight line and even managing to run at the highest pace through. Jakob Pauser (AUT) looses over a minute here, by making a lot of additional climb and the same is the time behind for Matija Razum (CRO) by trying to follow sparse paths in the terrain. Stefan Kubelka (AUT) and Mark Bogataj (SLO) seem to loose a little bit less by taking a good vehicle track in the beginning an following the direct line in the second part of the leg.
Take away message: Later in the race it is sometimes tempting to take a path - even if that saves you only a few meters of running in the terrain. Often this does not pay off. Sometimes these direct legs are much more about execution than they are about the route choice. Yes - it is tough, but - have the courage to go straight.
Leg to control 12 offers three different routechoices with many subvariants. Martin Binder (AUT) seems to hit the jackpot by taking the strongest path to the west (vehicle track, road and open land). He gains 1 minute agains Mark Bogataj (SLO) who takes slightly shorter, but more complicated and less distinct path to the east. Going straight is bad here - partly due to really rough terrain 200m before the control point. Jakob Pauser looses 1:30 against the winner here taking approximately 150m shorter path.
Take away message: Taking a strong path is a good option. You can be up to 60% faster this way. 60% is a lot! And remember - it is difficult to run in a straight line in the karst!
Did you learn anything when running leg to 12? Apparently not. Martin Binder (AUT), who successfuly won the leg to CP12 takes a straight route here. Running twice as slow as Stefan Kubelka (AUT) who takes the asphalt road around (again). He was not that succesful by this routechoice at CP12, but this time it pays off. Anyway, Binder looses 15 seconds here. Taking the right route looses 1:20 for Stefano Raus (ITA).
Take away message: Even elite runners can drop their speed down to 9min/km in the rough terrain. Small black dots, depicting stony ground, play a croucial role in assesing the runnability of the terrain. Avoid high dot density areas at all costs!
But of course - the best way to learn how to handle karst is to train here. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.