Interview with Jorgen Martensson about route choice : LUSENET : orienteer kansas : One Thread

I just translated an interview with Jorgen Martensson about route choice in orienteering. Martensson has won two individual World Champsionships. He ran at every WOC between 1978 and 1997. Rasmus Westergren interviewed Martensson as part of a school project on "Route Choice In Orienteering."

The original interview is in Swedish. My translation is at:

The original Swedish interview is a small part of a very interesting analysis of route choice. It is at:

After you've read the interview, come back to the OK discussion pages to post your thoughts.

-- Michael (, August 05, 2000


Part of the interview is a discussion of a leg from the 1987 Swedish night champs. You can take a look at the leg at:

The map shows the M21 leg from 9 to 10. Martensson's route is the solid red line (the route goes far to the right of the straight line). The other routes are Micke Whelin and Tony Mansson (sorry, I'm not sure which route is which). The blue routes are from the F21 course.

-- Michael (, August 06, 2000.

JM mentions the concept of choosing a route that is slightly slower, but physically easier so that later on a runner might be fresher. Its sort of a good idea. I'd have to think about and look for such situations. In most places on most courses I suspect this type of situation doesn't occur often. Perhaps the marshes in Scandinavia offer straight (and therefore fast) routes, but such situations might put one (Swampfox excepted, of course) into oxygen debt. How much time (or % behind the fastest leg time) though, I wonder, can a person really afford to sacrifice by purposefully taking a long, "lite" route? I bet he's talking about rather small advantages.

-- Mook (, August 07, 2000.

JM mentions the concept of choosing a route that is slightly slower, but physically easier so that later on a runner might be fresher.

I pick routes because they are physically easier a lot. It is one of the main things I look for. Sometimes I probably go too far out of my way to make the running easy.

I think looking for physically easier routes is more important when you are a relatively slow runner or are out of shape (or when you are nearing the end of the course). Someone who is really strong doesn't slow down as much in the forest.

I probably picked up this habit in Sweden. Around Stockholm it makes a big difference weather you run along the tops of the low ridges and knolls or in the lower (and usually marshier) areas. You get used to looking for better footing. I think running at night probably also trains you to look for more different routes. At night you can go farther from the straight route without losing time.

-- Michael (, August 08, 2000.

if you are a strong runner u get a faster time than if u should run trough, because u have to focus alot more on the map an therefor cant run as fast as on the road.

I remeber when Team Sweden had their "tests" to test their runners, and Team Denmark hade their on the same course, and 1 leg were like 2.5km long, Fredrik Lvwegren(won the swedish test) ran that leg his way and it was like 2.8km long...he had something like 18mins. And denmarks best man that day was carsten jvrgensen(WERY strong runner, 10km @ sub 28min, european crosscountry champ), hes choise of route on that leg were like 5.3km, he had like 1min better time that fredrik, so strait trough isnt always the best even if ure a strong runner.

sorry for my bad english. =/

-- daniel (, August 09, 2000.

I guess the key is taking the route that best matches your strenghts. For some people the best route might be straight and for others it might mean running far off the line to take a road. It'd be interesting to see the times for Carsten when he went straight versus when he went around, and the times for Lowegren when he went straight versus around.

Another interesting thing to think about when you make route choices is that course setters often try to give you route choice problems by giving you two (or more) routes that are equal (or very near equal). The SLOC meet last spring had a number of legs where the course setter seemed to be trying to give you two options -- straight through the forest or around on a trail -- that were equal. It didn't really make any difference which way you ran. The only way to lose time was to spend a lot of time trying to pick a route! I think this sort of course setting error is very common (much more so in the US than Sweden).

-- Michael (, August 09, 2000.

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